Labour’s predictable predicament

The Labour Party is in a dire situation. Dropping to 24% in the latest Colmar Brunton poll was bad, but Andrew Little admitting he had offered to step down, and no one else being prepared to step up, could be the death knell of their chances this election, and possible the death knell of the party.

This situation was predictable a long time ago. Last December I posted Is Labour a 19% party?

Colmar Brunton’s recent poll had Labour on 28%, and the just released Roy Morgan poll has them on 23%. One is bad, the other is an awful result.

But is it a surprise?

Andrew Little has failed to impress – this interview with RNZ yesterday is unfortunately typical, fumbles and bumbles interspersed with a few tired slogans.

That hasn’t changed.

‘True Labour’ seems to be a rapidly narrowing (but poorly defined) brand. The only thing that seems to be consistent is spraying those who walk away from the party with bitterness.

Shane Jones. Phil Goff. Clayton Cosgrove. David Cunliffe. Gone or going. There are calls for David Shearer to go as well as he is not seem as ‘true Labour’ by some on the left.

Josie Pagani and Phil Quin are often lambasted for not being ‘Labour’ enough, as are many people who get abused on Twitter, Facebook and The Standard.

 Is Labour heading for 20%? Little and the Labourites who remain seem happy burn off support as they turn the party to ashes.

It looks increasingly like New Zealand will remain dominated by a single party, with a few smaller ones yapping from the sidelines.

What will it take for the penny to drop within Labour? 19%?

The penny dropped for Little after last week’s 24% poll, with 19% or less distinctly possible now.

The Standard (where I’m not allowed to comment again) The Standard had largely given up on Labour and has driven away many people who could have supported Labour for years.

In reaction to yesterday’s poll result there was some lame protestation at The Standard, until ‘Sanctuary’ laid  things out things out brutally…

It isn’t just this poll. Labour are drifting to utter catastrophe. It is all well and good to talk about the undecided vote, but given the lack of inspiration and passion so far in this election campaign from Labour they’ll probably just not vote at all. I reckon we are heading towards a 65% turn out max.

What is it about neoliberalism that turns Labour PLPs into technocratic, out-of-touch, smug and entitled collections of careerists? They are too fucking arrogant to see what should be obvious – they are in deep trouble and need to PANIC, completely rethink their whole fundamental approach to politics and just… just fucking grow some balls and show us they believe in something other than muggins turn.

Their policy so far has been too technocratic and timid, full of thickets of ifs and buts and maybes. They’re thinking seems stuck in 1990s, wedded to neoliberal economic orthodoxy and, frankly, their main tactic at the moment appears to be relying on National losing.

The Labour caucus is – yet again – completely missing in action, 54 days out from the election. The current crop of Labour politicians are completely useless at politics.

The Greens have outflanked them on the left, exploiting the Corbyn-Sanders effect and showing they might actually understand ordinary folks problems.

NZ First is killing them in the provinces. There vote is is 3-4% higher than this poll, mark my words.



Playing musical cheers with the leadership is no good. The next losers up will be Gracinda, and they are lackadasical middle class careerists. All they represent is the inept PLP and their own technocratic ambitions. Little has got a useless caucus that is lazy and politically clueless. Labour has to re-think everything from the ground up, including how and who they select to be MPs, what they stand for and what the party exists to do.

At the moment, they stand for nothing and the PLP is full of under performing chumps like Ruth Dyson (remember her?) Jenny Salesa (who? never heard from her once, unforgivable when there are only 31 MPs) Megan Woods (Ever heard from her either? No? Me neither. Pathetically ineffectual on Canterbury issues and climate change), David Parker (last spotted in 2015 and heading for the exit), Trevor fucking Mallard (a burnt out political joke, it is a disgrace he occupies a valuable seat), Poto Williams (useless at scoring hits on the government, but that is OK because as far as i can tell, she was mainly selected to be spokesperson for political correctness and guardian of identity politics), Clare “vanishing majority” Curren, David Clarke, the invisible man in a caucus of hopeless invisible MPs, etc etc.

Labour has a caucus where six of their MPs are from Maori seats, and apart from Kelvin Davis none of them appear to do anything to justify their existence to the wider electorate. Given that these MPs represent fully 20% of the PLP, this is unacceptable. They need to pull their weight a lot more.

Labour only has 31 MPs. Only a handful seem to do anything, but with 31 MPs they ALL need to be working bloody hard. the rest are taking the piss out of their supporters and one can justly suspect they are lazy mofos in the best paying job they are ever likely to hold.

…and there was little argument to this from the stragglers left at The Standard.

Since Helen Clark and Michael Cullen left parliament and the party in 2009 went through three leaders before Andrew Little took over, each of them failing to inspire. Little has been disappointing to say the least.

But as Sanctuary says, Labour’s problems go much deeper than a string of hapless leaders.

Most Labour MPs have not been performing anywhere near a credible level. Most of them are unheard of most of the time.

The Labour Party has also been hopeless. Their lack of ability to fund raise has been both a symptom and a cause of their problems.

The McCarten intern fiasco showed either a party out of control or a party having no clue – and the media went very easy on them, choosing to obsess over the death of a National backbencher’s career and largely ignoring the death of what was once the main opposition party.

I’ve kept a close watch on The Standard for many years. It is the main representative of the Labour Party in the blogosphere. Actually that’s not correct.

The Standard was the main online voice of Labour, but they have abused and driven away a lot of support over the years. They have become as lame and hapless as the Labour Party, to the extent that they have become dominated by a Weka, a Green Party supporter intent on deterring or shutting down anything deemed to be not left wing enough.

Even the bloody Standard gave up championing Labour years ago. Most of their posts are anti-National and anti-Government, only a small proportion are pro-Labour and there are probably as many pro-Green now.  But this is just a symptom of a bigger, wider problem.

I keep getting banned at The Standard, and I have voted Labour more than any other party, up until 2008.

My local MP David Clark and the other Dunedin MP Clare Curran both block me on Twitter. @NZLabour also blocks me on Twitter.

The Labour Party has been withering away over the last nine years. Actually, since Labour won their second term in 2002 they have lost vote share every election. That’s fifteen years.

Andrew Little just happens to be it’s leader during what could well be it’s death rattle. Unless a miracle occurs Labour looks lost already, not just in this year’s election but as a political force. They have become a political farce.

All the Colmar Brunton poll has done is prompt Little to publicly admit defeat, but he, Labour MPs and the party have been in a slow death spiral for yonks.

The way things are looking Labour may end up doing well if they get 19% in September.


  1. There have been many brutal reactions to Little’s capitulation yesterday, not the least of which is this from Tracey Watkins: The cost of replacing the billboards might be the only thing saving Andrew Little now

    Labour is in a hole and doesn’t know how to dig its way out.

    Andrew Little’s extraordinary admission that he talked to his colleagues about falling on his sword sounds like the death rattle of a leader who knows that come election night he might be offering his resignation.

    On Sunday’s poll numbers, Little is on the cusp of leaving the party not just broken on election night, but leaderless.

    If Labour drops just a couple of per cent more Little will be out of Parliament.

    The most compelling reason offered Sunday evening for Little not to go sooner was that the party had already made its election year bill boards and campaign ads.

    There was no more money for new ones so Little should be safe, was the rationale.

    Broke and broken.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 31, 2017

      As I also said a while ago, lying is a prerequisite for politicians. Andy told the truth. Unforgiveable.

  2. There was no post in reaction to the poll on The Standard last night. Stunned silence probably.

    This morning there was finally a post on it – from Weka: <a href=""This is no ordinary election (f*ck the polls)

    It’s very interesting but it would pay to remember it’s one poll. There will be all sorts of ideas about what it means, so let’s keep our eye on the ball too.

    This isn’t a set in stone election, it’s one that is in the midst of change, quite possibly big change. The Greens opened a door.

    The Greens have given up on Labour and are going for what they can get out of the election themselves, despite needing Labour to get into Government.

    The Standard has been virtually taken over by a Green promoter. Like Labour MPs, Labour promoters are missing in action.

    Anthony may eventually come up with some sort of rally the troops post but the troops have been disheartened or banished long ago.

  3. Patzcuaro

     /  July 31, 2017

    Has the opposition fragmented into 4 different parties? Labour representing the unions, the Greens representing the urban underdogs and the environment, NZ First representing conservative provincial NZ and the Maori Party reresenting the Maori.

    When the Labour movements formed in the early years of the 20th century Labour was cheap and materials were expensive, now the opposite is the case. Apart from Kevin Davis where are Labour’s Maori MPs, where are it’s provincial MPs apart from Stuart Nash. Looks like the Labour Party has had a spring clean and anybody not a 100 % pure has been tossed out.

    Once it was a broad church with everybody pissing out, now it is a skinny church with those ejected all pissing in.

    • Gezza

       /  July 31, 2017

      the Maori Party reresenting the Maori.

      It’s gone in the draw for typo Best Of The Day, patz.


      • Patzcuaro

         /  July 31, 2017

        It is an uphill battle with predictive text and screen keyboards

  4. There’s no fix for Labour’s electoral woes. The generation of serious thinkers and intellects who steered them ideologically and practically through the 80,90 and noughties have long gone and they’re left trying to cobble cohesion out of a mish mash of identity politics. Half of those issues belong with the Greens now.

    So many wrong-footed moves. However, the fundamental idiocy of leadership contests being left to rank, file and Union bias would be a good start. Who imagined that a series of leaders forced on an unwilling caucus was a good idea. Cunliffe? Absolutely hated by anyone worked with him. Little? Union Johnny come lately, dry and dull.

    Similarly, what bright spark within the ranks imagined that Arden as Shadow Deputy Leader added anything to the mix?

    They’ve settled into oppositional mediocrity. They oppose with undisciplined petulance and they do so without ONE standout performer in the House. There are no clever wordsmiths, nobody who adds urgency, humour or poignancy. Certainly there’s no intellect. Without brains you can’t command respect or attention. So that leaves them as merely being in the business of opposing. When they attempt ideas, nobody hears them. Often solutions are void of calories. They claim they have real ideas, but they haven’t. There’s no vision, no forward momentum.

    After the last election they committed to grassroots analysis. What they did instead was an exercise in self delusion and denial.

    In 2014 they came up with “a failure to unite behind the leader” and a poor election slogan “Vote Positive”. Their dishonesty and lack of introspection delivered them another hapless leader and an even worse slogan.

    • Blazer

       /  July 31, 2017

      So who are the NATZ performer’s in Parliament? Wordsmiths. …doubt it…they think ‘zip it sweetie ‘ is brilliance. Bol.

      • Gezza

         /  July 31, 2017

        Surely you can see that the point is – by comparison with the others – “zip it sweetie” actually IS?

      • Blazer. Labour has traditionally had standout intellectuals and very clever orators to message spread or disrupt as needed. There were so many I’d not know where to start. There’s literally not a one there now.

        Your “what about your lot” argument is symptomatic of their plight and quite ridiculous when the Nats are practically polling double that of Labour.

  5. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  July 31, 2017

    Very interesting that blogs haven’t figured out that their readership and support base dies away when they block dissenting views.

    I can’t be bothered dealing directly with such blogs/newspaper outlets and hardly ever read their predictable comments.

    • Shhh Maggy, don’t let them know. TS is nothing but a cavernous echo chamber where the voices off sycophants and victims boing around predictably. It’s a dull, vacuous and unchallenging safe place that largely panders to the fragile mental health of participants.

      Introduce ideas and dissension? No, rather leave them to their own devices. 😁

      • Gezza

         /  July 31, 2017

        Greatest sysop in the world though. And best legal mind. Gotta give them that! 👍🏼

        • Because he told us so, didn’t he!!!

          • Gezza

             /  July 31, 2017

            Well, exactly. Also world’s greatest scientific authority on climate change & the cook strait canyon – although that last one might need some explaining & searching a while back that I can’t be bothered doing.

            Gotta go. The Science teacher nephew from Maryland, his Ohioan teacher, robot-builder Mrs, & their two mokopuna, are coming to visually check that I am still sane, & I will need to carefully assess the degree to which the mokos have been hopelessly Americanised, due to an accident of birth. Also, as they are boyz, aged 4.5 & 2, & and are highly mobile – I need to put away 6 guitars currently strategically placed within easy reach when the mood takes me, in the lounge & dining room, out of harm’s way.

            • Have a lovely day 🌞🌞

            • Gezza

               /  July 31, 2017

              Righto. Visit went off ok. Brendan (4.2/12) mostly sat on dad’s knee. Kieran (14 mths) appeared at my knee seemingly out of nowhere looking fascinated so I picked him up, plonked him on it, carried on yacking & he was a happy chappy until he decided time for mum again. I forgot you simply cannot completely little-boy-proof the average home lounge & Kieran was into everything he could his hands on the minute you took ya eyes off him. Lunch @ Denny’s – very nice, boys don’t have enuf vocab yet to sound American . They think Trump’s a total disaster who has achieved nothing. We went our separate ways after the usual quick back slapping man-hug for him & the longer traditional squeeze for her.

  6. Corky

     /  July 31, 2017


    See that’s the problem. Labour doesn’t do coffee. Coffee is for brutish working class chumps. Labour does lattes. Lattes go well with the ambience of their ivory towers’

    What I found interesting was the comments about Cindy. Andy, if he’s still around, will resign on election night. Then what? It wont look good if they show no confidence in Cindy, even in an interim leadership position.

    The good news in this situation is Labour can go for broke without fear of recriminations.

    My choice would be Stuart Nash. He has limited political baggage. He has a pair. And he seems rather normal. He probably doesn’t even posses the derigueur middle-class trappings?

  7. See Martin/Martyn offering sagacious advice to Labour. This made my blood boil.

    “Women: National had taken a huge number of female voters during the Key years, watch Jacinda win them back.”

    Throw women a few articles in Women’s Day, an opinion on stripes over polka dots and the empty headed apron wearers will return to your fold.

    Bradbury you political lightweight, it’s like this. NZ women are significantly better educated than their men. They are certainly every bit as discerning. Laser induced smiles, puff piece home decor articles won’t cut it. Women will vote for the vehicle they best see will deliver stability and equality.

    • MaureenW

       /  July 31, 2017

      Sadly, Bradbury sees himself as a political pundit. He’s not. If there was an antonym for a bellwether, he’d be that.
      Andy or Jacinta? Anyone seen the defibrillator?

    • PDB

       /  July 31, 2017

      Bradbury is at least consistent in his political ineptness……….following his disaster in wrongly predicting everything during the 2014 general election we have since had;

      *Matt McCarten will still be a ‘game-changer’ for Labour (he meant in the positive, not the negative).
      *The MoU was a masterstroke (for the left, not National and its allies).
      *Andrew Little is a true leader (Bradbury: ” He’s a quiet revolutionary, a pragmatic socialist. I think he could be the most underestimated Leader of Labour ever.”)
      *Jacinda actually offered something politically (Bradbury: “Jacinda as a Gen Y brings a totally different skill set to the table and her popularity has to do with her reflecting those values on inclusivity. Suggesting it has to do with her looks is just the most ridiculously shallow reading of her as a person.”). Personally I don’t even think she has the ‘looks’. If her biggest goal in life is to muck around with children she should leave parliament and become an early childhood teacher.

      Bradbury is a joke and represents all that is wrong with the far left – out of touch, out of ideas, in outer space.