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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Labour's Leadership Crisis

The Labour caucus is still having trouble with deciding how to deal with this new government.

David Farrar over at Kiwiblog posts how inane the opposition's attacks are regarding the Governments planned fibre roll out strategy to better serve our broadband infrastructure. As was posted on Kiwiblog a wee while ago, they were having a little trouble deciding a)how to attack JK et al and b) how to be an effective opposition. This proves once again that they still have issues (aside from rampant socialism that is :-)).

In the past, all oppositions did just that: the opposite - sometimes whether they agreed with a policy or not. Now, with JK at the helm and a more open and results (rather than politics) orientated government that is bi-partisan in it's approach, the traditional rules no longer apply. As exhibited with Clare Curran's approach to s92a, there is a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, you still have A King and P Goff at the helm who authorise these "attacks" because they know nothing else. Thats how they have been taught. In politics when you resort to blatant untruths, such as we have here, you can tell that the party is failing to get any traction. They tried this in the election campaign (remember Mike Williams' little side trip) and the strategy didn't work then and, in the face of a disciplined government, it won't work now. This is another great example of where leadership is being tested for Labour and is failing. Bring on the likes of Shane Jones who is far more credible, focused and able to adapt while bring the likes of Jacinda Adern up with him. While not being a Labour supporter, New Zealand still needs a credible opposition for things to function well. I hope Phil Goff can get past his own hubris, see this problem for what it is and act upon it or, god forbid, he may end up having to be moved involuntarily.

Make no mistake, Andrew Little, for all his conciliatory words on Q+A two weeks ago about supporting Phil and Annette, is just the bloke to enact change when needed and be prepared to step on toes if he thinks it is in the best interests of his party. He is cognizant of the fact that to achieve a result for your point of view, a conciliatory approach works a lot better than an adversarial one. You only need to look at his style of leadership in the EPMU for that. Many employers have a great respect for Andrew and give him credence where the likes of the old guard such as Ken Douglas, would never have achieved his levels of success for his people.

The whole Labour movement needs to smarten up in this new era. It's spokespeople are still living in the wrong century - or at least their politics are.

One just needs to go to Chris Trotters lament of the demise of that era to realise that they are still beholden to the past rather than to the future.

The Labour Party is in a crisis, no matter how much they deny it. The current leadership just can't get a grip on the reasons why people changed their vote in such numbers and why the National Party retains such support post election. People want results - no matter who initially thought up the idea. National is delivering this. Labour is still stuck in the mindset that if it isn't our idea then it isn't an idea at all.

Phil Goff should remember Plato's Repuplic - that in the absence of any leadership at all, a new leader will emerge - whether he wills it or not.

Hat Tip: DPF, Kiwiblog