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Opinion: Little should take a leaf out of Trudeau's buff book to pull voters

The end of another dismal week for Labour, who've slumped to 26 per cent in our latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

Andrew Little's taken himself off to Canada to lick his wounds.

Andrea Vance ONE Voice
Andrea Vance ONE Voice Source: 1 NEWS

But it's not too late, Little. A year ago, Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party confounded expectations to win the federal election... and the hearts of millions of women around the world.

Here's what Little can learn from Canada's JFK.

Sunny - not sulky - ways

Trudeau didn't go negative. He had poise even in the face of ridiculous attacks on his hair – and Stephen Harper's attack ads.

"You can appeal to the better angels of our nature and you can win while doing it," Trudeau said.

His campaign focused on a "positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life". He warmly embraced refugees, as opponents fear-mongered.

The PM with his take on why Labour has slipped in the latest poll result, which Andrew Little has rubbished. Source: Breakfast

This "tone-at-the-top" was emulated by the party as a whole – from candidates through to volunteer door-knockers. Post-election polling showed Trudeau was the main attraction for 20 per cent of Liberal voters.

Little and Labour are relentlessly negative. Yes, it’s the Opposition's job to keep the Government honest – but there comes a point in the election cycle when you have to offer up a fresh, and credible, alternative.

Labour are well past that point. And these problems are exacerbated by Little’s evident frustration. The more the party fails to get cut-through, the more defensive he gets.

Consistently on-message

Trudeau is an excellent retail politician and cut though the noise with a simple but powerful vision of Canada as tolerant and progressive. He committed to legalising marijuana and lowering taxes for the middle class while increasing the burden on the rich.

As a Gen X-er he instinctively got social media and attracted – and then motivated – the young, low-income immigrants and the disillusioned with politics.

National has already got their 2017 message sorted: stable and predictable government. Labour are all over the place. While they try to keep the focus on the housing crisis, its MPs are easily distracted by pointless Beltway concerns.

This isn’t helped by Little's insistence on fronting every issue-of-the-day out of a desperate need for air-time.

Appetite for change

It's hard to argue voters in numbers are tiring of National. Another round of positive economic growth figures this week was arguably worse news for Labour than that poll.

An artist depicts the Labour leader as being naked and with big muscles. Source: Breakfast

Trudeau's Liberals were emerging from a decade in the political wilderness – a bit like Labour. They were the underdog, in third place before the long election campaign. Trudeau explained the strategy: "We don’t need to convince them to leave the Conservative Party, we just need to show them how Stephen Harper's party has left them."

Harper's Conservatives – as with the Nats – positioned themselves as a tested choice, particularly on the economy. But Trudeau broke the mold by appealing to those left behind – and by eschewing balanced budgets in favour of deficits to invest in critical infrastructure and stimulate growth.

He tapped into the resentment also harnessed by Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn.

Don't take your shirt off

Trudeau is a buff, hockey-playing boxer. He can get away with it... but Little's nude rug portrait demonstrates it's not always a vote puller.