Disturbing Signs

By   /   August 24, 2017  /   24 Comments

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LABOUR HQ needs to upgrade its intelligence. Because out there in the streets there are a host of disturbing signs – most of them their own!

LABOUR HQ needs to upgrade its intelligence. Because out there in the streets there are a host of disturbing signs – most of them their own!

Sure, the sudden departure of Andrew Little left Labour’s messaging in a state of considerable confusion. Inevitably, the production and distribution of new campaign material – especially hoardings – was not something that could be accomplished overnight. But, more than three weeks have elapsed since Jacinda Ardern squeezed her syringe-full of adrenaline (to borrow Rachel Stewart’s arresting metaphor) into Labour’s failing heart. That so much of Labour’s signage continues to present voters with outdated and, frankly, embarrassing messages is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a very bad sign.

What on earth is preventing the same groups of Labour Party activists who erected the Andrew and Jacinda hoardings from taking them down? More importantly, why are individual Labour candidates insisting on keeping their personalised hoardings in place?

Frankly, I’m surprised that Labour HQ ever countenanced the production of these things. How many elections does Labour have to lose before somebody realises that plastering a candidate’s name and face all over his or her electorate is an open invitation for voters to split their votes between a much-liked local Labour MP and some other party altogether? The Party Vote is the ONLY vote that counts when it comes to changing the government. Anyone who allows their ego to get in the way of maximising Labour’s Party Vote should be invited to see how well they do running as an independent.

In 2014 Labour received 25 percent of the Party Vote and around 35 percent of the votes cast in the electorates. Do you know what Labour got for that additional 10 percent of support? Nothing. Nada, Zip, Zilch. Racking up majorities in a multitude of electorate contests advances Labour’s cause not one iota. Had Labour won 35 percent of the 2014 Party Vote, however, the history of the past three years might have been very different.

It gets worse.

Every time a potential Labour voter drives past a hoarding that does not feature Jacinda’s smiling face above the party’s “Let’s do this.” campaign slogan, the leader’s and the party’s brand suffer.

It’s as though, for some reason, the people running the local effort don’t want to be associated with Jacinda’s rejuvenated national campaign. Or, even more damagingly, that they haven’t been able to get their act together sufficiently to allow the extraordinary change in Labour’s political fortunes to be given graphic expression in the streets where the voters actually live.

For Jacindamania to acquire sufficient momentum to carry Labour all the way to the Beehive, Jacinda’s face and slogan need to be on display everywhere. On every supporter’s front fence, and at every city intersection. People driving to work should not be able to complete their journey without Jacinda silently imploring them to “Let’s do this.” at least half-a-dozen times.

After all, on the same journey, they will have passed at least that many hoardings from which Bill English has reassured them that he and National are “Delivering for New Zealanders”. Labour’s candidates urgently need to get their heads around the idea that, in 2017, there’s only one face on Labour’s hoardings that matters – and it isn’t theirs.


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  1. Sam Sam says:

    Just proper. +100

  2. Siobhan says:

    Some Labour candidates are in the wrong Party though….take Anna Lorck, who addressing a meeting the other day gave a rousing speech about how well the economy was doing…then again Anna has her moments


  3. phillip ure says:

    have to agree – epic-fail that they have not got this together..

    • Sam Sam says:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop – The ‘ooda loop’ can be best described as the time taken to electing a political leader, install leadership team, strategise, issue orders for volunteers to deliver the correct message. Currently the Labour Party has taken 3 weeks to enter the messaging phase.

      Social media messaging can create a void for volunteers to enter, debrief, regroup and redeploy as viral as the speed of light allows strategists to close the ooda loop.

      Do it to inspire

    • In Vino says:

      Sorry, but for once I disagree. Billboards are so passé, and I am utterly turned off by bombardment advertising. So far, I think the impact is being made where it matters. And it will not be on those bloody billboards that the eventual outcome will be decided. The best billboard I ever saw was on the lawn of a neighbour who had allowed all candidates to spread their wares across his intersection walls. The neighbour’s billboard read “Vote Arnold Toothless. He’s just as Useless.”
      Billboards are not going to determine what happens – i suspect it will be a few magic moments on TV (barring a huge DP scandal.)

      • Tom Gardner says:

        Inclined to agree. at least for myself. But perhaps for some, there is some subliminal influence of sign after sign?

  4. Marc says:

    While I mostly have little time with Chris Trotter these days, he raises a valid issue. I went past the Manukau Rd and Greenlane West intersection in Auckland over the last few weeks, last yesterday, and still now, we have the placards of Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern together on the signs out there. Even that Ohariu hairdo man has his United poster there, while he has now more or less given up on this election.

    For Labour’s sake, they would come across more convincing, had they by now put a new poster on top of the old ones with the old messages.

    It appears the media talk and messaging is well ahead of the hard copy world out there, which leaves a huge gap, raises questions and doubt. This way you will hardly win all that many more votes, dear Labour, even with Jacinda, unless you swiftly get some people do the footwork.

    That leaves also the concern, how many are really prepared to do the hard foot work? The increasing donations, were they all from individual supporters, or has big business donated, to put their foot into the door?

    As for policy, all is compromised now, as Jacinda gave in on the pressure once the PREFU was announced:

    The powers that be have clearly a hold on Jacinda Dear, they do.

  5. NMC says:

    There is a national corflute shortage – I understand that is the reason it has taken so long to get the new billboards up. Sounds silly, but apparently it’s a thing. They just couldn’t get them printed any faster.

    Just look how quickly Labour turned around its digital comms and its new TV ads. In fact, the TV ad was being filmed on Sunday at the campaign launch and was launched by Tuesday morning!

  6. mary_a says:

    Yes, those old signs should have been taken down the day Jacinda became leader of Labour and replaced soon afterwards. There’s been plenty of time. It’s not a good look for the party.

    To achieve maximum effect, the fresh new face of Labour Jacinda Ardern, has to be out there and be seen! Still time to do it, so get cracking and up your game Labour!

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Greens still have old signs up with MT on them so yes the whole election was thrown into disarray and we need to focus and secure a win for the Labour/nz first with other willing parties to finally dump this evil carpetbagging dirty neolib mob.

      “Lets do this.”

      • Louis says:

        Im glad the Greens still have their hoardings with Metiria on them, it’s reminder about what she stands for, ending poverty and there is nothing shameful and embarrassing about that.

    • Louis says:

      IMO Im glad they are still up, better than no advertising at all. Andrew and Jacinda posters are nothing to be ashamed of.

  7. WILD KATIPO says:

    That’s the spirit, Mr Trotter !

    Certain people need a jolly good ticking off !

    The place needs to be literally stuffed full of Jacinda’s smiling mugshot with the message of ” Lets do this !” .

    Because whats more , – we can and will !

  8. mikesh says:

    How many people pay any attention to hoardings anyway. I certainly don´t.

  9. esoteric pineapples says:

    The Green Party believes that promoting local candidates helps to increase the party vote, which is why they have now decided to stand a candidate in the Ohariu electorate.

    In my electorate, it has been harder in the past for the Green candidate to get the same level of exposure in the local media compared to Labour, National and New Zealand First because they have not been seen to be actively pursuing the electoral seat.

  10. Priss says:

    The best election signs I ever saw were the Alliance ones in 1999. They weren’t personalised, they bore issues-related messages such as “FREE TERTIARY EDUCATION” or “FUND HEALTHCARE FULLY (or words to that effect). They reminded voters what the issues were, and not meaningless faces that 90% of voters don’t recognise.

    • LOSTRELIC says:

      It’s slightly staggering that this approach isn’t used more often. At the least it gives people some idea of what the party stands for, and might even provoke the viewer to do a little research on the matter.
      It’s yet another sign of how shallow politics has become in the present day.

  11. Mike the Lefty says:

    I pass by a lot of billboards on my job, and in my humble opinion artistically the best ones are from the Maori Party.
    They are actually quite pleasing to look at, most of the others are stark, functional and little else.
    There we go, I am not a Maori Party supporter but I still like their billboards.
    Have to give credit where credit is due.

  12. Barbara says:

    Hey Chris, I am involved in putting up the Labour party billboards. I understand that there has been a delay in the printing process related to availability of the board material. There will a big team out tomorrow putting up the new billboards.

    • J says:

      There’s at least 2 in Pukekohe that need changing, thanks, Barbara.

    • Louis says:

      Thanks Barbara for all the effort everyone is putting into the campaign and feel that this article is an unnecessary and unfair attack given the very recent change of events.

  13. Marc says:

    Never accept perhaps Kristallnacht 2017:

    Done, and more to be done, capitalists understand no other language.