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Act: The Letter: 23 June 2014

Act: The Letter: 23 June 2014

No he can’t but the left still will
David Cunliffe cannot win from here. He cannot tell the country that Judith Collins, Maurice Williamson and Michael Woodhouse, should all resign and say that in a ministry he led they would all be gone. He cannot say, "forgetting is no excuse". And then have it revealed that he himself lobbied on behalf of the very same businessman. His defences just make it worse, “a staffer wrote the letter”, “I was not lobbying I was only asking how the application was going” – the Maurice Williamson defence. Forgetting was an explanation that he has told Parliament repeatedly is not acceptable in a government he seeks to lead. Cunliffe is discredited but that does not mean the left will not win the 2014 election.

It is a knockout
If failing to remember he had lobbied for the infamous Mr Liu was the Leader of the Opposition’s only mistake he might recover, but it is not. David Cunliffe has built his whole case for a change of government on a narrative that National is corrupt. He has produced no evidence except that some Chinese businessmen have donated to National. In David Cunliffe’s narrative, that is corrupt. It now appears Labour itself has sought and received donations from Chinese businessmen. After eight months, David Cunliffe has only managed to score one knockout on himself.

He has got it all wrong
Cunliffe must be the most inept Labour leader ever, despite strong competition. First he told the caucus that David Shearer could not win – oh what they would give for Shearer’s polling. Then he said the missing one million are all Labour voters so the party could go left. No they are not, many are ACT voters. Then he decided he could make the case that National was corrupt. National may be a lot of things but the party is not corrupt. National is the least corrupt governing party in the world. Labour in contrast has been found by the Auditor-General to have repeatedly misused taxpayer money to fund its campaigns. Remember the "pledge card" debacle? A leader with some ability to reflect would have thought, “Before I throw this mud could it boomerang?”

Will they?
If Labour wants to salvage something from the wreck then they need to replace Cunliffe now. The Australian Labor Party, the most successful Labor Party in the world, would not hesitate. Any party that claims to be able to govern should be able to replace its leader. If David Cunliffe really is their best MP, what does that say about Labour? David Cunliffe is so bad half the caucus would be better. David Shearer or Phil Goff or Annette King, if they want experience, Grant Robertson who was the caucus choice in the primary, or David Parker or Andrew Little if they want someone new. Labour will still lose to John Key but not so badly. A real leader is the person who is willing to take over as captain of the Titanic after it has hit the iceberg. Has Labour got a real leader? If we were in the caucus we would go for Annette King.

The Labour caucus morale is zero. They tried to tell David Cunliffe that a dozen MPs had accepted donations from Chinese businessmen. Labour MPs also know that there is more to come. National is in no hurry to drop the next bombshell.

If elections are about ideas, the sort of country we are, whether we are more free enterprise or more socialist, then the Left have already won the 2014 election. David Cunliffe was right when he said “Labour wrote this year’s election budget”, a budget that is the government’s manifesto for the next three years. We cannot think of a single policy in this year’s budget that could not have been in a Michael Cullen budget.

National is the reason New Zealand is a socialist state
Jamie Whyte made an observation about Labour’s proposal to make the KiwiSaver scheme compulsory that is truly profound. Labour can only make its proposal to use the force of the state to oblige young people to contribute to low return savings schemes, with an average historical return of 3%, against repaying a mortgage, with an average return of 6% because National has continued with Labour’s KiwiSaver Scheme. Jamie points out that National has continued with all of Labour’s poor quality spending. We still have a Labour government, only the name and the personnel changed.

What is National’s excuse?
We expect Labour governments to propose collectivist compulsory solutions, it is what they believe in. What is National’s reason? National MPs say they need to be centrist to win elections. Follow this logic and we end up with Muldoonism again, a National government that is even more Labour than Labour. National’s other line is if you do not vote National you will get a Labour government. Well that line has just lost its power to scare. Voters can now start to ask the question National cannot answer, which is, “What is the point of voting National if what you get is Labour policies?

Only way to make a difference
Jamie Whyte is absolutely correct when he observes the only way not to get Labour policies is to elect a number of ACT MPs. Jamie Whyte’s blog on why he opposes compulsory super is worth reading: http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/labour-engages-in-schoolyard-behaviour


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