Has Andrew Little gone silent? Yes, but only about his Labour leadership ambitions

"But keeping quiet isn't my strong suit."

“But keeping quiet isn’t my strong suit.”

On the front page of the NZ Herald, one item grabbed Alf’s attention: It was headed Little not saying much and it steered readers to an item headed…

Little dodges leadership contest questions.

Oh joy, Alf thought.

Has the Labour MP been struck dumb?

Alas, no.

Rather, he he was being evasive – or had gone coy.

Labour MP Andrew Little has dodged questions about whether or not he will throw his hat into ring of the leadership contest.

Speaking on TV3’s The Nation this morning, Mr Little said he is waiting until after final election results are released today before he starts to make a decision.

“I’m just waiting to see whether I am going to still be in parliament, I won’t know until 2pm today,” he said.

“It is not something I have given thought to at this point, but if I am confirmed today I will have an opportunity to think about it, and if I’m not I’ll find other ways to support the cause.”

Labour’s greatly-shrunken bunch of supporters would have been heartened to hear Little say he believed in what Labour stood for and the party needed to work on spreading that message to New Zealanders.

“What the party stands for is very important… In terms for a whole bunch of people who are looking for a fairer deal, and a better deal because they are not getting it at the moment,” Mr Little told the programme.

The final results of the September 20 election have been posted since then.

Little held on to his job.

But he is still coy about his leadership ambitions.

NZ City has posted this item:

Labour’s Andrew Little says a large number of people want him to run for the leadership, but he hasn’t made a decision.

Mr Little retained his seat in parliament as a list MP after the final election results on Saturday.

A large number of people had asked him to nominate himself for the leadership, Mr Little told TVNZ’s Q+A on Sunday.

David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson have already put themselves forward.

“I am considering it, but am no where near making a decision,” Mr Little said.

He needed to talk to his family and colleagues.

“My considerations are what is needed for the party, who and what can I contribute and could I contribute by nominating for the leadership?”

But the stuff about spreading the message is somewhat different in this account of Little’s thinking.

The party needed to listen to the people who nearly voted for Labour and get out and talk to everyday people in their own environments, he said.

He believed the poor result was due to fear over Labour’s policies such as raising the age for superannuation and implementing a capital gains tax, which meant significant changes for people.

“What people most want, they want economic security. They know then that they’re going to have a job that they’re going to get reasonably paid for it,” he said.

“I think people when they came to us they heard you know superannuation policy, working an extra couple of years. They heard capital gains tax, their little investment property. All that was kind of at risk – it was too scary.”

However, it wasn’t for him to get rid of the policies, Mr Little said.

“Maybe we haven’t campaigned hard enough on them, but at the very least we need revisit them and talk to people about them.”

If the electorate had been daft enough to vote for a Labour-led Government, and it had delivered its promises, it would have raised the eligibility age for national superannuation from 65 to 67 from 2020 to 2026.

A few more years wielding a pick, digging for coal, chopping down trees and what-have-you was never likely to enthuse Kiwi toilers.

It also was going to introduce a capital gains tax.

But leader David Cunliffe tripped over the details in one of the TV debates, and if he couldn’t get to grips with it, why should people vote for it?

As for Andrew Little, he said enough on Q+A to tell us that – sadly – he has not been struck dumb.




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