The words in the title line for this post are in quotation marks because they are indeed a quote. They're a quote from former Labour MP and Minister Dover Samuels who will not be giving his party vote to Labour this year; the Herald reports:
Former Labour minister Dover Samuels says he won't be voting for the party at the election.
He cited the party's opposition to the Puhoi to Wellsford extension and Leader David Cunliffe's "prima donna grandstanding" over the issue of sexual violence.
The former Maori Affairs Minister who now serves on the Northland Regional Council confirmed the Herald this morning he did not intend giving his party vote to Labour.
"Labour's moved away from me, I've never moved away from Labour. I'm as staunch of the principles of Labour as I ever was, since the days of Mickey Savage."
He indicated he would be voting for NZ First.
"Winston Peters has been somebody that certainly has been an advocate of the regions and I'm a regional councillor and I find that spokespersons for the Labour Party have really turned their backs on some of the initiatives that the Northland Council have been advocating."
He pointed to Labour's plan to indefinitely postpone the Puhoi to Wellsford extension which it derides as "the holiday highway".
" I don't know where they got that from but the Puhoi road is integral to Northland's economic future."
The Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance is a no-brainer. The events of the last ten days have shown how vulnerable road access to Northland is. And the section of road between Puhoi and Wellsford is one of the worst sections of State Highway One in the North Island. A major upgrade is years overdue.
Labour and the Greens do themselves no favours with their "holiday highway" bleats, an obvious reference to John Key owning a beach house at Omaha. But for the people anywhere north of Puhoi, the road is their lifeline to New Zealand; especially those who are in the business of getting their products to customers.
Dover Samuels is going to give his Te Tai Tokerau electorate vote to Labour's Kelvin Davis, who also supports the Puhoi to Wellsford RONS. So he should, especially if Labour has been sending out coded messages that voters should ensure MegaMana should be a part of the 51st Parliament. But instead of wasting his party vote on Winston First, we reckon Dover Samuels should give it to National; the only one of the major parties that already has a plan and a timeframe to build Puhoi to Wellsford. This will create jobs in the construction phase, and along with other roading initiatives announced a few weeks ago, greatly improve Northland's roading network.
And Dover Samuels, who told Mark Sainsbury on RadioLive yesterday that he has talked to David Cunliffe about his decision had some sensible advice for the Labour Party:
Mr Samuels said his advice to Labour was "come back to the grass roots principles".
"I was a minister and a Member of Parliament under Helen Clark. She recognised you never become Government if you don't take middle New Zealand with you.
"Shane Jones saw that and unfortunately this idea of "rich prick" and this idea of "I'm ashamed to be a man" and all of this kind of prima donna grandstanding does not actually resonate well with middle New Zealand at all."
Mr Samuels said he was hearing many Labour Party supporters of long standing asking "what is happening to our party?".
Dover Samuels should be applauded for saying publicly what so many Labour-aligned people are saying privately. It's too late for Labour to make fundamental changes for this election, but maybe someone in the party hierarchy will come to the realisation that three consecutive resounding electoral defeats is no accident.
It is Labour that needs to change, not those who Labour perceives to be misguided voters who made a big mistake.