A decidedly unofficial repository of the news, views, and attitudes of some young people who quite like NZ First.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Is Labour Trying To Be NZ First-Lite?
Due perhaps to an ongoing lack of vision on the part of our theoretically 'lead' Opposition party, we're quite used to thinking of Labour as being a watered down version of the beliefs of others.
Throughout much of the last ten years, this has meant perceiving much of Labour's economic policy as fairly transparent attempts to be "National-lite". The reasons for this were obvious: Labour wanted to reach out and appeal to middle-of-the-road "centrist" (and centre-right) voters in order to prise them off National and so form the basis for the next Government.
At the time, this made a certain sort of tactical sense. National rode high in the polls, while Labour's vote continued to spiral downwards, and the twin enfant-terrible titans-in-waiting of The Greens and New Zealand First grew their own votes by eating into Labour's left-wing and angry-protesty-vote flanks.
Unfortunately, the strategy resoundingly failed to bear fruit. Labour didn't manage to pull National-leaning voters in by attempting to ape the monkey-business of our nation's leading party. "Why have the inferior model when you can go straight for the source?" seemed to be the thinking.
The Labour Party's response to what's pretty much its worst drubbing in living memory was predictable. First, it turned inward and attempted to marshal its creativity and nanny-state-approving social-justice-warriorness into developing authentic endogenous policy solutions that would enable it to gain some form - any form - of traction out there in the electorate.
The end result of this is that we now have a Labour Party who, despite their own record in office, makes militant-sounding noises about protecting the ownership of Kiwi farmland, getting the ruinous influence of predominantly Chinese speculators and foreign buyers out of the Auckland housing market, defending Kiwi economic sovereignty, and a seemingly novel enthusiasm for putting a cap on immigration numbers.
The reasoning for this gradual volte-face should be clear: Labour recognizes what it must do if it wishes to reverse its seemingly inexorable decline in time for the 2017 - or, more realistically, probably the 2020 - General Election:
Adopt policy and a philosophy which *actually* resonates with voters. In this case, New Zealand First's.
Small wonder, then, that Labour's public branding has come to so closely - if inexpertly, and arguably somewhat inauthentically - mirror our own.
So while Labour's previous comments about Chinese-surnamed buyers of Auckland housing seemed to be roundly pilloried in the media, and Little's statements about Indian chefs were walked back live on-air a little less than 48 hours after he first made them ... we should nevertheless gear up solidly for a year and a half worth of Labour increasingly attempting to sing from the same song-sheet as New Zealand First going into the next Election. Even if they appear to possess a regrettable penchant for doing so in a frequently somewhat off-key if not outright tone-deaf manner.