Edwards: Goff totally loses the plot

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, June 24th, 2010 - 125 comments
Categories: blogs, labour, leadership, phil goff, spin - Tags:

A government whose raison d’etre is furthering corporate interests can be pretty damned incompetent and still do okay, because corporate msm do the PR for them. And in return for this government favouring corporate interests over all else we’ve seen countless examples of NACT committing howling errors of judgement, if not outright illegalities, only to have our corporate media either ignore the story or defend the Government.

But when you’re in Opposition and ostensibly representing more democratic interests, the job of effective PR is infinitely more difficult and requires substantially more savvy. Yet while our msm have played a substantial part in the election and ongoing popularity of Captain Beaky Inc, it’s also fair to say that we haven’t seen much evidence of smart PR from Labour this term either (although I can think of a number of blunders I’d prefer not to recount).

In his latest article “Goff totally loses the plot” Brian Edwards analyses Labour’s latest instance of PR seppuku whereby Phil Goff has bizarrely embarked on a campaign to refresh the credit card fiasco story, just when it was fading from public consciousness. Goff has decided that although Carter has formally apologized in writing and to the cameras, been demoted, humiliated and persecuted for monies he long ago repaid and subjected to far more opprobrium than current ministers who have offended far worse, Carter is still not thinking the appropriate ‘contrition thoughts’ necessary for Goff to let it rest.

I mean really… WTF!? Is Goff worried the public aren’t pissed-off with Labour enough yet? Is he worried Chris Carter hasn’t been abused enough? Does he think that kicking ‘teh gayz’ will help him woo back the red-neck vote he so lovingly courted in his days as Mike Moore’s protégé in the Back Bone Club? God only knows.

One thing that is for sure, whoever is running Labour’s PR is part of the problem. With so many screw-ups by National, such an ignorant and ineffectual PM and so many deeply unpopular changes being foisted upon voters, National should not be riding as high as they still are. Much as I would love to, you can’t always blame the crooked cronyism of our Fourth Estate.

There are umpteen important, or at least potentially very salient, issues out there Labour could start campaigning on to win back popular support and poison the National well. Instead I see Labour campaigning (and I use the term generously) on one dead horse after another. If Goff wants to get rid of dead wood, I suggest he starts looking at his PR advisors.

125 comments on “Edwards: Goff totally loses the plot”

  1. Bored 1

    Time for a complete overhaul, the labour caucus has far too many long serving hacks who if they had the ideas and abilities to communicate them would already have done so. Goff just does not have it, and whoever the political strategists are have got it all wrong.

    What worries me however is how the politicians need PR firms and strategists….are we reduced to corporate spin meisters for our political direction?

  2. just saying 2

    This may be a blessing in disguise.
    Because Labour will not win the election in 2011 with Goff as leader, and the more I see of him, the more convinced I am that it would be a disaster for NZ if he did.
    Goff is no Clark. He will not rise like a phoenix in the polls.

    Please Phil fall on your sword now, you must know in your heart you’ll never be PM.
    Alternatively:
    Please Labour, use the opportunity, roll him now, and put a Labour (as opposed to a National lite) leader in his place. The way things are right now the labour Party is in danger of being found in breach of the fair trading act for even calling themselves Labour.

    Anyone still unconvinced, go and look at the interview with Goff on Te Karere a couple of nights ago about Maori kids being conned into giving DNA samples and ask yourself – What would a real Labour leader do?

  3. kriswgtn 3

    Been saying Goff needed to go the day he became Leader

    Maybe they might take a leaf out of Australias book and get rid of him…………….

  4. I don’t know that it’s necessarily a Goff problem – I live in hope that he can rise to the challenge.
    But I do think there are some serious problems with basic PR competence – whether that’s Goff’s fault or not remains to be seen.

    • Mark 4.1

      Carter challenged Goff publicly by saying he took the advice of a previous PM to return to parliament.
      It was either a well calculated snub or was a snub by an unthinking uncaring MP.
      Carter also said ” You could argue the rights and wrongs ” of his spending and he ( his staff ) only purchased a couple of bunches of flowers.

      He really dosent get it ,and Goff is looking weaker by the day.
      If he sacked Carter , he would be seen as strong and decisive and not as weak as his rating in the polls

      • the sprout 4.1.1

        if Goff sacked Carter he’d look even weaker, and buy a whole new fire-fight he doesn’t need.
        he’d also alienate a considerable cadre of activists and supporters who’d switch green.

        • swimmer 4.1.1.1

          Surely ringing Helen is only an issue because the right kept repeating it. He phoned a friend, who cares? I can’t believe how much traction the phone call got when it’s so trivial.

          • mark 4.1.1.1.1

            It got traction because it was reported in the Herald.
            It was reported in the herald because Carter mentioned it to the reporter.
            He is an experienced politician , he wouldnt have mentioned it unless he wanted to send a signal to Goff.

            Wether Goff was listening is another matter .

            • swimmer 4.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s a pity anyway because it’s such a non story.

              • Monty

                if it was such a non-story then why has it got so much traction.
                The rumours are rife that there is in the next 3-4 months going to be a challenge to Goff. I think Carter revealing to the Herald that he had chatted with Clark is just part of the plan to undermine Goff.

                Oh happy days for us on the right watching the left bitch and back stab each other.

                • swimmer

                  Yeah Carter is seriously going to challenge Goff, lol. It is a non story, fkd if I know how it got so much traction. I bet there isn’t a single member of parliament that doesn’t phone an old colleague from time to time. Who cares. Do you seriously think that Helen Clark, with all her new responsibility, wants to be the leader of the opposition anymore? Carter was just unhappy, I doubt that call had anything to do with Goff’s leadership. I even heard Bridges mention it. I would laugh if I wasn’t so annoyed at how stupid this lie is.

    • swimmer 4.2

      His PR is appalling and no one seems to be promoting him. I just hope that the party doesn’t blame him if they don’t win because they can only do that if they can honestly say that they’ve tried their best to help him win.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      He’s leader so, yes, it is his fault.

    • kriswgtn 4.4

      He just doesnt come across to get people to vote for him.
      Afarid to say this but Labour needs a brand to get votes.

      Goff isnt one

      I do like the guy but as a leader no

  5. tc 5

    labour are victims of their own structure…….Goff was next in line and had paid his dues, fair enough but they’ll never get re-elected with him as he can’t keep the focus on an appalling NACT gov’t.

    It’s not hard, keep it simple for the msm to use soundbites but Goff keeps giving long flat droning answers like the lawyer he is and there’s just no fire in the belly.

    2011 is winnable but you have to match the style over substance approach from NACT with someone like Cunliffe who can give a short slogan styled answer to the msm and FFS Labour get on with it because if the nat’s take 2011 then NZ’s well and truly F’d by being sold out.

    • just saying 5.1

      Completely disagree, I think the problem is the lack of substance. For the left, that “fire in the belly” is a visceral passion for justice for all, and Goff and the ‘old guard don’t have it (anymore in some cases),

      NZ has voted for lots of “uncharismatic” leaders. Labour can’t compete with national in the charm stakes, and it has been playing into the Nats hands for it to try. Goff’s inept attempts at aping Key, – fawning the soft nat vote and refusing to be “uncool” in championing the downtrodden, and standing up for the powerless, has just made him look weak and bereft of principle, even to the rednecks.

      • swimmer 5.1.1

        I’m not sure that they don’t have fire in their belly, but I would like to see more fire coming out of Labour at this time. I’m not the only one who wants to see more fire either.

    • jcuknz 5.2

      It is not that will Labour win next time but rather will NACT lose. It is nice for the new incumbants to think they won but usually it is a case of the public getting fed up with the previous lot.

      • ianmac 5.2.1

        Agreed jcuknz. That has always been true. So I guess it is Labour’s job to point out the Nact frailities.

        • I dreamed a dream 5.2.1.1

          It’s not just a case of Labour pointing out the NACT frailties. The public will only be convinced of the NACT frailties if and only if those frailties impact them negatively in a painful manner. For example, Labour can keep telling people until the cows come how, that the Budget makes them worse off. The public won’t buy that unless and until they find that it’s so much harder to make ends meet.

          • Pete 5.2.1.1.1

            “only if those frailties impact them negatively in a painful manner.”

            Unfortunately this is not always a truism – shower-heads and light-bulbs come to mind – both hugely over-exaggerated issues come election time, but not really painful.

            (‘frailty’ being considering these options in the first-place – framed as out of touch etc)

          • Ari 5.2.1.1.2

            Actually, I’m going to disagree with you on that one.

            The public can find things hard and have struggles because of bad government policy that the opposition doesn’t capitalise on well, and they can also get riled up about things that don’t really effect their lives if the political spin on them is well managed. (for instance, how many parents are in custody for smacking their kids at the moment?)

            Labour’s job in opposition is to find areas that the government isn’t addressing the publics wants, needs, and perceptions adequately, and hammer them home to the electorate, then come up with policy that will allow them to hit those points if elected. Labour hasn’t really done a good job at this in general in the time I’ve been politically involved- they’ve had some inspired political moves, sure- but they’ve never been very good at selling them. They’ve always had to let things speak for themselves to a certain degree. That’s not going to work against the current government- they need to be much better at selling their vision.

      • I dreamed a dream 5.2.2

        “a case of the public getting fed up with the previous lot.”

        I agree, but for a first term government, the public is a lot more tolerant. For the NACT government to lose, the public has to be more than just being fed up. They need to suffer tangibly, like losing jobs, things costing a lot more, life being much tougher after the budget, far more serious crimes, much longer hospital waiting times, possibly of less access to the beaches, plus government scandals, etc. In other words, the government has to blunder its way out of office.

        The election is for NACT to lose, and not for Labour to win.

    • kriswgtn 5.3

      Plus what TC says

      With Goff I find I dont know where to start but TC sums it up in one…

  6. RedLogix 6

    I’ve always defended Goff as a capable and safe pair of hands to run a Ministry. He’s good at that kind of thing, and has decades of experience; a govt needs people like him and we shouldn’t lose him.

    And I was willing to give the man some time to see how things played out in terms of him being a potential PM. Sadly no.

    [Edit]: From Brian’s post:

    One of the most basic tenets of public relations and of politics is that the ultimate goal in handling any problem is to make it go away. Our training mantra – be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes – is undoubtedly the best way to achieve that result.

    Sound and conventional advice, no problem with it. But it doesn’t work when you’ve really not done anything wrong; when it’s an entirely bogus pile of bs that’s been dumped on you. As Edwards says, Carter’s spending was approved and signed off; retrospectively condemning it is entirely unjust and wrong…of course Carter is pissed off, any sane person would be.

    Credit card expenses being reimbursed is another bit of bogus piffle, puffed up into absurdity, but again Goff buys into his opponents framing of the issue and looks weak.

    Right wing pundits spend days telling Goff to demote people, and when he does exactly what they have demanded of him….they then turn and damn Goff with faint praise.

    In my mind his handling of this credit card piffle has played right into the hands of the govt spin machine, which is merely one example of an ineffective Labour communications/PR strategy. He thought it was a chance to look tough, but it backfired badly; as a result he must be losing trust of his caucas and he’s seen as an easy-beat shite-eater by the right. Fatally wounded as PM material I’m afraid.

    Step down with dignity. Please.

    • swimmer 6.1

      I’m not sure that he had any choice but to demote them, the public would have crucified him, surely ?

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        He should have shrugged his shoulders and said “Nah I’m relaxed about it”. And then shut up.

        If the rightwing PR/media had then tried to play their bs story out, it’s threadbare feebleness would have become quickly obvious.

    • burt 6.2

      It’s a bit hard for a workers rights party to look like anything other than a sold out has been when it is defending it’s own members spending tax payers money on personal things that it’s voters can’t afford.

      Goff had a choice; he could have taken the arrogant rich prick approach and told his hard core supporters that a few thousand dollars of lush spending was nothing to get hot about or he could have been true to the party roots and said it is simply not acceptable. He did neither.

      Luckily he’s still got you running the arrogant defense for him.

      • RedLogix 6.2.1

        It’s a bit hard for a workers rights party to look like anything other than a sold out has been when it is defending it’s own members spending tax payers money on personal things that it’s voters can’t afford.

        Using that logic burt Labour MP’s should voluntarily insist on only being paid the median working class wage. You’re just running a form of class snobbery there…that us ordinary people should know our place and keep our grubby mitts off the goodies because they’re reserved for our betters.

        Luckily he’s still got you running the arrogant defense for him.

        Well it works for Key.

  7. grumpy 7

    So, Goff tells of Carter, Carter runs to Auntie Helen and now Grandfather Brian puts the boot into Goff.

    Labour politics at it’s best. Ruled from New York!

  8. Name 8

    So after Goff as Labour leader we have…. ah…. um…

    Sorry, I’ll just have remind myself who Labour actually has in Parliament at present apart from Carter and Shane Jones, as I haven’t actually heard of any.

    • just saying 8.1

      I know, I was trawling through the bios of the Labour team a couple of days ago.
      But the opportunity here is that things can’t get much worse. Even if, in a worst case scenario, they just switched around the seating of the old guard (like deck chairs on the Titanic), Labour would still not be less popular on polling day.

      • swimmer 8.1.1

        I think shifting people around would be a waste of time because then you just have one more person starting from scratch to learn the job, not a good position to be fighting an election from.

    • The Baron 8.2

      Just look at the All Whites video from labour today. My god – who are half of those people, and I’d consider myself pretty well informed.

      And as for the ones I do recognise… is that really what the Labour party has left?

  9. Armchair Critic 9

    If Goff wants to get rid of dead wood, I suggest he starts looking at his PR advisors.
    That’s it in a nutshell. His PR advice has been awful and the time has come to get someone who knows what they are doing. Right now. Otherwise Labour’s best hope of winning in 2011 is for National to self-destruct.

  10. Doug 10

    Time to get in touch with Crosby Textor.

    • Well Im glad someone at last has come to the real problem / its not Goff or anyone else in the Labour Party ,in fact a good look at Labour will show a lot more new talent than the still old Tory Party.Take away “smile and wave ‘and who have they got. Just have a good look at their old guard ,”throw a pensioner down the stairs” Brownlee. John “honi” Carter ;English and Smith . and so on.. In Fact their new intake is rather pale in comparision to the new Labour intake.
      Having said that I must admitt that Labour’s PR people (if we have any) is shocking. The Crosby /Textor co. leave us in the cold. They are completely in control and have influence in the media and in other important areas. Until Labour can at least match T/C we are in deep trouble.
      There is no doubt they were behind the so called credit card news. Im sure they were behind the huge payback from Labour over the pledge card report. And there is no doubt in my mind that they are driving the ant- Goff movement ,Overseen by T /C the Nats Dirty Tricks Brigade are at full speed. the interesting one to watch will be the coming local government elections.

  11. I dreamed a dream 11

    I think Goff has been handling the situation well, given the circumstances. It was not Goff who’s keeping the issue alive, it’s Carter. The sooner Carter stops stirring things up, the better.

  12. Pete 12

    I’m with most of you on this. I’m not a Labour supporter per se – but I am left-leaning, and at the moment Labour is looking too light on principles and charisma, and their PR people are generally hopeless (sad that they’re necessary, but what can you do?).

    The only stand-outs from my perspective from the party are Cunliffe – very good in interviews and cuts to the issues from a centrist/Labour perspective (to capture middle voters), Mallard has been good in the house with Tolley, Dyson is always on-message (though Ryall often appears stronger in the house), and Robertson is good on local and public sector issues (as a Wellingtonian that’s good – I can’t speak for other electorate MPs out there).

    Apart from that they’re not very inspiring, and Goff’s lack of clout is turning other lefties I know away from the party. There’s only so long you can wait to see whether the ship will right itself, but for me it’s too late and someone/something fresh would be a welcome change.

    Too much time is spent on defense and being reactive – why is the opposition not doing their research, framing issues in terms of the party/wider community early and presenting their responses/proposals to the public as a viable option to all? And where is the co-operation with other parties on the left? The MMP system demands that they work better together, so why don’t they use that to their advantage to attack on a number of different fronts? – there is plenty to attack.

    AND, why don’t they sort their shit with the media – without the fourth estate they are nothing these days, so stop the blame game and work with them properly, remind them what Labour is about, what the party stands for and do it EVERY DAY, framed around the latest issue.

    If a major shift doesn’t happen soon I will definitely be giving my party vote to another party – guaranteed.

    • why don’t they sort their shit with the media without the fourth estate they are nothing these days, so stop the blame game and work with them properly

      I can assure you they are trying but the media does not care. It concentrates on the banal and the stupid. This is why credit card shenanigans go down well but family trust problems are too difficult to report on except to present a “two sides” type of once over report.

      I agree with Burt above that the credit card issue hurts because Labour MPs should be much better. They belong to the party of the working people and should lead comparable lives.

      Most of them do. I have not seen the MSM congratulate David Cunliffe for instance for having a squeaky clean record, nor for that matter the majority of former ministers. But the media went on attack mode on this issue and questions of balance and perspective were totally forgotten.

  13. Doug 13

    I dreamed a dream
    I think Goff has been handling the situation well, given the circumstances. It was not Goff who’s keeping the issue alive, it’s Carter. The sooner Carter stops stirring things up, the better.

    I don’t think Phil Goff has been over 8% as preferred Prime Minster his problems stemmed long before Chris Carter’s problems came to the fore.

  14. Sarge 14

    “Instead I see Labour campaigning (and I use the term generously) on one dead horse after another. If Goff wants to get rid of dead wood, I suggest he starts looking at his PR advisors.”

    Finally, someone on the left gets it!!

  15. Jum 15

    And this is the most democratic but equally damning thing about the left. While the right will do everything but kill to protect their leader and party in Government the left goes about assassinating its own and giving the rightwing more time to assassinate New Zealanders’ rights and bank balances.

    That knocking machine helped bring down Clark and Cullen.

    The Media can go ‘hang’ themselves. When is the left going to operate its own fourth estate?

    I’m sick of the rightwing on breakfast, talkback, newsprint, glossy little mags like the nasty little E-local in Franklin that pretends it is a chatty little lifestyler, but hidden inside are the vicious columns of people like Paul Hutchison, trying to blame women for the woes of society, just before the 2008 election, Boscawen attacking everyone but their own divisive party policies,
    attacks on Maori history, seemingly objective columnists making up stuff about the left.

    I know there’s money behind it in the form of Franklin National supporting businesses behind it but they do offer a column for people to write. Why isn’t Labour or the Greens sending something in? If they refuse to print it, then the left has ammunition about undemocratic behaviour. If they print it, people actually get to hear both sides.

    Better still produce your own “other point of view” sheet. Lots of your voters still don’t have access to computers/internet/blog knowledge. There are however markets, town squares, etc.

    The fourth estate if it does not do its job properly and supports this government into government again in 2011 will be wholly responsible for the selling off of New Zealand and the rights of New Zealand workers. Those very same workers make up most of the fourth estate’s customers. I suggest they remember that.

    • swimmer 15.1

      Agreed

    • mark 15.2

      The Media can go ‘hang’ themselves. When is the left going to operate its own fourth estate?

      Jum , the right have long argued of a left leaning bias in the media, after all its populated by the lower incomes that tend to gravitate leftwards.

      however an incumbent government will get the support of the media generally , until there is a perceptible shift in public opinion.
      Helen Clarke could do no wrong in 9 years , but come the last election when it was obvious her days were over , the media turned on her.

      they will eventually do the same to the current government.

      Their job isnt to produce intelligent comment , just provide headlines that will sell ,and keep them in a job.

      • Jum 15.2.1

        Nonsense Mark. Being interested in the first female prime minister and how she would be treated in an essentially conservative macho country I have kept the relevant news cuttings throughout her term in government. No way was she treated well.

        As to producing intelligent comment – only we can ‘encourage’ them to reach their objective potential.

    • When is the left going to operate its own fourth estate?

      It does. It is called the Standard, no right turn, tumeke …

  16. ianmac 16

    I have no problem with Goff. A steady pair of hands might be strength in the long run. Jim Bolger was no beacon of charisma but he is still a man of stature.
    I do think that the Carter issue should be left alone by Labour. No comment. Don’t repond for calls to interview.
    ( I still cannot see what Carter did that was worse than anyone else. $250? The PM’s travel account should be vast by now. Photo ops on the taxpayer?)

    • I dreamed a dream 16.1

      But in politics it’s all symbolism and perception. I saw a poll that had the public at about 80% against Carter. With the public in that kind of mood, the issue could not be left alone, especially if Carter kept keeping it alive. And as a politician, he should have know better that politics is about symbolism and perception and be a team player rather than an individual. He should have followed the examples of Shane Jones and Mita Ririnui. I was fully supportive of Carter when the issue first broke, but he’s lost my support completely by the way he’s messed up with his stupid way of dragging the issue on.

    • Jum 16.2

      Carter didn’t do anything worse. He is however in an elected seat. The NActs wanted a scalp and the media wanted sensationalism. Disgusting behaviour by this government and the media we seek to gain informed and objective opinion from.

      • mickysavage 16.2.1

        Carter’s problem is that he is effective and the Nats are targeting Te Atatu.

        I thought Parekura’s indiscretions were far worse both in money terms and stupidity terms but he has been left alone.

        This is a full on attack to try and take out an effective MP.

  17. Jum 17

    I suggest you look to your printing presses soon: From Guerilla Media:

    ” New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet
    Submitted by MR NEWS on Mon, 06/21/2010 – 11:20

    The federal government would have “absolute power’ to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch’ to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.

    Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.”

    I’d really start to worry if the Republicans got in with that available to them.

    • swimmer 17.1

      I don’t think EITHER party should have the power to do that. America seems to think that it owns the world, no one elected America to be their boss. This is frightening and serves no good purpose.

  18. gingercrush 18

    And I’ve been saying this for well…….ages.

    I think Goff did do the right thing until this week when he kept the whole thing going. The fact Carter is determined to be an ass doesn’t help Goff but just as English faced problems within his own caucus when he was leader, so too is Goff today. Goff is in a very difficult position. There’s no doubt about that. The media as with English are unsympathetic and anything Goff does ends up getting criticised. That’s the problem opposition parties in New Zealand have when they lose an election. Is its very difficult to get the media onside. Everything you do is made to look weak and ineffective and it gets criticised. Meanwhile, the government on the whole gets a far easier ride and despite scandals that would land a seasoned-long time government in trouble gets dismissed for the time-being.

    Its a bit wait and see when the media and public wake up. Ultimately, when that happens things change and its the government whose moves are increasingly criticised. Its the media who highlight the Prime Minister’s weaknesses etc. We saw that with Brash and his Orewa speech. From that point on, the relationship between the media and the Clark government changed.

    The question that needs to be asked is if Labour changes their leader does the problems the opposition has in relation to the media change? And will that force the media to increasingly hold the government to account? The answer is probably not. The fact no one within Labour looks ready to take the leadership-rein means a leadership change at this stage is not viable.

    I know some will be pointing to Cunliffe. He may well have leadership abilities but for me like John Key in 2005, he needs an election campaign for the media to highlight him. Becoming leader at this stage one would think is problematic. As like English not all of caucus will be onside with him. Where Labour is in a far better position than National were in 2001/2002 is that they’re unlikely to release the same set of policies as they had in 2008. With National and Bill English 2002 was basically the same policies in 1999 that the people rejected.

    Though there is a problem in that while Labour are signalling changes to policy, most of it at this stage is incoherent. Labour in 2008 made the critical mistake of being very unclear on what they would do post-2008 election. Labour can’t make the same mistake in 2011.

    Goff requires personnel changes within his leadership team. Right now they’re failing him. Its going to be difficult all the way through and some changes within his team isn’t going to make PR any easier. But surely there can at least be some improvement. Where Goff truly needs help is keeping to one message.

    Look at the number of speeches he’s made. There’s been good points in all of them. But other than the pathetic message of “The Many and not the few” everything else has been wishy-washy and incoherent. If he rebuilt his speeches so that with each speech a clearer pattern of how Labour will fight the 2011 election is made. Then a clear message will be sent to the electorate. It may not win the 2011 election that is largely in John Key and National’s hand. But it will surely at the least improve his changes come election day. Same with how he approaches question time and what they Labour criticise the government on. If its coherent and looks to have a proper strategy and keep repeating the same messages and start signalling what they will do in 2011. That will improve their chances.

    That is how you out-PR a John Key run National government whose own policies are incoherent without a clear direction. But who for now get away with it because the opposition themselves are incoherent and without any direction.

    • Anne 18.1

      Credit where credit is due:
      gingercrush at “Latest polls” 21st June.

      “Don’t get rid of Goff. But get a damn media strategy, work the PR and sell policies that aren’t half-hearted and actually know where you’re going .’.

    • Olwyn 18.2

      I was at the Labour Party campaign launch in 2008, and they did have coherent policies – roughly along the lines of the approach suggested by Joseph Stiglitz. These policies however, did not get much oxygen, since the media spotlight had already fallen on John Key, and most comment on Labour revolved around the so-called smacking bill and light bulbs.

  19. Pete 19

    Agreed gc.

    And especially with your point re Cunliffe. The point that really gives me the shits though is that if part of the 2011 election is founded in privatisation and National retain control of government then they will use their win (despite anything to the contrary) as a ‘mandate’ to move in that direction.

    For them it seems the ‘mandate’ is only made in terms of:
    1. winning an election (despite what was campaigned on, and sometimes in direct contradiction to it)
    2. what the media respond with when a idea is conveniently dropped into the public sphere (by whatever means).

    That said, if Labour capatalise on a strong election to highlight potential leaders they may come back stronger in a second term – to contest the so-called mandate.

  20. gingercrush 20

    And Goff appears to be coherent and consistent when it comes to monetary policy. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10654084

    While admirable its difficult to try and sell that to the public and today in particular with the focus on what is happening in Australia. And such policy needs to be accompanied around wider economic policies that the public will understand. i.e. changes in tax (for Labour threshold changes and maybe a tax free threshold?), what Labour will do in regards to government spending and keep repeating how Labour will invest in research and development. Also link that with investment in the tertiary sector.

    I also wonder whether Labour and the Greens together need to work on a wider economic and environment policy that links the two together. Greens pushing the environment side of things with Labour being more centrist able to link that with potential greater economic growth by working with the environment rather than against it as National is prone to do.

    • ianmac 20.1

      Interesting ideas gingercrush:
      “And such policy needs to be accompanied around wider economic policies that the public will understand. i.e. changes in tax .”
      I remember a survey about 2007-8 (?) which strongly showed a strong preference to not have tax cuts if it diminished quality of Health/Education.
      We have now tax cuts and and cuts in Health and Education.

      • Pete 20.1.1

        Here you go ianmac:
        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0806/S00294.htm (full results: http://img2.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0806/Taxes_and_Election_Promises__Jun08_.pdf)

        “A solid majority of respondents (71%) said they would prefer to leave taxes as they are, and use them to fund services such as health and education.”

        “60% of New Zealanders don’t want tax cuts bigger than those in the Budget if they have to be paid for by reduced public service spending or increased government borrowing”

        “Only 33% would support tax cuts larger than those in the Budget if that meant cuts to public services or an increase in government debt. Just 23% preferred paying higher user charges to fund larger tax cuts.”

        Of course it was a survey by those pinkos at the PSA (lead by UMR Research) so we can dismiss the results out of hand. Right?

  21. StephenR 21

    WTF is “Captain Beaky Inc”?!

    • swimmer 21.1

      I think it refers to Key’s nose.

    • marsman 21.2

      “Captain Beaky Inc” also known as ” Captain Sneaky Beaky Inc” seems to refer to the scary clowns who are doing their best to rip NZ apart and feed it to the rich on a platter.

  22. Draco T Bastard 22

    I must admit, I’ve been hoping that he would shape up once he had settled in to the job but he (Goff) continues to do SFA. All the mistakes that NACT have made should have had the Labour Party in the MSM chewing them out and they haven’t been. The $9b blow out of that the budget introduces should have been a major for a week or more. Mentioned every time some journalist asked them a question and it didn’t happen.

    And there’s more, so much more, that they’ve completely missed. I’m not sure if blaming the PR people for not picking these things up is the problem. I think you’ll find that there just isn’t enough people in the firm to cover everything that NACT does wrong which is the reason why the most important ingredient in politics is people. Enough people have enough ideas and watching the mistakes that the NACT make can respond rapidly whereas a PR firm is, quite simply, overburdened.

    • swimmer 22.1

      “Mentioned every time some journalist asked them a question and it didn’t happen.” – that sounds like a good move.

    • Pete 22.2

      “I think you’ll find that there just isn’t enough people in the firm to cover everything that NACT does wrong …”

      Have to disagree, this is hardly defensible – hit the big-ticket issues and keep chipping away, doesn’t take a lot of brains to figure that one out, any half-arsed marketing student could do a good job on that FFS, that’s why it’s so damn frustrating.

      • Draco T Bastard 22.2.1

        You need to hit the big ticket items and keep chipping away at them but you also need to highlight the small items as well and to do that you need people. Lots of them especially considering how incompetent this government is and the “small” stuff that they keep putting through that doesn’t end up in the MSM.

  23. bored 23

    Draco, I asked a question earlier (“why the politicians need PR firms and strategists .are we reduced to corporate spin meisters for our political direction?”)….your comments was on the button …”the most important ingredient in politics is people. Enough people have enough ideas”…

    Would I be correct in saying that the best PR comes from a united caucus that agrees to a consistent message? maybe people expect the politicians to come up with their own policy etc (heaven forbid, democracy).

    True Blue said Labours strategist is “chicken wing’ Pete Hogdson…I think I see a recurring pattern of PUBD (past used by date) emerging here.

    • True Blue 23.1

      I would have to agree with you bored, Pete is certainly past his used by date, thank god he isn’t standing next election. Who do you suggest might take over the mantle of party strategist?

    • burt 23.2

      Who do you suggest might take over the mantle of party strategist?

      Is there anyone strong enough in Labour to tell Auntie Helen to STFU and stop meddeling in the party she walked away from. Until all in Labour follow one leader rather than playing the has-beens off against eachother, piss all will change.

      • swimmer 23.2.1

        Not that again She is not meddling, what a load of s this story is, it’s not even a good lie.

        • burt 23.2.1.1

          Sure pull that sentence to bits, but what about the second one;

          Until all in Labour follow one leader rather than playing the has-beens off against eachother, piss all will change.

  24. Selwyn Hammond 24

    Is Edwards still a paid adviser to the Labour Party? If so, whatever the merits of his arguments, isn’t it worrying that he’s putting his advice into the public domain?

    • ianmac 24.1

      But you Burt are doing the Textor thing of constantly repeating a lie. Hpe it will gain credence? Rubbish.

  25. ianmac 25

    Selwyn: Edwards was never an adviser to the Labour Party. He did do some media training for individuals, including I think Helen, but a long time ago.

  26. belladonna 26

    I say go with David Cunliffe – at least we would have a chance of winning 2011. At this stage it seems like zip.

    • WOOF 26.1

      I don’t think the party has gone to the dogs. The pack needs to stick together!

    • kriswgtn 26.2

      Yeah cos he actually manages to engage joe public alot better than Goff.
      He is also a scrapper and can talk well without droning on and on

      Captcha: Necessary

      • WOOF 26.2.1

        I’m sure there is some mongrel in Goff, and he’s good, reliable and loyal. I’m sure he’ll learn when it’s time to stop barking and when it’s time to make some noise! 🙂

  27. outofbed 27

    From wikipedia

    Goff generally positioned himself on the side of Douglas, supporting deregulation and free trade.

    In the 1990 elections, Labour was defeated, and Goff lost his own parliamentary seat to Gilbert Myles. While many commentators blamed Douglas’s controversial reforms for Labour’s loss, Goff said that the main problem had been in communication, not policy.

    Yes sounds like the right person for the job
    I could never vote for a rightist like him
    Roll him and roll him quick

  28. swimmer 28

    That was a very long time ago, judge him on what he has done and said this century.

    • Draco T Bastard 28.1

      I haven’t seen a lot to suggest he’s changed his mind although Labour as a whole do seem to be heading slightly more Left than they were.

      • swimmer 28.1.1

        He’s against asset sales for one thing and promises to reverse them if he gets into power.

  29. outofbed 29

    “Goff said that the main problem had been in communication, not policy.”
    Now its communication and policy

    Swimmer, Another century another political philosophy?

    The left needs Goff to go and go quick. There is simply too much at stake

    • swimmer 29.1

      He’s against the stuff that happened in the 80s now and losing a leader at this late stage won’t help the party, just more experience lost 🙁

  30. Herodotus 30

    Phil was given a hospital pass from HC. Lab 2008 version was a very poor image of lab 2005, which should have lost that election. Devoid of ideas or any thing other than following the various individual directions of a few interest groups. They had lost connection with their traditional voter base. All that was left was how long will “our” new converts (Those making money on property speculation) continue to support us. Lab had distanced itself (And still does for me) for its ideals. The rich increased their wealth, min wage wage growth only maintained its levels with 99 levels after inflation and tax creep, and not counting the increases in taxes e.g. Petrol, OCR increasing from around 3% to 8.5% in 08, and mortgages from 5% to over 10% and now we learn that there were tax subsidies for landlords in tax deductions allowed underLab and slightly addressed by Nat. Nice to see that Lab crapped on its base for the welathly to increase their wealth and we see nothing different so far in any real policy.
    Until those within Lab and more importantly people supporting the likes of this site start to demand something more tangaleable from the left we will be left with a crap immitation of what Lab previously represented and a drift towards those seeking the Lab of old and voting Greens

    • swimmer 30.1

      Phil didn’t lose that election, he was put in to pick up the pieces. Clark wanted him because he is good and a safe pair of hands. The Nats are in the first term and Key is popular, he’s up against a lot. I think he’s doing well and will continue to improve.

      • outofbed 30.1.1

        Well said Phil

      • Herodotus 30.1.2

        swimmer, many of the issues Lab are now commenting on were also applicable under the Lab govt, degregation of real wages, the increasinlgly difficultly for many to cope with maintaining living standards, NZ regression down the OECD ladder, the rich profiteering under govt policies. For me Lab (supposidly th epoeples party) would not even be aware of real issues in state housing areas of the ‘burbs. It is winning at The Game, irrespective of what the costs to the country are, just to win. And for me it is becomming evident of sites like this that substance is not demanded for Labopur and other left wing parties, just as long as “we” win. Since 04 Lab has become ever increasingly shallow and still cannot understand why they lost the last election or how to win one of the next 2. All they wait is for Nat to fall over, well this down ward spiral of lossing an election and not WINNING one just gives us the voter a ever decreasing level of politicial vision for this country, as we sink further into the crap.
        NZ is seeking a visionary, and we thought it was Key, but he is appearing to follow Obama as being a pale actual image to his PR campaign image.

        • swimmer 30.1.2.1

          I respectfully disagree 🙂

          • Herodotus 30.1.2.1.1

            swimmer, why do you disagree and what support is there for my perspective on things,as my perspecific may need some realignment or I could counter your claims as to how the poor and middle classes did not suffer from the Lab years, for we both know the rich definitely benefited disproportionality and were assisted by some fovouarable tax treatments and the protection for being a landlord.

            • swimmer 30.1.2.1.1.1

              I know there were people who abused the system and hid money in trusts. The poor did suffer but were helped by things like: WFF, minimum wage increases, closing the gaps, income related rents on state houses, cheaper doctors visits…

  31. just saying 31

    Which is why the Labour Party must divorce the previous Labour Government. It can’t move forward or provide effective opposition while it still tries to be an apologist for ‘National lite’. It is all but impossible to criticise the Nats going forward down the roads that the Labour government created without an effective separation

    Last time I was in Manukau City Centre I was following Roger Douglas with several (presumably) of his mokopuna in tow around the supermarket, seething. The moko and I lost him at the wine section but that’s another story.

    Point is, at least he had the guts to be there, amongst people like me with large lethal tinned products at hand.

    When was the last time Goff humg out in his Turangawaewae in South Auckland?? Wouldn’t be seen dead amongst the riffraff now. Certainly wouldn’t be prepared to answer to the people he barely knows exist anymore.

    • swimmer 31.1

      In defence of Goff, I’ve met him and he doesn’t have time to do anything. He’s always busy so I don’t imagine he gets time to hang out there.

      • just saying 31.1.1

        Busy doing what with whom?

        Who is he hanging out with, who is he listening to?

        Who exactly Matters in Goff’s world?

        Obviously not the ever-increasing numbers of poor and struggling that he’s all too keen to hang out to dry in pursuit of the natural-nat vote.

    • Armchair Critic 31.2

      What bollocks, I’ve came across Phil a couple of times while I’ve been walking to the shops and I’ve had a chat with him.
      Same with Richard Prebble (a few years back) and Lindsay Tisch.
      I love living in a country where our politicians can walk around without an escort of men in black suits.

      • just saying 31.2.1

        Yeah,
        Where exactly did you run into your mate Phil, Manukau City? Where?
        I never said he didn’t meet people I was talking about who doesn’t appear to have his ear, not who does

        • Armchair Critic 31.2.1.1

          Mt Roskill.
          And I am not one of the people who have his ear. In Phil’s case I am quite literally the person in the street.

  32. swimmer 32

    He was hanging out with quite a few groups of ordinary people in Invercargill today. He sees copius amounts of ordinary people. He is always travelling and meeting and talking and doing everything else that sucks time from an opposition leader.

    I’m not sure who matters in Goff’s world, but you can bet that he does care about the poor. 🙂

  33. Maggie 33

    There are times when the only way you can support Labour is to grit your teeth, close your eyes very tight and keep reminding yourself that however bad Labour is sometimes the alternative is even worse.

  34. mike 34

    And still Goff wants to give the story legs… http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10654351

    This is gold keep paying it forward Chris 🙂

  35. Jona 35

    Jin Anderton needs to rejoin the Labour party and take over the helm. He is the only left wing politician with the Charisma to challenge Key and has a lot more authority in his obvious integrity to boot.
    Lets not forget he was a major player in the Labour party until they became an extreme right wing party under Roger then a centrist party under Clark.

    As for Labors PR, I have always suspected their PR people actually work against them deliberately. Anyone helping the Labour party into office might later find it difficult to find work in the Corporate Media.
    Do I think Labour’s PR people are corporate plants. I’m about 70% sure on that. They would be better to get a team from the Standard to do the PR. Really this little known blog is way ahead of the expensive corporate lackies. But I guess if labour fail to play the corporate media game with handsome rewards for media people then they write their own obituaries.

    And you can bet “The Standard” will become a major media scandal if it starts to gain popularity.

    As for Goff he was behind the original “search and surveillance act” and that to me deems him unfit for office. I will not vote for any party that will enact a police and survelance state here in NZ. Labour have lost my vote with this sorry. When I called your office about this bill the staff as usual were extremely condescending and rude to someone who has supported them and campaigned for them for years. Thats it as far as I’m concerned. Maybe Labour have some corporate plants in their offices. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

    The overwhelming reaction I have had when contacting the Labour party is one of complete condescension and that might in some way be a result of red tape and protocol which I don’t really follow. But the protocol makes it hard for people who don’t have the time or rescources to contribute ideas or be heard.

    That leaves me with the Alliance or the Greens. One or 2 of the Greens are amazingly rude also but I try and work out my political affiliation based on policy rather than than personal insult that flows from those who imagine themselves above others and treat them like nobody’s.

    [lprent: There have been many attempts to attack The Standard since its inception. All they usually do is to boost our readership. As a direct consequence of those previous attacks, we run the site in such a way that makes it difficult to bully anyone – see the about and policy.

    People attempting to attack the site have to go through me to find out any substantive information (ie more than Camerons ill-informed and rather pathetic ranting), and I really do enjoy tearing idiots apart.

    At this point we’re rapidly approaching the page volumes of the biggest blog site here – that of the news-clipping service of the right. ]

    • swimmer 35.1

      I’m not sure if there are corporate plants in his PR or not, but I do feel concerned that some of the photos posted of him online aren’t even in focus or they are taken too far away. His PR needs a revamp.

      Even though I’m strongly against DNA samples being taken, especially from young Maori, I don’t see this as being a reason to reject him as potential Prime Minister. Most of what he stands for is good and I believe that he would make a good Prime Minister.

  36. just saying 36

    Lprent and the others, I’d like to say that I do appreciate your keeping the lines of communication open with this site.

    Jona, having been a member of the Alliance, I have to say re Jim Anderton – Nah – even Goff would be better.

    As for what you’re saying about Labour’s stance in regard to it’s policies on police powers, search and surviellance etc. – I really hope there is a lot of debate going on within the Labour Party on it’s position on the authoritarian state.

    When I saw Goff’s response to the police dishonestly getting DNA from brown teenagers I just about fell off my chair. I was expecting to see him attempt to straddle the fence on the issue, but he jumped straight into the semi-fascist camp, no hesitation.

    Dunno about corporate plants, but it did cross my mind that Goff might be a National Party plant. What a chilling thought – the nation choosing between two National leaders in the next election.

    • swimmer 36.1

      Agreed, it’s really important that people discuss this and what it might mean for the future.

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