BREAKING: Before The Flood: Political Ruminations on Labour’s Fate While Waiting For Tonight’s TV3-Reid Research Poll


TONIGHT’S REID RESEARCH POLL promises to be a shocker. Such a shocker that, like Santa Claus in the Christmas song, the journalists at TV3 are making a list of the awful numbers – and checking them twice. If the results of last night’s One News Colmar Brunton (ONCB) poll are confirmed, then Andrew Little’s future can only be described as bleak.

Viewers didn’t need to hear Corin Dann’s interview with Little on last night’s edition of One News to understand what was going on – the Labour Leader’s face said it all. People don’t vote for people who look like Little did last night. He must know that – and so must his colleagues.

It gets worse. If tonight’s Reid Research poll results really are shocking, then that will make it three from three. Because the ONCB poll wasn’t the first, but the second, instalment of bad news for the Labour Party. Its own pollster, UMR Research, is telling Labour that its support has fallen to 23 percent. So, another sub-25 percent poll result will practically rule out the possibility that Labour are looking at rogue results.

What should Little do? Well he could try toughing it out. Talking up the party’s fighting spirit. Telling his supporters that it ain’t over till it’s over. Except that’s what he should have said to Dann last night. Instead he told him that he has canvassed stepping down with his senior advisors and they had told him to hang on in there.

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Which tells us two things: 1. That Little knows in his heart that he has no chance of leading Labour to the Treasury benches. 2. That his “comrades” are only too happy to let him take the rap.

It also tells us how far from their party’s core values Labour’s parliamentary caucus has deviated. Instead of accepting Little’s principled offer to stand aside, and dispassionately nominating the most effective successor available, the Labour caucus has decided that their career prospects will be better served by allowing their leader to crash and burn.

Little’s deputy, Jacinda Ardern, needs to think very carefully before committing herself irrevocably to this course. The precedent of Mike Moore stepping-up to rescue Labour’s fortune’s in 1990 is there to guide her. The man must have known he was being invited to drink from a poisoned chalice, but Moore belonged to a generation of Labour leaders for whom “the cause” and “the party” still possessed the power to inspire heroic acts of self-sacrifice.

He also knew his Shakespeare:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

There is still time for her to step up, but she had better hurry – lest she fall foul of another Shakespeare quote:

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

The rumour-mongers are already whispering that, if tonight’s poll actually is as shocking as everyone is says it is, then Andrew Little will resign tomorrow.

If they’re right, Jacinda, then you will then be faced with the daunting prospect of either leading Labour on to fortune – or being swept away on the flood tide of history.


  1. I think Jacinda is already in a position thrust apon her rather than the fulfilment of an ambition for power . If Andrew were to resign now she would be in the frame without any apparent efforts on her part tonne there, totally by default.
    What is it that you think she should hurry up and do? Agitate to oust Andrew while Meteria’s outspokenness has sucked his support? I think for her to take any such action just now would not add to her appeal at all, She has no need to. If fortune thrusts her into the frame it will be well before she would have chosen to be in it. If she shapes up under those circumstances it will be a great credit to her. I guess we will hear from her at last rather than just seeing her picture everywhere. It is too sudden and it won’t be fair, but if she survives it the first quote will certainly apply.

    • Yes correctly scoped here as Andrew knew last friday that the numbers were sinking and asked if he should leave.

      I feel really sorry for Andrew as he does have a good heart and cares about where NZ is going.

      Whatever Andrew decides as the grip tightens about him he will be truly graceful about any change.

      Jacinda is very stunning and a clear choice for taking the reins if he steps back.

      I still say that it was the media that let all the opposition Parties down here, with constant deflection of the issues they were all concerned about.

      We need the older investigative journalism current affairs to come back now, remember ‘Close-up’ and ‘Homes’ they got at the politicians and asked the right questions to get at the truth.

      Now we have sloopy media and very lazy.

    • It disturbs me how easily the PR machine seeds narratives that bear no resemblance to the actual significance of the numbers. National is losing ground, not gaining it. Anything Labour is losing is going to NZ First, and in this round of polls, to the Greens, not to National. There is no proportion given in this poll for undecideds either, which 2 months out from the election are probably still significant, as is the 3.1% margin of error.

      Sure, it’s not looking good for the left, on these numbers they would need NZ First’s seats to govern. But National would also need to swallow that poison pill to hold onto power, producing a stalemate government like the last term of the Clark government. This monstrosity would be bad for both National and NZ First, giving Labour-Greens a clear run in 2020. This is our worst-case scenario, and the election is still 2 months away!

      If this worst-case were to happen, Labour and the Greens need to take collective responsibility, and refrain from the ritual scapegoating and sacrifice of the Labour leader. Helen Clark led Labour to at least one embarrassing defeat before she became PM, as Bill English did with National, and you don’t see the Greens juggling their leaders every 3 years, just because they didn’t end up leading a government. Playing whack-a-mole with their parliamentary leaders just makes Labour look indecisive, and gives the corporate media stick to whack them with.

  2. Yes I feel a change to Jacinda would be a prudent move,even at this late run up to the elections.
    The voters would love a new face in what is, in affected a Presidential race in the public’s eyes, charisma over substance being critical.
    Some may say she is to young and inexperienced, I think she would be fine and there is certainly enough experience in what would be a coalition government to support her leadership.She’s also prettier than Bill and Andrew.
    After all John Key was only a figure head and what did he really achieve, not a lot.

    • I really can’t see the appeal of Ardern.

      She has no great track record that would indicate leadership potential as far as I can discern.

      Nor can I understand Bradbury’s constant championing of Chloe what’s-her-name in the Greens, for similar, even stronger reasons.

      • The Right would love Jacinda to be the Labour Leader they could then chew her up and spit her out in little pieces ?

      • John Key had no real track record,he was supposed to be a financial wizard and what portfolio did he hold ” Tourism ” it’s the public persona that counts.After all the prime minister leads a government , but they are not the government.
        The appeal is a new fresh positive face without the baggage

  3. Tough comments , Chris.

    True nonetheless. I try to keep my comments short but often find it impracticable to explain where I’m going with them… on another post I advocated a bit of Muldoon-esque mongrel is needed here.

    I stand by that. As I said ,… you can say you have all the principles in the world but if you are not prepared to stand up for yourself or others then you have just forfeited any claim to having any principles at all.

    There was a generation who had to face the most perilous events they ever would experience . It was shortly before D Day. And thousands of young American troops were about to be pitched into the battle of their very young lives.

    And this was the fighting spirit that was needed to rally them and gird themselves for battle.

    The Labour party could learn a thing or two from it as well.


    ” Be seated.

    Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.

    You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would be killed in a major battle. Every man is scared in his first action. If he says he’s not, he’s a goddamn liar. But the real hero is the man who fights even though he’s scared. Some men will get over their fright in a minute under fire, some take an hour, and for some it takes days. But the real man never lets his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood.

    All through your army career you men have bitched about what you call ‘this chicken-shit drilling.’ That is all for a purpose—to ensure instant obedience to orders and to create constant alertness. This must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a fuck for a man who is not always on his toes. But the drilling has made veterans of all you men. You are ready! A man has to be alert all the time if he expects to keep on breathing. If not, some German son-of-a-bitch will sneak up behind him and beat him to death with a sock full of shit. There are four hundred neatly marked graves in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job—but they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before his officer did.

    An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, and fights as a team. This individual hero stuff is bullshit. The bilious bastards who write that stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real battle than they do about fucking. And we have the best team—we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity these poor bastards we’re going up against.

    All the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters. Every single man in the army plays a vital role. So don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. What if every truck driver decided that he didn’t like the whine of the shells and turned yellow and jumped headlong into a ditch? That cowardly bastard could say to himself, ‘Hell, they won’t miss me, just one man in thousands.’ What if every man said that? Where in the hell would we be then? No, thank God, Americans don’t say that. Every man does his job. Every man is important. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns, the quartermaster is needed to bring up the food and clothes for us because where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal. Every last damn man in the mess hall, even the one who boils the water to keep us from getting the GI shits, has a job to do.

    Each man must think not only of himself, but think of his buddy fighting alongside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in the army. They should be killed off like flies. If not, they will go back home after the war, goddamn cowards, and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the goddamn cowards and we’ll have a nation of brave men.

    One of the bravest men I saw in the African campaign was on a telegraph pole in the midst of furious fire while we were moving toward Tunis. I stopped and asked him what the hell he was doing up there. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, sir.’ ‘Isn’t it a little unhealthy up there right now?’ I asked. ‘Yes sir, but this goddamn wire has got to be fixed.’ I asked, ‘Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?’ And he answered, ‘No sir, but you sure as hell do.’ Now, there was a real soldier. A real man. A man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how great the odds, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty appeared at the time.

    And you should have seen the trucks on the road to Gabès. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they crawled along those son-of-a-bitch roads, never stopping, never deviating from their course with shells bursting all around them. Many of the men drove over 40 consecutive hours. We got through on good old American guts. These were not combat men. But they were soldiers with a job to do. They were part of a team. Without them the fight would have been lost.

    Sure, we all want to go home. We want to get this war over with. But you can’t win a war lying down. The quickest way to get it over with is to get the bastards who started it. We want to get the hell over there and clean the goddamn thing up, and then get at those purple-pissing Japs. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. So keep moving. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler.

    When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a Boche will get him eventually. The hell with that. My men don’t dig foxholes. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have or ever will have. We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to rip out their living goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket.

    Some of you men are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you’ll all do your duty. War is a bloody business, a killing business. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them, spill their blood or they will spill yours. Shoot them in the guts. Rip open their belly. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt from your face and you realize that it’s not dirt, it’s the blood and gut of what was once your best friend, you’ll know what to do.

    I don’t want any messages saying ‘I’m holding my position.’ We’re not holding a goddamned thing. We’re advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding anything except the enemy’s balls. We’re going to hold him by his balls and we’re going to kick him in the ass; twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all the time. Our plan of operation is to advance and keep on advancing. We’re going to go through the enemy like shit through a tinhorn.

    There will be some complaints that we’re pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a damn about such complaints. I believe that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder we push, the more Germans we kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing harder means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that. My men don’t surrender. I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he is hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight. That’s not just bullshit either. I want men like the lieutenant in Libya who, with a Luger against his chest, swept aside the gun with his hand, jerked his helmet off with the other and busted the hell out of the Boche with the helmet. Then he picked up the gun and he killed another German. All this time the man had a bullet through his lung. That’s a man for you!

    Don’t forget, you don’t know I’m here at all. No word of that fact is to be mentioned in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell they did with me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this army. I’m not even supposed to be in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the goddamned Germans. Some day, I want them to rise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl ‘Ach! It’s the goddamned Third Army and that son-of-a-bitch Patton again!’

    Then there’s one thing you men will be able to say when this war is over and you get back home. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting by your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks, ‘What did you do in the great World War Two?’ You won’t have to cough and say, ‘Well, your granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say ‘Son, your granddaddy rode with the great Third Army and a son-of-a-goddamned-bitch named George Patton!’

    All right, you sons of bitches. You know how I feel. I’ll be proud to lead you wonderful guys in battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all ” .

  4. It doesn’t matter who is leader of Labour. Short of resurrecting Michael Savage, Norm Kirk or (arguably) David Lange, the NZ MSM are always going to be putting down the Labour leader and calling for a new one
    Because they are National through and through, they have a vested interest in a corrupt, divisive National government because that is where their paychecks come from at the end of the day.
    This is a media driven witch hunt, driven by media who will always hate whoever is leader of Labour simply because they hate Labour as National’s main opposition.
    It is that simple.
    I think Andrew Little has nothing left to lose by going for the National jugular and kicking them while they are down.
    I don’t think he’ll do it because he is fundamentally a nice person, not a ill-willed National shit stirrer
    But it would be nice if he did.
    It seems like a repeat of 2014, the Labour Party electorate candidates interested only in their own patch and not caring about taking the reigns of government. Happy to win themselves whilst undermining their leader.
    Very sad.

    • “This is a media driven witch hunt, driven by media who will always hate whoever is leader of Labour simply because they hate Labour as National’s main opposition.”

      Spot on! People should go and replay the video of Paddy Gower’s over excitement when presenting the Reid poll, to check in with reality, the man is out to destroy Andrew Little and Labour, his secret wet dream that he has every night:

      With the existing arrangements, the apathy of the bulk of the populace, there will never be another true Labour or left leaning government in this country, the powers that be do simply not allow this to happen, ever again.

      • Hey – what did the media have to say about Jeremy Corbyn?

        ‘Who would make better PM?’ Corbyn humiliated as poll puts ‘don’t know’ ahead of Jeremy
        JEREMY Corbyn is now so unpopular voters are shunning him for a ‘don’t know’ option on political surveys.
        By Joey Millar
        PUBLISHED: 09:18, Tue, Apr 11, 2017 | UPDATED: 10:21, Tue, Apr 11, 2017

        What did he have to say about that? A hint: do that Andrew.

    • It’s not the leader, it’s the strategy.

      Little may not be very charismatic, that may be a minor issue, but we need to be told why Labour deserves our vote in a wider sense than mere bullet points of policy.

      And the blame for the strategy settings can be spread pretty widely.

  5. The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll (July 20-28) shows that National continue to lose ground at 45%. This is a government that has polled above 50% at its peak. When was the last time that happened? Yet all the corporate media can talk about is how bad the poll looks for Labour, clinging desperately to an FPP-era narrative that refuses to compare National’s vote to a potential Labour-Greens (or Labour-NZFirst) coalition. It seems like they are just hoping nobody will notice.

    The same poll puts TOP at 2%, still well short of 5, but more than doubling their share in the last poll. Newshub report comments by Gareth Morgan that appear to support Metiria’s stand on welfare, and strongly criticize Peters’ as having big promises, but no proposed budget.

    With Labour and the Greens on a combined 37%, even if TOP got to 5% and supported them, they’d still be 3% short of what National are polling on their own. In the corporate media narrative, this means its inevitable (even before the election campaign proper begins) that NZ First will have pick of who to govern with. But we have to remember is that the election is still 2 months away, and there is still a lot of policy still to roll out. As I keep saying on TDB, if we can keep the election focused on policy and its consequences, rather than the gossip and melodrama being reported by the corporate media (even RadioNZ), things could change as radically as they did in the recent UK election.

  6. Powerful stuff Wild Katipo.

    I have admiration for you and sense a deep conviction you hold.

    I as a conscript in 1964 was sent to Waiouru for the 10th intake of ‘National service’ as a young apprentice electrician and four months of mid winter outdoor route marching and parade ground marching set he up as a trained disciplined tough machine then.

    Everything else in life seemed to be tame by comparison whether I was working in the Rhodesian bush fixing electrical systems on a earthmoving grader or some other machine during that 1970 turmoil I saw of that time.

    The military was good for us and never killed my spirit to see justice for my fellow humans.

    God I hate what this government has put us through during the long last nine years and now finally it will end this year.

    Radio NZ news.
    New Zealand First up five points to 16 per cent. Winston Peters joins Checkpoint live.
    Could Winston Peters be NZ’s next PM?

  7. Chris, you called the Green gain/ labour fall, just as you called labour s failure last election. I saw your interview on tv this morning and appreciated your analysis of the situation. I don’t know much of Mike Moores sense of duty, I trust your judgement on that, but let’s not forget he was a pillar of neoliberalism and a further step down the wrong path for labour.
    Who in the senior labour ranks has the best socialist credentials? Let them be next, not necessarily the media darling Jacinda however much an asset she is.
    Corbyn never had the prettiest face, or (in my opinion) masses of charisma, or the sympathy of the media. He is simply the real deal and brought his party and the public with him. Let’s do that.

    • And whats more Corbyn had a disheveled haircut and a stubbly beard !

      Much like his 19th century counterparts,- so that makes Corbyn a traditionalist !!!


  8. 8 weeks out resigning or ditching will do more harm than good….Labour must hold its nerve and accept and work with whatever level of support it manages…..if that means a Nat/NZ 1st gov then the electorate has spoken and Labour can reconsider its future direction…as noted previously this may not be a bad election to lose.

  9. Andrew Little should stay put ….
    If anyone should be hitting the panic button it should be National…..they have everything going for them in terms of ‘big money’ backing, a plethora of self confessed right wing media announcers and commentators in prime-time rolls constantly talking them up and rubbishing Labour and the Greens, a massive newly imported Chinese vote, and yet they are in free fall….

    What’s simply happening on the Left is that they are just playing musical chairs with each others votes …. that game will keep happening and changing…
    N.Z First is taking votes off National big time …
    Andrew Little may have inadvertently found a new election winning angle.
    More than any other politician ,what he has consistently shown is honesty and integrity and his interview the other night was just anther example of that…
    Bill English is the antithesis…. ‘The Double Dipper’….Todd Barclay…. Dot Com…The list goes on….
    Labour can quite rightly ask …does New Zealand want an honest honourable man to run the country or a bullshit artist….

    ‘Honest Andy’ for Prime Minister….That’s the new Labour Party slogan…

    • Well I don’t know about Mr Dot Com , but certainly Toddy and Dippy need to be mentioned…

      But yes,- hands down for an honest PM and that would be Mr Little.

  10. Well, well Mr Trotter and others, have you ever heard about cause and effect? With the kind of media that is left, especially such clowns as Mr Gower, who ripped into Labour with delight, I noted, there cannot be any better outcome than what the Reid poll and other polls show.

    This is not the honest, nice and respectful society that some believe it is, New Zealand is run by vested interest holding business and other elite persons and groups, and they do all to keep the ordinary people in the dark about what they really are up to. People get manipulated, conditioned, influenced for ulterior motives.

    The smarter ones turn cynical, the majority shrugs things off and simply concentrates on their personal affairs and ambitions, if they can. Politics is getting a worse name year by year, we have dirty politics stage three now, a repeat of what happened prior to other elections.

    The polls (never mentioning the undecided) are supposed to tell the voters it is all a foregone conclusion, it is not worth voting the government out. Andrew Little has his flaws and may appear weak to some, but at least he is generally more honest than the last PM was, that was John Key.

    Political reporters and apparently many ordinary people got used to Mr Charming Assassin, and he got away with almost anything. Neither Bill English, and certainly not Andrew Little do fit the character of Key. So Andrew gets punished for being real and normal and a bit plain and honest, as the standards have been corrupted, so to suit the rascals and snake oil merchants. By that people judge politicians now, one who does not rail and lie and deceive, cannot be a real, true politician, it seems.

    • Totally agree Marc New Zealand has just suffered another media driven coup Labour by dumping Andrew has expressed there intellectual weakness and credibility this smells of another Lange govt big loud dumb mouth out the front covering a bunch of hatchet men in the rear

  11. AND… persisting with the idea that the Natzi’s can be voted out. They can’t. Drop the masquerade.

  12. Little needs to harden up and have another Cup of Concrete he has an Election to Win, National would love to see him wimp out and run for cover. Destroying Labour now is the only way National can win this 2017 Election and they are targeting Andrew Little.

    They have done it in the last 3-4 Elections and have been very successful.

    Jacindarella as leader would be like leading the lambs to the Slaughterhouse ?

  13. It isn’t policy, particularly.
    It is smart presentation, sure-footed leadership and ultimately that old, undervalued skill: rhetoric.

    I don’t accept that New Zealanders are only interested in their own advantage (my heart is on the Left, but my wallet is on the Right) but voters need a narrative that makes either a change of vote or a choice to turn out at all to vote for the Left.

    I want to hear over and over again why a vote for Labour, or the Left, is a vote for change, what that change would be, in philosophical terms and what is wrong with allowing the Nats to cruise along pretending to address problems while in reality doing virtually nothing. Why voting for the Left is a vote for innovation and the future.

    Because if voting for the Left is NOT a vote for innovation, the future and making a real difference in making New Zealand the world-leading society we remember being, then why the Hell would anyone vote for them?

    Most on the Left feel this is true in our tripes, but elections are not won or lost on consulting the entrails of those who are already committed.

  14. The problem with Labour under Little is clearly the absence of identity politics – the mainstay of Labour policy for three decades. For Labour to retain its permanent status of runner-up in NZ elections, it must enact enlightened policies such as man bans, being “sorry for being a man” and fighting prejudice by being prejudiced against white men. The working class don’t care about their economic bottom lines.

    Other options bountifully imbued with virtue signalling sensibilities might include hate speech legislation, the mandatory introduction of white privilege courses and age-regressive safe-spaces to Universities; also banning non-gender neutral pronouns and men’s lavatories, along with fireworks, supermarket beer, Thomas the tank engine books, fidget-spinners and mayonnaise. Labour must never forget that being offended or “triggered” constitutes a refutation, whilst constructed dichotomies and victim narratives trump evidence-based discussion every time.

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