What the hell are they doing?
It’s Labour’s third term in opposition, and they’re polling lower than ever before. The latest Roy Morgan poll shows the mat 23%. If that drops by just 0.5%, they get no list MPs in parliament. Not even Andrew Little, the leader, would have a seat. When Little became the leader, he stated he wanted to bring Labour up to 40%. They haven’t been up their since 2006.
Since their election result in 2014, they’ve gone down about 2 points. Wouldn’t be a significant decrease if Labour wasn’t trying, for the third term, to change the National government.
So what are they doing wrong? It mostly rests on Little.
Little has made Labour a very narrow party. No longer is Labour a broad church. We saw that with the deposition of Nick Leggett. It’s know wonder he’s now running for National. Differences of opinion can be tolerated there.
Little moved Labour further to the left, especially with the ‘memorandum of understanding’ between Labour and the Greens. The Greens are losing support to Labour, but Labour’s losing support to NZ First and National.
As Duncan Garner writes, “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”. Labour’s policies are far more appealing to urban millennials than a farmer in Nelson. It’s similar to the mistake Hillary Clinton made: appealing to urban progressives over the working class heartlanders. That’s what the Greens are there for.
It’s no wonder Labour members are resigning in Nelson.
Little also suffers from simply being an ineffective personality. He’s boring, uninspiring, uncharismatic, and uselessly angry. He shares little of John Key’s winning leadership qualities. To quote Garner again, “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”.
He’s not even really the second choice for Prime Minister. Both Little and Winston Peters have 8% favourability, behind Key’s huge 36%. He’s tied with Winston Peters.
It’s surprising there hasn’t been an leadership coup. The rest of Labour, many who will lose their seats because of Little’s ineptness, have done little to challenge him and the party’s direction. Those who would have left. The rest, well, maybe they’re just waiting to lose the election next year before cleaning up the mess. There’s no hope otherwise.
Labour’s lost it’s appeal. Little needs to remember the New Zealand heartland, and take votes from the Nats, not their urban Green allies.