While the “centre-right” (whatever the term means these days) does its best to cosy up and portray an appearance of business as usual, the “centre-left” appears to have turned feral.
National has made it clear that not a single cup of tea will be required in Epsom or Ohariu – the good people of those two respective electorates will be told in no unclear terms that David Seymour and Peter Dunne should be re-elected. Even the shambling Conservative clown act from Colin Craig has received nothing but the occasional rolled eyeball and gentle advice from John Key.
On the other side of the political fence, Shane Jones has made a stunning reversion to type by launching a broadside at Labour’s ally, the Greens. That some in the Labour party were seriously considering Jones as leadership material was laughable during the Labour primaries (I’m looking at you, Josie Pagani), and it’s even more laughable now.The man appears to be composed solely of ego – Jones making headlines seems to be far more important to him than the idea that the party to which he belongs might wish to appear able to form a coherent governing alliance.
Labour needs to persuade the electorate that it and its allies (for the party is certainly moons away from getting anywhere near either governing alone or governing without the Greens) are ready to form a stable government. After all, when most polls show that at least 60% of voters think the country is heading in the right direction, it’s going to take something special to persuade those voters that they should abandon ship and support the political opposition.
So what does Jones do? Rather than digging his teeth into National (surely the common enemy of Labour and the Greens), he goes after Gareth Hughes in an inflammatory personal attack. Sure, Labour can’t afford to paint itself as anti-jobs, anti-growth and anti-business, but engaging in personal attacks on an MP who has a rather high likelihood of ending up with some sort of portfolio should a Labour-led government eventuate, seems somewhat foolish.
So what do the Greens do in response? Well, rather than letting sleeping mollyhawks lie, they make an official complaint to the Labour party (okay, they’re now trying to say it was just an unofficial word in Matt McCarten’s ear, but it’s hit the media, which means it’s official…). Gareth Hughes, performing for the media, did just what he should have, spouting something along the lines of, “Oh, it’s just Shane being Shane. However, we in the Greens know what we’re doing and we’re ready for Government”. So what on earth were the Green party hierarchy doing, escalating the matter by way of a complaint (official or otherwise)?
It seems that the centre-left are determined to maintain their current position on the opposition benches.