It’s an awful day for Andrew Little and I for one am sad to see him go; he’s a gentleman and for sure has the interests of New Zealanders who are struggling deeply ingrained in his being. That matters.
While Andrew has gone I would say that his departure does not address Labour’s challenge to stay relevant in 2017. What would do are policies that are designed for the 21st Century and not attempts to rehash a 1970’s tax and targeted welfare regime that is well past its use-by date.
Labour has gone so close to trying to promote stuff that’s relevant to the plight of increasing numbers of New Zealanders who are not sharing in the prosperity that the rest of us are. Their “Future of Work” conference and capital gains tax initiatives have been just two examples. But each time the party has pulled back for fear of opening too big a policy difference with National, the incumbent government. And that has been a loss for voters who need contestability of ideas if they are going to find the best way forward.
So in that sense we all lose from Labour’s recent implosion. In short there is nothing fresh about their approach – and that makes their election slogan this time around an oxymoron. They need to get some good quality, enlightened policy offerings out there for voters to have the best choice possible. Only by doing this will Labour get up and make a contest between a National-led alternative or Labour-led one. We need that contest.
So I welcome Jacinda & Kelvin’s promotion and wish them the best. I really do hope their era is one where Labour is again vibrant, innovative and bold. At TOP we began with a slogan “Let’s Make New Zealand Fair". It’d be great to see Labour reiterating that message.