A recess challenge for Labour

MPs of all parties have given themselves a longer than usual mid-winter recess of four weeks. Lucky them (but MPs make their own luck when they can).

Tracey Watkins makes a challenge to Labour for the recess period – get tough, or it will look like they have given up on next year’s election already.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

Here’s a challenge to Labour. If it wants to show it’s serious about winning the next election, its MPs should use the upcoming four week recess to catch their opponents napping.

If Labour MPs disappear over that period instead we’ll know they’ve already given up on a win in 2017.

There’s already signs that Labour MPs are going through the motions most of the time, with Phil Twyford a rare exception. Even Andrew Little’s barking at passing cars seems to be losing it’s bite.

Next month’s lengthy recess is the talk of Parliament. No one can remember a mid-year break quite this long before. It starts July 8 and carries right through to August 9, when MPs return to Parliament.

The word is that members of Parliament’s business committee – which comprises every party – all agreed on the lengthy break because it would help MPs recharge their batteries.

Some of them would need a wind farm much larger than Parliament to recharge their batteries.

But did the Opposition get the wool pulled over its eyes?

Because Oppositions tend to lose momentum when Parliament goes into recess. And mid-year through a Government’s third term is often when that momentum starts to build.

In fact Ministers and especially the Prime Minister will have to keep working to an extent at least. I month is too long to be opff the job mid-year. The recess will be more for back benchers and Opposition MPs, which will allow Ministers to chug away without being hassled.

As the normally affable minister looks increasingly strained and tight-lipped you can already see the drawbridge going up.

That’s a classic sign of third term-itis but National has dug itself out of these holes before by methods which are now well practiced. It burns the midnight oil, it wheels out policies and speeches, it reheats old news, anything to seize back the initiative. It’s the rugby team that runs on to the field determined to dominate on offence.

But there is a four week recess coming up. Beehive staff will have planned a break. Some of the key ministers will likely be overseas.

Potentially, it’s a political vacuum. A hungry Opposition would try to fill it.

So will it?

Twyford may keep banging away on phantom house doors and Little may do a little barking, and the Greens may take turns at churning out their PR, but will any MPs do some hard yards to put pressure on the Government?

Or better, show some leadership potential and come up with some positive actions or policies. Drive and initiative may get some media attention in a vacuum.

It’s about time that James Shaw stepped up and started living up to the hype that preceded him becoming Greens new co-leader last year.

It will be particularly interesting to see how Winston Peters treats the recess. It’s been a big term for him so far and he has looked jaded in Parliament.

Will he disappear for some rest, or will he do a tour of the country’s rest homes charming some ‘mature’ votes.

Most voters will probably be happy to see and hear less of politics and politicians anyway.

An MP that works out how to use the recess to interest the masses could do well for themselves and their party. But banging on the bashwagon turns voters off big time.

Will anyone step up and look like a positive prospective leader? That’s something that is sadly lacking across our modern politics.

UPDATE: I’ve just realised I drifted off the topic – a recess challenge for Labour. Perhaps I’ve given up on them as well as them having given up unless a resurrection lands in their laps.

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  1. David

     /  18th June 2016

    4 weeks of not hearing about the Auckland housing market would be nice.

  2. Gezza

     /  18th June 2016

    Any might’ve worked out that every time he barks at parking cars National goes up in the polls. Whereas he tends to average a further drop over time. It’s probably best he takes the time to re-evaluate the barking strategy.

  3. Corky

     /  18th June 2016

    If Labour comes back from recess minus Andy, it will be all on for the election. They wont, preferring post election to knife him. Talk about lack of forward planning and time wasting.

  4. So Tracy Watkins a journalist (?) is taking the initiative by outlining a strategy for the Left wing political parties to follow in the extended winter recess. Is it really a journalist’s job to lead political parties activities? When does she stop being a journalist and start being labelled as a political commentator with a left wing bias . Or is she worried that the usual lack of news from pollies during the recess will stuff up her easy to report material, and she will have to het off her sweet tootsie and chase up and investigate stories herself rather than having them served up on a plate?

    • Delete Walker insert Watkins.No excuse for my error. Sorry!

      [Done. Excuses are allowed. PG]

    • I wondered about this advice giving too. Perhaps it’s that the opposition must be in a sorry state when political journalists resort to telling them how to do their jobs.

      • PDB

         /  18th June 2016

        There was an old doco on tv a little while back that followed Muldoon and Rowling on the election trail (1978 election I think) where it showed the press actively giving Rowling attack lines to run with against Muldoon because Rowling’s meetings were so underwhelming and didn’t provide the stories they were after.

        It also had great footage of Muldoon dealing with hecklers at his meetings.

      • artcroft

         /  18th June 2016

        It sounds like good advice though. I wonder if they’ll take it.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  18th June 2016

          If it was me, I’d say that it’s not her place to give it and expect to have it taken; she’s a reporter, not a political advisor and it’s none of her business. Unsolicited advice is seldom wanted or heeded.

          Anyone who thinks that politicians are having a holiday now has never known any. Even if they were, it’s the same as everyone else has,except for three days.

          • “Unsolicited advice is seldom wanted or heeded.”

            I think one thing Labour is very good at is not wanting and unheeding advice. They used to seem to think they knew best but now they just don’t seem to know much – or care much.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  18th June 2016

              Well, I don’t suppose that many of us like unsolicited advice-within reason, of course ! I dislike Labour now, but I feel that this article is real cheek and would put anyone’s back up. I wouldn’t blame them for not heeding it. It seems to go beyond rightful commentary.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  18th June 2016

    If Brexit wins the vote next week any political plays by our opposition will be lost in the ensuing global political maelstrom.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  18th June 2016

      Either way, let’s hope that we won’t be hearing that witless neologism again. As the ones opposed to leaving would be Brayers, I am amazed that the exiters didn’t seize the opportunity to call them that-I must confess to having just thought of it.


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