Suck it Up

Kerre Woodham writes up a storm in the HoS this morning finishing up by telling Labour to suck it up.

It’s never nice being on the losing team. It’s even worse when you have to wait years for a rematch (three if you’re the government opposition – four if you’re the All Blacks).

The best thing to do if you’re on a team that’s been trounced is to keep your head down, work on your selection process and devise a strategy that will see you reclaim the spoils that you believe are rightfully yours.

The All Blacks have been doing this; Labour, however, has not.

No they have not. The y lurch from one single issue to the next without any narrative between them. They are and look dis-jointed and without a strategy. The whole lot don’t look fit to run a bath let alone a country.

To be fair, no party looks flash in opposition. Every time they suggest something – like GST-free fruit and vege – the public can quite justifiably ask why that policy wasn’t introduced while they were in government, if it’s such a good idea.

When the public’s going berko over the $36 million taxpayer contribution to Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup campaign, Labour can’t jump on the bandwagon because, after all, it was their decision when running the country to enter into a binding contract to help fund the campaign.

So I accept that it’s hard warming the bench when you’ve been sitting in the box seat for nine years.

It is no good proclaiming an?epiphany?because you are suddenly in opposition. The fact remains that Labour had nine years in power and they certainly thrust their “we know best” air of authority upon us all. They can’t now claim to have some brilliant ideas so soon after they were tossed from power.

But it’s embarrassing to watch Labour’s performance. As individuals, they all seem intelligent, engaging and passionate people. But as a party, they’re a shambles.

I know that they feel they have to scrape away at John Key’s Teflon exterior, given that Key is the selling point for National. But its recent sniping looks mean spirited and puerile.

David Cunliffe’s comment that it was a bit rich for Key to tell people they had to tighten their belts – when he’d just collected a cool $5 million from his investments – was a case in point.

I will never be seriously wealthy because I don’t have the smarts or the testosterone to take risks. I’m happy being a wage slave and letting ballsier people than me make millions.

So long as I can pay my bills on time, I’m happy.

But if people amass a fortune through legitimate means, good on them. Few people who fly first class or who have multi-million dollar mansions and properties overseas have got them through luck.

You’d think that having someone who was able to invest wisely would be a good choice for a prime minister.

It seems that labour’s only plan is the politics of envy. But at the same time they haven’t thought that through. John Key is the most popular Prime Minister since records began, slamming him just make them look petty.

Similarly with Key’s decision to use a helicopter to fly between Hamilton and Auckland to fulfil his obligations. They weren’t urgent obligations and with a bit of forward planning he could probably have been driven – but Labour’s bollocking of his decision to fly has backfired.

According to reports, use of RNZAF aircraft was higher under the previous Labour administration and Helen Clark was not averse to making use of the airforce aircraft when she found herself stranded.

A prime minister going by helicopter to an engagement is probably a better option than being in a speeding motorcade and hanging your driver out to dry when you’re found out – as history would note.

Kerre Woodham notes well something that afflicts Labour adherents more than most, forgetfulness. She reminds them in the harshest way of the carry-on of Helen Clark when it comes to transport arrangements. Another more egregious example was at the height of the Ansett failure when Clark was way-laid in Melbourne by striking airport workers and unionists who refused to load her plane. She called up the air force Orion to come rescue her on that?occasion, at a cost that would have far outweighed a 30 minute helicopter flight to and from Hamilton.

I have no doubt that the Opposition is getting frustrated with all the good press that Key – and by association National – is getting when they feel it is ill-deserved. But instead of blaming Key, the media and the lack of political nous among the population, they should suck it up and get on with formulating meaningful, middle New Zealand-oriented policy that will attract their core voters back to the fold.

Every first-term government has a honeymoon period. Labour just has to bide its time and work constructively on what matters – not get distracted with petty personal politics.

If you need an example of just how out of touch labour are then witness the claims of victory over their ill-advised and illegal Stop Sign campaign. They think that they can just carry on regardless despite the destruction of their campaign by a few enthusiastic individuals who managed to do what their campaign team should have done and checked a few traffic, safety and advertising regulations out.

Labour need to heed the call of people like Kerre Woodham and suck it up and start getting smart instead of being smart-arses.