First, stop blaming the media. 

The problem isn't 'right wing framing'. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. When you fall behind everyone airs their favourite explanation and negatives get repeated and amplified. It's the job of politicians, not media, to inspire a change in the story. 

There is also no point blaming whoever went public at the weekend to criticise David Cunliffe for going on holiday. It was poor discipline, but poor discipline is not the main reason the party is 30 points behind National. 

Politics isn’t fair. Even if  the media is sometimes unfair (such as when the Herald went too far with unsubstantiated claims of undeclared donations from Donghua Liu), one of the things the public are judging is how you behave under pressure. Stop complaining.

Stop saying the polls are close. It reminds voters that Labour aims to lead a bloc in which it might not be all that dominant and which could include the toxic Dotcom party. Tortuous explanations about the Left Bloc v the Right Bloc sound cynical, as if you don't care about winning support of people.

Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour's poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour’s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy.  Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, "he shouldn't be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government."

Stop barking at every passing car. We don’t need a position on every lifestyle or identity issue in the news cycle. Though Labour tries to talk about core themes, like jobs and smaller class sizes, it can't complain when those subjects get overshadowed by its own policies. 

The temptation of releasing a 'policy a day' comes from a lack of confidence that the main themes are strong enough to win. This is a strategy error, not a discipline one. 

There are no easy pathways now. The party made David Cunliffe leader for his strategy of shoring up the base with a more militant tone. He’s delivered on that strategy but it hasn't worked. 

Correcting to the centre close to the election carries the seeds of disappointment for those who believed it would work, and has the added downside that the public don’t believe it. 

It's too late to ditch some of the rhetoric that made people doubt whether you would put them ahead of sectarian interests, but not too late to campaign for  the values that make Labour, Labour.  It's mission is to represent working people and their families in a broad-based party. So: do that.


Comments (14)

by MJ on July 21, 2014

What would you say to this analysis? (admittedly before the most recent polls that have followed a labour-lite budget and a couple of weeks of negative smear campaigning)

From my simplistic understanding: The left wing market place for votes is much much more open that the right. There is a real credible choice between a strong Green party and the Labour party, and the Mana/Internet alliance will speak to a lot of people. Laila, Hone, Annette and co. have a strong track record of doing what they do and there is a lot of discontent with shifty behaviour by some governments at the moment which they can attract. Possibly even some of that fabled million.

I think the Greens have come out with some really interesting policy and Labour has too. Both have come out brandishing their economic credentials and backed it up.

On the right it's a matter of like it or lump it, so most are sticking with it. 

Labour has repositioned well, with some strong principled policy that it has slowly begun to win the conversation on. 

Surely it's a matter of sticking to your guns: staying on message, communicating really well and knowing that 8 weeks is a long time in politics?


by Kat on July 21, 2014

Who are you trying to kid Josie. Can you prove beyond reasonable doubt there is 'no' media conspiracy against Labour. If not then the current trend gives the impression there is one.

Who actually is this mysterious 'senior Labour MP' who complained about David Cunliffe taking a break. Do we have a name other than Ede or Slater.

The Labour Party mission incompasses more than just the sole representation of working people and their families in a broad-based party. The Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles:

  • All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.
  • The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.
  • All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.
  • Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.
  • All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
  • All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.
  • Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.
  • The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless of race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.


by william blake on July 21, 2014
william blake

Do we have a name?

Mallard, King or Goff, and they will be history soon.

by Win on July 21, 2014

If it's not framing it must be poor journalism. Headlines without proof. Calls for Cunliffe to resign based on this. JK lies etc and nothing happens. Are his strategies too cunning for the witless jounalists? 

No one is blaming that person for the polls. But surely even you can see it doesn't help. Can't you?

Toxic Dotcom party? I didn't know there was such a party. The only one I have heard of is InternetMana and far from being toxic they are clear, level headed and don't play stupid games. At this moment in time they are gathering the interest of the people Labour has forgotten. Some in Labour are so afraid of them and people smell this fear. Perhaps that is what is people are sensing that lack of confidence to understand and work with others on the left.

Are you so afraid of the poor and the  disposed you don't want anything to do with them. Oh that's right the last time I read one of your 'pieces' it was about how your friends couldn't afford to buy a house. And according to your resoning all the left must be lucky enough to have that problem. Some don't have houses at all, or healthy warm housing. There are some rights that people like you in the Labour Party have forgotten about. If there is toxicity anywhere perhpas you need to look at yourself.

So campaigning for values that made Labour Labour. You must be a lot younger than me because the Labour values I hold dear you consider toxic. No wonder I no longer vote Labour.

by Wayne Mapp on July 22, 2014
Wayne Mapp


You are misunderstanding Josie's point about Toxic Dotcom Mana, which is all about middle voters.

I have no doubt KDC has appeal to a certain group, John Armstrong pointed that out in the Herald yesterday. But the appeal is with the traditional hard left (Harre, Bradbury, Minto, Sykes etc). This group is certainly energised. I imagine the party also has appeal to some younger internt voters, (the damm all the establishment group). In total, this could be as many as 4 to 5 % of the vote.

But how much does KDC scare off middle NZ, quite a lot I imagine. The comments section of the Herald shows that, there is a definite swing away from KDC. So long as Labour looks like they are significantly dependent on Internet Mana, and the talk of the Left bloc reinforces this, then a significant group of middle voters who often support Labour will decide that John Key looks like a safer bet for the country.

Labour has to look like a party aiming for at 35 to 40% to look  credible. Being 25 to 30% makes them look like just one part of a left bloc govt, as oppossed to being the major part. So middle voters simply don't know what a left bloc govt would be like. With the Nats in the high 40's, plus perhaps Winston, it is pretty predictable. People basically know that the Nats get to set the basic rules.

And incidentially this is why the Conservatives don't get the rules about heft. At 3 to 5% you do not get to dictate fundamental policy to the major party. Sure you get something, but it is not a lot.

by mikesh on July 22, 2014

Best policy announcement recently is NZ First's intended removal of GST on food and rates. Why oh why did Labour abandon the policy of removal of GST on food.

by MJ on July 22, 2014

So is that the talking point? 

A bit more subtle than some of your mates, but not much different.

If a coalition of Labour and the Greens gets confidence and supply from I-M and NZ First or however the voters know they will get Russel and Metira and some other Green talent, along side Cunliffe, Parker, Robertson, as well as representation for those who have been without a voice for at least 6 years- that's right the Mintos, Sykes, Harawira's and Harres. Just cos you don't them doesn't mean they shouldn't represent their constituency in parliament and just cos the National party say doesn't mean we should be scared.

Who has the PM been talking to overseas and what have we committed to in his talks in the U.S.A?

Some of us remember the NZ First-National-Alliance government, btw.

The left actually has a good supply of talent and isn't so afraid that they have to be kept under corporate discipline in one party. After all, corporates have under invested in new ideas and R & D in our country. Can't let that happen with our politics....!


by mikesh on July 22, 2014


Smart cookie that Winston fella. Knows a good thing when he sees it. And, of course, if Labour wins the election he will easily be able to push it through, since it was once Labour Party policy. And receive the kudos. Another notch to his belt, alongside the gold card. 

by stuart munro on July 23, 2014
stuart munro

What now? You dump the deadwood.

"There is also no point blaming " yup - don't blame them - just sack them.

So most of Labour prefer a life as lazy backbenchers? The supporters need real substantial change - and 'centrism' just means more rightward drift.

Draw a line in the sand or the voters will do it for you. They are now.

by Flat Eric on July 23, 2014
Flat Eric

Why I left NZ:

All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.

by Lee Churchman on July 23, 2014
Lee Churchman

The problem isn't 'right wing framing'. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government

Oh wait, you're serious. Let me laugh even harder.

by Win on July 24, 2014

Wayne Mapp No I didn't misunderstand Josie's comment. I consider myself middle New Zealand and left. So I welcome people on the left who are willing to look for a fairer society for all and to try to make things happen that don't require a huge amount of scarce resources or pollution of the environment. The way she spoke about 'the toxic Dotcom' party deomsntrates clearly her views. If Josie and her thoughts are representative of Labour I want nothing to do with the party. What this ocuntry needs is an injection of new ideas and energy. I mean how far have we gotten with the present lot who have been termed 'Labour lite'. Josie's Labour is like National but without the discipline. I suggest she and her lot join up with National and leave the Labour party to those who want to bring it back to fundamental values. I presume that's why the membership voted for Cunliffe becuase that's what they wanted.

by Win on July 24, 2014

Some of the people voting for toxic InternetMana - my two children one who is 26 has a law and degree in development studies. No interest before in politics. Voted for Labour because parents used to. Other daughter definitely not interested in politics, voted the same way as parents. Been overseas 3 times,  just arrived back from Brazil Argentina, watched the last 2 weeks of the world cup in Brazil, finishing off e-commerce degree this semister. Said 'well they seem to be the only sensible choice really'.

by stuart munro on August 03, 2014
stuart munro

Well I think you've lost the plot Josie.

"First, stop blaming the media." 

We need not accept biased and unprofessional behaviour from journalists - much less from creatures like Hosking.

Fine - so you want a coup - you do your worst in camera, and you keep your inanities under wraps until after the election. But you have not been doing so. Your panel discussions have been full of this 'issue'. You're worth your weight in gold to the right.

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