David Clark has posted a major diss of John Key at Red Alert:
He details a number of ‘let downs’, most are valid points albeit mostly overblown a bit. Second term governments usually find the going tougher, and National have been doing tough far more than they should have allowed.
Clark’s summary gets interesting. First on Key:
Key will be looking forward to throwing in the towel. Richard Worth, Pansy Wong and Phil Heatly all had to step down last term, but this term the casualties are mounting faster. He’s already said he’ll resign if National are thrown out of Government. Pressure may mount for him to stand aside sooner.
Labour have targeted Key’s credibility, thinking that a demolition job is the best way for Labour to get back into power.
Key recently emphatically stated he woukld remain as PM to contest the next election.
And the alternative?
So how about the issues that really matter? Labour has clear positions on education, jobs, procurement, monetary policy to support exporters, pro-growth tax reform, and savings.
It’s nowhere near as clear as Labour are trying to portray. For example with jobs – all opposition parties say they will increase jobs. The reality of government, especially during difficult times, means job growth is very difficult. The Helen Clark government did grow public sector jobs substantially but the resulting costs have become a burden.
Labour have suggested they might do more to retain jobs in coal mining, at Tiwai and in Kiwirail, but these are all struggling sectors, and the wisdom of propping up jobs that aren’t viable in the current climate is easily disputed.
The Key-Government is rapidly earning a reputation as a party distracted and not prepared to take the big decisions that a Shearer-led Labour Government would.
The Key have had plenty of problems for sure, but I think they are still seen as safer managers of the economy than Labour would have been.
It’s no wonder the polling suggests voters are turning off Key faster than ever.
“Faster than ever” is an overstatement. Polls still show support for dropping for National but still ranging from 41.5% to 48.8%, which is still substantially higher than Labour still struggling to rise out of the low thirties. This should close up as the second term stumbles on for National, but there is still a wide gap.
No one is seriously considering a certain loss for National in 2014, nor an easy win for Labour.
Talk of Opposition aspirations is now almost always of Labour-Greens. It’s not long ago that Labour on it’s own called the shots in Government under Helen Clark.
Labour have several major problems if their own.
A wariness of a Labour-Green-NZ Firstcoalition, especially if Russel Norman is given a Finance role. There is also concern about what Winston Peters might demand.
And there would be alarm if Mana ended up being required to make up the numbers.
Labour lack of depth
There is a distinct lack of depth in the Labour caucus. Labour failed to rejuvenate last term and now has a small caucus with too many underperforming MPs, some widely seen as past their use-by date.
A fresh look to the Labour front bench may help a little (shearer has talked of a reshuffle), but there are limited options.
The Labour list for 2014 will be a crucial indicator. Their lacklustre list last election was considered to be significant factorn in their poor result.
While Labour like to focus on John Key as the key to knocking National they have leadership issues of their own. David Shearer is not seen as the refreshing change leader he was promoted as. He has quickly become an old tired Labour machine mouthpiece with a distinct lack of eloquence.
Even on the left Shearer is widely seen as not up to the job. See this ‘James Henderson’ post at The Standard:
Like many discussions on The Standard comments were heavily weighted against David Shearer. If he can’t win over staunch Labour activists and supporters he will struggle to get support from the important middle vote.
Key’s best ally
John Key has many problems to deal with, as Prime Minister and as leader of a misfiring party.
National are not suffering in the polls as much as might be expected due to Labour’s own obvious weaknesses and problems.
Key would have a much more difficult job regaining composure and cohesion and retaining power if he had a strong leader and a resurgent party opposiong him. He doesn’t.