Andrew Little is doing well, by doing nothing

I can’t find a single commentator that thinks Andrew Little has had a bad start.

Business leaders have praised new Labour Party leader Andrew Little for promising to work for small business owners and create more jobs.

Last week, Little said Labour would develop a long-term economic plan and work for people trying to get a small business off the ground, people on contract work and people who were their own bosses wanting to hire staff.

It would also establish a Future of Work Commission to develop policies for creating more jobs.

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly said Little’s speech would have been well received by business owners.

“It wasn’t a speech about politics, it was a speech about real people’s lives and how to make them better,” O’Reilly said.

Little’s focus on small business owners was a pleasant surprise, he said.

“Those small business people are the backbone of the employment community.’

About half of all workers are employed by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said.

If Little and Labour were serious about supporting SMEs it required policy changes and a shift in the way the party engaged with SMEs, he said.

For example, the past three Labour leaders wanted to scrap National’s 90-day “fire-at-will” probation rule if elected, despite SME owners considering that one of the best policies which supports their business, O’Reilly said.

Little had not yet commented on that policy, he said.

“He seems to be wanting to listen and he hasn’t come out with a whole bunch of stakes in the ground.”

Unlike his predecessor, who was throwing solutions around like a lolly scramble, and different ones depending on each audience, Little is actually going to last until the next election by delaying any need to take a position.  

But if small businesses think the hard union man is going to bend on issues such as the 90 day ‘fire at will’ legislation, I have a bridge I can sell them.

We’ve seen the new approach for the next two years:  “listen”, be non-threatening, and continue to take every chance that comes by to paint John Key and his ministers as arrogant.

Voters will be lulled into a sense of security by a Labour party that’s going to make all the right noises – lots and lots of talking, and not actually doing anything.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said Little’s speech was “gracious” and positively received.

“It was an easy speech not to be offended by and not to disagree with,” Barnett said.

Little said technological change would have a big impact on working people’s lives.

The “digital revolution” was as significant as the industrial revolution was 200 years ago and a greater reliance on technology and automation meant many jobs would become redundant, he said.

Chaired by Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson, the commission would hold public seminars and workshops around New Zealand, Little said.

Non threatening messages, seminars and workshops.

Little is indeed what the Labour Party needs right now.  But let’s not compare his performance to Cunliffe as the gold standard.  Based on that, most people with two strategic brain cells following good advice would be able to do better.

The really amusing thing is that the media have operated in such a vacuum of opposition competence for so long, they actually think Andrew Little is doing ‘really well’.

Not making deeply embarrassing mistakes on a daily basis like David Cunliffe may appear like an improvement, but it won’t be enough come election time.


– John Anthony, The Dominion Post

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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.