Pwning Labour

Poor old Trevor Mallard, he couldn’t catch a cold right now. John Hartevelt flays him and Labour.

Sigh. Another day and the Labour Party takes yet another turn for the cringe-makingly desperate. The party’s chief strategist, their sharpest political mind and the chap responsible for winning the election campaign has this morning come up with this rather lame attempt at humour.

Trevor Mallard’s theft of an overused and not terribly funny concept from a right-wing blogger is just a bit sad.

If it was an isolated example of an odd attack on the PM, it wouldn’t rate a mention.

But ever since the intellectual excitement and esprit de corps that accompanied Labour’s tax policy announcement died down a fortnight ago, a steady drip feed of rather juvenile stunts – many of them played out unthinkingly online – has been issued from a few in the Labour caucus.

Mallard and the Dunedin South MP Clare Curran are the chief mischief makers. A missive from Curran last week seemed to subtly encourage readers to make some sort of a link between John Key and the 1991 US invasion of Iraq, on the grounds that a PR company hired by Tourism NZ to secure a spot for Key on the Letterman show was the same firm that had been criticised for its role “as mastermind for the Kuwaiti campaign”. Good grief.

It continues to astonish me that Trevor Mallard still engages in my asymmetrical war he can’t win. Labour seem to only be engaging with me. You’d think I was the PM not John Key. Still it means only one thing if they continue to engage me. I’m winning and they look inept.

Further symptoms of last week’s malaise were in the pique of Carmel Sepuloni at being ticked off for bad parliamentary behaviour by Speaker Lockwood Smith and in the desperate attempts to strike back at ACT MP Heather Roy when its filibustering of her bill was itself busted. Stuart Nash put the silly cherry on the top by tweeting: “Key is such a smug prick”.

A favourite critique of Curran’s, also used by Mallard in his post this morning, is that the media is in love with Key and ignores all of the public dissent against him and his Government. Labour (and, going by some of the comments on this blog, some others) think we in the press are enthralled by Key. They say the media happily covers Key’s daggy photo-ops and ignores the real people.

Well, fair enough, if that’s the way they feel. I’m not silly enough to engage in a battle over the whys and wherefores of political media coverage.

But what, I think, this persistent (if informal) line of attack from Labour shows is that politically, it is focused on the wrong things.

It suggests Labour believes that if its clever policy is not providing a bounce in the polls, it must just be because the party is not getting a fair crack from the media.

There may or may not be some truth to that, but either way, instead of whingeing incessantly about it and sending out barely veiled attacks on journalists, why not try something else to turn it around?

The reality that Labour seems unable to grasp is that it’s tough being in opposition. It has to beat the Government, not win by default.

Which they won’t. Labour are out of ideas, out of puff, and set for a big loss. Kind of like Trevor’s current cycling prowess.



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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.