Barry Soper is watching the world crumble. Not just at home and at work, but also his beloved Labour Party.
Two years ago Labour’s Grant Robertson declared that he couldn’t stand by and see the party polling at 24 percent and not have a crack at the leadership.
Today his feet must be itching.
The latest Roy Morgan opinion poll’s put Labour’s popularity at just 23 percent, enough to give its leader of two years Andrew Little a nervous tic, looking over his shoulder at Robertson, the man who lost the laborious leadership battle to him by just one percent, thanks in large part to the trade unions’ support for the eventual winner.
This is actually the point that a lot of people miss. The current Labour party isn’t a free market party in the sense that it has a “subsidised” leader and its policies aren’t rolling up from its heart but are forced upon the party by the union branch.
The Labour party is little more than the parliamentary arm of the unions. No wonder it isn’t the same party as it used to be. And no wonder it is losing support.
I’d be first in line to blame Andrew Little, but he’s but a poorly chosen numpty puppet nominally in charge of a bunch of political idiots hanging on for dear life.
But this Labour Party is very firmly Little’s and he, more than anyone else, is responsible for where it’s sitting at the moment.
Dissent isn’t tolerated, think of how the Trans Pacific Partnership supporters were muzzled, even though it was Labour’s idea in the first place.
Think of how the party was brought into line over the flag debate, even though a change of the ensign has been Labour policy for decades. And think of his intemperate outburst after his recent ill advised entry into local body politics, labelling Labour loyalist and Wellington mayoral hopeful Nick Leggett a right winger, when in reality ridiculous Labour rules ostracised him after the party instead backed the winner Justin Lester.
Bazza’s got it wrong by saying Little is the one with the power and therefore responsible. The Labour party is now anti Free Trade. It is even more anti-business than it used to be. It is all about giving money away to non-productive voters such as students. It has become anti-immigration, especially if it comes from China.
You compare that with one of Labour’s most successful periods under Helen Clark, and the Labour Party is unrecognisable.
Is this Little’s fault? This change didn’t start under Little. David Cunliffe was the conduit for the union take-over as they elbowed David Shearer out of the way for being … a right winger.
And the party has spiralled down ever since.
New Zealand Labour is dead. Unless it can regain control from the unions, it will never be the major party in an election again. And it may even languish below thirty percent support as militant union tactics and hard left politics isn’t where the New Zealand voters are at.
There is nothing wrong with being a larger minor party. NZ First does it well, and in its own way, so do the Greens. Labour just needs to accept it is no longer a “broad church”, and the support reflects this.
– Barry Soper, Newstalk ZB