Why Gotcha Politics Matters

Oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. An old truism and one that is only partially true. Governments lose them, but they lose them when they are considered incompetent and unethical, and an oppositions job is to make them look incompetent an unethical.

David Shearer’s silly statements on gotcha politics show how naïve he is. He has hamstrung himself, removing the option of making National look unethical and incompetent. Worse, if he now engages in gotcha politics he stands accused of hypocrisy.

This naivety is really on show this week when National lost a cabinet minister. They look unethical and incompetent, and that will win Shearer a lot more votes than any policy announcement or stirring speech or rabbiting on about Finland.

The inept Phil Goff regime was not great at gotcha politics, though they did get Ministers Worth & Wong, and nearly got Heatley. They missed massive opportunities to put the heat on National when a senior party figure had domestic violence allegations covered up.

Since then they have missed a simple play to make John Key look bad over information in the public domain. A company associated with a senior party figure has run into trouble with the United States over pollution in their waters, and of running slave labour ships. All this is in the public domain, and a competent opposition would start digging, start asking questions and see where it all unravels. On top of that this senior party figure maintains close personal ties with Michelle Boag.

None of these issues are dead, and a good opposition would go after them hard to make the PM look unethical. Then he can be attacked for not living up to his promises and putting his cronies ahead of his principles.

Unfortunately David Shearer doesn’t have the bottle and the rest of the Labour party are inept and will botch any effort to make such an attempt at gotcha politics.

Of course the PM isn’t a stupid person, neither are some of his advisors…this is wet and messy work and so some people are going to need to be called into the formerly smoke filled rooms and have a few come to Jesus meetings. Some of those meetings are probably occurring right now.

There is going to be more fall out from the whole Nick Smith debacle, it is just a matter of who gets busy first on who wins the spin battle.

Gotcha politics matter and it is so much fun to watch as well.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Blokeintakapuna

    Yep – and probably why Labour don’t /can’t attempt to dig dirt – they end up with more egg on their faces than before they started e.g. Mike Williams trip to Oz to dig dirt on JK. Ghost evidence anyone…

    Labour are blindingly incompetent probably because they’re blinded by failed ideologoes belonging to the previous Century – just look at their bully boy union comrades and their failed attempts at having the tail wag the dog down at the Port.

    Labour also know that the person who flings the dirt often ends up with more dirt on their hands than their intended target… but at least they might be finally extracting digit attempting to do something…

  • Auto_immune

    I get the feeling that when they were deciding how to proceed with Shearer’s image – they wanted people to think of him as a “nice guy” – hence no gotcha politics.  Now this is all very well for the Labour leader image, but it ultimately makes him look like a crap leader of the opposition.

    • jay cee

      worked for john key

  • Anonymouscoward

    The sound of distant guns getting closer and closer should have been blindingly obvious to the fishing industry over foreign chartered fishing vessels.

    Yet their response was to make no changes and deny anything was wrong.

    The fact that a top leader in the fishing industry is also a top leader of a political party and was oblivious to the winds of change should be of concern to the political party.

  • Trouble is that’s one of the things I think we’ve
    been missing recently – really clever make you want to stand up and cheer
    “Gotcha’s”. I’ve started to wonder if the grey men have gone past just trying to
    dumbing down of the general populace and have now got them into parliament as

  • Peter Wilson

    Labour are wanting Shearer to mirror Key’s rise to power. They haven’t realised it was a different political climate – a discredited government and leader on the way out.

    Key and National still have a bit of life in them, and so victory will have to be taken, probably by way of gotcha politics. And WO is right, Shearer is backed into a corner, having to play the ball not the man.