Labour Party supporter (?) Phil Quin has an op-ed in the Herald attacking Labour for strategic incoherence in the Northland by-election:
The goal of any Opposition is to inflict maximum damage on the Government and, in this case, that takes the shape of Peters defeating National in Northland. If Prime siphons enough votes from Peters to deliver victory to the Government, John Key won’t have dodged a bullet; Andrew Little will have stepped into the bullet’s path.
If Peters wins the by-election that will be bad for National and great for Winston Peters, but those don’t add up to a win for the Labour Party. Labour competes with Peters for votes. They lost about 100,000 to him in the last election and would, presumably like to get them back. So the optics of Peters single-handedly defeating National while Labour stands back, powerless aren’t very good for the Labour Party. The best outcome for them is that Peters wins but with Labour’s help, via Andrew Little’s sort-of endorsement. The risk is that Labour goes a bit too far in its overt support for him and all those National voters contemplating a vote for Peters switch back to National. The outcome here is really difficult to predict. National has chosen an unattractive candidate. But they have an amazing political machine. But Winston Peters is an incredible campaigner. But National are promising $70 million in pork. But Labour voters might vote strategically. But pro-National NZ First supporters might react to that. But they might not because of anger about Sabin. It’s very tricky stuff, but Labour’s approach so-far seems sensible to me.