Wrong process, wrong person

When National launched its constitutional review it chose Steven Joyce to lead it.

He was a successful businessman who supported National but had never been intimately involved with the party and came to the process without baggage.

In stark contrast, Labour has launched its constitutional review and has chosen Bryan Gould to lead it.

Chris Keall nails the problem with that:

. . . if you must have a review panel, head it by someone who knows how to win elections. . .

Gould is a smart man, I’m sure. But he’s not a winner in the game of politics. The ex-pat was a senior MP between 1979 and 1992 – a period of course dominated by Thatcher and the Conservatives as Labour struggled to make itself look anything close to electable.

Gould has poured vitriol on Tony Blair – the man whose up-beat style and move to the centre saw the party finally return to power.

Many in Labour will agree with Gould’s critiques of Blair for going too far in greasing up the press, moderating policy, and poodling to America on Iraq. In various newspaper editorials and his memoirs, Gould won the moral high ground hands down. But he lacks Blair’s ruthless and practical streak, and focus on likeability, that’s so necessary to win power.

A key question for NZ Labour is whether to shore up the party’s base with hard left polices or move to the centre, where elections are won. No prizes for guessing where the academic Gould will land.

Just last Thursday, Gould was comparing Key to Kim Jong-un. Great lorks if you’re a humour writer for the Internet Party. Not so much if you’re trying to talk to middle NZ. . .

Labour’s lost the election for several reasons and because it has several problems, none of which are likely to be solved by a review led by someone who can’t talk to middle New Zealand.

In another contrast, National had its review, reformed its constitution and reorganised then changed its leader.

Labour is changing its leader as the review process begins.

When it’s got the process wrong and chosen the wrong man to lead it, the chances of a successful outcome aren’t high.

 

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