The MacDoctor has seen a plethora of reasons why people think Labour did so poorly in the elections. Arrogance, poor targeting of messages, same lineup as before, nasty to John Key, The thrill of Phil Goff etc.
The MacDoctor think that most of this is baloney. Sure, Labour comes across as arrogant, distant and privileged. So does National, for that matter. Phil Goff was actually quite good in the election run-up, for the most part No, the reason why Labour have done so badly in this election is because they have failed to retake the middle ground. In fact, they have slid perceptibly to the left of the political spectrum. This would ordinarily not have mattered too much except that the Greens have managed to appear more moderate after losing some of their more radical members. They have therefore taken some of Labour’s vote on the left, even though Labour move to the left and lost some central voters. These central voters mostly went New Zealand First. Some went to National. The net result is that Labour hemorrhaged votes from both sides.
Labour is probably not going to pick up any votes from the left and shouldn’t try. Taking votes from the Greens will not help determine who is in government in 2014. What they need to do is pick up the central vote again and they need to do this by moderating National’s centrist policies, not by advocating radical left wing policies.
The MacDoctor can say this because he is secure in the knowledge that Labour will ignore his advice and continue to slide inexorably to the left and into oblivion. This is why the MacDoctor cares nothing for the Labour leadership succession. The leader of the opposition in 2014 will probably be Russell Norman.
This is why National remains popular despite achieving little in 3 years of government. It is not because of John Key’s popularity, but because Key keeps National firmly straddled across the centre of New Zealand Politics (slightly to the left, on a world-wide scale). You can tell this easily by the disgruntled noises coming from the more right-wing blogs. This should have translated into plenty of votes for ACT, but unfortunately they imploded and metamorphosed into John Banks. Such is politics.