Are Greens and Labour changing party messages?

Posted February 4, 2016

The Greens appear to be moving into the centre of politics while Labour take a step to the left if recent comments and policy announcements are any indication.

All political parties need a clear and simple message to communicate when it comes to elections. The theme of their message should be reflected by their policies. National is always focused on the economy and claims itself the most responsible economic manager. This is why so many of John Key’s speeches are focused on the economy and he uses the word ‘economy’ a lot.

The Greens on the other hand have always had two messages. They focus on the environment, but are also socialist with their views on the economy. I’ve said many times here that they would be best to sit in the middle of politics but hold onto their environmental focus.

Co-leader James Shaw has kept away from the socialist side of the party message since he entered Parliament, but now his co-leader Metiria Turei appears to be following suit. This suggests they may bin their radical economic policies and move into the centre of politics with a distinctive environmental focus. Turei has now even said a coalition with National is a distinct possibility.

At the same time, some of Labour’s recent policy announcements suggest a move to the left. Their rejection of the TPPA and policy of free tertiary education is certainly a leftward move.

If Labour move slightly to the left and the Greens take a step towards the centre, the two parties could end up quite similar.

But Labour may need to be careful because an environmental party with realistic economic policies could become a major force and a highly desirable option for mainstream Labour voters

This is a great time for parties to be forming their party messages as there is still time before the next Election. Labour have the toughest job, but they must sort their message out soon so people know what they stand for. What will Labour’s approach be? They were the party of the worker, then shifted 180 degrees with Rogernomics. Now they need to carve out their place again. I’m not sure a move to the left will do it for them, but at least they’re starting to get proactive.

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