Being a party leader ain’t no picnic


Being a political leader vying to become the Prime Minister, or trying to retain the job, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

For starters you live in a goldfish bowl with your enemies always trying to find a crack, hoping to drain it and leave you lying belly up and gulping for air. The incumbent does have the upper hand, no matter what you say, he or she can gazump you with the stroke of a pen.

Think back to 2005 when Don Brash was giving Helen Clark a real run for her money. Labour’s polling was telling it the election was going to be a close run thing, until Clark, out of the blue, managed to persuade her tight fisted Finance Minister Michael Cullen to loosen his grip on the surpluses and make student loans interest free. Brash was left gulping.

It’s all about the money honey.  

So this time Labour’s beating the housing drum, playing to its constituents who don’t and will probably never own a home, by getting at the fat cats that do. To an extent it’s a politics of envy. Only trouble is to play that game you’ve got to be on firm ground and Andrew Little’s example actually made him the envy of those struggling to get on to the home ownership ladder.

It was right up there with Brash walking the plank during his campaign. For his example of how unaffordable housing has become, he harked back to his “starter” home on a Wellington hillside. That home under Labour rose much more, 81 percent, than it has under National, at 48 percent. Why this wasn’t checked out before he used it as an example is beyond comprehension because his argument is now as deep as a puddle. The point that it illustrates is that housing affordability isn’t a new phenomenon.

Politics of envy.  It’s all that Labour has got left.


– Barry Soper, NZ Herald

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