In the wake of two pretty average polls for Labour over the weekend, Stuff has gone seeking a quote from David Shearer, and he has delivered one; but first some context; check this out:
National has shrugged off an expected backlash over unpopular policies, with two new polls showing its support climbing.The results show Labour is flatlining, with David Shearer already forced to counter speculation about his leadership five months into the job.In the 3 News Reid Research poll revealed last night, National were up 2.3 per cent to 49.9, showing the SkyCity casino deal, ACC privacy row and the sale of the Crafar farms to the Chinese have not hurt John Key's party.A Roy Morgan poll at the weekend boosted National to 49.5 per cent, up 5.5 on last month.The results show Mr Shearer has made little headway.Rumblings over splits in his backroom team and speculation on a Left-wing blog left deputy Grant Robertson denying he was preparing to mount a challenge.
So here's what Mr Shearer had to say, with our emphasis helpfully added:
Mr Shearer said the poll results were "sort of surprising"."People are worried about selling off farmland, state-owned assets, legislation for pokie machines, the issues around cronyism, the worries about cuts to frontline services ... I think the polling will start to change as people grow more dissatisfied about where the Government is going."His party was happy with the direction he was taking, he insisted. "I think people need to stop seeking instant gratification ... if the polls had been around the other way, you wouldn't be asking."I just think it is a lot of people making up a lot of things. That's the great thing about the Labour Party. We'll never agree on absolutely everything ... but that's as far as it goes."Although the party had "led [opposition to] most of those issues" he believed it could "do better".
John Key is far less equivocal; read on:
But Mr Key dismissed this. "I don't think that's right."When the Government is out of sync with the voters, then voters react and that shows up through the polls. It doesn't matter where you are in the election cycle." He said Labour was promoting a confusing message, whereas the public was clear about what his Government wanted to achieve."No-one has a clue what they stand for. I am paid to watch them and I don't know if they are pro-growth or opposed to growth ... what has David Shearer actually said in five months? You need more than being a nice guy."Next month's zero Budget may impact on National's lead. "We do have to find savings and there is a constituency for every dollar Government spends. When you stop spending it, some people don't like that."
John Key identifies Labour's and David Shearer's main dilemma. We're starting to see what Labour is against, and that's everything that National proposes. But what is Labour actually FOR?
David Shearer is in the midst of a series of state-of-the-nation type speeches. His first one got reasonable media coverage, but we understand that just three journalists travelled to Nelson to hear him speak last week, and that as Irish Bill noted at The Standard on Thursday night, Shearer's speech "sunk like a stone".
As the polls turned against Labour in 2008. Not only is the phone "off the hook" as John Armstrong suggested in April of that year, we're starting to thing that the bill hasn't been paid, and the line has been disconnected.