The Soap Box: The worst job in politics

Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thursday, 20 April 2017, 5:35AM
It's often said that Oppositions don't win elections, Governments lose them (Tegan Atkins).
It's often said that Oppositions don't win elections, Governments lose them (Tegan Atkins).

It's often been said that there's no worse job in politics than being the Leader of the Opposition.

You've got no power, meaning you can flex all the muscle you like, but stand in front of the mirror and strike as many poses as your able, you'll still look scrawny. Still, you've got to be able to convince the great unwashed that there's Prime Ministerial flesh on the bone.

It's no easy task as the four Labour leaders since Helen Clark will attest to. Clark once confided that photographs of her time in the job rarely showed her smiling, essentially because there's not much to smile about.

It's also often said that Oppositions don't win elections, Governments lose them. They have little choice but to bide their time, hoping that the Government's popularity diminishes as it inevitably will.

But five months out from the election the appetite for the National led Government hasn't diminished enough for Labour's liking which is why they've taken on Jacinda Ardern to make Andrew Little more palatable and have bear hugged The Greens.

Unfortunately for them National continues to feed the electorate and is seen to be sating the hand that feeds it.

Just this week for example the Beehive's been converted on the road to the ballot box, stumping up more than two billion bucks over the next five years to look after more than 50,000 age care workers who've been struggling to make ends meet for years.

Paula Bennett was once one of them, she reminded the electorate in a tweet to them, saying she knows how hard they all work, and after a ton of effort, she was so pleased with the outcome.

Fair suck of the sav, National only entered the game of rewarding the workers after they'd exhausted their opposition through the courts and knew that if they'd left it to them to sort out, it could have been worse.

Resolving the issue though left Labour up the political creek without a policy, National has stolen their thunder.

And then they come out with a "solution" to stem the flow of migrants into this country that we've been told by the Opposition is putting pressure on everything they can think of and more and have been asking for the brakes to be put on to give us a bit of breathing space.

The Government would have us believe they're tackling the problem whereas in fact they're doing little more than tweaking it.

But then there's another saying, politics is about perception and it's the Opposition's job to dispel that and that is no easy task.

Trouble is, they haven't got a lot of time to bide.

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