Matthew Hooton believes that TheÂ Cunliffe may be about to lurch Labour back towards the centre as they attempt to get some traction…any traction at all..in this election campaign.
If that is the case then John Tamihere’s assessmentÂ in the Herald this morning is spot on, thatÂ “He’s an extraordinarily talented chap but you never get to see the real David. You get to see the David that he thinks you want to see. And that’s his problem.”
Hooton is alluding to that in his column at NBR.
If David Cunliffe becomes prime minister this spring, the origins of his win will be traced to the last week.
This may seem counterintuitive. After all, his highest profile move was his apology for being a man, generally lampooned as absurd. More substantively, though, it revealed a deeply collectivist worldview, where peopleâ€™s main identity is not as an individual with personal responsibility but where we are primarily members of categories from which we accrue collective guilt and credit.
Such a political philosophy may be abhorrent to anyone who values basic concepts of human autonomy but it was wildly popular among Labourâ€™s Womenâ€™s Council, the unions and the far-left activists who back Mr Cunliffe. Some even rang Mr Cunliffeâ€™s office weeping with gratitude.
Intentionally or otherwise, the apology created cover for a repositioning of Mr Cunliffe back to the centre, which would begin at Labourâ€™s conference the following day and is at the heart of Labourâ€™s strategy for the next 10 weeks.
The Cunliffe needs to do this because so far his socialist prescription is failing to resonate.
Mr Cunliffe ran for leader from the far-left, with rhetoric about red roses, the failed neoliberal experiment, the missing million, the misery of 250,000 children living in poverty, and a commitment that his Labour would be â€śdeep red, not pale blue.â€ť
As a strategy to become leader it worked well but it reversed all the progress Labour had made in the wider polls under David Shearerâ€™s more centrist approach.
Talking down New Zealand as a failed state with starving kids wasnâ€™t connecting with voters experiencing economic growth, falling unemployment, rising wages, low inflation, still-modest interest rates and a kiwi dollar enabling them to afford some luxuries after five difficult years. Â Read more »