Grant Robertson has immersed himself in parliamentary politics, without building a team of people around him who provide the kind of infrastructure Helen Clark built around herself.
Clark may not have had great relations with business and political donors, but she did build a team of people around her that did. She also had a great fundraiser or shakedown artist in Mike âFat Tonyâ Williams, who made sure that Labour had plenty of money and werenât just reliant on union funding.Â
Since Fat Tony retired Labour have been broke. Andrew Little didnât even try to raise money from anyone other than unions and by taxing MPs. Moira Coatesworth hasnât been much better yet, but may improve. Regardless, Grant doesnât have any fundraising capability.
Grant has been so self absorbed and absorbed by politics in Wellington he hasnât got around the country and built a rapport with the big donors who could contribute to campaigns he leads. Typical of most New Zealand politicians he appears to think fundraising is a bit dirty and beneath him.
The battle for Labour Party leaders is moving the party to the middle ground where middle New Zealand vote for them. While the hard left unions are the pay masters the flexibility to move to the middle ground does not exist. Grant hasnât done the hard yards in lining up the $2m a year or so he needs to be able to tell the unions to stick it, and win an election.