Audrey Young still thinks Andrew Little has a chance… snort

Every week in politics makes a difference but between now and Christmas will be a crucial two months for Labour and Andrew Little.

The objective is to go into the summer break without having been written off.

They have to have a good party conference next week, have a good byelection in Mt Roskill, and announce some appealing and affordable policies.

As a bonus they could hope that enough goes wrong for National to dent its defiantly high levels of support for a third -term Government.

But the challenge for Labour is not to become a contender for Government in a year’s time. It clearly already is, as the biggest party of a centre-left bloc, according to the polls (Colmar Brunton, 50 per cent; Reid Research, 52.3; and Curia public poll average, 52.3).

The challenge is first to stay there and second to convince the voting public that that is real possibility.

It is harder in the second half of the year.

The second half of most years – and this year is no different – is full of international summitry for Prime Minister John Key be it the Pacific islands Forum, leaders week at the United Nations, the East Asia Summit or Apec.

That means an endless stream of photo opportunities and meetings to promote New Zealand’s agenda.

It guarantees Key extensive and almost always positive coverage in the mass media.

Oh really? ?Audrey’s colleagues have managed to hang Max Key’s brain fart on John. ?They also criticised him for not attending Helen Kelly’s memorial while being overseas?with him, also not attending Helen Kelly’s memorial. ? And that was all after blaming Key for a plane that wouldn’t take off on time. ?The Media Party will always find a way. ?Mostly positive my arse. ?

It is not so fanciful that he and his Foreign Minister, David Shearer, could be flying out of Whenuapai to represent New Zealand at Apec in Vietnam – leaving a day early in case of a break-down – and that he would be meeting President Hillary Clinton for the first time, talking about what parts of the TPP they wanted renegotiated.

John Key did it 2008 after a change of Government.

The election result was clear. He formed a minority Government, was sworn in, and the next day headed off to his first Apec, in Peru.

Yet for Andrew Little, that it sounds fanciful.

He is not yet seen as the alternative Prime Minister.

November 18 will be Little’s second anniversary as leader.

Little’s first year was a success. His second has not matched it. His third year is crucial.

His first year was a success? ?By which standards? ?He never took the party nor his own approval ratings beyond those of the previous Labour party leaders. ?And he still languishes behind Goff’s, Shearer’s and even Cunfliffe’s popularity with voters.

The first year was only a success in the sense that some deeply unpopular policy was ejected, and no new policy?was discussed. ? It was a year for people to “get to know” Andrew. ?And we discovered someone who was angry, wanted the PM the “cut the crap”, and was pulling the party ever more to the left leaving a nice vacuum for National to make its own.

This year has been a different story. The novelty of a new leader has worn off. Little’s errors are amplified by the media rather than minimized. He strays off message. He never admits he is wrong.

His errors embarrass his supporters in the media so much, they can’t possibly seen to be supportive of him. ? Even the media knows never to hug a corpse. ?The only reason they still occasionally rally behind Little is if they think they can use him to get to Key.

And that, happens almost never. ? Which is a sad indictment for an opposition leader.


– Audrey Young, NZ Herald.