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Pagani dead wrong

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, April 19th, 2011 - 66 comments
Categories: election 2011, inoculation, labour - Tags:

Former senior Labour party strategist John Pagani has written an extraordinary blog post where he says Labour ought to cuddle up to National because its policies are so popular and then, somehow, convince people to vote Labour for some reason. If this has been Labour’s strategy for the past few years, it explains a lot.

There’s only one time in politics that it makes sense to ape your opponents’ policies and keep quiet about your true values – when your values are unpopular. This was true of National in 2002 when a bland campaign tried and failed to limit the damage. And in 2008, when National was also trying to limit damage but this time to its commanding lead. National’s policy of inoculation was about reassuring people that a Key government would just be Labour with the tax cut cherry on the top, handed to them by a funny clown (remember, National lost 10% during the final five months of that race, too).

Are we in that situation now? Does National have an overwhelmingly popular policy record like Labour did in 2002 and (to a lesser extent) in 2008?

Supercity
Mining on Schedule 4
Night classes
GST
Ecan
CERRA
CERA
National standards
Fire at will
ECE cuts
Asset sales

Nope. All unpopular to varying degrees. What other big things has National done? Not a hell of a lot. Which is why the whole ‘smile and wave’ meme works because Key’s government is ‘do nothing’ in terms of what people want it to do. And why when you ask what Key has actually done that is so great you get a blank stare.

Pagani says the public are “waiting for Labour to demonstrate it genuinely understands their needs – and that means endorsing more of what National is doing – the things the voting public approves of” but when you look at polls on the policies themselves they’ve always been unpopular. The reason why National can remain popular while doing unpopular things is that there appears to be no alternative.

We see Goff sniping at what the government does but never having any alternative policy, which makes it look like he’s complaining for its own sake. The lack of any real idea of what Labour would do in government makes it look like they don’t really want the job. Pagani’s strategy is more of the same.

People want an alternative. Look at the Roy Morgan Confidence in Government poll. Down from net 55% to net 25%. That’s only just above where it was when Labour was coming to the end of its third term – if there was an alternative, National’s party support would match. Read the vitriol heaped on Key and National in these Stuff comments on price rises. Or read this from Darien Fention on Red Alert:

“Our families aren’t eating”. That’s what I’ve been hearing today – not in the parts of Auckland where I know families have been struggling under this government for some time, but in the relatively affluent and true blue areas of Warkworth and Orewa.

I heard a lot of despair from people today. Steep increases in the prices of necessities, such as food and fuel, are taking their toll, and people say it’s been all downhill since the GST increases. Then today’s news of a 4.5% increase in inflation mean things are going to continue get worse, not better.

It’s no wonder. Vegetable prices have risen by 12.1 percent in the past year, milk, cheese and eggs by 8.8 percent, petrol by 17.1 percent, and electricity by 6.0 percent. Wages, for those who have jobs, have stood still.

There’s resentment there too about the government’s tax cuts for the better off, while meantime life has gotten tougher for those on low and middle incomes. Even in these towns, more families are resorting to food parcels for support.

I was surprised by the depth of feeling and despair I encountered today.

It worried me too.

The government has no plan, and it’s showing. Everywhere.

What these people need isn’t a Labour that doesn’t know what it stands for and tries to spend as much time in National’s shadow as possible. They need the Labour party that was established to fight for them.

In the end, I can’t go past Danyl’s reply to Pagani at Dim-post:

New Zealand is a centre-left country so people liked Labour’s policies. To get elected National HAD to embrace those policies, and they created a point of difference between themselves and Labour by advancing popular policies of their own: ie tax cuts, and by framing a negative narrative around the actual government (Helengrad, Nanny State etc) so that by the election people felt that when they voted National they got a really great deal. They got rid of Labour – who they no longer liked, kept their policies – which they liked, and got some nice new policies (sort of).

Pagani’s strategy – which Labour appears to be following – is to keep almost all of the members of the unpopular government the public was glad to get rid of, endorse National’s policies which are mostly horrible failures, and promote no substantial policy of their own. This has worked about as well as you’d expect it to.

66 comments on “Pagani dead wrong”

  1. ron 1

    I think we need to add to that list of policy positions a list of attacks on the Tories’ corruption and lies.
    Labour has been far too soft on the various Tory transgressions and should constantly talk about Hide’s travel rorts, English’s lies about his accommodation, SCF, Mediaworks and Key’s lies about just about everything.
     

  2. Bored 2

    I fear for Labour and our future. I hear no volume of alternative policy, nothing that resembles a plan. Until this revelation comes to labour from within they are dead ducks.

    • uke 2.1

      Seconded.

      Especially as National is about to enact more irreversible, radical changes to NZ society and the economy, that will make social democracy that much harder to work.

      But I don’t think its all Labour’s fault. Unfortunately, going by the polls, it would seem most NZ voters are besotted with the consumerist “progress” meme that is sending us all down the tubes. They’re going to vote for the party that best conjures up those Remuera mansion/SUV/flat-screen TV/jet-ski castles in the sky.

    • Shane Gallagher 2.2

      You are right. There is no leadership and no vision. 

      But what really bothers me is that there are no PRINCIPLES. If Labour had a set of principles (eg. social justice, economic equality, democracy – radical things like that) then instead of running around like a bunch of headless chickens with no vision for the next government they could actually fall back on their principles and formulate policy based on them.

      I suppose that is why they keep “borrowing” old Green policies…

      BTW what do all those Labour MPs do during the day?

  3. Lew 3

    Trolls claiming this is some sort of clever misdirection strategy to cover up the fact that ‘The Standard’ is actually a mid-level staffer in the Goffice in 5 … 4… 3… 

    L

    • infused 3.1

      You will find we really don’t care. It was funny when Labour was actually a threat, now it’s just sad.

      Labour almost needs to be put down, to put you out of your misery.

      • vidiot 3.1.1

        Madness sum up Labour so well…

         
        An insolent speck of youth
        Being taken for a walk
        So tightly by the ear
        That he can hardly talk

        Yesterday’s men hang to today
        To sing in the old-fashioned way
        It must get better in the long run
        Has to get better in the long run
         
        Captcha: Yesterdays
         
        Personally, I think it’s time for a new centrist/left party – a good clean out of ‘Yesterdays Men’ and build a team that has some vision.

  4. M 4

    …says Labour ought to cuddle up to National because its policies are so popular and then, somehow, convince people to vote Labour for some reason.

    Oh really? They would be insane and if it’s a bait and switch strategy I don’t think that will work either.

    Labour need to issue policy pamphlets that are succinct and easily understood by the public who in the main don’t seem to be overly interested in investigating much of anything.

    For starters, if people could see things like apprenticeship numbers published, taxation reform laid out in broad income bands plus plans for future transport and energy needs being promoted then they may have an inkling of who has their best interests at heart.

    I would love to see GST come off food, and as for arguments about complexity, who cares? There are multiple consumption tax rates in Scandinavian countries and their economies haven’t imploded – think of the employment opportunites as well as having the populace being able to afford the basics.

  5. higherstandard 5

    Did Pagani actually get paid a salary for providing this kind of advice, or was he kept on to keep him off the streets ?

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Seems to me that National are sleep-walking to victory while Labour are sleep-walking to defeat.

    • Bored 6.1

      Hey TS, comment 6 zillion and finally a spot on observation. Well done, buy yourself a coffee, pat on the back.

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        Heh. Thanks. 🙂

        It seems to me that the reason National are sleep-walking to victory is because Labour are sleep-walking to defeat.

        • swordfish 6.1.1.1

          But hang on a minute. Didn’t I make the very same Labour are sleepwalking to defeat comment on Chris Trotter’s ‘Bowalley Road’ site about a week or two back ? (using my other nom-de-plume: Markus)

          “Coincidence”, tsmithfield ?, or just some “ghastly misunderstanding” ?

  7. Matthew Hooton 7

    John is certainly wrong and you are certainly right.
    I’ve seen this nonsense before.
    In 2000, Jenny Shipley told her caucus not to be afraid to kiss Labour.
    In 2002, Bill English tried to make National more like Labour.
    It took Don Brash to throw out some conservative red meat to restore National’s poll ratings.
    And then John Key took it back to the centre.
    You have to be politicians before you can be statesmen.
    First restore your base, then move to the centre to get the remaining votes you need to be elected.
    Labour needs to find its Don Brash who can restore its base.  I think Mallard would be best for that.  Or perhaps Little (who I don’t rate, but a lot of Labour people do, which is more important than what I think.)

    • The Voice of Reason 7.1

      Nice history lesson there Matthew. It’s a similar story across the ditch, where Labor chewed through several leaders who alternated between being Lib lite and more tradiional left positioning, before striking a happy medium with Kevin Rudd. Each change of tack costs votes from different sectors, till they finally found someone who polled well across all the sectors. Me, I’d leave the red neck posturing to Winston and start working on policies that will get South Auckland workers interested enough to vote. If Labour strike a chord there, it will echo around the country and lift the vote in every electorate.

      Whats your problem with Little, btw? I would have thought you’d approve of his business acumen, wide networks and firm leadership style.

    • Olwyn 7.2

      Your claim seems a little steep where Jenny Shipley is concerned: as I remember it, she was encouraged to roll Jim Bolger in large part because she was deemed more likely to adhere faithfully to the right wing prescriptions of the time than he was. What is more she provoked a rift in NZ first over asset sales for which she required their support. Her being nice to Mrs Kapu in exchange for a vote hardly counts as a move toward the centre.

  8. Shane Gallagher 8

    That is the second time this year I have agreed with you Matthew. Strange days. 🙂

  9. Olwyn 9

    Putting to one side the questionable nature of such strategies to begin with,  Pagani seems to completely overlook the context in which that strategy worked for National, and the time, money and effort involved. Firstly, Clark’s government was in fact a popular government for the greater part of nine years, and not only that Helen Clark retains a lot of fans although she has not been in politics for more than two years – note how she continues to feature in the preferred prime minister polls.  Terrified of her gaining yet another term, the right pulled out all the stops to successfully white ant her popularity during her final term. Secondly, Key followed in the footsteps of right wing purist Brash, who had proved unsaleable. By promoting Key as Labour-lite they were able to “show” that National was “listening” to the people. An equivalent situation from the left might be one in which Matt Mccarten had been parachuted in to lead the Labour Party to a narrow defeat, and to subsequently get replaced by a more centrist leader. Labour does not have the resources to white-ant Key as the right did to Clark, nor does it have a context in which imitating Key would show a meaningful or welcome change in position. You are right. The man is popular, in a film star kind of way. His policies are not. The only way to gain traction is to attack the policies.
     

  10. Tom Gould 10

    @ Shane, don’t fall into Matthew’s obvious trap. He is spinning 24/7 for his Tory bosses, and convincing Labour to turn hard left is the objective, thus abandoning the centre to National for the next generation. Don’t be fooled. Matthew is just earning his living, I guess. But let’s not think for a moment that he’s objective or fair minded.

    • ianmac 10.1

      Yes Tom. Treat Matthew’s words with scepticism. Beware of Greeks…. and all that. The white-anting of blogsites is still inhabited by the bigbruvver type of abuse. But more subtle is the “I am on your side and agree with you that….. ”
      Of course Matthew is at least using his own name – I think. But……

      • ChrisH 10.1.1

        It’s rare that I agree with Matthew Hooton but this time he’s right (logically I mean). I’ve heard this trope “you have to be politicians before you can be statesman” before.

    • Shane Gallagher 10.2

      Fair enough… 🙂  but Labour wouldn’t have to become hard left – just vaguely left, as opposed to vaguely…

  11. RedLogix 11

    Amazing from such an influential Labour insider. A few days ago I was talking with a career public servant and he made the point that he found the Wellington beltway to be awfully isolated from the rest of New Zealand.
     
    The Beehive is in a bubble, surrounded by more layers of bubbles called Ministries, which sit inside yet another bubble which is the govt town called Wellington.  It was one reason he said why he was happy to commute a fair distance each day, just to get outside of it on a regular basis.
     
    This blog post from Paganini is simply an eloquent testament to exactly how out of touch both the National and Labour hierarchy have become.

    • Indeed, and illustrated again (as if we needed another reminder) by Fenton’s lame post. Yeah we get that things are bad under National, nyah nyah nyah. But we don’t give a toss about politics, we’d prefer lunch. Now what are you going to do to make sure we can afford it?

      “The government don’t have a plan” from an Opposition that doesn’t have a plan is just… pathetic.

      BTW, Danyl’s explanation of the last election is about the single best piece of analysis I’ve seen of any election, ever. Accuracy + brevity. Perfect.

  12. Anne 12

    Olwyn’s post is spot on, but Labour have to start ramming their own policies home – starting now. Why? Because this election cannot follow the normal pattern ie. start releasing policy no sooner than 3 months before an election. The RWC is the spanner in the works. From August onwards, the obsessed rugby fans’ thoughts (most of the country but not me) will be on Rugby and not politics. Leave it until after the damm thing is over (oh bliss) will be way too late.

     

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      They need a circuit breaker first. they need to smash down the fourth wall, drag the narrative out into the light and kill it with fire.

      this man knows how:

      http://edmuzik.tumblr.com/post/4716085472/goff-2-0

      Worth a crack I reckon.

      • Peter 12.1.1

        Walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff this winter and find out what is going down, that would be jumping the shark. Better than taking a daily beating in WGN.

      • ChrisH 12.1.2

        The ‘Back of the Y’ strategy. To make it convincing Goff would have to drink most of a bottle of vodka and f*** it up totally, including falling in and getting one leg bitten off by the sharks (much as suggested below) . That would generate tons of publicity.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Jumping a shark? Thats a fairly desperate strategy.

    I think from Labour’s perspective the best outcome would be for Goff to miss the ramp at the other end and get eaten by the shark. At least this would force the leadership change that no-one seems to have the balls to make at the moment. 🙂

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    Labour is about “who you are”, national “who you want to be” said high profile blogger annonymous at “Bowalley Rd” a day or two ago. Well aspiration doesn’t fill the gas tank or lifes other material demands but maybe enables some minds to carry on believing akin to munching coca leaves at high altitude. 

    There are bloody minded change voters for whom it will be too soon to admit they were wrong voting for Shonkey. TV3 is definitely gunning for Labour since that nice little donation to Media Works. The dirty filthy tories want this one bad. Labour needs to start demonstrating the same.

    The mainstream these days is a collection of a hundred niches. Tatoos, dreads, baldhead, rural IT, trad sheepshagger, concerned under 25, nihilist under 25 and so on, difficult territory for political parties but it can be done as the ‘Len slide’ and Mt Albert by election demonstrated.

    Quakechurch, national standards, inflation and rising unemployment will dent the torys. Ultimately South Auckland does need to be turned out as VOTR says plus some more people need to become participants rather than keyboard warriors, commentators and tory enablers. Diving for a non existent center will just make things worse.

  15. Labour should make a strong climate and environment policy linked to an economic plan.
     
    If labour’s plan is to copy neoliberal National, then it is clear why they aren’t getting much votes.

  16. infused 16

    You also need to read the actual article

    “where he says Labour ought to cuddle up to National”

    It doesn’t say that at all.

    • Bill 16.1

      “If anything, Labour should be pursuing more of a consensus approach, so that it can own more of the right direction”
       
      Kind of reads as “cuddle up to National” Dunnit?
       
      My only complaint about Eddie’s post is that it didn’t come with a puke bucket warning. Hell of a mess in these here parts.

      edit. Just noticed the mealy mouthed one has posted this on response to this here thread

      http://johnpagani.posterous.com/

  17. Morrissey 17

    Thanks to the genius of Labour Party strategists like John Pagani, this government can rest easy.

  18. National’s strength is solely Brand Key. Once that is no longer an advantage, National will be dog tucker. They know this. Labour knows this.
    But it has been seen to be too keen to dish the dirt on John. The public see Labour’s investigations into him as muck-raking and gutter politics, even if that is not totally the case.
    The only way they can attack the Prime Minister is by going after his Ministers, one by one, and then asking why the PM stood by and tolerated such behaviour from X for length of time X.
    And wait for the kinghit scandal – one that can’t be smiled away.
    And also better promote a Labour government, don’t let Key reopen the door to TINA. Have some new, perhaps even controversial policies that play to the base to boost the turnout.

    • Roger 18.1

      The problem with going after his ministers is that whenever there is any negative press, John Key pushes his ministers into the spotlight and he is nowhere to be seen. Another option is to go straight for the jugular and attack Key. Address a larger amount of questions for oral answer towards himself and Bill English. Hammer hard on issues that he has to front directly himself even if they are less important than other problems that his ministers can front. Reframe his responses and actions in a way that damages the brand. We can see the start of this in his responses to questions about the BMW purchase when he states that it is only his responsibility if his ministry informs him (and they did, so he’s a shameless liar who doesn’t take responsibility). During the campaign, Labour candidates could follow Key around and while he is getting photo ops, the Labour candidate goes and helps people in the same town or does something more useful. Then say, while John Key was here ignoring this problem…..

  19. Lats 19

    A number of people I have spoken to are of the opinion that Labour have pretty much already accepted defeat, and are just biding their time to roll Goff after the election. I really hope that isn’t the case, because there are a lot of people in this country who feel disenfranchised by National. It saddens me that in a time where so many are suffering the architect of their hardship (Key) is still polling well above his opposition. Why? Is it simply that our populace have been sucked in by the populist strategy of the Nats? Is a smile and wave by Key really enough to excuse the dire economic situation we find ourselves in?

    Or does it come down to the Labour leadership? If Goff isn’t able to find some decent traction in the media now, and start to rebuild some support for the party, then maybe it would be better to replace him. It looks to me that Little is positioning himself for a power grab post election, either as leader himself, or as deputy and puppet master. Perhaps sooner rather than later might be the go.

    As others here have said above it would be great to see Labour re-engage with its traditional left support base and then make a play for the centre. All the country needs is a genuine viable alternative with real vision and National is gone. Currently, even if Labour have that, they’re not being effective in communicating it

  20. PeteG 20

    Currently, even if Labour have that, they’re not being effective in communicating it

    What they are communicating are soundbites portraying a narrow ideological view targetting possible voter groups.
     
    No sign of a realistic vision for the whole country.

    • The Voice of Reason 20.1

      Gosh, Pete, I wonder if they are leaving the campaign policies till the campaign actually starts? You know, sort of testing the waters with a few soundbites, hoping the Nats will arrogantly think they can just sleepwalk to victory, then, KAPOW!, coming out with a few vote winners a month or so out from polling day. Worked for Helen Clark in 05, aye?

      A sign that this might be happening would be Tory trolls so relaxed about their own chances that they start giving Labour advice on leftie political blogs. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if that starts to happen.

      • PeteG 20.1.1

        Gosh, VoR, I wonder if that’s leaving it a bit late to try and claw themselves up from 30%-ish.
         
        How will they launch their final month solution?
        “Our vagueness and incompetence to date was just a cunning ruse. We were just kidding. Now just believe we are good enough after all” – ??

        • The Voice of Reason 20.1.1.1

          Nope, not too late at all, pete. The last month is where it gets real for voters, so that’s where the policies need to be put out there for best effect. As you know, anything short of an outright Nat majority is a problem for Key, given that ACT and Dunne may not be back, so if Labour can pick up a high 30’s vote on the back of good policies, than all bets are off.

          Late swings are a fact of life in politics generally and in NZ there always seems to be a narrowing of the gap in the last few weeks before the poll(2002 excepted). The upside for Labour is that the Nats vote will obviously be less than current polls indicate and any bleed of the Labour vote is likely to go to potential coalition partners the Greens or NZF. So even at 30ish%, Labour would still be the driver of a potential coalition and at 35% plus, comfortably across the line.

          The key to victory for the Nats is Key. The key to victory for Labour is policy.

          • Lew 20.1.1.1.1

            The key to winning elections is never policy. The key to good government is good policy, but you only get to do that once you win elections. It’s not a wonk quiz where you win by knowing who was the Minister of Fisheries in 1943; it’s a popularity contest. Once you win that, you can wonk out to your heart’s content.

            Car analogy time. The relationship between a campaign strategist and a policy strategist is like the relationship between a designer and an engineer. Nobody sane would let the designer build the car — it’d be made of fibreglass and chrome and leather and smoked glass and would blow up well before the redline. And why the hell would you let an engineer design a car? Despite being ruthlessly functional and efficient, nobody would buy it because the controls would feel weird, it would be uncomfortable and would only come in black.
            L

            • Bored 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Lew , be careful what you wish for. I recall a silver tongued rather amicable tub of lard who was brought in by Labour to fight an evil dwarf with pretensions of grandeur. He won, his strategists were very good, his timing perfect, his oratory spot on. The policy wonks then delivered to us from behind this smokescreen a most evil troll and a poisonous retinue of slugs and spiders. From this Labour have never fully recovered despite having a witch who appeared wicked but who had a heart of gold.

          • PeteG 20.1.1.1.2

            I agree that some closing up is likely – regardless of what Labour manage to achieve, and even if National manage reasonably well up to the election, I don’t think the electorate will want to give them an absolute majority.

            Labour would still be the driver of a potential coalition and at 35% plus

            Do you think the electorate would be happy to see the government led with 35%-ish support? It was that sort of minority support that really got up people’s noses about FPP. I know MMP with coalitions is different, but I question the assumption that the underpolling main party can just form a coalition. I thought there was a general understanding first dibs went to the highest polling party. If that was overidden I think there would be a lot of grumpy voters.

            The key to victory for the Nats is Key.

            I’m not sure about that. Key looks like staying anyway, but if for some reason he dropped out I think National support would hold up to an extent at least.

            At least as important will be how the economy looks in six months. If there are positive signs of recovery the Nats will be hard to beat.

            The key to victory for Labour is policy.

            I don’t agree. Voters will be reluctant to grasp a silk purse full of great policies if it is handled by a rat’s tail. And I don’t know if Labour can de-bubble enough to have policies that appeal widely enough anyway.
             
            Goff doesn’t look like a potential prime minister. Labour as a whole don’t look like government material. That could be their key to defeat.
             

          • Bright Red 20.1.1.1.3

            “there always seems to be a narrowing of the gap in the last few weeks before the poll(2002 excepted)”
            Don’t forget that Labour went from polling mid 50s down to high 30s before recovering to 41% during the 2002 campaign. Although everyone was busy writing off National under English, there was a whisker of a chance of a Nat/NZF/UF coalition when UF shot from literally nothing to nearly 10% and NZF went from below 5% to over 10%.
            That all happened in the space of a month.
            captcha: crashes

          • Deadly_NZ 20.1.1.1.4

            The thing about polls is this,  They only use about 1000 or so people so it must be people with landlines, and would they make toll calls or just local numbers, or do they just go out on the street and just grab a thousand or so ??

  21. Colonial Viper 21

    Shit bro, doesn’t Pagani know that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything?
     
    The public want a good all out scrap over the future of NZ and Labour is not giving them one. Yet.  That’s why more and more people who are looking for real leadership – are having to turn to Winston Peters etc.
     
    Bring back a no-holds barred vision of NZ as a bastion of people first social democracy.
     
    And just look at how well the Democrats (and the US) have done cuddling up to the Republicans, Mr Pagani.
     
    A total anti-democratic disaster.

  22. randal 22

    at the moment the electorate is befuddled and bemused.
    every day they see john key in the social pages and at night on teevee and nothing changes except for the worst, i.e. inflation.
    the gnats know that their party is going to tank at the election.
    dunnycan garenr showed off the new cabinet on teeveethreee last night.
    better than the current crop of mountebanks and popinjays sitting at the top table for nationull at the moment.
    new zealand needs some grunt and it aint gonna come from all the tories witheir snouts in the trough.

  23. gobsmacked 23

    According to Audrey Young in the Herald, John Pagani was appointed as Goff’s (Labour’s) communications director in August 2009. He left this job in April 2011.

    In those twenty months, how many examples can you recall, of effective “communications” by Goff/Labour? What has cut through, struck a chord, made an impact? Can you, for example, think of a single phrase, that Goff has used, a quote that entered the political language and became a “water cooler” talking point? Something that reached beyond blogs and Beltway?

    I cannot think of any.

    Damien O’Connor said “gaggle of gays”. It has now entered popular culture (unfortunately). Labour’s director of communications couldn’t achieve that much, not even once, in nearly two years.

    So why on earth should anybody listen to him now?

    • Roger 23.1

      Perhaps this is why Goff and his adviser have parted company. It is nice to see that one of the problems Labour has is ineffectual advice and that John Pagani was willing to present that same advice for the public to see. Hopefully now that the Labour party have seen the error of their ways, they will start to oppose effectively.

  24. handle 24

    “Which is why the whole ‘smile and wave’ meme works because Key’s government is ‘do nothing’ in terms of what people want it to do.”

    Not this one again. No, it doesn’t “work” – check the polls, you fool. Voters just hear you saying that the government is doing nasty things but simultaneously that they are doing nothing.

    Cancelling itself out has been a hallmark of this feeble Labour ‘opposition’. With advice like yours and Pagani’s it is easy to see why.

  25. One well may ask if these polls are true.I find it very hard to believe .All I hear from people is that they are worried stiff about how they will manage. Unemployment soaring , inflation climbing and crime up .
      What I ask is, just who is asked in these polls. The facts are I  have been involved in  politics for over 60yrs not once ever have I been involved in a  gallop poll. Then let us remember TV3 have just had a nice bonus from   this  government via the taxpayer. Their news reports have an obvious bias . Garner is unable to conceal his dislike of Labour and Goff. This must give  some advatage to the Nats . The poll that counts is the real poll. Remember policies have not yet been made public ,when they are well then lets see what the result is. Until,then lets us Lefties and Labourites defend and support our own . The enemy is the political
    Right . The born to  rules and the nasties and greedies ie National/Act .

    • Lew 25.1

      Perfectly likely that this poll is a rogue, but in every poll this term Labour has been well under 40%. They’re consistently there or threabouts the eventual election results.

      There’s a term for disbelieving evidence because it doesn’t feel right, and that’s ‘self-delusion’.

      L

      • ak 25.1.1

        There’s also heavy evidence of the “poll-effect”, whereby polls themselves influence subsequent polls and eventual voting patterns.  Which provides an attractive incentive for skewing polls if you’re rich and powerful and your motto just happens to be “whatever it takes”……

        • PeteG 25.1.1.1

          The chances of a person or party skewing one poll is slight, and the chances of skewing all polls is major conspiracy theory territory.
           
          Poll-effect is a real issue, I’m sure poll results influence opinion, subsequent polls, and voting, especially when tactical voting is involved.

          • Colonial Viper 25.1.1.1.1

            and the chances of skewing all polls is major conspiracy theory territory.
             

            apart from things like using landlines to do your polling, which all major polls do, and that’s real not some theory.

            • Lew 25.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah, and Hooton’s anecdata on NatRad Monday notwithstanding, Pew Research (re 2010 mid-terms) found a 6-point skew in favour of the Republican party in landline-only polls (vs those which included cellphones). Sure, it’s the US — but anyoen wanting to argue it’s not the same here has to justify that claim a bit more robustly than Hooton has.

              L

          • jimmy 25.1.1.1.2

            Hollow Men might interest you

  26. neoleftie 26

    Surely politics is these times is basically about public perception of that said party. The actaulity at a fundamental level is more about spin and controlling that public perception that presenting the true ideology of the party. Its more a game of shadows, mirrors and ‘taking the double peaked centre’ of the electorate. The most honest and ‘pure’ party are the greens and they are now marginalised in the electrorate at around 6-8% of support.
    Our Belt way man Pagani is simply saying that at the perception game the tories under key’s faction have beaten the labour right wing. The whole plan for the last few years was let the double now triple recession cause too many negitives for the nats to gain any worthwhile traction. History would suggest that in bas times the govt over a few terms dip dramatically in support as the centre suffer. Pagani is simply stating that the swing or switch voters perception of labour is exactly as stated by our westcoaster ” a gaggle of gays and unionists” – Labour in its present form is both weak and has lost touch with both its core support and more critically the dynamically moving centre.
    Time to energise the activists in a long tern manner and limit the party elites
     
     
     

  27. jarbury 27

    I thought Pagani’s comments made a fair bit of sense at first read. However, I think Danyl has hit the nail on the head. There’s nothing wrong, in general, with the policies that the last Labour government had – with a testament to that being the fact that National needed to embrace most of those policies to win the 2008 election.
    What people got sick of was the same Labour personnel. No wonder Labour is unpopular: it still has roughly the same personnel and can’t really attack the policies that it found itself generally supporting in the previous government.
    Just look at how successful Len Brown was in the Super City election. Very much centre-left policies, but with a sensible rates policy and a fresh face. Worked wonders.

    • Herodotus 27.1

      There’s nothing wrong, in general, with the policies that the last Labour government had – Then why is NZ in the crap. The GDP growth that Lab left was attributable to net immigration of over 0.75% contributing to 1/2 of our growth obver the last decade. A liability of $10+b for leaky homes, and a huge debt that NZ has with the rest of the world, and little ability under current economic policy being followed by Nat and/or Lab. Remember at the 08 election the Res Bank was guessing deficits for the majority of the next decade
      “…with a sensible rates policy..” I just love a 4.9% increase, 10% above inflation.
      I take it your post is under Humour. If you are being serious what was the policies that you consider nothing wrong with, becasue it was not the direction that was being chartered for our economic future ??

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