I’ve often said that the Goff Labour Party is a ‘fight the last battle over again’ kind of outfit. Don Brash got a boost in the polls by giving a speech about race entitled ‘Nationhood’, so Goff gave a speech about race entitled ‘Nationhood’. John Key became popular after endorsing Labour’s most popular policies, and now Goff’s former strategist thinks Labour should endorse National’s policies.
My view is pretty simple. New Zealand is a centre-left country so people liked Labour’s policies. To get elected National HAD to embrace those policies, and they created a point of difference between themselves and Labour by advancing popular policies of their own: ie tax cuts, and by framing a negative narrative around the actual government (Helengrad, Nanny State etc) so that by the election people felt that when they voted National they got a really great deal. They got rid of Labour – who they no longer liked, kept their policies – which they liked, and got some nice new policies (sort of).
Pagani’s strategy – which Labour appears to be following – is to keep almost all of the members of the unpopular government the public was glad to get rid of, endorse National’s policies which are mostly horrible failures, and promote no substantial policy of their own. This has worked about as well as you’d expect it to.