The ODT is not impressed by Labour’s approach to the election:
Labour is using the politics of personality as its principal tool.
Predictably, its leaders, all former academics, also argue in favour of their political management experience over the past nine years, emphasising the considerable political inexperience of National Party leader and retired millionaire money trader, John Key.
But Labour has so far provided no policies to speak of to assist voters considering choices for the next three years, whereas National’s strategy has been to look ahead, emphasise future prospects and needs, and to generally give an optimistic flavour to its policies, although they lack much useful detail.
What has been the exceptional feature is Labour’s personal attacks on National’s leader, led right from the top.
The purpose of the attacks has been to try to destroy Mr Key’s credibility by linking him with global events, a tactic reminiscent of the smear politics of the worst years of Muldoonism.
The tactic is intended to arouse fear in individuals who are vulnerable to such suggestions or who do not follow politics or history closely. . .
. . . Labour is anxious to destroy any expectation voters have that National might get enough votes to govern alone.
It is a faint hope, despite what the opinion polls might be saying, but it does exist. . .
. . . And the latest smear from Dr Cullen attempting to suggest Mr Key had used his privileged position to benefit from share trading in Tranz Rail in 2003 is part of the strategy to cultivate an air of doubt and uncertainty.
The word “trust” still resonates with meaning for the age group which regards with suspicion younger risk-takers who make their millions from the mysterious manipulation of currencies.
That age group is also most fearful about the immediate future, be it health needs, pension income, personal security, and the cost of living, and is being targeted precisely because antagonistic campaigning strikes a positive response with the sector.
The emphasis on the negative rather than on providing a design for the future health and security of the nation is not a promising beginning to the campaign.