Don't panic, the Prime Minister has been found. She is among the vines in Martinborough.

And from between those vines she has repeated the mistakes of the previous two years. She's promised something and given it a name and headline. She is promising to run a positive, factual, and robust campaign.

Oh dear. Is that the same as saying you are the most open, honest, and transparent government ever? Or not dissimilar to last year being the year of delivery?


Neither of those two were honest, real, or delivered. It is claimed by some that the year of delivery thing was almost made up on the spot. They were, I think, at a similar rural gathering and they panicked. They didn't have anything specific or snappy enough to say, hence the "year of delivery" it was. Or wasn't, as the year itself proved.

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I think we can probably put the most honest, open, and transparent government one down to the fact that she couldn't believe she was actually in government, given she'd actually came second on the night, and the bloke who came even lower than second got to pick the team.

But the message or lesson here, if anyone in Labour actually want to learn it, is that, as they enter this election year they have an issue. That issue is credibility. They say an awful lot of stuff and then, well not a lot follows.

Certainly not a lot of openness, or transparency. And as for the honesty, I think even their most hardened supporters would blush just slightly if they decided to defend the party's complete honour and integrity.

Yes, like all governments they've achieved a pile of things that they can spruik and/or defend. But it's the stuff they haven't done. The child poverty, the social housing, any housing, or the health reform. It's the things they held dear, talked of passionately, that after three years remain not only unsolved, resolved, or fixed, but have actually got a hell of a lot worse.

Now they'll offer the usual excuses about not fixing things in a day. But that was their problem, with promises and the year of delivery, they talked such a big game, and they created a gargantuan expectation. And no better example wasn't delivered in the year of delivery than KiwiBuild.

And not only did it implode in the year of delivery, it was falling apart in the year they promised to be the most open, honest, and transparent government ever. And they weren't open, honest, or transparent. They tried to cover it up by telling us it was fine until it so obviously wasn't, and then they threw their hands in the air.


So that is their real hurdle, along with having run out of money leaving them busy borrowing, and of course the economy. The economy might save them, it depends on the 2018 fourth quarter growth numbers.

But having watched this game for 35 years, if you compare them to the first term of Lange, Clark, Key, and maybe even Bolger, they're going to need to be doing a great deal more than just another snappy headline from the queen of glib phrases.