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Goff and King to lead Labour

Written By: - Date published: 3:03 pm, November 11th, 2008 - 94 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

As has been widely reported, Phil Goff is set to take the leadership of Labour with Annette King as deputy leader.

We’ll hear all kinds of nonsense about how this is a shift to the Right. Rubbish. We are not going to see Labour try to be National-lite.

First, while the leader of National essentially decides everything and the party trots along behind, Labour doesn’t work like that. Labour has a strongly democratic process for setting the policy direction and it learned in the 1980s that the leadership cannot abandon the ambitions of the rank and file.

Secondly, Labour doesn’t need to be National-lite. Voters did not reject Labour’s general policy programme of greater work rights, savings and investment, and greater environmental protection. Rather they responded to the ceaseless ‘time for a change’ rhetoric from the Right and Labour shot itself in the foot over what should have been minor issues. The failure of Clark and Cullen (and this is not to take away anything from their manifold achievements) was to not talk in terms of their vision for a more social-democratic New Zealand and keep the discourse focused on those big issues. It was not the policies that were the problem, it was a failure to communicate what those policies represent.

So, expect Goff, King and the rest of the caucus to keep Labour on the same policy track and promise to undo National/Act’s regressive policies like privatising ACC and slashing Kiwisaver. Hopefully, they will also be able to better articulate the principles that underlie those policies.

94 comments on “Goff and King to lead Labour”

  1. Carol 1

    Well, I agree with Key on this. They don’t make a very inspiring leadership choice for the next election. I reckon they should stand down after a year, and put in another pair with a more positive future-looking approach. Of the current contenders, I reckon on Shane Jones as leader. This would be very advantageous for many reasons (eg getting in touch with the disaffected working class rooots), but also because of the way Key is dancing with The Maori Party. And a woman for deputy (maybe Street).

  2. MikeE 2

    Did Goff or did he not vote for the sale of state assets during the 80’s and support Douglas’s reforms?

    Personally I think Goff as the leader is a great thing, though I would have preferred Dalziel (I have a lot of respect for her).

    As an ACT supporter, I definately like the new leadership however. And think its great that Labour has some fresh blood and a change of leadership.

    I also noticed what looked like a lot of relief for Clark, as it appeared a massive weight was off her shoulders. Time for a much deserved break I think. I hope that she does well on the international stage, as although I disagreed with a lot of her policies, one thing is sure – she did care deeply about NZ, even if they ways she “wanted to improve” NZ might have differed to mine.

  3. gingercrush 3

    Not bad choices but really uninspiring. Personally I actually think Labour needs a more clear left message. Not something too extreme but its clear National is trying to cover the centre. This looks to me that Labour wants the centre as well. National is also being pulled to the right due to Act and I suspect members in the National party. With this leadership I don’t see how they can pursue clear left messages. Also I hope the left don’t focus so much on Kiwisaver and opening ACC to competition. Surely the Labour can go forward with new policies that relate to their core constituents and can get the swing back in their favour.

  4. Tane 4

    MikeE, Goff was on the right of the party for an era in the 80s, but I’m assured he’s been rehabilitated since. Like SP, I don’t see any move to the right under Goff – particularly given the makeup of the new intake.

  5. ACC and Kiwisaver do relate to Labour’s core constituents.

  6. gingercrush 6

    No ACC is largely ideological. Just let it go really. Oppose it sure but don’t focus on it too much. Same with Kiwisaver do oppose it but do’t focus on it too much.

    Basically if all Labour is going to do this term is oppose things National tries to pass. It isn’t going to inspire the people of New Zealand. That is the problem of focusing on Kiwisaver and ACC.

  7. Steve (and this may sound cynical but) – What makes you think that Labour won’t be in a rush to adopt National’s policies as National did Labour’s? If there’s one thing National can do it’s market something – afterall business is where most of them have come from.

    Goff and King do represent the right of the party. We need to make this our party and really own it for ourselves. I guess with movements like BothEyesOpen and blogs like The Standard, NewZBlog et el. we can be positive but we must watch what Goff does closely and not be afraid to criticise where criticism is due.

    Captcha: hopeful code

  8. MikeE 8

    Labour should go hard on social issues. Drug law reform is a good start. National sure as hell isn’t going to do anything positive in that area.

    Lets see a proposed review of the Misuse of Drugs act to make it be based on evidence and on level of harm.

    Seriously – the next election is 3 years away, labour has nothign to lose from trying it, and if the electorate hates it, well get rid of it closer to the election.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Goff may not seem “inspiring” now, but wait three years.

    Being pretty and empty will lose its allure soon enough. Goff is solid and smart, and by 2011 the public will not be looking for another lightweight.

    Mind you, by 2011 he’ll be up against Prime Minister Bill English, so they’ll be pretty evenly matched. Hard yards instead of soft soap: I’m looking forward to it.

  10. Tane 10

    gc, please don’t take this the wrong way but I prefer not to take my political advice from my opponents. They don’t tend to have my best interests at heart.

    People do care about ACC, and about Kiwisaver. I’ve spoken to plenty of them. If the National/ACT government tries to gut these schemes it will suffer a backlash.

  11. gingercrush 11

    I would not suggest Labour take a direction to social issues. Its the one part of the left I don’t think New Zealand finds favourable. A clear left message in regards to economics, employment, families, health and education would be better.

    Tane: Sorry but when the party that campaigned on changes to ACC and Kiwisaver wins government. They can barely expect a backlash. You may be talking to people that don’t like National doing that. But surely that is people that already voted Labour again this year?

    gobsmacked: Don’t depend on Key ruining everything. Get Labour and the centre-left back into government via policy. Because you can’t campaign on National-Act relationship falling apart.

  12. Tane 12

    MikeE – I can see your interest in them doing so, but going hard on social issues is exactly the wrong thing for Labour to do. It’s arguable that it was going too hard on social issues that got them in this position in the first place.

    You’re not going to see a lot of social progress under Goff, and in an economic crisis it should not be a top priority. Right now Labour needs to focus on economic issues – the social democratic bread and butter. That’s what people are looking for answers on.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    Ginger, National campaigned on a centrist message for sure. Labour is already there.

    Hence, ‘no lurch to the left’, hold the centre, and thus force National to implement centrist policy to match their rhetoric lest they (National) appear beholden to their own right wingers and ACT.

    The ‘centre’ has moved to the left quite a bit over the last 9 years, that’s where the game is now, and that’s what Key’s honesty will be judged on.

  14. MikeE 14

    Tane: My interest in social issues stems from the fact I am a social liberal. I think Labour can achieev on the social side far better than national can. And I think National can achieve economically far better than Labour can – if that makes sense.

    I think Labour did quite well on social issues. The one part where they misread the electorate was with the s59.

    I think the prostituionLaw reform was the right way to go, as it showed the women, and women alone own their bodies and should dictate what they do with them.
    Same thign goes with Civil unions, which says that the state has no role in tellign people who they can and cannot love, contract with, etc.

    These were both good moves by Labour, and they deserve credit where credit is due.

    I think they made a massive mistake in supporting the BZP ban however. Same thing with the smoking ban on private property (i.e bars)

    And drug law reform would do a shitload to reduce crime by destroying the Gangs source of income, and incentives for police corruption.

    In terms of the electorate and social issues, I think most didn’t like being told what to do. Rather than just left wing social issues in general.

    It would be nice to see a proper liberal left party, rather than the current labour and greens, which both want to control various aspects of ones lives.

  15. I also noticed what looked like a lot of relief for Clark, as it appeared a massive weight was off her shoulders. Time for a much deserved break I think. I hope that she does well on the international stage, as although I disagreed with a lot of her policies, one thing is sure – she did care deeply about NZ, even if they ways she “wanted to improve’ NZ might have differed to mine.

    Mike, it’s actually a real relief to see an Act supporter (member?) show some grace and humanity. What with various spewings on Kiwiblog, John Ansell’s awful rant in comments at Poneke and the behaviour of Roger and Rodney I’ve been thinking “WTF?”

  16. MikeE 16

    Gotta take a break in between eating babies Russ 😛

    Technically ACT member, and ALCP and Libertarianz supporter.

    😛

    I have no time for nutcase conservatives and rednecks, regardless of what their party affiliation is.

  17. Bill 17

    Goff. The guy who sold out NZ’s nuclear principles for a trade deal. That Goff. Nice guy.

  18. It would be nice to see a proper liberal left party, rather than the current labour and greens, which both want to control various aspects of ones lives.

    And here’s me thinking it would be nice to see a proper liberal right party 😉

  19. Daveski 19

    I’ve noted a concerted reluctance here to acknowledge how smart Key has played his cards. I realise this would completely contrast with your desire to paint him as the flip flop rich prick villain.

    By moving to the Centre, he’s been able to grow the Nat vote without cannibalising the extreme right who will only support National (likewise Green and Labour).

    The other benefit is that Key has positioned National in a way that is more attractive to United Few and the MP (the critical one).

    It’s amusing to see that Labour MP’s (eg Goff) can be forgiven their sins but not National MP’s from the same era. Goff is to the right of Labour core and it will no doubt lead to some angst here if he doesn’t try to steer the ship back left. Yet the votes Labour needs are either in the centre or Maori and that’s where Key is looking to win the next election.

  20. Tane 20

    MikeE, I realise it’s your position as a libertarian, and as a left-liberal I’m all for social progress. It’s just the pragmatist in me says it’s not in the interests of the broader left to shoot yourself in the foot by pushing more liberal social policy at a time when the public appears to have had enough of it for now, and the international economic situation is the pressing issue.

    Of course, if the Nats try to roll back any of the social progress made under Labour they need to be opposed. But I suspect National will be proper conservatives on that front and we won’t see any change over the next three years.

  21. Tane 21

    Daveski, posters on this site have recognised repeatedly the genius of Key’s handlers and proxies in the media painting him as a centrist. The issue’s been that in reality he and his party are nothing of the sort.

  22. gobsmacked 22

    Daveski

    If Key can keep his caucus in the centre – and keep his job – he’ll have achieved a huge feat. You’ve met the National caucus, I take it? 😉

    Sorry, but he’s not made a single government decision yet. Let’s see where he (and the voters) are a year down the track.

  23. Someone said ‘uninspiring’ choices, the pair. Good thing, too. At this stage. Can’t have inspiratioin snatched by the centrist dancers can we..?

    Maybe a couple of years to rebuild worth voting for, then the dynamic impact of get thee behind me ————* !!

    And we all know who the missing inaction is. Don’t we!

    * = Dino (saurus) and his dog, uriah H 🙂

  24. bobo 24

    Nice to see Goff get his chance as leader, he is articulate on policy, a clear communicator and a very effective debater in the house, i’m sure he”ll make a good leader until Nash is groomed to take over unless Labour finds a wildcard leader amongst its future intake. Personally I don’t think Cunliffe or Shane Jones will become leader after Goff but who knows…

  25. Tane 25

    Nash? Now there’s a genuine right-winger…

  26. Lampie 26

    Let’s see where he (and the voters) are a year down the track.

    hmmm falls in line with my $50 bet, English PM before Xmas 09

  27. r0b 27

    Basically if all Labour is going to do this term is oppose things National tries to pass. It isn’t going to inspire the people of New Zealand. That is the problem of focusing on Kiwisaver and ACC.

    Pardon me if I die laughing here. National was such a mindless “oppose everything” opposition that they voted against business tax cuts!

    I sincerely hope that Labour in opposition will be smarter than that. But expect them to oppose what needs opposing. Vigourously.

  28. MikeE 28

    I do however have to laugh at Goff saying he had absolutely no interest nor intentions on the Labour party leadership only 2 weeks ago at one of the NZvotes meetings when asked by Rodney 😛

  29. gingercrush 29

    I always thought Andrew Little was a solid choice for Labour. I think one thing the left will be happy about is that the opposition will be far more effective than National ever was between 1999 and 2008.

  30. Daveski 30

    Tane – agree with your comment re social policies. I think there was a conservative back lash to the social policies of Labour – either real or perceived. Much smarter to leave that out of the public arena and attack National (that is the job of the opposition).

    Tane/GS – fair comments but I suppose I’m a Pollyanna.

    I’m not a Nat member and have only voted twice for National since voting in 1981.

    I suppose I’m a supporter of NewNational although my support is conditional on National demonstrating they can work with the MP. As I’ve repeatedly stated, this would be a circuit breaker for NZ and the Nats.

  31. Daveski 31

    r0b – finally, we agree on something without you need to come across to the dark side!

    It is the Opposition’s responsibility and role to oppose

    [not reflexively though but because you actually disagee and have a better solution which you can articulate. SP]

  32. Tane 32

    Well bro, Key did once describe himself as being on the right of the National Party, and his comments and voting record before becoming leader back this up. Anti-solo mum, furiously pro-war, all for privatising education, health and super. Plus all the usual social and economic prejudices you’d expect from person who’s spent years in the trading pit completely disconnected from ordinary people.

    It’s only after his media handlers got to him and created Brand Key that the so-called centrist emerged. Smart politics, but a media creation nonetheless.

  33. MikeE. Labour has just lost power because of its over-prioritisation of social reforms over economic/employment ones. also, this:

    “Seriously – the next election is 3 years away, labour has nothign to lose from trying [a radical social agenda], and if the electorate hates it, well get rid of it closer to the election.”

    displays a hollowness where the heart of your politics should be.

    Also, I’m not sure what other social reforms could be on anyone’s cards – euthanasia i guess but other than that you’ve only got more technical changes like removing legal limitations on the makeup of members of a legaly recognised marriage (ie allow gay marriage and multiple member marriages) and changing abortion’s legal status from ‘illegal unless’ to ‘legal unless’, which wouldn’t have significant practical affects. I guess if you count drugs as a socia issue then there’s liberalising them too. Perhaps I’m just ignorant in this area, I’m more focussed on income equality and environmental sustainability.

  34. bobo 34

    Tane – I know but look at Labour UK, Blair would have made a great Tory leader, David Milliband will be their next one and he looks and sounds tory. The stereotypical union movement Labour leader is most likely a thing of the past everything is middle of the road these days. But the UK Labour has had to be more right of centre than ours to get elected.

    Gingercrush , I Like Andrew Little too seems a good all round choice.

  35. MikeE 35

    Steve, I just want to see a socially liberal NZ – you can’t honestly be attacking me for that.

    I’m amazed to see the standard move to being pro conservative just because you lose the election. Surely if you were true liberals you’d be fighting the good fight, ratehr tahn worrying about getting in power.

    Me, I couldn’t care who is in power, as long as there are good policies that see individual freedom increased. I don’t care who puts these into action, be it ACT, Maori party, labour, nats whoever.

  36. Tane 36

    bobo, I don’t want to be in politics so we can have National policies under a red banner. Honestly, fuck that.

    In any case, Clark has shown you can push a social democratic economic agenda, push the centre leftwards and still win elections.

    Anyway, I’m confused. If you don’t want a left-wing union leader in charge why are you pumping Andrew Little?

  37. Tane 37

    MikeE, it’s called pragmatism. You pick your battles. Now is the time to fight on economic issues. Later the time will come to fight on social issues.

    Politics is the art of the possible, forget that and you’ll doom yourself to irrelevance.

  38. sue 38

    Not only is Nash to the right, he isn’t very smart but sadly thinks he is. If he ever became the leader of Labour, members would leave in droves.

    Most people strike me as going into politics because they have values. With him the word opportunist springs to mind

  39. sue 39

    I don’t think Labour lost because of over-prioritisation of social reforms. They lost because they couldn’t articulate the fundamental message behind their social reforms. Like in America, the left have to learn how to appeal to a largely emotion driven voter. They have the best message but have to learn how to package it. Years of right-wing think tanks paid off in this area and the left are far behind

  40. Daveski 40

    SP – I know I can’t badger anyone to post a topic, but where to for the Greens is a fascinating issue and I’d be interested in your perspective (you don’t have to provide any graphs :))

    I’m not sure whether to say the Greens did well to go against the trend or whether they disappointed given the polls and their expectations.

    Moreover, I’m not sure given their current policies how they can grow their vote without cannibalising Labour.

    Just a thought ..

  41. bobo 41

    I’m saying what I think might happen not what I would like to happen.. I don’t want Labour here to end up like UK Labour, maybe i’m more of an Alliance end of the spectrum in my own views , and I do remember the days of Goff in the 80s and I hope Goff keeps the Labour party where Helen has taken it over last 9 years too.

  42. Vinsin 42

    Daveski, you’re very right a green discussion would be more than interesting. To be honest I think the greens need to take a serious look at their campaign stratagem. They polled incredibly well but pulled a lot less than they would’ve expected. I’m in the Epsom electorate and did not see any campaigning – i know this is a Act/National stronghold but still, nothing, i mean nothing at all. I wonder if it was different anywhere else. They really need to find a way to “get the vote out” to borrow from SP.

  43. Rumpole 43

    Labour do have a sucession issue but it is unwise to rule Goff out, he is the same age as Clark and whilst 6-9years in opposition would put him in his sixties as McCain showed even at 70 you are still a contender, maybe not as energetic but wisdom can more than make up for energy – pity McCain didn’t manage that. As for Jones & Cunnliffe they both have personality flaws that may make them unacceptable to electors so perhaps grooming Darren Hughes would be a sensible move.

  44. Ben R 44

    “Well, I agree with Key on this. They don’t make a very inspiring leadership choice for the next election. I reckon they should stand down after a year, and put in another pair with a more positive future-looking approach.”

    Carol, don’t you think that inspiration in a leader is a little overrated? I mean Clark was probably the most effective PM most people can remember, but I don’t think she was seen as particularly inspiring.

    I think Goff could also be very effective, he’s smart, a good debator & respected.

  45. Phil 45

    Daveski/Vinsin,

    Re; Green vote
    Two words: Bradley Effect

    It’s cool to say you’ll vote green when the cold-caller rings your phone. When you’re in the booth with the piece of paper and a magic marker, it’s a different story.

    —-

    Another theory is that the greens were viewed as a ‘protest vote’ against the two major parties. Their announcement to side with Labour will have turned potential voters off. How their decision comapres to the slide in polling, I don’t know.

    BenR,

    We haven’t had a single ‘charismatic’ PM since Lange. Muldoon before him… maybe.

  46. Vinsin 46

    Phil, two very good points. I do wonder if the announcement that they wouldn’t go with National was a bad one. I would’ve thought the greens would’ve moderated the Nats a lot more then Peter Dunne is ever going to do.

  47. The NZ Herald’s anti-Labour campaign continues unabated. Goff is the wrong man and look at all the money the Velas gave to Labour.

    Who gave money to National? Not a word.

  48. Anita 49

    Tane,

    I’m interested that you say that Goff has been rehabilitated from his right-of-Labour days, because I was pretty horrified by what Goff and King says about the 2009-2011 Labour Party.

    Is there any evidence/discussion about Goff’s shift lieing around you could post or point me to? It would be lovely to think this is more than a Key-style rebranding, but at the moment I’m pretty nervous 🙂

  49. the sprout 50

    Goff is an excellent choice for Leader, be it caretaker or longer term. He’s hard-working, personable and very competent.

    All we need now is for the Two Mikes to follow the honorable lead of Clark and Cullen and Labour will have a real chance of making Key’s administration a one hit wonder.

  50. Carol 51

    BenR, there are up and downsides to an inspirational leader. They can carry the country with them in doing difficult things, but could also divert attention from the bad things they do.

    Goff ‘n’ King (I think I’m going to be tempted to start singing “Some Kind of Wonderful” everytime their names are linked) came across quite well on TV One tonight – Goff especially. I didn’t know about his long-haired youth protesting days, or his working class roots. It’ll be interesting to see how he does as leader. Does he have the political intelligence that Clark has?

    Or will we be singing “I’m Into Something Good” or “Wasn’t Born to Follow” with these 2 as leaders come the next election?

    What did Goff ‘n’ King say about the 2009-2011 Labour Party, Anita?

  51. Anita 52

    Carol,

    To me, a Goff-King leadership team says that the 2009-2011 Labour Party will fight for the centre and hold onto its neoliberal ways rather than returning to a true _Labour_ Party.

    But I’m happy to hear from Tane that Goff has changed, I hope he’s right, I hope Goff will turn Labour into something the Labour Movement can be proud if.

  52. Felix 53

    Vinsin, 2 more words – lazy fucking hippies. (ok, 3 words)

    If all the people with green slogans on their cars and t-shirts had gotten off the couch and actually voted…

  53. Carol 54

    David Beatson has been critical of Goff’s handling of NZ troops in Afghanistan – ie turning over captured people to possible inhumane treatment by the US, and fudging it to the NZ public:

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/afghanistan-%E2%80%93-where-is-the-exit

  54. RedLogix 55

    The main reason why Goff looks uninspiring or lacking charisma at this point is that he has spent many years loyally serving the Labour caucas. Not all capable people are willing to set aside their personal ambitions for the sake of a wider cause, and that is a quality which earns quiet respect

    The man is competent, hard-working and disciplined.

    He now has many decades of experience at the coal-face of NZ politics.

    His judgement is cool and considered, he does not get into shit fights he cannot win, and so far has not really put a foot wrong.

    It now remains to be seen if he can step out from behind the shadow of Clark and Cullen, and inspire the same loyalty they did. It is his big opportunity, just as it is now for Key.

  55. sue 56

    Agreed RL.

    Goff’s well capable of of stepping out of that shadow. Only reason he occupied shadows in the first place was a dedication to unity, and the wisdom to wait his moment.

    The right would be wise to be concerned about what Goff can do, and what he will do to Key in the House. Amazing what political talent and an additional 21 years of experience on top of Key’s ‘service’ can do for a leader.

  56. gobsmacked 57

    Anyone know where we can place bets on NZ politics (er, legally, your honour)?

    I want to put a pile of dosh on Phil Goff being Prime Minister for longer than John Key. Two terms versus two years.

  57. Vinsin 58

    felix, yeah I know, Hippies. You wouldn’t believe the bullshit I heard as an excuse not to vote on Saturday. I still think there’s a problem with the greens endgame though, I haven’t seen or heard of any presence of them inside Auckland around election week. There probably was but i didn’t see or hear of any.

  58. the sprout 59

    “until Nash is groomed to take over”

    That’d be a cold day in Hell.

  59. tsmithfield 60

    Although I am definitely not a Labour supporter, I actually quite like Goff. He has got a bit of the common touch and seems very enthusiastic, not unlike Key. So he should connect with the public quite well. Probably his biggest problems is that age is not on his side and he is a bit of a blast from the past. So, its a line call as to whether or not he will make it to the next election IMO.

  60. the sprout 61

    He’s a pretty young 55.
    And 3 years from now people will be hankering for the past, yearning for a leader that clearly knows what they’re doing, and voters will be WELL over things that appear bright shiney and new. All in Goff’s favour.

  61. Pascal's bookie 62

    Another thing to bear in mind about this changing of the guard is that it is voluntary.

    One thing that is notable about the last nine years has been caucus discipline, through different governments and against different styles of opposition. Apart from in the fevered imaginations of some commentators there has never been any hint of leadership challenges, nor has there been any collapse of a government through coalition dramas. Most put this down to the wide support Helen Clark and Michael Cullen had, and the faith caucus had in their leadership.

    Clark was quite happy to have Goff at #3. By stepping down that was a fairly clear signal that Goff was ok in her books, given that Cullen was not really wanting the job. If she didn’t have faith in him, she would have been grooming a successor, no?

    The fact that she stood down voluntarily means that there is no factionalism apparent, and she retains a rather healthy dose of mana within caucus. A quieter public role obviously, but does anyone think that if Clark and Cullen weren’t happy with the succession that it would have happened this easily?

    If this is correct, that Goff-King have Clark-Cullen’s blessing, then I doubt that there will be any change of direction on policy, and I’m sure that the incoming MP’s will show the fullest of support for the new leadership.

    From Goff’s comments today, it seems to me that the ‘this one’s about trust’ theme is not done with yet, though he won’t be mentioning it by name.

    As various people have been saying here, Key has a mandate to govern as ‘Labour plus’. Where National is following Labour’s centrism they will have Labour’s support, and why not. Should they break with that mandate by lurching to the right, or going all tranzrail eyes on it and undoing the ‘stealthy communism’ Key now claims to love, Goff will call him out on it. Loudly and repeatedly.

    When Labour came into power, they had a mandate to move left, that’s what they campaigned on. They did so, and ended up 9 years later quite a bit to the left of where they were when they came in. That is the new centre, there are no ‘do overs’.

    Key has not got a mandate to move right very far at all, the fact that his coalition partners, caucus, and base want him to doesn’t change that fact. That’s his problem. He either has to move his party to the new centre that gave him the votes to govern, or those voters will be reminded by Labour about what Key was saying during the election campaign, certain tapes will be talked about, the reactions to those tapes from Key will be played again and again, there is no secret agenda, we are all centrists now, trust me.

    If Labour can keep the centre where it is now, it’s all on in 2011.

  62. Lew 63

    As far as the age factor goes, and all this talk of a `new generation’, it’s mostly perception rather than reality. The age difference, as they correctly pointed out on Checkpoint today, is eight years from Key to Goff and 13 years from Key to King – hardly a generation gap. Key has been in parliament much less time. This means he’s younger in the eyes of the public than Goff, King, et al, who’ve been in for ages. That matters – but perhaps not as much as people think.

    I don’t think the age/freshness/etc is going to be the Goff/King team’s main weakness – it’s the fact that they’re both patrician honkeys, which puts them at the disadvantage to National who, although they’re also patrician honkeys, are reaching out to the māori party and may yet come to an agreement with them. Clark had quite a lot of credibility with Māori in particular. She earned the nickname `Aunty Helen’ not from the derisive KBR, but from kaumatua who deeply appreciated Clark’s two-year kanohi ki kanohi tour of hui from 1999-2001 when she first took the role of PM. (This was also why the Foreshore and Seabed rankled so). Anyway, my point is, nobody in the immediate leadership team has that credibility or history of engagement with Māori. Parekura and Shane will have to come very much to the fore to change that.

    L

  63. gobsmacked 64

    Good analysis by PB there.

    Goff is going to fight one election as opposition leader, at the head of a caucus that has moved left with its new intake, and without a Winston/Dunne party to drag him right.

    If he wins, he’ll govern with the Greens. If he loses, he’s replaced. Clark has every reason to feel relaxed about Goff taking over.

    (King may well step aside before the election, but that’s of no consequence really – she’s not doing Cullen’s job).

  64. the sprout 65

    well said Pb.

  65. RedLogix 66

    Goff is decently articulate and has learnt from Clark how to express a complex argument with clarity and in relatively plain language. Sure he has no gift for oratory, but when I listen to him I come away with a clear idea of what he was saying.

    By contrast I get the impression that the novelty of Key’s sharp-suit exexcutive jargon, and slippery obfuscations is going to wear off with joe public fairly quickly.

    Anyway, my point is, nobody in the immediate leadership team has that credibility or history of engagement with Māori.

    True, but Cullen has, and while he may never be Finance Minister again, he may well have another role yet to play. He is just too good to loose yet.

    Have to add my agreement with PB too, nicely put analysis.

  66. Tane 67

    Anita, nothing solid, sorry. It’s from a lot of discussions I’ve had with senior unionists and Labour Party figures over the last couple of days over exactly those concerns.

    The overwhelming response has been that Goff repented his sins long ago and is firmly committed to continuing Helen Clark’s legacy. The word people have used is that he’s a ‘moderate’. You might not see the same progress on social issues as we did under Clark, but on the economy he’ll be good. And as I expressed earlier on, that’s what we need right now.

    And seeing as the caucus and the wider party has moved to the left in recent years I think Goff will be fine. Of course,I could be wrong, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

    gs, Centrebet I guess, though that’s in Aussie. They took $200 of me recently for my bet that Helen would be PM post-election.

  67. Tane 68

    Anita, having said that, of course, I don’t think Goff will drag the NZLP to the left of where they were under Clark. But given the lack of alternative contenders from the left that was never going to happen anyway. From the makeup of the caucus I’d say that’s a job for the next leader.

  68. bobo 69

    Sorry Off Topic : After reading this http://www.stuff.co.nz/4756635a11.html tonight about lots of calls to the police on Election night from beneficiaries worried about if National was cutting their benefits made me sick reading the comments on stuff. NZ is certainly turning into a mean spirited me generation if the feedback is anything to go by. “Beneficiaries” could mean vulnerable pensioners, mentally ill , but oh no we put them somewhere in between child molesters and terrorists in our social standing.

  69. Vinsin 70

    Bobo, yeah it’s a real shame and it’s incredibly irresponsible to allow commenting on that story on the site. I read the first few comments and felt sick.

  70. Tim Ellis 71

    I imagine the unionist faction of the Labour Party must be delighted with the Goff-King combination. King is already in her sixties, and Goff is not far from it. They are conservative, right-wing seat-warmers who will do little over the next year, but will keep Cunliffe and Street from the top spots until Andrew Little is in parliament to bring about a union reclamation of the Labour Party.

  71. Ari 72

    Basically if all Labour is going to do this term is oppose things National tries to pass. It isn’t going to inspire the people of New Zealand. That is the problem of focusing on Kiwisaver and ACC.

    That’s funny, ‘cos that approach worked quite well for National 😛

    *sigh*

  72. gobsmacked 73

    Tim Ellis

    After you confidently informed us all that Roger Douglas would not get back into Parliament, I think we can confidently disregard your political analysis.

    To repeat: Phil Goff is 55. When Jim Bolger won his first election he was … 55. He went on to win two more. “Seat-warmer” Don Brash was much older, when National decided he was the Future and young Bill English was the Past (before, um, he somehow became the Future again).

    But then, National supporters forcefully arguing the exact opposite of what they believed a short while ago is nothing new, and is going to provide us with much entertainment over the next three years. Keep it up!

  73. lprent 74

    gingercrush: Just dug into the voter turnout figures for South Auckland You left out the specials.

    Mangere
    2002 – 25,022
    2005 – 28,967
    2008 – 21,688+6,429=28,117
    forgot the specials!

    Manakau East
    2002 – 27,276
    2005 – 33,193
    2008 – 23,322+4,435=27,757
    That is a significant drop from 2005 numbers. But dropped back to 2002 levels

  74. Carol 75

    Goff explicitly said that they will work WITH National on policies that they agree with, as well as opposing vigorously on policies like Kiwisaver they don’t agree with – hardly amounting ONLY aiming to be oppositional.

  75. On Goff’s ideological bent, my take is that he was more of a pragmatic rogernome than an ideological fanatic. At the time (late 1980s), he tried to convince me that TINA, what with the terrible state of the economy in 1984, our inability to compete with the Australain labour market, etc. But then that could be because he knew that the ideological argument wouldn’t convince me.

    Whatever, I get the feeling that he is very comfortable with the current “third way” policy settings, which represent more of a compromise with neo-liberlaism than a repudiation after all. If National try to change anything important like WFF, then they can expect a ferocious response.

    Have to correct redlogix when s/he says, “Goff is decently articulate and has learnt from Clark how to express a complex argument with clarity and in relatively plain language.” As I recount on my own blog, Goff always had a clear-eyed approach and was able to articulate it well. He didn’t learn anything from Clark. They are *both* formidably intelligent.

    I do have to agree with redlogix’s comment, “By contrast I get the impression that the novelty of Key’s sharp-suit exexcutive jargon, and slippery obfuscations is going to wear off with joe public fairly quickly.” Bring on 2011.

  76. Ianmac 77

    I guess Mr Goff will be as intrigued as I was at the feature on Morning Report this morning about Asian expectations in South Auckland. It seems that there is a general belief that National will act quickly to bring peace and safety to the streets and that dairy owners will be safe.
    Promises over-stated?

  77. Tim Ellis 78

    Gobsmacked, I was wrong on Roger Douglas returning, quite right. I was not wrong on John Key ruling out Douglas from Cabinet if he did return, though. Do you also intend to disregard Steve Pierson’s political analysis as well? After all, he wrote:

    National has four fatal problems that will prevent it from winning the election. Or, rather, it has two problems, both with two parts.

    Turns out National didn’t have any fatal problems. They won, convincingly, with the highest number of seats that any single party has achieved under MMP, and several coalition options to boot.

    Or how about r0b, who wrote:

    I can’t seriously believe that the polls at their worst (for Labour) ever reflected the reality of opinion in NZ.

    r0b was also very wrong when he wrote:

    This I think is the narrative that will win Labour the election – Labour’s policies work, National’s don’t. In the end, that’s what matters.

    Turns out the polls were correct, and Labour’s support in the polls did reflect the reality of opinion in NZ.

    LP was wrong when he said the polls weren’t accurate. They turned out to be the most accurate results in NZ polling history.

    Felix was very wrong when he wrote, of National: “It seems [National] they’re determined to govern alone or not at all.” No, National has been very prepared to govern with partners. So too was he wrong when he wrote:

    Tane you’re going to be seeing quite a bit of crying and toy-throwing from the likes of burt and Sarah over the next few weeks as they watch their taxless right-wing fantasy slipping away.

    Oh, and who can forget how very, very wrong Mike Williams was when he was talking up John Key’s involvement in the H-Fee.

  78. Carol 79

    I think a very important issue that Goff and team need to sort out, was signalled on Nat Rad this morning by Matt Mcarten: ie Goff’s relationship with Maori & the MP. It would have been an angst-ridden area for Labour if they had led the government this term. In a way, it could work better for Labour to have Key negotiate with the MP in the first instance.

    However, what Mcarten pointed to was the fact that Goff has not develoed much of a relationship with Maori. I tend to agree. To me the main thing Clark/Labour did wrong in government was in their reactionary response to Orewa, it’s racist dog-whistling and the subsequent foreshore and seabed legislation. At the moment it ironically looks like National has benefitted from that chain of events.

    However, if Maori benefit in the long run from a deal with National, then I would commend it. Nevertheless, it remains a fraught area, and one I think Goff and Labour need to apply some attention to. They need to get back on track in their relationship to Maori. OTOH, I am not keen on some of the social and economic conservatism amongst some key figures in the MP – makes the whole issue a bit of a mine-field. But I think there needs to be some dialogue and thought put into this.

    The National-MP relationship may, ironically indicate a way forward for the relationship between Labour and the MP – and The Greens may have a role in that too as having been the closest ally for the MP so far..

  79. Jasper 80

    I do hope that Williams leaves. Mike Williams has been nothing but trouble for Labour since 2005 – constant media gaffes have left a poor impression

  80. Pascal's bookie 81

    Carol: I agree. In my view the race (heh) is on to see which of the main parties can do right by Māori, having suddenly realised that they’re an important electoral bloc. It’s been a long time coming, and if Sharples and Turia continue to take the consultative line of principled cooperation they’ve signalled, I think it can only be of benefit to their constituency.

    L

  81. Lew 82

    Bah, that was me above, not PB. Seems turning off cookies isn’t a failsafe way to fix it.

    L

  82. the sprout 83

    “I do hope that Williams leaves”

    True, but when it comes to the major structural failures within Labour it’s only the resignation of Smith that will open the door to improvements there.

    Williams might have made some serious cock-ups but he never had much to do with the Party organization. As long as Smith stays the Party organization will be remain just as moribund, unresponsive and dismissive at is ever was.

  83. “However, what McCarten pointed to was the fact that Goff has not developed much of a relationship with Maori. I tend to agree.”

    True, but then Goff never developed much of a relationship with any group. While Clark was assiduously building networks in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Goff wasn’t.

    I thought that this might prevent him one day from taking the leadership, and the lack of a support base does make his position just a little more tenuous should he have trouble demonstrating effectiveness. But I don’t expect that to be a problem — witness his comments on the EFA this morning.

    In short, the lack of relationships with Maori doesn’t reflect a lack of interest in Maori, but rather a lack of relationships full stop. I don’t see any impediment to Goff building good relationships with Maori. Quite the reverse.

  84. r0b 85

    Or how about r0b, who wrote: I can’t seriously believe that the polls at their worst (for Labour) ever reflected the reality of opinion in NZ.

    I wasn’t wrong about that Tim, the polls at their worst were much worse than the final result.

    r0b was also very wrong when he wrote: This I think is the narrative that will win Labour the election – Labour’s policies work, National’s don’t. In the end, that’s what matters.

    I was wrong about that – turns out that having the best, most effective policy doesn’t matter after all. Bugger! You’ll also find, if you look, me consistently saying that Labour could lose the coming election.

    I could reply with a list of your quotes and occasional lies for you to defend, but really, got better things to do.

  85. Vinsin 86

    I just listened to Goff on Bfm and i gotta say I’m incredibly impressed so far. If you listen to him you realize just how talented he is. Wonderful can’t wait for 2011.

  86. Tim Ellis 87

    r0b my post was not intended as a dig at you, but the nonsense of gobsmacked choosing to dismiss everything that somebody says, based on one wrong prediction. The polls at their worst (for Labour), as you wrote, weren’t considerably worse than Labour’s final result. The polls accurately reported Labour’s support levels, evidently even at their worst. This election really was a vindication of polling methodologies, especially in predicting the actual support of major parties, who each fell within the polls’ margin for error.

  87. bill brown 88

    Goff doesn’t do a bad Muldoon either

    Link’s here:

    [audio src="http://www.95bfm.com/assets/sm/189637/3/PhilGofflog200811120800.mp3" /]

  88. r0b 89

    The polls at their worst (for Labour), as you wrote, weren’t considerably worse than Labour’s final result.

    Three polls in May / June had Labour on 29%, and National on 55 or 56%. This certainly didn’t reflect the actual result on election day.

  89. gingercrush 90

    Both Labour and National have had polling giving them more than 50%. Fo Labour that was before the 2002 election, while National had polls saying so in 2008. There may also have been other times where either Labour or National has polled 50%.

    Minor parties typically do not poll well until the election is three months or out. Likewise both National and Labour saw the polls tighten where neither party got more than 50%. In 2002, the centre parties New Zealand First and United Future got a share of such votes. In 2008, it would be natural for National to fall below 50%. The country isn’t ready for either a Labour party or a National party to have a majority.

    2005 polls were fickle and highly inaccurate pretty much because there was not a huge gap between Labour and National thus the polls were volatile.

    By the time the election is called, polls tend to tighten up. In 2002 the centrist parties got larger share of the votes. In 2008 National’s polling fell while Labour’s rose. The polls during the 3 months of this election, showed that there was more probability for National to govern than Labour. And the last set of polls proved rather accurate. Still Greens always seem to poll higher than what they receive at the election. This year I think had Labour not stuffed up in regards to the H-Fee scandal and had John Key done poorly in the debates. The polls could have said otherwise. National always looked likely to receive more votes than Labour. The real question was whether Labour couldn’t somehow come up with the numbers to govern. This year that proved impossible.

  90. Pascal's bookie 91

    That’s a pretty long winded way of saying, “what r0b said”.

  91. gingercrush 92

    I sadly can’t be concise. I’m not sure I make sense half the time either. 🙁

  92. Pascal's bookie 93

    Concise is overated,

    Sorry for the apparent dig at you, that wasn’t what I meant . Just needling Tim. ‘Cause he deserves it.

  93. Keeping It Real 94

    ‘In the disputes between Roger Douglas (the reformist Finance Minister) and other Labour MPs, Goff generally positioned himself on the side of Douglas, supporting deregulation and free trade.’ – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Goff

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  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
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  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
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  • Statement from David Clark
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  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
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  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
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  • Further measures to support businesses
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  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
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  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
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  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
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  • Essential workers leave scheme established
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  • Advance payments to support contractors
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  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
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  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
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  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
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  • State of National Emergency extended
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  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
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  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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  • COVID-19 updates
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