DPF blogs about his Drudge-like role in the Mt Albert by-election. I don’t have too much to add to his comments, other than to repeat that I think Shearer will win the seat easily. A couple of related observations:
1. While I still think Labour choked over seating Twyford and that Tizard would have had no effect on the outcome of the election it is worth pointing out that Labour have gone to some effort and made considerable sacrifices to introduce new blood to the party. This has been a huge success, they have a far more talented intake than National and can plausibly claim that they are a rejuvenated party; unfortunately Tizard is a potent symbol of incumbency, laziness and smug self-entitlement and all Labour’s hard work rebranding themselves would be undone by her return so it was worth avoiding in that respect.
Goff better pray that none of his list MPs get attractive job offers between now and the election: Tizard doesn’t look like she has anything better to do with her life than wait around for her former colleagues to retire or die – it would almost be worth National’s while to offer a juicy board position to David Parker.
2. It looks to me as if a lot of the negative commentary Labour has attracted over Mt Albert could have been very easily avoided. Twyford announced he wouldn’t be contesting the seat on Monday 20th, at which point everyone concluded Goff had lost his bottle and some novice local candidate – Meg Bates, say – would be running, a decision that was met with overwhelming contempt and solidified the perception that Goff was running scared. Three days later David Shearer announced his intention to stand. Obviously that was the plan all along and Shearer will be selected and probably win the seat, but from a communications standpoint the timing was a disaster. Why not have Twyford withdraw at the same time they announced Shearer? Why let a negative story that harms the leader stand for three days?
Maybe they had their reasons and maybe they were good ones, but Labour’s communications team do have a proud tradition of turning everything they touch to shit and I suspect that’s what happened here. Again. Goff really needs to burn that office to the ground and plough the earth with salt if his party is ever going to recover its position in the polls.