Labour “despises the people who used to vote for it”


The biggest challenge the New Zealand Labour Party faces as it enters its second century of existence, according to Matthew Hooton, is it “basically despises the people who used to vote for it.”

Speaking with NBR Radio’s Andrew Patterson, Mr Hooton says he is thinking of “those big suburbs in West Auckland and West Harbour and South Auckland, parts of Christchurch that have traditionally been Labour and have become National.”

The nub of the problem, he believes, is “the Labour Party is fixated on its past, and it seems to think that pleasing its extreme left-wing activist base and the union bosses in Wellington, with tales of nostalgia about Michael Joseph Savage and what was achieved in the 1930s, is the path forward for Labour.

“Well, it’s not going to get anywhere while it worries about what those nutter people in its membership think, what the nutters on Twitter think, what the union bosses think.”

Instead, Mr Hooton says, it should be catering to the aspirations of what left- wing columnist Chris Trotter describes as “Waitakere man” – the voter who’s a chippie or a courier van driver, lives in West Auckland, has their own business, is GST registered, benefits from house price inflation, and so on.

“They’re not interested in Israel, or transgender issues or joining a union or any of those things,” he says, despite what party activists may think.

“Until they have some respect for those voters, they’re going nowhere,” Mr Hooton says.

One thing, and only one thing, that Andrew Little can take credit for is that the divisions within the Labour party are no longer airing their laundry in the media. This isn’t, however, being mistaken for a unified party. In fact, as soon as there is a bit of stress, the Tipline starts to spin at high speed as factions dump dirt again.

The major reason that nobody is causing much trouble is because the wise heads know 2017 is a dead duck. Little has been tagged to go down with the ship, again. At that time some of the older wood will disappear as well. Labour are so inward-facing that they actually have no idea what their public identity is, or should be.

One hundred years on, Labour will never again know the popularity that it enjoyed in the past. The party is simply no longer the same as the one that truly cared for working people.


– Nick Grant, NBR



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  • Minnie Mouse

    Exactly. What a brilliant piece of rhetoric.

  • Labour also despises the type of person who would be the only type able to help fix their dilapidated jalopy political vehicle – Prebble… Sir Bob Jones… Farage…Thatcher…
    Almost as much as they hate the thought process “Individual Personal Responsibility”

  • Macca

    I’m that middle class Kiwi. Run my own one man business, make a reasonable living, have a house the bank owns about 25% of which is the product of my life’s graft. Been married (fortunately no scone grabbers), got the tee shirt, haven’t met the right one since and am in no hurry to be reloading anytime soon. I would happily employ workers if I could find someone reliable and capable but Labour put the screws on that with their Employment Contracts Act.

    The problem for Labour is that I doubt they could be any further away with their policies and actions of getting a vote out of me if the tried. I have some mates who still vote for them to spite me but even they drop their jaw when given a few home truths and reality checks.

  • cows4me

    She Beast did the greatest damage to the Labour Party in New Zealand and it’s her legacy that still haunts them today. She was a lover of political correctness and Marxism and as such pulled the party into areas that appealed to fringe groups or special interests. While much of this social engineering nonsense got a few far left numbskulls all wet the common man on the street couldn’t give a rat’s arse about said issues. She Beasts legacy is a party still stacked with fringe interest members and advised by academic nutjobs far removed from what NZ really is.

  • MrsAverage

    I often think we are the kind of people that Labour should be wooing – a family with young kids and limited resources, who are doing “ok”. We’re not unique. However. I’m not going to vote for a party who wants to hand out free-everything to people who haven’t worked for it (like us), who run down the “fat cat” businesspeople who (newsflash) employ us and pay us for our work, or a party that wants to devalue our house which is our only asset at this time. National doesn’t exactly sing to us either anymore, but as I said, we’re doing ok, it could be worse.. much much worse, with a different government.

    • Wayne Peter McIndoe

      Agreed, it is a caseof voting for the “devil you know rather than the devil you don’t know”

  • contractor

    The hard left of Labour certainly are stuck in a time warp longing for days that economically can never return. Globalisation and market liberalisation has been growing since the middle ages when the Portugese undermined Middle Eastern traders by shipping spices from the Far East, dramatically under cutting inflated pricing set by Arabic merchants.
    Old school manufacturing with high wages simply is now impossible economically in any Western country, yet the hard left snti-neoliberalists cannot accept that.

  • localnews

    That labour are representing such a small and unusual fragment of society is not what I find odd.
    What I find incredible is that national are trying to represent the same group. ( who are never ever going to vote for them!)