Labour’s missing million will remain missing, muses Bryce Edwards

Labour’s Campaign for Change has gone horribly wrong. As with the other scandal of the week, it’s a saga that appears to involve political deception, incompetence, and hypocrisy. But it also goes to prove just how fraught it is to try to mobilise the “missing million”.

Labour’s foreign youth internship scheme was meant to help foster a “youthquake”, or at least somehow mobilise a good part of the so-called “missing million” non-voters.

It was a smart objective – any success in such an endeavour could make a huge difference in getting Labour into government in three months’ time. But one of the many lessons from the debacle that sprung up yesterday is to reinforce the difficulty of that project.

Alienated and youthful non-voters aren’t simply going to clamour aboard the Labour Party train just because 100 foreign students have come into the country to campaign. And given the apparent inadequate resourcing of this project – as well as a fair dose of deception – it was probably inevitably doomed.

When even Bryce Edwards sheets the Campaign for Change home as Labour’s, there really isn’t any point in anyone still trying to spin it any other way.

All of this leaves Labour out of pocket, and with a severe shortage of ground troops ahead of the election.

All of this bad press is particularly harmful to Labour because it makes the party look hypocritical. And in particular, the message it sends to the public appears to be strongly at variance with some of the party’s core values and campaign policies.

Toby Manhire says: “It’s all made much worse by the way it so gruesomely dovetails with Labour’s recent chest thumping rhetoric on immigration, student visas, and shonky educational opportunities, not to mention the commitment to workers’ rights embedded in the party’s founding ideals, its philosophical DNA, that sort of thing”

It’s in fact the most public exposure of the true nature of the New Zealand Labour party… as the Nasty Party.

Nothing much changes.  Just the levels of incompetence varies.


– Bryce Edwards, NZ Herald

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