Little will want to bounce back quickly from a bad week

EDITORIAL

On a week where the Government was facing some pressure Labour leader Andrew Little, to use a sporting analogy, scored a couple of own goals while failing to take a scoring chance himself.

It should have been a bad week for the Government with dairy prices continuing to fall, the banks failing to fully pass on interest rate cuts and the revelation of just how little income tax huge global companies were paying.

Instead, Little responded to the interest rates issue by saying he might legislate for banks to pass on official cash rate changes — despite this being only one factor banks consider when setting rates — and while suggesting it might be time to put the brakes on immigration, he put his foot in it by giving the hospitality industry as an example and focusing on Indian and Chinese chefs.

That immediately exposed him to ridicule from cartoonists and commentators, and diverted attention from the Government’s problems. It also put Labour into the same xenophobic camp as Winston Peters, who seemed to feel aggrieved that his act had been stolen.

Coming on top of last year’s use by Labour of questionable statistics on the proportion of Chinese buyers of Auckland properties, it won’t help them with the growing Asian community.

It is also a pity because since he took over the leadership of the Labour Party, Little has done a good job of steadying his caucus and quelling the sort of internecine fighting that dogged the party for so long.

Labour still has plenty of time to put things right and that should start this week in Auckland where deputy leader Grant Robertson is hosting the conference at which the party’s “future of work” policies will be laid out.

This is classic Labour territory and the sort of thing that the party must focus on as it seeks to establish a clear philosophical difference from the Government and perhaps equally importantly from the Greens, who would be their likely coalition partners.

As sports coaches know, every team has its setbacks. What is important is how you bounce back.

On a week where the Government was facing some pressure Labour leader Andrew Little, to use a sporting analogy, scored a couple of own goals while failing to take a scoring chance himself.

It should have been a bad week for the Government with dairy prices continuing to fall, the banks failing to fully pass on interest rate cuts and the revelation of just how little income tax huge global companies were paying.

Instead, Little responded to the interest rates issue by saying he might legislate for banks to pass on official cash rate changes — despite this being only one factor banks consider when setting rates — and while suggesting it might be time to put the brakes on immigration, he put his foot in it by giving the hospitality industry as an example and focusing on Indian and Chinese chefs.

That immediately exposed him to ridicule from cartoonists and commentators, and diverted attention from the Government’s problems. It also put Labour into the same xenophobic camp as Winston Peters, who seemed to feel aggrieved that his act had been stolen.

Coming on top of last year’s use by Labour of questionable statistics on the proportion of Chinese buyers of Auckland properties, it won’t help them with the growing Asian community.

It is also a pity because since he took over the leadership of the Labour Party, Little has done a good job of steadying his caucus and quelling the sort of internecine fighting that dogged the party for so long.

Labour still has plenty of time to put things right and that should start this week in Auckland where deputy leader Grant Robertson is hosting the conference at which the party’s “future of work” policies will be laid out.

This is classic Labour territory and the sort of thing that the party must focus on as it seeks to establish a clear philosophical difference from the Government and perhaps equally importantly from the Greens, who would be their likely coalition partners.

As sports coaches know, every team has its setbacks. What is important is how you bounce back.

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