David Parker is reported in The Herald this morning with some comments which seem likely to provoke a strong response!
Like a cult and too red – Parker on Labour
As usual the headline is the most dramatic interpretation possible of what Parker actually said:
“At the moment I think we present ourselves in the Labour Party as so … well, some of our imagery is so clearly ‘Labour red’.
“The image we have of ourselves is sometimes really nice, like at the campaign launch. “But on other occasions it almost feels like a cult. And it becomes a barrier to entry.”
He stopped short of saying Labour should ditch the colour red. “I don’t want to over-emphasise that, it’s not the main point. But we have to be more accessible and make people comfortable with us.”
I think Parker’s point about accessibility is perfectly valid, but the use of the word cult in any context was unfortunate. Not that cults seem to be a problem for the NZ voter, which just endorsed a real cult – “Team Key”, and all its dismal blue.
By coincidence, Parker’s pitch to party members arrived in my inbox this morning:
It’s Time for Unifying Change and I Have a Plan – David Parker
I am writing to you to ask you to vote for me as your Leader of the Labour Party.
My experience as a senior Minister and in law, accounting and business gives me the conviction, real life experience and steel in my backbone to do the job.
I am standing because I want to lead Labour forward to once again share the hopes and aspirations of working New Zealanders – to lead a party we can all be proud of and one New Zealanders will be proud to vote for. We must look outwards not inwards.
Right now big structural problems face NZ. Our economy isn’t fair. The problems we face nationally are not going to go away. That why it’s vital we have a strong opposition over the next three years and a united Labour Party. I can stand up to John Key and I have a plan to lead Labour to win in 2017.
- We must unite caucus and the party around our common goal of fair economic outcomes for everyone.
- We must start fresh conversations that focus on the priorities of working New Zealanders.
- We must focus on answering the tough questions in a way that unites the country toward a better future.
- We must live up to our responsibilities so New Zealanders feel proud to vote Labour.
Put simply, I believe in a fair go and a fair share. I have the experience, the smarts and the passion to lead that change. I know how to build a better New Zealand – have no doubt about it.
Help me to deliver fair economic outcomes for all New Zealanders by entrusting me with your vote. Labour people are ambitious and optimistic. We know what we need to do. It’s time to get started.
I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.
I’m reserving my final decision until after I’ve heard the candidates speak, but I think David Parker is a very strong candidate. I’ve known him since before he was an MP, and rate him highly for exactly the same reasons as Mike Smith – experience, values, intelligence, honesty, determination, and yes a quiet wit that I hope NZ gets to see more of.