Cunliffe and the Labour blokes

Different columns on Labour, one from Rachel Smalley claiming David Cunliffe is trying to attract the female vote, and another by Duncan Garner on Labour blokes disregarding party interests and trying to shore up their electorate chances.

Rachel Smalley: Cunliffe courting the female vote

The most recent policy announcements suggest to me that David Cunliffe is not cutting it with women. You’ll remember Helen Clark lost the support of women in her final term, and I don’t think Labour has ever claimed it back. During his leadership challenge, remember that Cunliffe wasn’t popular with women in his own party. I suspect that’s resonating in the wider public too.

According to polls this year both Labour and Cunliffe have lost support from female voters.

So he’s going after the female vote. Women are more likely to bounce between parties. Men tend to vote for what’s right for their own wallets, but women are more likely to consider issues beyond personal wealth and economics.

A particular problem Cunliffe has is that women are more adept at reading body language and don’t like it when it differs from verbal language.

Even his “sorry I’m a man” speech, which was obviously targeting women, had suggestions of a lack of authenticity.

Meanwhile Duncan Garner posts Three Labour MPs say ‘stuff the party – I want to win my seat!’

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

He has left Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene out.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Davis is a staunch promoter of Northland interests and has put this before the party.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That has been a bizarre sideshow. Cunliffe initially responded “the moa is not a goer” but Mallard has kept on going on about his pet project of the future.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

Tirikatene also voted with the Government on the tree bill.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

O’Connor, Tirikatene and Mallard are relying totally on holding their current electorates in order to stay in Parliament, they don’t feature on the Labour list.

Davis is in a doubtful list position and to put a bob each way on his chances he needs to keenly contest Hone Harawira to try and win Te Tai Tokerau off him.

While Cunliffe is struggling to woo the women voters some of the strongest male presence in Labour is going their own way, disregarding the wider party interests, and as Garner says, putting self preservation first. This suggests they don’t hold much hope of the party doing well.

Cunliffe is struggling to appeal to women and failing to appeal to his own caucus for unity.

It’s hard to see how this can work out well for Labour.

Unless Kim Dotcom sinks National, giving Labour  a shot at forming a Government despite their shambles.

 

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