Rodney Hide discusses Labour’s reverse campaigning.
The Labour MPs who didnâ€™t want David Cunliffe as leader also didnâ€™t want him as prime minister. They still donâ€™t.
These MPs are reverse campaigning. Their aim is to achieve a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Labour Party.
Their reverse campaigning is witnessed in their focus on the electorate vote, contradiction of party policy, plans to de-extinct moa and public criticism of Mr Cunliffe taking time to holiday.
None of this is accidental. These are professional politicians.
Hereâ€™s the logic. Labour this election picks up two Maori electorates plus Clayton Cosgrove wins Waimakariri and Stuart Nash wins Napier. Their success knocks out four Labour list candidates.
Labour polls in the low 20s. That means less than 30 MPs. The 27 constituencies that Labour wins largely fills Labourâ€™s MP quota. The list MPs are cleaned out. Sue Moroney, Andrew Little, Maryan Street and Moana Mackey are gone.
The result is a different Labour Party. The constituency MPs are centrists. They have to be to win and retain their seats. The list MPs are to the left. The election cleanout changes Labourâ€™s political dynamic. Itâ€™s ideological centre shifts rightward. The remnant Labour Party is more centre-right than Nationalâ€™s Cabinet.
Mr Cunliffe goes. He canâ€™t survive such a catastrophic defeat.