I heard David Cunliffe on Morning Report on Tuesday, and he was superb. But as soon as he finished I knew the Right would try to deflect from the substance by writing it off as leadership ambitions. And sure enough we have Audrey Young, making exactly that connection. Labour can turn that on its head.
Phil Goff can come out and say: yes, we are the party of talent; I am merely first amongst equals. Then let’s not focus on me, let’s focus on the National front bench.
The Cabinet system is a real strength of our system, where the PM is meant to be primus inter pares, and because John Key isn’t hard-working enough to be on top of all departments, that’s most definitely how it works in substance at the moment. Style-wise, he’s definitely presidential, being all over the photo opportunities, hiding his unpopular front bench, only absent when there’s bad news to deliver.
But Phil Goff should embrace it in both style and substance. Let’s have more of Labour’s ‘contenders’: David Cunliffe vs Bill English; Grant Robertson vs Tony Ryall; Annette King vs Paula Bennett; David Shearer & Sue Moroney destroying Tolley; David Parker vs … I’m not sure the Nats do Economic Development, which might explain the current state of the economy…