Chris Trotter invented the myth of the so-called ‘Waitakere Man’, the former Labour voter who has set up his own business and now doesn’t vote Labour because he thinks it doesn’t get what people like him need – he fumes over DPB mums while trying to do his GST payments at the dinner table in the evening. It assumes Labour has lost voters because we’re all contractors or in roles where we could be contractors, and don’t need their union-based labour policies and benefit system but want simpler rules for small business. No factory or retail workers in this model.
It’s been picked up by the Paganis – they don’t see any harm in casualisation because they imagine it being just like their contracting roles which give them flexibility they value and the focus of their politics is winning back Waitakere Man’ – but I was pretty surprised to see Gordon Campbell repeat this line too. I guess that shows the pervasiveness of myth, and the tendency for people to believe that they are normal – all these pundits are contractors or self-employed, so they start to think everyone is.
But it’s not true. Self-employment isn’t growing. It’s shrinking proportionally.
Guess Labour’s pundits will have to look elsewhere to explain why the party has lost 300,000 votes in six years.
*(PS. If you haven’t read Campbell’s interview of Shearer yet, you should. I don’t know what to say about it. It’s just a disaster)