It really doesn’t matter if Labour’s books balance or not. When you’re opposition leader, an election campaign is a job interview to be Prime Minister, and the public are judging you on how you’ll perform under pressure, how you’ll represent when speaking for the nation, or negotiating with other national, political or business interests. If you’re not up to the job then the public doesn’t want you, no matter how well your staff follow up on your behalf.
Goff’s credibility-damaging poor performance in Christchurch and lack of support in the polls aren’ t new developments. The public has disliked him consistently for two years now, for the excellent reason that he doesn’t seem like he’d be a very good head of government. For some reasons the Philosopher-Kings running the Labour Party decided to keep him on in spite of this, with awesomely predictable results.
In a related note, Tim Watkin at Pundit writes about Labour’s inability to win popularity:
But it’s not looking like it’s been able to break the circuit yet for this race. Thing is people don’t vote for tough decisions, unless they think there’s no alternative. They vote for rainbows and puppies and interest-free student loans.
This is the same media pundit cynicism-posing-as-wisdom I complained about last week. Isn’t this exactly the opposite of what’s happening in this election? Labour are promising almost every voter a tax break and more money into their KiwiSaver accounts, while National is promising to sell state assets, which the public is strongly opposed to. But 56% of the country prefers National and Key, simply because they just seem a whole lot more competent.