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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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.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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