Opinion: Andrew Little is 'safe as a rock'

Labour leader Andrew Little (Simon Wong)
Labour leader Andrew Little (Simon Wong)

Three senior front bench Labour MPs say Andrew Little's leadership is not under threat following a disastrous Colmar Brunton poll released last night.

Labour dropped 3 percent to 26 percent - that's 8 percent lower than when David Shearer was leader in 2013.

But senior MPs Grant Robertson, Phil Twyford and Annette King have all backed their leader, saying the poll is out of step with Labour's internal polls and other major polls.

One of the MPs described it as a "bulls**t poll". Another said Mr Little's leadership was "safe as a rock". And another frontbencher described Mr Little's leadership as "totally safe".

But the truth is this is a major blow to Labour. 

A poll is a poll and if it had Labour at 38 I bet Mr Little wouldn't be calling it "bogus" or a "rogue".

Labour has spent the winter highlighting the plight of the poor and the homeless and in this poll it hasn't worked. That will be seriously deflating and depressing for the caucus, but I pick no mood for change, unlike when they rolled Mr Shearer in 2013.

I do think the deal with the Greens was unnecessary. It took Labour to the left when it needed to look more mainstream.

The critics of National will not like this, but the economy is strong. Economic growth figures out this week are expected to top 3.6 percent. That's pretty good and a credit to this Government's management of the economy.

Yes, a lot of it is based on immigration and housing, and of course that squeezes some people out of jobs and homes. But Labour in my view has lost its relevancy to middle-class working families. 

It needs to become relevant again. Right now, no one is talking about them. And if that continues they could be annihilated at the next election, unless they can find the missing million voters who never show up.

An exception is Mr Twyford. He has done well on housing, and Ms King is a constant performer, but most MPs are invisible.

Another mid-ranking Labour MP told me last week: "I know this is horrible, but it looks like we are constantly supporting losers and the downtrodden."

Maybe he was right. Labour has lost touch with real people and their real issues.

At 26 percent, three out of four voters are saying no to Labour.

As Bill Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid." And on the current economic track National is coasting.

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