Labour has been thrashed this week. First by polls:
- Colmar Brunton 28%
- UMR 29%
- Roy Morgan 23%
UMR is the poll Andrew Little cited as proof that the public polls were wrong.
And political journalists have been scathing. A couple of examples:
Duncan Garner: After nearly 3000 days in opposition Little’s Labour has lost the ‘everyman’
It has been a dreadful end to the year for Andrew Little.
The latest Roy Morgan political poll has Labour at just 23 per cent, which would give the party just 28 MPs in Parliament.
…because Labour already holds 27 electorate seats, high-profile MPs such as Jacinda Ardern and David Parker would be looking for new jobs.
If Labour dropped one more per cent, Labour would not even get Andrew Little into Parliament.
That’s the ultimate embarrassment: when your leader doesn’t make it to Parliament.
This poll should be a major wake-up call, but it won’t be; my sources tell me no-one is planning to roll him over the summer BBQs.
Labour MPs clearly have low expectations in this caucus. They are happy for Little to take this one for the team and start again post-2017 with another duo of dancers.
So what has gone wrong? Shane Jones, Phil Goff, Clayton Cosgrove, Nick Leggett all deserting the Labour ship. Little has publicly slammed ex-Labourites as far right.
The ‘everyman’ has been ditched in favour of this current mob. This is a narrower Labour Party, the so-called broad church has been given its marching orders.
It seems to me that Labour doesn’t want the ‘everyman’ yet it wants his votes. I think Labour has lost the working bloke to NZ First and National.
They no longer identify with Little and his lightweight mob. I asked a press gallery journalist this week what was wrong with Little.
She said Little can’t explain anything, he has no charisma, he’s angry and, finally, he’s not John Key. I would add that Little fumbles and bumbles his way through interviews.
He lacks clarity and throws a few tired slogans at the public, who are likely to have tuned out a long time ago.
That’s how I see Little too. I thought he had promise two years ago, but he has failed to grow into the leadership role.
He is utterly uninspiring to most New Zealanders and the polls clearly show that. Who is he? What does he do in his quiet times? What makes him tick? Is he really as unfriendly and remote as the television suggests.
The answer is no, he’s not, but that’s how he comes across
After almost 3000 days in opposition, Labour looks more clueless now than it did at the beginning of that process. That leaves me to ponder this – are they finished as a major political party?
That’s a question that is coming up more often, a serious questioning of the future of the Labour party.
It is much more than a Little Labour problem. Is there any chance of them turning things around and rescuing the party?
Tracey Watkins: So much for giddy optimism: Labour and Andrew Little can’t bring themselves to speak the language of revolution
Andrew Little’s two-year anniversary in the Labour leadership rolled around in November and the lack of fanfare is a pointer to the quiet desperation in Labour’s ranks.
At a fractious front bench meeting on Monday, Little shouldered responsibility as leader for Labour’s polling slump.
There was lots of finger pointing. But there was also a sense of urgency about breaking the cycle. There was talk about taking risks. Even “breaking the rules” as one insider put it.
It’s not rules they need to break, they need to break out of a shrinking bubble, they need to stop blaming and dissing everyone and everything else for their problems that stretch back nearly a decade.
Little will spend less time in Wellington and more time on the road next year.
It’s been a tradition for years for party leaders to get out of Wellington on Thursdays – Little will extend that even further by spending most of the political week away from Parliament.
Disappearing into the regions could backfire by lowering his profile.
But he will get to shake a lot of hands. And trying to raise his profile hasn’t helped much either.
Labour is trying to shed him of an image as a leader who barks at every passing car.
Little’s big problem is that if he disappears he loses, and if he appears he loses.
It’s not, as some suggest, whether they are too left or too centre or too right.
They have a serious credibility problem. They lack clarity, they dither, most of their MPs seem to be marking time, they lack confidence and belief, they lack purpose.
The caucus looks like it is withering away, and even the promotion and defence of Labour here has become low key and muted.
The leader is a part of this but there is more than a Little Labour problem. But it will require a significant change to leadership to turn things around, someone has to lead change into a positive direction.
Andrew has to rethink his approach and he has to reform his own public persona. He has to start by really believing he can lead change. And then showing it.
And he somehow needs inspire his caucus MPs to lift their game substantially, because at the moment they don’t appear to care about their growing malaise.