Pundits studying the entrails of recent polls which show National and its leader are still popular and Labour and its leader aren’t have overlooked one significant difference between the two parties.
The National caucus continues to show a united front while Labour looks divided.
Whatever differences might be aired internally – and I know nothing of any – National MPs continue to sing from the same song sheet and in harmony.
Meanwhile, Labour MPs have several different scores and are talking about it, if not publicly at least to the media in the knowledge it will become public.
Duncan Garner made the most of that yesterday in a column which asked why Labour hates David Cunliffe.
. . . Labour MPs have openly joked with me that Cunliffe, who is away on a lengthy family holiday overseas, should stay there.
Two very senior MPs have told me they would like an internal travel fund set up to keep Cunliffe out of the country for as long as possible. How nasty is this caucus? He is clearly not missed.
But Cunliffe is not only disliked by his caucus – he is not trusted. So many have told me he never delivers on his promises and is sneaky and lazy.
Sources have told me Shearer was advised to demote him when he became Labour’s leader, but Shearer resisted and said he wanted to work with Cunliffe.
According to Shearer’s sources, the Labour leader no longer trusts Cunliffe. That view is shared by the majority of the caucus. . . .
This is bad for Cunliffe but it is at least as harmful to Labour.
Labour MPs have openly joked with me . . . two very senior MPs . . . So many have told me . . . Sources have told me . . . my sources tell me . . . According to Shearer’s sources. . .
Each and every one of those phrases is a sign not just of a divided caucus but one in which its members put their enmity for a colleague ahead of loyalty to the party.
When a caucus is divided the rest of the party doesn’t function properly either.
That has an inevitable impact on polls because the public isn’t keen to trust running the country to a party which isn’t able to agree on how to run itself.
While National stands united, Labour is divided and that’s one of the reasons its failing to gain traction in the polls.