Matt McCarten eviscerates Phil Goff in the Herald on Sunday:
I can’t see how Labour can keep whistling in the dark over its dismal public support.
I don’t know how its leader, Phil Goff, can keep pretending he has a chance of winning in November.
Two polls this week showed the gap between National and Labour remaining at a yawning 20 per cent. When was the last time a government polled consistently so far ahead of its opposition?
Every poll these days seems to tell the same story: John Key and his party can rule alone. People like Key and trust him.
We have a prime minister whom two out of every three New Zealanders prefer.
That means even voters of other parties support him over their own leaders. Extraordinary but true.
That is why it is completely baffling that Labour’s crippled campaign seems to focus on denigrating the most popular Prime Minister since records began. From the outside it looks like there are actually different factions campaigning. On the one hand the old cripples like Hodgson and Trevor Mallard who seem intent on flinging poo with gay abandon, ably assisted by their Mini-me helpers like Chris Hipkins, and on the other hand smart competent operators like Clare Curran.
Labour has latched on to an anti-privatisation agenda as an election winner, given the fact that more than 62 per cent of New Zealanders oppose those asset sales.
We would normally expect a lift to Labour after this Budget.The party should also have hoped for additional positive profile from its national congress last weekend. But neither opportunity has made an iota of difference.
Mind you, the congress was insipid, at best. Labour barred media from most of the event and spun to a resentful press three policies that didn’t create much excitement.
Replacing the Families Commission with a Ministry for Children isn’t fooling anybody, given Labour was happy to govern for most of its nine years with the present arrangement.
Even Labour’s major policy of massive investment in research and development would have gone over the heads of most people except, of course, the farmers who are being tapped to pay for it.
I imagine the cockies will be adding an extra zero to their cheques made out to the National Party’s re-election campaign fund.
Labour’s policy announcements are dis-jointed and completely un-related except for their inability to pay for anything.
For some reason, though, Goff isn’t connecting. I’ve come to the conclusion that voters have taken their phones off the hook and aren’t listening to anything Goff is saying.
I’ve said it before in this column, but Goff has no choice but to step down and let a fresh face have a go as leader.
He has had two years as leader and the gap between the two main parties has widened. No one, surely, believes that a Goff-led party has any show.
It is clear the whole Labour caucus is made up of a bunch of gutless wonders, resigned to coast along for the next six months and lose, rather than get a backbone and make the change.
Labour needs a new messenger if it has any chance.
Frankly, it’s a dereliction of duty for the current caucus to flag this election away. If it does then it doesn’t deserve any support from its core constituency.
And there is Matt making a pitch for the Mana party, or more likely the Greens to step up to the proper and fitting role of an opposition party. But Matt is right to say the phone is off the hook. I have been saying that for two years, voters don’t care what labour has to say right now, whereas Labour is still believing that the naughty voters just made an awful mistake and they will return if they can just show them that John Key is evil.
It would have a better chance in November if it put the names of its current MPs on a wall and then have some kid throw a dart at it.
Whoever gets their name lanced by the dart gets the job.
It’s a bit over the top but it’s a better strategy than the one Labour’s running now
I’m not sure that there is any great need for Labour to change right now. Julia Gillard waiting till closer to the election to roll Kevin Rudd and then go on to win. The one thing that national fears though is a someone other than Goff leading Labour because right now anyone is better than Goff, and the two political cripples, Mallard and Hodgson, being axed and replaced with someone competent like Clare Curran.
It is now obvious that Mallard and Curran have had a falling out of sorts over strategy. Mallard has now openly slagged off Curran on Kiwiblog and on Twitter.
Matt McCarten is right Goff needs to go and someone who can run the sandpit should take over.