Lessons from the US that Labour still hasn’t learned

Throughout 2014 we heard how Labour’s turn out machine had contacted 5 times more voters than it had in 2011, as if tactics trumped strategy and message and leadership.

Labour’s strategy was flawed, its message was awful and its leadership an absolute joke.

Its not just Labour that believed this. The seppo left wingers have the same problem.

3. Even the best turnout machine needs a message.

Democratic operatives earned considerable praise for their turnout operation in 2012, but again the party suffered a midterm thrashing in large part because young and minority voters again stayed home.

“You can’t win on turnout when you have already lost on message,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger. Referring to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s “Bannock Street Project” turnout operation, he added, “Tactics are important, but if the voters are against you, it doesn’t matter what cool street name you give your turnout project, it’s not going to overcome anger among independents and apathy among your base.”

The funny thing is that Labour brought in a so-called guru, David Talbot, who had worked and developed just these sorts of programs for turning out the vote. The media even lauded him up as the expert…strangely we haven’t boo from him since.

Same goes for Rob Salmond, who was busily calling media polls liars, that he knew that Labour as polling in the mid-thirties because he had seen the data….again strangely silent since the election.

In order to get on the same paddock as National they need strategists and polling experts who don’t stuff up in such spectacular fashion. Both of them were tits, they should be told to STFU, and run out of town on a rail.  

For Labour to compete properly against National they need a leader who appeals to the people of New Zealand.

They need a message that resonates with middle New Zealand.

And they need a strategy that shows the public of New Zealand that they are fit to run our country.

Looking at Andrew Little it is hard to see him passing the first test.

He looks like a dork and the media portray him as one. This photo will drive his people to distraction.


Will Labour come up with a message that resonates with middle New Zealand?

It will depend on whether anyone is willing to listen to Andrew Little to begin with.

Then they will have to get rid of all the negative messages like the man ban, nanny statism and employers being parasites.

Labour haven’t had a strategy simple enough for anyone to see in nearly a decade so they might strike out on that as well.


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  • shykiwibloke

    The left secretly fear the missing million really dont care.

  • Aucky

    That photo is going to haunt Angry Andy for the rest of his political life………….the Nats will ensure that it does. I can see some great Tui billboards coming up.

    • PhantomsDoc

      Like this???

      • T. Akston

        No, like this …

  • kiwibattler

    Cutting off the head of the Labour beast every year and so and replacing it with another doesn’t fix the rotting corpse it is attached to………..

  • rua kenana

    These points you make are an excellent summary.
    “Labour … needs a leader who appeals to the people of New Zealand.”
    “Labour needs a message that resonates with middle New Zealand.”
    “Labour needs a strategy that shows the public of New Zealand that they are fit to run our country.”
    You could have added they also needed someone to pin these on Matt McCarten’s wall and shove his nose in them.

    • Michael_l_c

      RK, as we know the labour party isn’t interested. The special interest groups are so self serving they will stop changes that don’t suit their agenda. Only a total restructure will suffice.

  • johnnyB

    The death knell for Andrew Little will be if the Polls don’t move and he utters those immortal words “its not a worry we still have …… months until the next election”. This is Labours standard response for the last 6 years.

  • Wheninrome

    It begs the question “Do we need labour”, maybe it is time for another more modern forward thinking party to join the fray of the 3 yearly battle for the seats of power.
    Maybe just maybe labour is past its use by date and should be allowed to die a natural death.
    Something would rise from the ashes and it would probably bear little resemblance to labour as it is now.
    A clean slate, nothing to do with the present labour party, new backroom etc., National would then be required to “rethink” as well and not rest on its laurels.

    • We need a capable opposition.

      • Wheninrome

        My point exactly, a new and vibrant opposition capable of holding the existing incumbent to account and force the rethink of some of their policies if they wish to go forward for further terms.
        Easy for an existing party to rest on their laurels and leave the status quo. They need to justify their keep.

  • MAWG

    Labour, for the past 6 years, have been busy pleasing the people in front of them. The trouble is, when you have 2 different people needing 2 different outcomes, trying to please both of them, pleases neither of them.

    The best example of this phenomenon was Cunliffe being sorry for being a man. A lesser reported example was Little posing the concept that all sex should be considered rape until proved otherwise.

  • mommadog

    If labour managed the first two points well – appealing leader and message the resonates – and have an ok strategy that showed they were fit to run the country I predict they would be in next election. While national seemed hard to beat it is now their third term and unless JK comes back from holiday with some fire in his belly to deal with errant National politicians it will go downhill from here. Labour would have to continue to be really bad to not have a show. As some voted National last election not as national lovers but as a better alternative to Labour, Greens, Mana and the KDC influence that could easily turn next election with a half way decent Labour and people voting labour not as labour lovers but as an alternative to National. Whatever happens it will be interesting to watch from the side-lines of WO and Freed.

  • andrewo

    More than the “message resonating” (What the hell does that mean anyway? Are we living in an echo chamber?), they need to base their message on facts rather than invented issues such as the ‘manufacturing crisis’ or ‘child poverty’. Then they need viable policies based on those facts. Policies that their opposition can’t tear apart.

    Labour failed on all those steps:

    Their factual basis was not true
    Their message was BS
    Their polices didn’t stand even casual scrutiny

    That’s zero out of three.

  • dgrogan

    It’s all about Government’s ability to manage the economy, IMO. If the economy goes pear-shaped again before 2016, it won’t matter how badly Labour is lead, or their policies stink.

    Because that’s when you hear middle New Zealand saying, “Well Labour couldn’t be any worse. Let’s give them a go”. And we all know how dangerous that sort of talk can be.

  • Positan

    Labour’s insurmountable problem is that it has too many hands on its steering wheel, so many of those hands wanting to steer it in directions 180º opposed to other hands. Labour once could have been said to possess political direction, but over the years it’s become “home” to virtually every political disaffection on the planet and its stated credo is now pretty well meaningless.

    Its elemental difficulty is that, despite the ambitions of its past, it’s now led by wackos and fruitcakes and, as a natural consequence, fails to attract leaders and advisors who can not only think rationally but have the mettle to restore practicability (by chopping such inherent stupidities as “gender balance”). The sort of leaders needed not only possess the afore-stated abilities but are also possessed of the strength of personality to come down hard on its troublesome factions and either whip them into line or drive them out.

    Nothing hard – only straightforward, easy, elemental work that the right sort of leadership could effect.