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: Labour warns about rise in borrowings for first homes.

His Speech to the Property Council’s Residential Development Summit didn’t even rate a post at The Standard (someone lamented the lack of media coverage).

Instead attention was on yet another defection from Labour, and all Little could say was, effectively, ‘good riddance’.

Nick Leggett ‘wasn’t true Labour’ – Andrew Little

Labour leader Andrew Little has rubbished former Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett’s chances of winning a seat next year as a National Party candidate.

“I’m not particularly worried – we’ve got a fantastic MP in Mana who’s established himself,” Mr Little told Newshub.

“I said at the time when Nick stood for the Wellington mayoralty that he wasn’t true Labour. He claimed that he was. He wasn’t elected.

“I think that New Zealanders actually see through people who say they are one thing but they’re not, and they get backed by the 1 percent to challenge Labour MPs and Labour candidates. I think people are past that so no, I’m not particularly worried.”

“People who are aligned to the Labour cause actually genuinely take action about improving housing, about lifting incomes, about making sure that schools are properly funded, and our hospitals are properly funded.

“What they don’t do is go around looking for those on the highest incomes to back them – to challenge whoever because that’s all they want. Labour people, passionate Labour in their heart – they stick with Labour, they campaign on Labour issues, and for the Labour Party. Nick’s not one of those people.”

Mr Little says there won’t be any last-minute conversations to try to keep Mr Leggett on.

“I think he’s pretty much said that he’s not interested in Labour. John Key’s calling him, and they’re welcome to that relationship.

What’s notable about Leggett’s defection is someone with obvious political ambition sees no future for himself in the labour party.

‘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.

And that wasn’t all yesterday. 1 News reported ‘Bugger that!’ – Labour members leave party over proposed deal with Green Party in Nelson

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

It includes one supporter who held membership for 30 years and the campaign’s coordinator is also understood to have walked away.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”

The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

On Tuesday Little virtually denied there was any deal being done with Greens in Nelson after Metiria Turei sprung a surprise by going public and left Little floundering.

Labour’s general secretary Andrew Kirton said:”We’ve had a couple of resignations but nothing different to the usual flow of members coming and going across the country.”

The ‘usual flow’ seems to be down the twenties. 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%?