Playing to not lose

Labour do not need to beat National. They can, as my good friend says, play to “not lose”. Under MMP this strategy is a valid one and it is one that so far Labour has failed to adopt. Essentially though the “not lose” means they just need to win more votes in combination with the Greens than National can in combination with their coalition partners. Labour so far are stuck in the Clark paradigm of win at all costs, and because of that they are going to lose, this time.

In 2008 John Key ably played to “not lose” and as a consequence became the Prime Minister. In government he has continued to play to “not lose”. Counteracting this is difficult but not impossible but I fail to see why I should do Labour’s thinking for them. They need to grasp the concept first. Unfortunately for them, being populated with union hacks and identity politicians they don’t have the people who have had to get by in business by playing not to lose and so can’t fathom the strategy.

Perhaps only Trevor Mallard can understand as I have been playing “not to lose” on him hard.

Notwithstanding that, John Key still does have a problem because he has played “not to lose” so well that he has suffocated his partners. National should be worried about their future in 6 years time. Right now they are too focused on this election and as a consequence may well be dooming themselves to a very long time in opposition when eventually the unhappy coincidence of bad polling and MMP leave them out in the cold.

Once in the cold, John Key will never be able to match Keith Holyoake’s record or legacy.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.