The focus has gone on a letter David Cunliffe wrote 11 years ago.
That he couldn’t remember having written it – when probably all he did was sign it – is not surprising.
That his staff couldn’t find the letter suggests their record keeping isn’t as good as it could be which is bad.
That someone knew about the letter, and didn’t tell anyone in the party suggests the party has enemies within, which is worse.
But the issue of the letter is trivial.
What is far more significant is the money Donghua Liu donated to the party which wasn’t declared.
If he donated more than the limit for disclosure then failure to disclose it is an electoral offence.
What will be equally concerning for the party is that Cunliffe and other MPs have wasted weeks tying to damn National for links with Liu when they too had received money from him.
Someone in the party was giving Cunliffe a large amount of rope which has tripped him up and may yet not just hang him but strangle the party too.
If there’s such abuse of trust inside Labour, they can’t possibly expect trust from outside.
There will be absolutely no comfort for Labour, or the left in the latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll:
Labour’s support has slumped to its lowest level since the 2011 election, with leader David Cunliffe battling for survival after it emerged he intervened in a residency application for Chinese businessman Donghua Liu.
In the latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos political poll, the party has dropped 6 percentage points to 23 per cent. National is soaring on 56 per cent, which would allow it to govern alone. Click here for full graphics.
Cunliffe has failed to stop his party’s slide in the poll since he took over as leader in September, and is now facing election humiliation. His support as preferred prime minister slipped to 11 per cent, down two points. Prime Minister John Key edged ahead, up three points to 51.4 per cent. . .
The polling was done before the Liu allegations were made public.
However, there is no cause for complacency from National when you look at the response on whether or not it’s time for a change in government.
There are more people thinking it’s not time for a change than thinking it is, but there’s enough people who aren’t sure to tip the balance.
All this mud Labour slung failed to make a hit on National but it has dirtied itself and it has also added to the disenchantment many people have with politicians and politics in general.
Rather than getting the so-called missing million who didn’t vote last time to turn up this time, Labour’s stupidity is likely to result in even fewer people bothering.
Trust matters and people who don’t trust the people or the process aren’t likely to vote at all.