Updated the tracking poll. For variety’s sake this one goes all the way back to the start of 2005. It doesn’t correct for bias and the large circles intersecting the vertical lines are election results : Josie Pagani wrote a ‘what should Labour do now’ thing on Pundit that I partly agree with. (Although all such posts are predicated on the idea that Labour wants to win the election, and like I’ve said before, one of Cunliffe’s major challenges is a caucus filled with MPs who hate him and don’t want Labour to win the election while he’s leading it. They want to lose the election then assume control of the party and win in 2017, against a presumably weaker National-New Zealand First coalition. That’s not something Cunliffe can fix by ‘staying on message’ or ‘focusing on what matters’ or anything like that. It’s just a horrible reality that dooms him.)
Anyway, one of Pagani’s suggestions is:
Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour’s poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour’s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy. Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, “he shouldn’t be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government.”
About a month ago I wrote:
Now, Internet/Mana might make good on their promise to turn out loads of young low decile voters, which might not show up in the polls but will have a huge impact on the actual election – and good on them if they do. But at this point it looks like the Harawira/Harre/Dotcom contribution to the election will be to cannibalise the left vote and scare the centre vote over to National, possibly gifting them an historic victory.
If the trend continues Labour will have to take a risk (for once) and rule out Internet/Mana from a Labour government.
So why haven’t Labour done this? I think there are a couple of reasons. The friendship between Matt McCarten, Labour’s Chief of Staff, and Laila Harre has got to be a factor here. Also, if Labour rules out Internet/Mana they’re kind of ruling out hope. There is a chance that Internet/Mana will be a ‘game-changer’ that will swing the election. I think that chance is very tiny, but it is there, and that gives some purpose to the campaign that’s absent if you’re just fighting to get Labour back into opposition with slightly more MPs. Finally there’s the culture of the contemporary Labour Party which is very conservative and risk averse. No one would want to take ownership of a call like that in case it backfired somehow.
And the chance of a ‘game-changer’ (this has come to mean ‘event that generates enormous media coverage but changes nothing’, but I use it in the original context) increased slightly with Dotcom’s revelation that Glen Greenwald will be at his town hall meeting just before the election. Now, Greenwald might just show up and talk about the 5-eyes network. But he does have full access to the Snowden documents which includes Australian and possibly New Zealand intelligence material. John Key’s staff have, apparently, searched every piece of documentation they could think of to try and find a link between Key and Dotcom prior to the police raid and they’ve come up empty, which is why Key’s been so confident about dismissing Dotcom’s claims. But they can’t be sure Greenwald doesn’t have, say, a secret Australian intelligence report discussing Key being briefed on Dotcom.
That would be an actual genuine bombshell. But would it be a game-changer? Would a significant number of people change their vote because of it? I’m guessing no.