There is a widespread view among the party faithful that much as they appreciated the Clark Government putting an end to Rogernomics they also felt that it had not reninvented democratic socialism for the age that we live in.
Cullen believes that Robertson’s Commission goes a long way towards answering that question.
However they are clearly not there yet.
Their social policies are still ad hoc and though they like to link them together under the banner of the “Kiwi Dream” they have not been subjected to the intellectual rigour that Robertsons work policies have..
The ultimate question, of course, is can they win next year.
Andrew Little says they can; but it was perhaps a bit premature to use the “it’s time” slogan which a video played to the conference did.
They have certainly cemented their relationship with the Greens and the presence of the Green leadership on Friday night was a successful move.
Beyond the friction with the Maori caucus, there seems to be little of the bitter dissent that has marked previous conferences though the party hierarchy made sure all of the remit sessions were behind closed doors to avoid any of that dissent (if there was any) percolating out into the public.
But then National deal with that problem by simply sanitising their conference remits so that there is no room for dissent.
In the workship[SIC] attended by POLITIK, there was a discussion about the party’s history and the question was raised as to where the party was now compared to other election cycles.
It was suggested that in fact it was 1969 with a three-term National Government running out of ideas and beginning to look tired but with Labour not quite ready to take over.
There was surprisingly little dissent with that proposition.
Labour’s gamble is that the electorate will tire of John Key and will seek a serious answer to the country’s problems which with Robertson’s Commission and Little’s demeanour they showed this weekend they are ready to provide.
The only question is whether that will be next year or in 2020.
With Robbo’s new tax and another xenophobic policy platform, it may not even be in 2020. Also, Labour is going to need another cycle to eject more of it’s Pre-Clark “talent” that are hanging on for dear life.
When Little took the helm, I said he had a few weeks to cull the herd. He didn’t. And that’s why Labour is still looking at 2020 as its first genuine chance. Old policies, old politicians and a total deficit in sellable ideas.
– Richard Harman, Politik