Little has had a mixed past month – escaping a risky defamation verdict but erring by implying a Little government would substantially cut immigrant numbers by more than seems possible.
His wooing of the volatile Jackson, who left a radio job that he proudly said paid more for three hours a day than an MP could earn, was always risky. On Monday, Jackson proved that, with a petulance at being ranked No 21 on the Labour list of 74 – which today has Little talking all about Jackson, not the broader list. …
The L word problem – his image and communication issue – is one that Labour’s MPs, candidates, and volunteers will strike on the doorsteps.
His deputy Jacinda Ardern hit it at a Wintec Press Club lunch last Friday. In what might have been a chummy question and answer session, she was grilled repeatedly on the Little factor. Direct, personal stuff like (paraphrasing here) “As a woman, how can you let a male who is plainly inferior to you retain the leadership?’, and (actual question) “Does Andrew Little tend to dull your shine?”
The answer to that last one was, as always, diplomatic: “Part of my job is standing alongside Andrew helping people to get to know him.”
There was no let-up, with journalists in the audience asking: “Do you sometimes feel like a winner in a loser’s party?” (No direct answer), and how it felt to out-poll Little in preferred Prime Minister surveys. Again, Ardern tried hard: Little had to focus on the party vote, and ‘because of my unusual name, I tend to pop up a little.’
She’s not the only MP being confronted over the party leader’s polling and performance. Other MPs try to stay cool when talking about Little’s TV performances, and that marooned polling figure of just under or on 30 per cent.
Even better than his TV appearances are his ones on Radio NZ. Gold.
Little was elected over two years ago saying he wanted Labour in the 40s. Now they are hoping that on a good day they might get 30%.