Observation from the sideline

Written By: - Date published: 9:42 am, July 9th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Some worthwhile questions raised by Vernon Small in today’s Dom Post:

Eight months ago to the day Labour awoke to find itself out of power for the first time this century….Now, the cliched wisdom is that an electoral trouncing prescribes that an opposition take its medicine, learn its lessons, stay focused and constructive, avoid being overly negative and keep its policy powder dry.

But there is a growing unease among some grey heads in the party that things are all a bit too pragmatic; out-Clarking Clark. If vision was hard to articulate in Government, it is crucial in opposition.

There is also a growing fear the party is missing the boat in the economic crisis; that it is so extraordinary and the rise in joblessness and the need for skills training is so core to Labour that it should move beyond criticism to solutions.

As one Labour activist said, “we know unemployment is up and National is not doing enough . . . but it would be nice to know someone has some ideas”.

And farewell to Mike Smith. With the combination of new blood and experienced heads the opportunity has never burned brighter for Labour to pick up the challenge and take the fight to National .

12 comments on “Observation from the sideline”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Some Labour version of the “Green New Deal” should have been done in my opinion.

    It’s not too late though – it seems like Australia may be coming out of the recession fairly soon due to their significant stimulus package. If things start picking up there, but not here, then that should open a pretty good opportunity for Labour.

  2. ieuan 2

    Oh come on, what a load of navel gazing shit.

    People don’t vote for a party because they like their ‘vision’.

    Please someone point out to me what National’s ‘vision’ was going into the last election??

    People vote for a party because they want a new bunch of people in charge and when they are tired of that mob they’ll kick them out and give the other lot a chance.

    The best Labour can do is look fresh, keen and ready and when National make enough mistakes Labour will be back in.

  3. Tom Semmens 3

    It is a bit early to be articulating a policy vision. It is still well over two years until the next election.

    • Daveo 3.1

      I don’t think it’s about detailed policy, it’s as basic as having a clear direction and strategy. Goff’s office have no idea what they’re doing at the moment, and neither does New Zealand.

      • jarbury 3.1.1

        I agree with that one. A clear alternative strategy to National is needed.

        This could be based around two clear issues:
        – Supporting being a world-leader in climate change talks, not the “how little can we get away with” approach of National.
        – Supporting a clear vision about how to pull NZ out of the recession and set us up to be economically successful in the future.

        Hmmm… sounds like the Green New Deal. My bad.

    • I’d at least like to know what Labour stands for something other than “power at all costs” which is where they seemed to end up last year.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    I’d prefer Labour to take a long term view, avoid gimmicky quick fix solutions, which the government seems to prefer. I’d strongly concentrate on training, skills, retaining manufacturing, also climate change, how to grow without causing more environmental problems etc which will be the big issues over the next ten years.

    These issues are unlikely to help much in the polls short term but they will go a long way to restoring Labour’s credibility as a progressive force for change as opposed to the short term cynical, negativity of National and ACT.

    If you want to look at the perfect campaign for the times you only need to look at the considered, no fuss approach of Obama last year.

  5. toad 5

    ieuan said: Please someone point out to me what National’s ‘vision’ was going into the last election??

    Tax cuts and rolling back the “nanny state”.

    And it eventually worked, even though they had to harp on about it for 3 election cycles to sell it

  6. Craig Glen Eden 6

    Labour does not and should not put anything much forward at this time in the form of policy.
    Its a bit rich for Journos to being saying that Labour should be coming forward with policy and ideas when only a few weeks ago they were infatuated with Johns smile and enthusiasm for the Nations future.Some actually said in articles that Labour should remember that they lost at the last election, as if they had no right to be making any contrary view public.

    So whats changed? Why now does Labour have to go from we don’t want to listen to you lot, to wheres your policy. Why is Nationals actual lack of policy and activity, Labours problem.
    The Journalists should be asking what is National and Smiley Key going to do to help GROW THE PIE. The media had decided it was time for Helen grad to go? They were the ones who championed Key.
    Key has to convince the public that he and National can govern, Labour only has to show that he/National is poor at Governing. In 12 months time Labour and the Greens can show a brighter way forward. The best thing that Labour and the Greens can do at this time is to start working on that relationship now.

    • The Voice of Reason 6.1

      “So whats changed?”

      What’s changed is the media honeymoon’s over and the MSM are looking at the alternatives. First stop: Labour.

      As the only other party capable of forming a government, it’s entirely appropriate that the MSM will ask what their ‘vision’ is. Equally, Labour might see it as appropriate to sit back for a while and see how bad things get under Mr Floppy, then put up policies that present clear alternatives that the voting public are more likely to support.

      By the time the next election is due, the major concern in NZ is going to be jobs. And maybe jobs, too. Or possibly jobs. The option of cycling in a Ronald MacDonald suit to the nearest dole office isn’t going to encourage people to give the Nats their vote a second time. So Labour will likely be presenting a slate of campaign ideas about bringing back the good times.

      And Key can piss of to Hawaii, where he is clearly happiest anyway.

  7. jason 7

    Toad said,

    Tax cuts and rolling back the “nanny state’.

    I always say to people who voted for the Nattys “Oh well, time for a change.” Always gets them salivating.

  8. Don’t hold your breath chaps – it seems as though the honeymoon isn’t over after all 🙂

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2009/4398/

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