Chris Trotter is the bellwether of the left…he is prepared to say things that the more tribal members of the commentariat aren’t prepared to say.
Twice in as many days he has quietly pointed out the failure of the Cunliffe experiment. He writes at The Daily Blog:
THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has Labour on 28.5 percent (down 3.5 percent) and the Greens on 11.5 percent (down 1.5 percent). At 40 percent, the combined vote of the two main centre-left parties has fallen 5 percentage points since Roy Morganâ€™s previous survey in late March. Roy Morgan has long been the Leftâ€™s favourite polling agency: a source of good news when the Colmar-Brunton, Reid Research and Ipsos agencies could offer nothing but ill-tidings. That â€śour pollâ€ť has begun to deliver ill-tidings of its own is bad news indeed.
Chief among the causes of this worrying decline must surely be the political antagonisms currently dividing Labour and the Greens. David Cunliffeâ€™s decision to spurn the Green Partyâ€™s offer of an explicit pre-election coalition agreement, itself a reaction to internal Labour Party polling data, has clearly not been enthusiastically received by centre-left voters.
The other cause of Labourâ€™s 3.5 percent decline in popular support can only be the its leaderâ€™s ham-fisted response to the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Justified or not, the public perceived Cunliffe to be whingeing about the amount of face-time he had been allocated with the Royal Couple. New Zealanders are notoriously unsympathetic to â€śwhingersâ€ť and they undoubtedly mentally piled Cunliffeâ€™s comments upon all the other ill-considered statements he has made since January.
In both cases the quality most conspicuously lacking in the Leader of the Oppositionâ€™s decisions was courage. Regardless of whether Russel Normanâ€™s motives in offering to campaign for a â€śLabour/Greens Governmentâ€ť were well-intentioned or darkly Machiavellian, it is now pretty clear that the smart move would have been for Labour to seize the offer with both hands.