David Cunliffe is being told to pray…it’s the only hope he’s got.
David Cunliffe just can’t catch a break. Even his oldest childhood friend doesn’t fancy his chances in September’s general election.
”The local candidate [Steve Gibson] for the Labour party is a complete and utter idiot,” Pleasant Point sheep farmer Andrew Steven tells the Labour leader. ”And I had to throw him out of the house and demand the cheque back … I’d like to support David but I can’t support the local candidate,” he says.
Pray, is Reverend Sue Dickson’s advice. Cunliffe says he does – daily. ”You are doing the right thing … having your faith connection when everything seems to be kind of lost,” she counsels.
Naturally Cunliffe isn’t ready to accept that’s he lost – but Dickson has a point.
With just two months before voters go to the ballot box, the latest brace of polls have Labour languishing in the mid-20s. Personal support for Cunliffe has dipped below 10 per cent. Party disloyalty once again reared its head at the weekend, with an insider sniping to media about the leader’s week-long skiing holiday.
In fact, the family break was just three days – and on Friday Cunliffe was in the rural South Canterbury town where he spent his teenage years.
It was part of a media drive to boost Cunliffe’s public profile – and an opportunity to catch up with those he grew up with.
”There are huge numbers of people who are only just waking up now to the fact that we’ve got an election this year. They are saying who is this guy, we need to get to know him … and I’m going to let people in,” Cunliffe explains.