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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Labour's mistake in Mana almost cost them the 2011 election

Kris Faafoi wins Mana by-election
Kris Faafoi has won Mana in a tight race that saw Labour's majority trimmed significantly. Faafoi is due to address a crowd of several hundred people soon after arriving at his Porirua campaign headquarters about an hour ago with his wife and young son for a nervous wait while the votes were counted. Faafoi won with a majority of 1000 votes, after facing a determined campaign from National's Hekia Parata, who was standing for the seat a second time.

Sadly my tongue in cheek prediction of Matt winning his last charge at windmills in Mana went as far as a leper colony judging a beauty competition. The workers revolution has been postponed and the ak-47's will have to be returned to Cuba. Congrats to Jan Logie, what a performance by Hekia Parata and what an appalling result for Labour. Trimming their majority from 6000 to a mere 1000 in a by-election that traditionally 'sends a message' to the Government of the day is a colossal cock up.

So what went wrong for Labour and what do they learn?

The mains mistake was Faafoi as a candidate, it's as simple as that. He had all the confidence of a virgin bride on her wedding night. On paper he seemed great, but what a crap candidate. His performance was amateur at best. He blew out in the tv debate, his fake memory of McDonalds was embarrassing, his simpering apology on The Nation last week explaining that it was harder to answer the questions then ask them and the 'coconut' comment was bewildering.

In short - he was shit and there have to be some bloody hard questions of Goff's office as to why a better candidate wasn't chosen.

The most depressing part of the Mana by-election for Labour is that the visionless vision of aspiration politics that John Key so effortlessly embodies STILL has an enormous pull in a recession, that is the big challenge. If National can shore up the current economic situation without it deteriorating greatly before the next election they will win, if the economy turns as badly as the fates auger then aspiration politics won't win the day.

Goff almost lost his leadership over this, it is a poor performance by Labour but not a killer blow. If the economy turns next year the are still in with a chance, if National shore it up (which suggests that next years budget may not be the public service crushing death blow it could be) aspirational politics will carry the day.

As Labour move to the left and the 'team' is sold above Goff, his leadership is intact until the next election, but the appointment of Faafoi will the last decision Goff's office makes unilaterally.

In short - get better bloody candidates and explain why a Labour Government will be better than a National Government.


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