Election 2023: Peter Dunne says Labour needs to be careful not to create sense of 'panic', look 'desperate' with policy announcements

Labour is trying to create a positive "head of steam" with its recent policy announcements but a political pundit believes they need to be careful it doesn't create a sense of panic and look "desperate". 

Labour has released a series of policies over the last few weeks including its tax policy to remove GST from fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, paid parental leave boost and major changes to the Working for Families system.

But questions have now been raised about if these policies are so good, why hasn't Labour implemented them during their time in Government.

Former United Future leader and political commentator Peter Dunne told AM Early on Thursday Labour needs to be careful with how they unveil its policies. 

Dunne told AM Early host Michael O'Keeffe if Labour isn't careful they could create a sense of panic. 

"What I think Labour's trying to do is create a head of steam that looks as though it's positive, ongoing and facing the future but what it risks looking like though is panic," he said. 

"My goodness, the election's only a few weeks away, we're behind. Let's toss this policy out on the public mind, here's another one with the paid parental leave and so on and so forth and it starts to look a little desperate. 

"So they've got to be very careful how they manage this whole policy release process to avoid looking like they're sort of just coming out with an idea a day to try and keep the ship afloat. I think that will backfire on them if that is the case." 

Labour has been lagging behind in all the recent political polls, which show the right-bloc of National and ACT on track to form a Government at October's election. 

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll showed National and ACT could comfortably form a Government getting 63 seats, while the left-bloc of Labour-Greens-Te Pāti Māori could only reach 57. 

Labour has only kicked into campaign mode recently saying they've been focussed on governing the country while National and ACT have been releasing policies for several months now. 

This could be one reason why Labour is lagging behind and Dunne believes it will take some time to see if the recently released policies are having any impact on voters. 

"I don't think it's going to come up in the current round of polling, but maybe the next round but frankly, if you look at the polls over the last month, there have been five polls out during the month of August, every single one of them has shown a National-ACT government emerging with differing margins," he said. 

But with just 58 days to go until the election, Dunne told AM Early he didn't have high hopes for Labour with polling over recent months not great reading for the Government. 

"If you look at the overall state of the polls since about June, the gap between centre-right bloc National and ACT and the centre-left Labour and the Greens has been slowly widening," he said. 

"It's not huge, but it's much wider now than it was a couple of months ago. So Labour's really in pick-up mode here and they've only got a couple of months to go. I think it's going to be a challenge for them to A, get the message out there and B get the public response to turn things around for them."

Watch the full interview with Peter Dunne in the video above.