It’s been a shambolic couple of weeks for Labour. They had their congress and launched a major education policy, carefully designed to attack National where they were vulnerable and attract centre voters back to Labour, and they’ve spent every day since then talking about either Moas, or banning cosmetics, or Cunliffe’s ‘man apology’, or changing the burden of proof in rape cases, or Kelvin Davis’ support for the holiday highway, or te reo in schools – with some Labour MPs supporting this and some opposing – ie they’ve been talking about pretty much anything other than the huge new policy they just launched.
And this incoherent disunity is registering with the electorate. All of the polls now have Labour in the mid twenties. on Thursday Labour advisor Rob Salmond wrote:
While I think it would be irresponsible to blame single comments (whether about manhood or moas or whatever else) for the state of things, it is obvious now that there is no room for further slips. Closing this gap within 9 weeks will – at a minimum – require everyone of the left working hard, seamlessly, together, and well.
Labour MPS are disgusted by leader David Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider has told the Sunday Star-Times.
As Labour hit a new polling low of just 23.5 per cent in the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll and data suggested those numbers would climb quickly if its leader quit, Cunliffe took a week’s leave to go skiing in Queenstown. That decision has infuriated a significant number of Labour MPs, the insider claimed.
“A lot of MPs are really f….. off about it,” he said. “They are all working hard up and down the country, and f…… Cunliffe is on holiday. Guys like [Phil] Goff and [Annette] King and [David] Shearer, these guys really want it badly and they are working like their lives depend on it. And I think they are a little incredulous about what the guy is doing.”
Mallard or Hipkins? Probably Mallard. I think what’s happening here is that Cunliffe is signalling that he’ll stay on as leader after the election. ‘Helen Clark lost an election and stayed, and look how that turned out.’ His mechanism for doing so is to bring allies into caucus using the party list. So his enemies – who are electorate MPs – are cheerfully sabotaging their party’s campaign to prevent any new list MPs coming in.
What really gets me about this is that there are hundreds if not thousands of Labour volunteers around the country who are giving up time with their families to go doorknocking or leafleting or staff call centres for the Labour Party because they believe in it and its values, and all that work is being pissed away by the actual MPs, who obviously don’t.