OK, I take it back. Labour still needs advice. This isn’t about David Cunliffe himself. I’m talking about nuts and bolts organising, communication and respect for Labour’s members and supporters.
Firstly I will say that Labour’s communication to members has improved in a general way but not, alas, in the specifics. Here’s a recent example ; yesterday David Cunliffe was in Rotorua and visited Red Stag Timber where he met with management (plus unions and workers one hopes) to explain how Labour’s new wood policies would boost both the company and the region by increasing wood processing and adding value here rather than just exporting raw logs.
So far so good. The problem was that Labour members were only invited the day before to join David for lunch at a local café. This really isn’t good enough. It’s disrespectful to give people such short notice to an event that was surely more than one day in the planning. Having a meal and a catch up with the Party Leader is a big deal for people, especially in the regions where they don’t have the same access to senior MPs as members in the main centres. It’s energizing and morale boosting – I would have thought that was pretty important to a party that’s just drifted below 30% in the latest poll.
Labour reportedly doubled its membership last year; this is an army of willing workers and, even more importantly at this stage in the election, they should be the under-the-radar comms machine; talking with friends, family and workmates, messaging on Facebook and Twitter, about why they’ll all be better off under Labour.
But that’s not going to happen if, just as Labour starts setting out its agenda; it fails to treat its members as if they are vital players in this election.
Update: Ok I take this back! I am more than happy to stand corrected on this post. The person who organized Cunliffe’s visit to Rotorua got in touch with me and said that they got word late Tuesday/early Wednesday that Red Stag were prepared to say they would invest $120m in their mill if Labour’s wood policy was implemented. So naturally the decision was made to go to Rotorua the next day. Hence the late notice to the members. Red Stag’s decision to invest on the back of a Labour win is a huge incentive for the people of Rotorua, who desperately need well paying jobs in the forestry industry, to get out and vote Labour