National custard and Labour jelly

The National led Government may be showing signs of turning to custard but who wants warmed up Labour jelly?

Rob Salmond posted about a dire time for the Government at Public Address.


These last few weeks have been dire for the government, across housing, crime, employment, and caring for kids. Yes, I’m biased, but I haven’t seen National have this bad of a stretch for a long while.


He details a number of things that have been going wrong for National – fair enough – and concludes:

This whole period has been very messy, possibly worse than they’ve had. And at the moment it’s not easy to see where the next big win for National is coming from, unless they massively reverse course on a house building programme, something 75% of the public wants but the government has spent years saying is insane.

There’s an old idea in politics that people aren’t willing to consider switching teams until they get sick of the incumbent, in just the same way most people don’t buy a new car until the old one starts giving them problems.

The last three weeks show a government car that’s starting to cough and splutter, spewing out noxious gas but not going anywhere fast.

The next fifteen months are going to be fascinating.

The Government car has certainly looked more dented recently. But Labourites have been predicting that the Key wheels are about to fall off for years.

It seems to have been Labour’s main strategy – wait until it’s their turn.

So the Government has looked a bit like lumpy custard lately – but tellingly on a Labour leaning blog the comments quickly turned to the lack of solidity in the presumptive alternative, Labour.


Trouble is Labour for what ever reason as still so unlikeable I wonder how much difference it will make.


What am I supposed to think after reading this? If the point is meant to be that a Labour-led alternative would be better, then I wish there were more in here about what Labour would be doing, why Labour’s people are superior, would make highly competent and better Ministers who are less prone to screwing up, and how it’d overall be better.

Otherwise it’s just asking people to vote for the least worst instead of the best.

Joe Wylie:

It’s like we’ve internalized the right wing talking points.

When Rob Salmond offers nothing beyond passively spectating while National deliver a series of own goals, yes, you could be forgiven for thinking that.


Meanwhile Labour is still shooting itself in the foot with unwanted headlines like Andrew Little: ‘I was wrong’.

Labour still looks too wobbly to look like a credible alternative.

Salmond tries to defend his post and strategy:

I agree that there’s a two-fold challenge for parties of the left – to show their promise as well as the incumbent’s shortcomings – and they need to meet both challenges to win the right to govern. Commenters are entirely right about that.

The only thing I’d say is that not every blog post is about every aspect of politics.

Put another way, a *blog post* that concentrates solely on National’s shortcomings does not mean the left’s *electoral strategy* is to concentrate solely on shortcomings. There are many other blog posts and other media that do different things to this post. Indeed, in many other forums Labour and the Greens are already rolling out their positive vision for New Zealand, promoting alternative policies on housing, jobs, kids, and so on. It’s the combination of all of those posts that make up the strategy, not this post alone.

Salmond admits that his post is a party of ‘the strategy’.

There is not much sign of Labour “rolling out their positive vision for New Zealand”, and even those who would like a decent alternative to vote for are not seeing it.

Labour is currently better known for ruling out policy positions and having a jelly-like policy strategy.

And Labour and Andrew Little have become likened to ‘barking at every passing car’ – which is what Salmond’s post appears to be encapsulating.

That’s the vision we feel New Zealanders will warm to come election day, and that people will go the booth next year voting for a great progressive vision as well as to get rid of the current crowd.


There you have Labour on a plate. Warmed up jelly is not very appealing to voters.

When will we see a substantial main course on offer?