Here, in a nutshell, is an example of why Labour is struggling to get going in office.

You can start to list the stuff that was promised but isn't happening. From trees, to mines, to tax collection from corporate. But housing, in a single example, sums them up.

They're a party, now Government, of yak not action.

Phil Twyford was one of the party's best operators in opposition. He had housing and he milked it for all it was worth. He had Nick Smith, the minister, against the ropes. He built up a case against the government's handling of the so-called housing crisis with headline after headline of woe, misery and disaster.

Now a lot of it was your typical opposition grandstanding, but that's what oppositions do. They look for noise, trouble, and damage.


Phil, from Labour's point of view, was about as good an operator as they had. So by the time he rocked up to government, the day one disappointment was he bailed on building the 10,000 houses a year he had promised in the first year. So that's pushed back the first term's numbers to 15,000 a year, which of course they stand no chance of achieving.

But then, he did what? The classic Labour kick for touch. A committee. A housing working group.

What for, Phil? Housing isn't complex, it's supply and demand. And you've spent nine years in opposition learning about it, watching it, and in the past three or four years as the markets have taken off, been banging on about it looking to nail the government.

So surely, surely, surely, is it not too much to think that you might have a clue about the subject. So why the committee?

And the committee is made up of people who we already know what they think. Shamubeel Eaqub - the economist who, like Phil, has been banging on about housing for ever. He's written books about it. Why is he on a committee? Why doesn't Phil just read his book?

The Sally Army - they too have a long and detailed and critical track record of what we've done in the area of housing, why not just read their press releases?

Gees, if they can call a meeting, set up a committee, bark for a report, demand an inquiry, Labour is in its happy place. At some point though, the rubber will need to hit the road. And at some point someone is actually going to have to do something.

Because if they don't, before they know it, it'll be 2020. They'll be entering election year under a tsunami of reports, whiteboards, noise, and headlines - none of which garner votes.