Election campaigns have become a lot more presidential.
With MMP it’s the party vote that counts and its the party leader who becomes the focus.
Between elections the party leader still gets the focus but winning, between or at an election, is still a team effort.
National is still maintaining reasonable levels of support for several reasons. One is the popularity of leader John Key, another is that its caucus is working well and equally importantly working together. Another is that the volunteers are motivated and because of that they too are working well and together.
Winning takes a team effort and that’s what National is giving.
Contrast that with Labour.
Its leader is invisible and when he stands up he’s sabotaged from within – as happened last week when his speech launching a campaign to win the regions was overshadowed by attacks on David Cunliffe.
Its caucus is divided – the attack on Cunliffe shows that as does Mangare MP Su’a William Sio’s call for Louisa Wall to withdraw her gay marriage bill.
The caucus isn’t working together and Matt McCaretn reckons it’s not working at all:
Labour’s problem is not its leader, it’s the caucus. The Green Party in Parliament is less than half Labour’s size yet day after day they prove how lacklustre our main opposition party is. . .
And the volunteers? The party doesn’t have many any more and who can blame those who remain for losing heart?
I’ve reached the point where I really can’t be bothered fighting for a Labour government any more. I don’t really know what the party stands for, and there is an immense amount of crap going on behind the scenes. It’s coming to the fore and it looks ugly. . .
If the parliamentary wing of the party can’t motivate itself it won’t be motivating its volunteers and if its committed members are giving up it won’t make any traction with less committed supporters and swinging voters.