In his weekly blog post Peter Dunne has criticised Labour for being too negative and having lost their soul.
Sadly, today’s Labour Party is but a shadow of its bold predecessors. There is no sense of future direction or purpose, and even in its rare positive moments, the Party’s best offerings seem to be a hankering for yesteryear.
The boldness in politics is now coming from the National Party – formed primarily to oppose the first Labour government – with no more striking example than its Budget decision this year to lift basic benefit payments, the first such upward adjustment in over 40 years(including the 3rd to 5th Labour Governments). Labour, the traditional friend of the beneficiary, was left gasping in its wake.
Labour’s challenge today is to recover its soul and its place. In this post market age, there is a still a role for a radical reforming party of the left, if it is prepared to be bold.
There is the opportunity to pull together the threads of the Labour heroes and promote a new commitment based around strengthening New Zealand’s national identity through constitutional and social reform, and encouraging diversity.
There is still a place for a progressive party promising a new, more co-operative economic approach in today’s globally digitally and free trade connected world. And there is still a place for a progressive party to promote new, innovative approaches to education and social services.
But rather than grasp these opportunities, Labour has become predeterminedly negative. While it supports a new New Zealand flag, it opposes the current referendum process, essentially because it is a National Prime Minister’s idea.
Its approach to economic policy is stalled because it cannot make up its mind on the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Its stigmatising of people with Chinese sounding names buying property in Auckland has robbed it of any credibility in the diversity stakes, and its capacity to champion meaningful education reform is zero while it remains the plaything of the PPTA.
Andrew Little responded – Stuff reports Little says Labour’s job is to ‘contest and challenge’ the Government:
Little rubbished Dunne’s comments saying in Opposition there was a job to be done and that is to “contest and challenge what the Government of the day is doing”.
“This is from a man who left the Labour Party and is now a party of one,” he said from Sydney where he is visiting New Zealand-born detainees at Villawood Detention Centre.
“You’ve got a job also to come up with the alternative ideas but you’ve got situations like this, a bunch of Kiwis who are looking for a voice, and somebody’s got to step in,” Little said.
And Dunne responded to that on Twitter:
Poor old angry Andy, just proves my point
And Stuff have run an online poll (take with a grain of salt):
Has Labour lost it’s way?
- Yes, it’s too negative 26%
- Yes, It’s not innovative or bold enough 12%
- Yes, both of the above 41%
- No, it’s fine 21%