Garner on Labour’s delusions of John Key’s demise

Duncan Garner examines (It’s word, I didn’t intend it to mean he worked hard on the issue) Labour’s hope that John Key is washed up.

John Key has finally fallen over. He’s at rock bottom.

It’s all over. He’s lost touch. He’s arrogant. The tide has turned. He’s toast.

I hear these things all the time. Oh, and one more. John Key is at his most unpopular/least popular. Only that last statement is true, of course.

Key was down just over 1 per cent, to 36.7 per cent, in Newshub’s poll this week.

Is it cause for concern and the alarmist headline that he’d “plunged to new depths”?

No. It’s true that the shine comes off after eight years and it has to a point with Key. The tread always comes off the tyres the longer you are in office.

The Media party, led by the increasingly left-wing Mediaworks team went all on on John Key’s slide, utterly ignoring the slide of Andrew Little.

But here’s the uncomfortable truth for Labour. And this is the bit causing all the consternation in their caucus – National still sits at 47 per cent in the polls.

It’s still true that under Key, National has a remarkable vice-like grip on voters according to the polls.

At 47 per cent, National is still polling the same now as it did when it first took office in 2008. It’s impossible to escape that, no matter what you think of him.

Absolutely, affordable housing is an issue. Yes, National’s been caught embarrassingly flat-footed on this issue. But home owners are still voting for National in their droves. Home-owners vote, renters don’t always.

A huge chunk of voters still believe Key and National and its pragmatic approach is the best option. It’s a remarkable result and so much of the credit must go to John Key.

So, if the headlines are right and John Key is at his ‘most unpopular’ … then why is Andrew Little doing so badly?

The Labour leader’s popularity sits at a woeful 8.9 per cent.

In this week’s poll he shed 25 per cent of his support. Because Little has had a poor and confused year. He is now more unpopular than David Shearer when he was rolled. He’s no more popular than David Cunliffe.

Little and his party chase every passing bus when he promised he wouldn’t. There doesn’t appear to be a decent strategy or coherent approach.

I’ve been saying this for a long, long time. Labour spent weeks marshalling the dark forces of the media to attack pre-budget on housing…and it was working until Little fronted.

Take the recent PR shambles when Labour invited journalists to visit a supposedly overcrowded South Auckland house. Reporters arrived at a property to be met not by Little but by the indignant occupant explaining that the tent was full of furniture and renovation materials, not huddling masses. Labour’s media team is a mess.

Little’s Budget speech on Thursday was strong enough, but yet again Winston Peters handed him a lesson in how to ram home your criticism.

Winston Peters is the presumptive and effective leader of the opposition. Andrew Little is clueless, being advised by morons. Take Matt McCarten, he is at least consistent. Give him any party, no matter the size and it will soon cease to exist. New Labour – gone, Alliance – gone, Mana party – gone, Labour party – going…going…


– Fairfax


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  • Wasapilot

    Garner says “At 47 per cent, National is still polling the same now as it did when it first took office in 2008. It’s impossible to escape that, no matter what you think of him”.

    Starts off with National, finishes off with him. Garner showing his dislike of John Key. Maybe garner is still smarting over John Key spanking garners mate in the GCSB interview.

    A great watch for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

    • Curly1952

      Brilliant – JK chewed him up and spat him out. I had forgotten what such a chump Campbell was/is!!

      • Boondecker

        Havent watched / listened to Campbell since before the 2011 election. I quite obviously haven’t missed a thing. He’s the sole reason I stopped watching TV3. I could even put up with Garner’s and Wright’s ridiculous obvious anti-National ‘reportage’, but pinko Campbell was far too much daily left-leaning content for me.

        • Jayar

          Quite agree! Campbell didn’t speak, he “intoned” the same old message. What a heartless person John Key was when people (with large families) are reduced to living in cars etc. Good riddance. These so-called “stars” of NZ television wouldn’t get a job overseas.

        • Rob

          Likewise I now don’t listen to RNZN Checkpoint. Full of lefty rubbish.

    • Dumrse

      Even better the second time. That must have been the biggest rat Campbell has had to swallow. It choked him at every turn.

  • Curly1952

    Bit like the All Blacks. Opposing players and coaches spent hours working out how to stop or get Richie McCaw and whilst they were doing that the rest of the AB’s were going about dismantling their team on the field. Labour, Greens & Winston spend so much time going after Key that the National party continue to flourish. What a pack of halfwits

  • rua kenana

    Key has been a good and popular prime minister, but he’s now close to or even past his use-by date.
    The comparison with Sir Robert Muldoon is very instructive.
    Muldoon romped into power in 1975 partly on the back of a powerful public groundswell against the excess immigration levels and consequent huge house price increases of the previous Kirk-Rowling Labour government. He was initially very successful and popular and his policies were described by then National party chairman George Chapman as producing ‘the Muldoon miracle’.

    Unfortunately Muldoon’s success went to his head, and he started threatening to regulate or legislate everything that wasn’t going his way. This attitude marked him down in history as socialist. It made him electorally very vulnerable and he was turfed out in 1984 by the next Labour leader to have an ounce of charisma, David Lange.

    The comparison of Key’s record with that of Tony Blalr in the UK is not quite as close, but similarly instructive. Both Muldoon and Blair have been vilified by history.

    If Labour in NZ would lay off their counterproductive policy of abusing Key and concentrate instead on getting a leader with a modicum of charisma, stop hoping to resurrect old-time unionist attitudes and accept what present day NZers really aspire to, then National may be in serious trouble in the not too distant future.

    • Gladwin

      But who is that charismatic person Rua? There’s no such person in sight!

      I disagree about Key. He and his team are about to come into surpluses after ridding the country of Labour’ spending excesses. The left media are trying to vilify Key but the voters won’t buy the attempted ambushes and left bias.

    • JC

      Bob Jones would not quite agree with you.. the 1974-78 Muldoon was a quite different beast to the Muldoon of later years. Initially he was passionate, approachable and even humorous but after a term or so he became a horror.

      For Key success and time has made him a bit more of a good ole boy, slightly goofy and sometimes more dogmatic but any faults are subsumed by the continuing incompetence of the Opposition.. any fall in his popularity is countered by the continued excellence of Bill English, greater depth seen in Paula Bennett and good performances from several other ministers.

      The National team won’t lose the next election but its government depts certainly could.. especially MPI.


      • Uncle Bully

        Over the fishing bycatch reporting issues you mean? Or something else?

      • rua kenana

        There’s no disagreement between me and Bob Jones over Muldoon.
        What are you saying?

  • localnews

    And it has never occurred to Duncan and his mates that there are 47% of the electorate that they never talk to.

  • Dumrse

    ” But home owners are still voting for National in their droves.” Reason being, all of the housing noise is being made by less than 3% of the AKL population and 100% of the MSM. The rest of us don’t give a fat rats bum, IMHO,that is.

  • Brad

    Has anyone else noticed that Duncan Garner seems to be quoting Whale Oil increasingly often?

  • Nermal

    What Labour doesn’t understand is that John Key’s popularity is probably dropping because a percentage of us want him to move to the right, ie away from Labour, not towards it. So every percentage point he drops is more bad news for Angry Andy.