Local issues the focus for Labour in Northland?

The Labour party mouthpiece blog The Standard has Mike Smith, a former general secretary of the party and the man who failed to declare the pledge card spending as a writer.

He says that Labour needs to focus on local issues in the Northland by-election and if they mimic Labor in Queensland and focus on those local issues then they might steal a seat off National.

The stakes in Northland are potentially very high. If National were to lose, they lose their majority in Parliament. So they will fight hard and they will want it over soon. And they will want it to be fought on national issues. That is obvious.

But it is a by-election, and the lesson of successful by-elections is that they are fought on local issues, of which there are plenty in Northland that are not so favourable for the government. The same is true of successful electorate campaigns against the odds. Taranaki-King Country in 1998 was a good example where trying to fight a by-election as a proxy for a national election was not good for Labour.

Obviously a lot of ducks would have to line up for there to be such a surprise. But I do not think it is a good thing to start by predicting failure. The first place you lose an election is in your head. I’ve known a lot of such pundits over the years – they have the satisfaction of 100% certainty that they will be proved right.    

I think it is much better to start by asking what we would need to do to give ourselves a chance of winning.

One strong candidate, total focus on local issues, and all-out effort on the doorstep. Worth a go in my view – nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain if we begin to shift to community-based campaigning as in Australia.

I can’t wait for their candidate to start telling Northland voters that Labour opposes the upgrade to State Highway One, that they disparagingly call the “Holiday Highway”.

The single biggest factor holding back development in the Far North is the lack of proper infrastructure. The roading especially is appalling.

We will know Labour are serious about Northland when they ditch their opposition the upgrading of State Highway One.

Meanwhile the mouth breathers at The Standard confuse Northland electorate with Te Tai Tokerau.

The issues facing Maori in Northland are not the same issues facing general roll voters…but hey let Labour conflate them.


– The Standard

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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.