Labour’s problem

NZ Herald

Matt McCarten identifies Labour’s problem as they battle against a surging Green party. Watching the leftwing crow over just a single poll is hilarious. It should however serve as a wake up call to indolents National members who think that steady as she goes is all they need to do.

Labour’s problem is it is too cautious and risk averse because it isn’t sure what it stands for. The Ports of Auckland dispute is an example. The Green and Mana parties from the start attacked the tactics of the port against its workers and strongly supported the wharfies’ fight for decent pay and secure jobs. Even when it seemed unpopular, the Greens held firm on principle.

With the honourable exception of MPs Darien Fenton and Phil Twyford, Labour was all over the place. Labour needs desperately to reconnect to its working-class constituency.

Shearer, I assume, was trying to protect its party’s mayor Len Brown, but saying Labour was essentially neutral was counterproductive.

When the wharfies this week jubilantly marched through the waterfront gates returning to work, they rightly reserved their contempt for the mayor. But those workers and other New Zealand workers won’t forget Labour’s lacklustre support, either.

Labour shouldn’t take its working-class support for granted. Although the Green Party has always presented itself as outside the left-right prism, it’s not naive when it comes to understanding its constituency or its potential constituency.

Therefore the Green Party caucus appointment of Laila Harre to head its presence in Auckland comes at a critical political moment. Harre is a popular former Alliance cabinet minister and a formidable campaigner.

The odds of a change of government at the next election are high. After this week’s polls, Labour’s current wooden performance and the appointment of Harre, the idea of a Green-led government isn’t so difficult to consider.

After all, Labour is barely 30 per cent and the Greens are currently 17.

If Labour doesn’t lift its game, it may have to get used to the novel idea of its leader being “co-prime minister” with a Maori woman or an Aussie redhead.


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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