Labour v Greens and the smiling assassin

Now Jacinda Ardern has taken over the Labour leadership it will be interesting to see how Labour and the Greens cooperate and compete.

She promises to be relentlessly positive, but for Labour’s support to go positive they  need to kill off Green momentum. Ardern may do that, with a smile.

Under the MoU they have committed to cooperating to ‘change the government’, but each party will be intent on maximising their party votes, which means competing with each other as well as trying to stem the growth of NZ First and claw some votes off National.

The Greens need Labour to get into government as they are adamant they won’t support a National led government (James Shaw may be tempted but Metiria Turei is very much against it, and the party members aren’t keen either).

Labour will also need the Greens, unless they can perform a miraculous turn around in support and grow (in part by taking back Green votes) enough to form a coalition with NZ First. At this stage Labour + Greens + ??? looks essential for a change of government.

Greens seemed to have decided a couple of weeks ago that Labour were dog tucker so they went for broke on their own, in particular on Turei’s benefit fraud story.

But Ardern changes things considerably, if she can stem Labour’s bleeding and turn things around.

Claire Trevett: Will Jacinda Ardern eat the Greens?

The Green Party too might want to check its fences for holes. The first votes Ardern will attract will be those she gets back from the Greens.

Ardern’s appeal is particularly high in urban areas – the very same areas the Greens have always polled strongest.

Ardern is the best revenge Labour could have served up for the Greens’ recent behaviour.

Some might say the Greens only have themselves to blame for the rise of Ardern.

Many in Labour were furious with the Greens for milking Metiria Turei’s confession for all it was worth, seemingly reckless of the damage it could do to the prospects of a Labour-led government.

It was that incident Little pointed to as the reason Labour slumped in the polls over that week.

True, it suited Labour to see those polls as a referendum on Turei’s confession because that meant they were not a referendum on its own cornerstone policy – the families package issued the week before, in which it traded in National’s tax cuts to upsize Working for Families, pump money into public services and introduce universal payments to parents of newborn babies.

It does not want those polls to be linked at all with that package, thank you.

But there was some anger as well over the Greens’ unseemly and almost cruel gloating at the 1 News Colmar-Brunton poll in which they had rocketed up to 15 per cent.

Never mind that came at the expense of Labour and put Labour over the chasm of non-viability.

Ardern does not need to win votes off National, although she will take all comers.

All she needs to do is ensure the balance between Labour, the Greens and NZ First is more heavily tilted in Labour’s favour.

That helps explain why Ardern has so far kept some distance from the Greens, delaying meeting the co-leaders and refusing to talk about Turei’s admission of welfare fraud, saying she intends to stick firmly to Labour’s campaign – not get drawn into ‘”distractions”.

Labour versus Greens will have to be a significant part of Ardern’s new strategy, while trying to appear to be working together at the same time.

Greens must also be busy reassessing their strategy. They had momentum but Ardern has probably halted that. They may hold support but could easily lose it given how much attention the media are giving Ardern. She has taken over Turei’s campaign oxygen.

It will be fascinating to see how this plays out – Metiria relentlessly rebellious, versus Jacinda relentlessly  positive.

For Labour support to go positive probably means Green support going negative.

While comparisons of Ardern and Helen Clark have been made, in style she is more like Key.

They are not politically similar, although Ardern describes herself as a pragmatic idealist, while Key was simply a pragmatist.

The similarity is in their ability to communicate.

Both are chameleons, able to adapt to different social settings and to talk to suit the audience they are addressing.

Key was known as a ‘smiling assassin’.

If Ardern is to succeed she may take over that label.

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43 Comments

  1. David

     /  August 3, 2017

    “Ardern may do that, with a smile.”

    Well, she certainly has the teeth for the job.

    Reply
  2. Patzcuaro

     /  August 3, 2017

    @Alan Wilkinson are your sure it was a goat you tethered?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 3, 2017

      It wasn’t me tethering her, Patz. Time will tell. Do you think she or Davis is the brains and steel?

      Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  August 3, 2017

        It s all about combinations, Clarke and Cullen, Key and English. I’m not sure about English and Bennett or Ardern and Davis yet. God to see Davis standing up for Ardern when reporters asked stupid questions.

        The leader needs to be able to connect with media and voters, while the deputy needs to be able to keep things running smoothly behind the scene.

        Reply
        • I think Ardern and Davis could work well in an election campaign, and Davis may well lift the Maori vote, but I don’t see Davis as a keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes sort of MP.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  August 3, 2017

            No, someone else will be doing that.

            Reply
          • Joe Bloggs

             /  August 3, 2017

            No indeed. Davis is a good attack dog though, and Ardern has a good command of media relations, much like John Key did but without the casual patriarchy.

            Reply
  3. Patzcuaro

     /  August 3, 2017

    For a long time the combined poll numbers for the Greens and Labour have been about 40 compared to National’s 47ish. For a Labour/Green alliance to form the government they need to break above that. This will require them to take votes off Natonal.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 3, 2017

      Big question – how will the unions react? Unless they come on board Labour factionalism will persist destructively. Can Jacinda smile for the centrists while placating the loony Left activists?

      Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  August 3, 2017

        Unless they are blind they must be able to see that Little wasn’t up to party leadership. Better to get in behind Ardern and have a chance of government. The loony left (which does exist, we just disagree on where it starts) has little option, better to be in government than opposition. A vote for the Greens is essentially a vote for a Labour led government.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  August 3, 2017

          “I wish Jacinda all the very best”

          “& I am really looking forward to working with her.”

          Reply
          • For Ms Ardern to differentiate Labour from the Greens, she needs to kick the MoU to touch, and categorically rule out Ms Turei having a ministerial role in a future coalition.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  August 3, 2017

              One hopes. I think that will be getting serious consideration. Polling might be being done on that.

        • Ray

           /  August 3, 2017

          Slip over to “The Standard” for some light relief and watch the loony left in action
          Their leader claims he will vote Greens thanks to the disloyalty of the Labour Caucus and he is not the only one. Their man getting the boot has really upset their world.

          But by the end of day one even he admits she is doing a better job than Andrew Little and she will get his electoral vote!

          Reply
  4. sorethumb

     /  August 3, 2017

    Someone asked if Adern might have a baby while head of the opposition. At the other end Metiria had a baby while being unable to support it. Metiria is more to the left?

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 3, 2017

    You would expect to see a redistribution of votes between the three minor parties now. Ardern will take women from the Greens and lose men to both. Davis might win some from both and perhaps Mana and the Maori Party. TOP might lose some too as it loses its status as the latest new thing. But it’s all perception with no underlying reality in policy.

    Reply
    • Brown

       /  August 3, 2017

      The whole political mess in NZ reminds me of how I recall the film Caligula ending (although I saw it in about 1980 so my memory may be unreliable) with the Roman Senate offering money to people to be emperor because they were so desperate to have someone, anyone.

      Reply
  6. sorethumb

     /  August 3, 2017

    For Labour support to go positive probably means Green support going negative.
    ………….
    yes they are selling the same product. Adern attacked National over house prices but never mentioned immigration so the usual toothless, hand wringing approach. Chris Trotter is urging spending (and debt) while warning of racism and atavism.

    Reply
    • My guess is that in the next round of polls Labour will be up at the expense of the Greens and NZF, whilst National will be stable. But can Ardern sustain that until election day?

      Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  August 3, 2017

    Ou est Le Blazeur?

    Reply
  8. All this Jacinda hype. She has never been able to beat the Nats in prime urban territory AKL CENTRAL. She’s been there for nearly a decade, had a zillion interviews and as many magazine covers as Lady Di. She’s best mates with the entire Press Gallery and wider media. Hasn’t played out brilliantly thus far.

    Reply
  9. Blazer

     /  August 3, 2017

    Earth to PG. ..National are the target. ..forget assumptions about cannibalizing the left votes. I am confident the next poll will be positive for both Labour and the Greens. National have a fight on their hands. Waiting for the NATZ to announce their ‘persuader’…sometime. ..soon.The left. .now have. .broader. ..appeal.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 3, 2017

      Fukavyou been?
      You’re late 😡

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 3, 2017

      They’re certainly going for the broads.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 3, 2017

      They’ve started identifying the:

      1. Key Demographics. Having got shot of McCarten (who was fkn useless!).
      2. Key Messages.

      Now they need to identify & focus on the small number of Key Policies.

      * Housing shortage
      * Housing Affordability
      already identified.

      What else, do you reckon? Scattergun is useless. That’s what Andy was doing.

      Depending how things go, they might at the end want to announce they’ll go into coalition with anybody – but they should wait & see whether they need to yet.

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  August 3, 2017

      The Greens can only go down in the polls with Ardern as Labour leader.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  August 3, 2017

        It depends entirely on whether she really is as dum as I thought she was. It’s interesting that even policy seems to be up for review – at least as far as selling any go – as well as the posters & other election publicity. Questin Time might be interesting again today. Fk it was noisy yesterday, from both sides, but especially Labour’s.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  August 3, 2017

          * Question Time. And referring to Jacinda there. Metz has suddenly found herself totally on the back foot, & I don’t think Jacinda is going to play BFFs.

          Reply
        • PDB

           /  August 3, 2017

          I mentioned on the other thread that I think she is hoping to bluff her way until voting day with a fake ‘Helen Clark persona’. In that case the lack of days left in the campaign works in her favour.

          The Labour/Green ‘block’ is essentially 40%, Ardern will be hoping to win back the many Labour supporters lost to Winston to improve that block. I doubt many National supporters will jump to Labour as most of those people are voting on the strength of the economy. Ardern being Labour leader should also rule out any slim chance TOP had of making 5% as at the very least she will stop the rot.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  August 3, 2017

            If, for the same of argument, everybody suddenly discovers she was sitting back & thinking, all that time, & has a few clues, & yo wanted them to succeed bit with better policies, what would be your advice?

            If I was advising them, I would say give Kelvin prominence as well.

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  August 3, 2017

              Kelvin is irrelevant – his position goes to a coalition partner if they are in govt.

              The Ardern train (an old tired Labour train from years past with peeling red paint and a huge pair of bright, white teeth newly pasted on the front of the locomotive) is getting up a good head of steam, the MSM are on board & Labour need to ride it as far as they can in case it craps out.

              She is the last and only chance they have.

            • Gezza

               /  August 3, 2017

              Kelvin is irrelevant – his position goes to a coalition partner if they are in govt.

              Not with the money they’re not paying me to run this campaign it isn’t!

          • Gezza

             /  August 3, 2017

            😡 * yo = you & bit = but (butt, in the case of Possers)

            Reply
  1. Labour v Greens and the smiling assassin — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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