John Armstrong on Labour: A Political cot case

John Armstrong thinks Labour has become a political cot case:

The most that can be said this far out from Election Day is that this year’s edition makes it more unlikely that National will lose office.

In Labour’s case, that document swiftly turned out to be yet another hurdle tripping up the hapless party.

To put it bluntly, the major Opposition party is in such a parlous condition that the Budget may turn out to be an irrelevance.

Labour is fast becoming a political cot-case. Labour’s priority at this election may well be ensuring the party emerges from the coming scrap still the major Opposition party.

It will be a struggle. The polls haven’t moved at all. Andrew Little is so unlikeable that even having Jacinda Ardern as deputy hasn’t helped.

The Budget has simply served as another stage for a yet another episode of Labour’s continuing Comedy of Errors.

The decision made by the Greens and New Zealand First to vote in favour of the legislation enacting the Budget’s centrepiece $2 billion package of tax cuts, increases in Working for Families entitlements and major boosts in the accommodation supplement left Labour in not so splendid isolation.

It was all somewhat bizarre. Labour’s intended allies pulled the rug from under Labour’s criticism of a policy package which would slot comfortably into Labour’s manifesto.

Joyce’s Budget has been described as “Labour-lite”. It would be more aptly termed as “Labour Extra Strong Special Brew”.

And only the retards that make up Labour would vote against something that if passed by Helen Clark they’d be embracing.

If Labour rejected something that Helen Clark passed, John Key may have had to find more insults other than “communism by stealth”.

It is even harder, however, to campaign on reinstating current tax thresholds. Throw Andrew Little’s assurance made back in March that Labour will not raise taxes into the mix and you have a recipe for utter confusion.

To put it simply, Joyce has boxed Labour into a corner. Proof of Labour’s muddle caused by the drastic narrowing of that party’s revenue-raising options was the declining of an invitation to appear on Newshub’s Saturday morning politics programme The Nation. When was the last time any Opposition party opted not to front on television following a Budget.

The answer is never.

They are being petulant and labeling journalists as hostile to them. As far as I know the only person that Lisa Owen is openly hostile to is me.

Labour came to its senses in time for Grant Robertson, the party’s finance spokesman, to appear on TVNZ’s Q&A programme on Sunday.

Robertson professed to be unconcerned by the contrasting responses of his party and the Greens to the key contents of the Budget.

In fermenting doubts about the strength and sustainability of the memorandum of understanding between Labour and the Greens on a matter as fundamental as tax policy, the divergence of opinion was a free gift to National in its attempts to convince voters that a centre-left coalition government would be inherently unstable.

Labour has since tried to recover lost ground by finding anomalies in the entitlements set out in Joyce’s revision of Working for Families.

Robertson was caught pants down by the budget and the only lines he and his dopey leader could utter is that they haven’t done their sums yet. Well, a government in waiting, they aren’t.

Make no mistake. There will be something to make a big splash. National will have no qualms about pinching something which resides far more comfortably on Labour’s side of the political spectrum as long as it can be made to work to the ruling party’s advantage.

National’s ideological plagiarism increasingly knows no bounds. And for one very straightforward reason.

Joyce doubles as National’s election campaign manager. Should National lose office in September, neither English nor Joyce intend going to their graves wondering what else they could conceivably have done to avoid defeat.

And that is also why I won’t be voting for National. They’ve betrayed their supporters and their principles in pursuit of power for power’s sake. I don’t want Labour but National need a lesson in not taking voters for granted.



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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.