Political commentator Chris Trotter says Labour is unlikely to win the next election, because it is still struggling with its identity, and its leader isn't "really a politician'.
The comments come after party leader Andrew Little said immigrant chefs were taking up jobs, before turning around and suggesting his statements had been misconstrued.
Prime Minister John Key and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have since shrugged off the problem as a non-issue, but Mr Trotter says the recent comments show Labour is increasingly desperate to be seen in a positive light.
"There is no doubt, that if you push that immigration button, as we have seen in the United States with Donald Trump, you can get a reaction.
"They [Labour] are casting about for something to put a positive light on Labour and push them into office at the end of next year."
Mr Trotter says Labour's problem is that its leader doesn't think like a politician.
"He's a lawyer, he has a good brain in his head -- but he is not really a politician.
"You have to be able to recognise bad advice when you hear it. You have to have your own best advisor at the back of your mind. Something tells me that if Little was to listen to that advisor then he would probably be doing a lot better than he is."
According to Mr Trotter, he believes the party has been lacking direction since the Helen Clark era, and says if Labour were to win the 2017 election it would only be because National had pushed voters away.
"I think that if National is not elected into its fourth term then it is something that it has done and not something that Labour has done."