The perennial blogosphere debate about ‘what’s wrong with Labour’ broke out again recently, with Chris Trotter advocating a purge of non-radicals in response to a former Labour strategist called Phil Quinn who thinks that Labour should try and win the election by getting loads more votes than they will on current polling, and should do so by ‘moving to the center’.
But I look at 3News last night and see Tova O’Brien’s story about Labour’s Te Tai Tokurau electorate campaign asking the General Secretary if they can set up a web site attacking Internet/Mana – who Labour desperately wants to form a coalition with – that uses the National Party slogan and hopes to solicit donations from National Party supporters. The General Secretary refused, writing:
This website and its messaging is problematic and presents a risk for the Party for the following
Its’ overall tone is negative and not consistent with our Vote Positive message
The first sentence uses the National Party slogan “Working for New Zealand”
The cartoon of Kim dot com is could be viewed as offensive and the website picks a fight with Internet Mana. I
know that is your local fight, but to present that nationally would not be helpful when both parties are presenting as
The messaging about anonymous donations is inconsistent with Labour Party policy and practice, both at Head
Office and across electorate campaigns, and would be messaged by media as .
The website has no Party Vote message and does not carry an authorisation statement
So someone leaked the email correspondence to 3News, which nicely damages Labour in multiple ways. It hurts Kelvin Davis’ chances in his electorate seat, and it also hurts the wider party because it looks like they’re holding back in Te Tai Tokerau and are doing a covert deal with Internet/Mana.
So: this was bad for the party and Kelvin Davis. It is good for Internet/Mana, who get to play the victim, and it increases Harawira’s chances of taking his seat, but the anti-Cunliffe faction within Labour is opposed to Internet/Mana.
So who leaked the email? And how, when this sort of nonsense is happening pretty much every week, can anyone look at Labour and say ‘Political positioning. There’s your big problem’?
Update: Independent non-partisan political commentator Matthew Hooton adds:
A series of emails, including this one, was leaked to me last week from within the Labour Party. I wrote about it on Friday in the NBR but I think Labour HQ then issued this one to the Herald, which had a story in Saturday’s paper. Others have HQ advocating fund-raising through third parties.