Opinion: Christmas comes early for Labour

Andrew Little (Newshub. / file)
Andrew Little (Newshub. / file)

I haven't seen Labour MPs look this happy in years.

The day David Cunliffe resigned as leader came pretty close, but today was different.

Brand Key is gone, National is experiencing an identity crisis, and Labour MPs are walking around with smug little smiles.

Labour has a reason to be happy - the tables have turned.

Finally, it's not them embroiled in a leadership stoush.

Finally, it's not them arriving at Parliament with journalists and cameras surrounding their taxis, or plaguing their journey to the caucus room.

For the first time in a decade, it's National having a leadership crisis and Labour MPs are watching with glee from the sidelines.

It's the first time National's disciplined, stable, and united caucus has begun to fall apart, with internal factions and alliances being revealed.

For Andrew Little, it's an early Christmas present. The unbeatable Brand Key is gone.

It's opened the door for National's image to take a hit, and it's opened the door for Labour to make a move.

"The top has finally blown off tensions that have been simmering in National for a significant period of time," Little said earlier today, with an ear-to-ear grin.

With John Key gone, Kiwis will be looking at Labour and considering whether it's time for a change. And if Little is smart, he will position himself to capitalise from it.

But he needs to start looking prime ministerial. He needs to start looking like someone who can represent New Zealand on the world stage.

He needs to get a thicker skin. He needs to ditch his aggressive outbursts. He needs to lose his defensive disposition.

His party needs to start looking and acting like it's ready to govern too. That means a good clear out of dead wood. It means getting rid of its clip-the-ticket MPs.

Otherwise, before Little knows it, National will have a new leader, the party will be united, and it will continue on like before.

Yes, there's an opportunity for Labour here. But there's no room for complacency. 

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