James isn’t so crass as to say that out loud, but a read between the lines shows it clearly.
David Cunliffe has just under six months to build the sort of credibility for a Labour-Greens coalition that pulls some voters across from Nationalâ€™s side and some non-voters in from the cold.
In his six months as leader Cunliffe, first, got only a short-lived bump in opinion polls and then in February-early March took Labour back to its David Shearer low. His biggest publicity recently has been for leadership stumbles.
And those stumbles are real stumbles, rather than Shearer’s mumbles.
First, Cunliffe chose to run Labourâ€™s innovative children policy as a cash handout when its real value is a focus on childrenâ€™s physical experience in the womb and nutritional, emotional and cognitive experiences in the early years of life. That is, he highlighted the palliative of a dole to parents over investment in children to give even the disadvantaged a close-to-equal opportunity to be full citizens as adults. And he did not say the palliative would be discounted for parental leave cash.
National got two free hits. It could say, first, Labour was sneaky and, second, would be old-style tax-and-spend when an edgy global economy mandates fiscal caution.
One down. Second, he ran a line about super-rich Key being out of touch because he lives in a leafy suburb. A more self-aware Cunliffe would have remembered attacks in the leadership contest that he lives in a nice house in a leafy suburb while promoting a â€średâ€ť Labour. Another free hit for National.
Two down. Then he had to own up to an anonymous trust to (lavishly) fund his leadership campaign, thereby undermining Labourâ€™s criticism of Nationalâ€™s anonymous election funders and John Banksâ€™ troubles with contributions to his 2010 mayoral campaign. Insiders say Cunliffe had to be persuaded to be open about the trust so that it wouldnâ€™t fester all the way to election day.Â Read more »