“Labour and Greens risk alienating their supporters”

The Green Party has just had a lesson in alienating supporters when they opposed David Seymour’s World Cup bar opening legislation. To their credit they quickly realised their mistake and made good.

Their attitude to the flag change referendums also risks alienating suporters, and more importantly, potential Green voters.

And more so Labour with their bizarre uber-hypocritical stance againts ‘the timing of’ the flag change process.

In The great flag debate is just starting to unfurl Audrey Young point’s out the risk of continuing what seemed at first populist opposition.

Labour and Greens risk alienating their supporters who want to make a choice.

Quite what Labour and the Greens will do when the debate gains momentum will present a conundrum for them. They cannot continue to attack the referendum process without indirectly attacking New Zealanders who are interested in it and want to be part of it.

They have ignored a basic principle in politics as in life: to thine own self be true, or the voters will see right through you.

It was understandable for the parties to rail against the Government asset sales programme last term – even though National won a mandate for it – because it was against Labour and Green policy.

But to rail against a review of the New Zealand flag – which National also promised at the last election – when it echoes your own party’s policy is simply dishonest and erodes trust in a party.

How can you trust a party that objects to its own policy?

Labour in particular has made a series of misjudgments over its positioning.

By describing it simply as a “vanity project” of Prime Minister John Key, Labour belittles those who don’t care what John Key thinks but who would like a say in what the flag should be.

Labour is creating a wedge issue among its own supporters, many of whom want a change.

And not just a wedge amongst their own supporters. Their pettiness risks annoying many potential Labour voters.

Sure they might have got feedback that many people bouth the ‘wrong timing’ and ‘should be spent on more important things’ campaign messages, but once the flag debate and the chance of once in a lifetime choice about our flag kicks in then Greens and Labour mayfind themselves wedged by their own petard.

Labour leader Andrew Little this week said he would not vote in the referendum.

And, more absurdly, the party’s flag spokesman, Trevor Mallard, said that in November’s preferential vote he would rank the flag he thought was best the last and the flag he disliked the most the best.

That way, if everyone were as clever as Trevor, the present flag would be pitted against the most horrible one in March, the present flag would stay and John Key could be accused of having wasted time and money.

I wonder if Mallard does similar in Parliament – votes for the legislation he likes the least and against legislation he likes the most?

Maybe he thinks all voters vote the opposite of what they want and that’s why Natiional gets twice the support of Labour

Greens will probably survive this unscathed, and in any case they haven’t been as blatantly hypocriticval as Labour.

But Labour can ill afford to keep alienating different groups of voters.

Espcecially with stances as stupid as in this case, where they are campaigning against their own policy and preferences.