The Nation: Little and Labour repeating failed strategies

On The Nation yesterday (replayed today Sunday on TV3 at 10 am) Labour leader Andrew Little was interviewed by Lisa Owen.It was followed by a panel discussion.

Lisa Owen wraps up the political week with former Green candidate Marama Davidson, Victoria University political scientist Jon Johansson & rightb wing commentator and PR consultant Matthew Hooton.


Here are comments on the interview from the discussion.

Owen: We heard from Andrew little there, and is he looking like a Prime Minister in waiting?

Hooton: I think he’s really struggling on the transition from being a union leader to being a Parliamentary leader and a potential Prime Minister. On every issue he addressed he ended up waffling, on every single topic that came up except possibly on the Health and Safety issue where he probably was a bit stronger because it’s his background.

But whether it was the TPP, mining, or even whether Winston Peters might be Prime Minister in a Labour led Government, he waffled.

Johansson: Well I mean one, he’s experiencing what is being experienced on both sides of politics now, which is the real problem post MMP from a leadership perspective is being the Opposition leader.

And where I was very interested in his comments today was they have not moved on from this sitting back passive sitting back role in terms of promoting relationships with other parties.

Now given the numbers Labour simply cannot form a Government without coalition partners, and we all understand that, and I think the lesson I most learnt from the last three years up to 2014 is it takes three years, a full three years of effort, to get a message through to the New Zealand electorate that I am a credible alternative and this is what it’s going to look like, this is who I’m going to share power with, and these are some broad strokes of what we’re going to do.

None of that today. They’re not interested in that. And so for me if they replayed that ad, National’s successful ad with the rowing boat, what has changed?  Absolutely nothing.


Except that Winston Peters now sees himself sitting on in the middle of the boat with a megaphone too.

Owen: Well the thing is if you look at that speech he gave recently you could have thought that on Green policy, you would have thought if you didn’t know it was him you could have thought it was Metiria Turei delivering that speech. So in some ways are they moving towards the Greens, and then in other ways policy wise moving towards Winston Peters?

Davidson: There is policy compatibility with the Greens and Labour and one of the substance things, he had a hard interview for sure Andrew Little, but one of the substance points I picked out is that he is maintaining working hard with good relationships across the Opposition party, Labour and Greens continue to work well together

And in terms of coalition partners just as Jon was highlighting most New Zealanders actually choose Greens ahead of other parties to be as their most preferred coalition partner.

Davidson usually seems more intent on promoting the Greens rather than analysing the issue under discussion. And the Greens virtually rule out considering a coalition with National.

Owen: If that’s the case though what Jon’s saying though is he’s not being up front and saying it out loud is he.

Johansson: All I think is why would any voter who is tired of John Key and his Goverment, what is the alternative which they are turning to? It is not being presented to them. They don’t know actually what the next would look like if they want to move away from a National led Government.

Hooton: It was a terrible interview by Andrew Little and i don’t think it was an unreasonable interview, he was asked about the major policy issues of the day and he had no answers on any of them. So, you know, he’s just simply not there yet. Your three year rule (to Johansson) has got two years to go.

Owen: Is it too soon though to be lining yourself up with…

Johansson: No. Because they should have demonstrated to themselves the failed strategy of the last three years shouldn’t be projected onto the next three years. They’re replicating a failed strategy.

That’s fairly damning from Johansson, but Little or someone within Labour needs to take urgent and serious note. Johansson is not Mike Hosking or Paul Henry or Matthew Hooton.

It looks like Labour are repeating past failed strategies. It looks like Little is repeating the mistakes of past leaders.

It looks like Labour are trying to row their boat sideways into a strong current and are ignoring advice to turn things around a bit.

I’m not anti Labour. I’d like to think that at some stage in the future I might seriously consider voting for Labour again (the last time I voted for them was in 2005).

But I’m anti incompetence.

Link to video: Interview: Labour Leader Andrew Little

Leave a comment


  1. DaveG

     /  23rd August 2015

    Lisa has summed it up beautifully. “I’m anti incompetence”. Nuff said

    • Mike C

       /  23rd August 2015


      It wasn’t Lisa Owens … it was Pete George who said “anti-incompetence” 🙂

  2. -D

     /  23rd August 2015

    Lisa Owen is such an air-head. At least we are being spared Patrick Gower at the moment.

    I watched the whole episode and just had to shake my head…on both sides (of the interview).

    Surely we deserve better than this.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd August 2015

    Apart from Hooten the rest seem barely able to construct a comprehensible English sentence.

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