Claire Trevett writing in “Labour’s election review: What went wrong”
Labour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems ranging from a failure to unite behind former leader David Cunliffe to resourcing and confusion over its “Vote Positive” slogan.
The panel of four reported back to Labour’s Council at the weekend on the first part of its three-part review – a look into the election campaign.
The party will not release review findings until all three parts are completed, expected in February.
One of the review team, Bryan Gould, said the panel’s terms of reference had included the leadership of Mr Cunliffe and while there were mixed views on some issues, the main problem was a failure to unite behind the leader.
Unfortunately the sense of conflict going on in the caucus was clearly felt with the late, poorly clumped, and often badly framed policy releases. Rather than having a smooth flow of coherent policy up to and through the election period, it felt like it was coming through only when caucus finally stopped worrying the toy.
In other words without the time to thoroughly frame the policy for the release to the media and public. At least that was how it seemed to me in my new worked ‘media’ position.
A lot of it was pretty good policy. But it is always a bit scary the policy and/or speech hasn’t made it to the website until hours afterwards (I usually prefer using public sources). Or when you ask for a transcript of a speech and people start worrying which revision actually made it to the podium.
How you present to the public is at least as important as actually doing a policy. That phase takes weeks. Having one presented to me with traces of dribble from a caucus tug of war doesn’t fill me with confidence that I have the right picture.
Vote positive. Well it certainly wasn’t a great message. It just reeked of some kind of compromise and no clear message. The Vote Positive message got hidden behind a welter of undeserved innuendo when Dirty Politics got released.
Hopefully through the leadership campaign, the candidates and many of the MPs will have gotten the messages that if they want to win the treasury benches then they have to both learn to work together and be seen to work together. And not just on a billboard…