Just when National was looking like cruising to the finishing post in the September election, the course suddenly got a lot bumpier. Labour has not fared well in the polls, seemingly unable to crack though to any real level of support, apart from the usual stalwarts. Cunliffe was looking lacklustre and there even seemed to be grumbling in the caucus. Now, after a few weeks of Collins and the ‘China Affair,’ we have had Williamson dropping his bundle and Collins coming back for a second, third and God knows how many more servings. Throughout the saga, Key has thrown his weight when he can but even his magic touch (in his eyes!) cannot hold off the inevitable crashing of his two MPs.
For Labour, it has to be a game changer, because if it isn’t then they too will be looking at a continuation of their lacklustre performance. Finally we see David Cunliffe with a glint in his eye and his speeches around the country are looking more like those we expect form a leader. If he and his party can hold it together while the National Party staggers towards the election, then there is hope---for Labour and its ‘friends.’ But, and this is a big one; now is the time for discipline and not everybody in the Labour Caucus going off at the deep end, all in the hope of garnering personal support for their individual campaigns, This is the time for a careful, united plan, in which the boot is put in, but in a consistent manner. If they don’t, then they too will have chucked any chance they may have for success later in the year. To those party members out there, who love to cry out and claim their place in the sun---back off and let the leaders and senior members do their job. You owe it to New Zealand to hold together and head into the election ready and able to take charge. New Zealand also wants to hear policies, just like we did last week. Keep that up and the goal will be achievable. Go don silly side tracts and the swamp awaits you.