3 Jun 2015

Problems with election campaign identified

6:27 pm on 3 June 2015

Tensions around the leadership, a lack of money and a failure to communicate have been found to have been behind Labour's abysmal performance at last year's general election.

Labour Party Leader, Andrew Little.

Labour leader Andrew Little - speaking at Parliament today Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Those were some of the conclusions of a review of the party's election campaign carried out by a team including former government minister Margaret Wilson.

The review found the campaign was undoubtedly hindered by a shortage of financial resources.

In fact it warned that, unless it could raise more money in the future, the party risked continued electoral failure and might even "place the status of the party as a political institution of influence at risk".

The review found perceptions of tensions around the leadership and caucus disunity seriously undermined the party's credibility.

It said a late start under a changed leadership team left "too little time" to allow Labour to prepare an effective campaign and that generally the campaign preparation was "inadequate".

It also said Labour did not present a coherent or convincing image of itself or its policies: "policies put forward at the election were often complex, difficult to understand and easily misrepresented by our opponents".

Labour was also harmed by the prospect of having to rely on other parties to form a government: "The voters lacked confidence as to what that might mean, which eroded trust in a potential Labour-led Government."

Maori seats 'relative success'

The review team found the number of Maori seats provided one of the "few bright spots" for Labour in the 2014 election.

It said the party needed to learn the lessons of that "relative success" and apply them to the 2017 campaign.

It recommended Labour respond by providing a higher profile for Maori members and activists in the party and lending a more attentive ear to both Maori interests and advice.

It presented a range of other recommendations aimed at better preparing the party for the 2017 campaign.

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