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Goff: yes, stuff-ups: no

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, July 26th, 2009 - 84 comments
Categories: labour, phil goff - Tags:

Bill Ralston quotes me and some other Left bloggers on the Burgess debacle suggesting it means Goff’s neck is on the line and a leadership challenge might be coming. Well, sorry, but that’s just an old Tory’s daydream. Goff’s leadership is secure. There is no prospect of him being overthrown. His support in Labour is solid. Frankly, the Right’s attempts to destablise suggest they are more worried about his potential to seriously challenge Key in 2011 than they are letting on.

Ralston and others (not Farrar, interestingly) don’t understand where the criticism comes from. Perhaps in the Right’s mindset criticism implies opposition and blind adulation is the only acceptable attitude toward a leader one supports.

Look, Goff knows as everyone knows that he has one chance to get this right. If Labour can’t form a government after 2011, he will have to pass the baton. More importrantly than Goff’s personal success is the consequences of Key’s government winning a second term – you think they’re bad now? Wait until they take the gloves off.

That’s where the criticism of Goff comes from. Not from any opposition to him but from the knowledge that it is so important that he and his team get it right and win in 2011 (and it can be done, they only need to chip off less than half a percent of National’s support a month on average from now to the election).

They need a strategy. They need to decide how they want to frame the political debate (what issues, what words). They need to implement the strategy with the right tactics (building relations with the media, building relations with allied orgs and parties, the ‘personal face’ crap, making sure your attacks are solid, keeping the Nats on the back-foot). Two more things: they need to make building membership a priority and they need to see the supercity elections as an opportunity to build momentum and build relationships across the Left. Irish has an excellent piece on these issues.

None of these things are easy but nor are they rocket science. Goff and at least some of the people around him are capable enough. They just have to do it right and not drop the ball on the small things.

Ralston might like to construct conspiracy fantasies around my comments on Goff but no-one on Goff’s office will have been too surprised or upset to be fairly criticised. They know when they’ve got it wrong too, and they know The Standard isn’t going to treat them differently than it would any other party.

My hope now is that they’ll get the rest of their recession package right. I’ve suggested some things they need to take into account with the structure and promotion of the package. Whether they take up that specific advice or not, the most important thing is that they approach this opportunity strategically and develop a full plan, rather than the slapdash style we’ve seen recently.

84 comments on “Goff: yes, stuff-ups: no ”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Agreed Eddie, get a strategy and put in the hard yards. And start as soon as possible.

  2. Doug 2

    Eddie
    Care to mention the capable people?

    None of these things are easy but nor are they rocket science. Goff and at least some of the people around him are capable enough. They just have to do it right and not drop the ball on the small things.

  3. graham 3

    Look if the labour want to keep goff by all means but he cant beat key.The real fight is between street and cunlife thats who we should all be watching

    • Eddie 3.1

      bollocks. Goff can win. Neither Cunliffe more Street will be leader – the fact that you think they’re next in line shows how much your analysis is based in fantasy rther than knowledge. Just another rightie who would rather fantasise about Labour infighting that debate the real issues.

      • Anita 3.1.1

        How will a Goff led Labour Party win? He shows no ability to rally people to his cause, surely that’s what is needed?

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          He put the hard yards in for the Mt Albert by election as did the organisation and now matter how you dress it up the result was a good one for Labour. Goff rallied the party well.

          The Auckland super city debate is one of those long burning fires that will cause all sorts of damage to National in the part of the country where it matters the most.

          When voters at large get to the point where they have to make their mind up on who to support, then just as in Mt Albert I believe you will see a significant bounce back in support.

          The question will be is the bounce back going to be big enough.

          • Anita 3.1.1.1.1

            Mt Albert, IMO, was a triumph for the labour party organisation and all the volunteers and workers and supporters should be very proud. But I can’t see Goff’s outstanding charismatic motivational leadership in that win, care to show me I’m wrong?

            I also can’t see Mt Albert approach scaling easily to the whole country, that Labour can pull together that strong a team from all across the country) to a single electorate when it’s the sole focus is impressive, but it’s not an election winning approach (which can’t rely on flying in talent, and has far more balls in the air).

            Finally, Mt Albert was never going to change the government, the voting patterns would have been different if it had.

            Again, I’m not dissing the impressive victory, just arguing that it’s not indicative of a national election campaign, and that I can’t see Goff as an important part of that win.

            • Tim Ellis 3.1.1.1.1.1

              As always a thoughtful and challenging comment from you Anita.

              Mt Albert, IMO, was a triumph for the labour party organisation and all the volunteers and workers and supporters should be very proud. But I can’t see Goff’s outstanding charismatic motivational leadership in that win, care to show me I’m wrong?

              To be fair Mr Goff put his reputation on the line when he made sure that Mr Shearer was selected as the Labour Party candidate. At the time I thought it was unwise of him to say that the support for Mr Shearer from the delegates was unanimous, after Mr Shearer lost the floor vote. Since then he’s shown twice that he has a habit of exaggerating his case, in the Choudary affair and this week with Mr Burgess.

              I obviously wasn’t close to the action in Mt Albert, but from the outside Mr Goff took a lot of credit for the Mt Albert win. There’s little doubt that Labour had a huge machine going on in the by-election. It’s hard to say just how much of that came down to Mr Goff. Other MPs were certainly flying in to help out. I suspect a lot of the motivation from Labour Party activists was to prevent the humiliation of having a majority cut in one of its safest seats rather than a ringing endorsement for Mr Goff.

              I also can’t see Mt Albert approach scaling easily to the whole country, that Labour can pull together that strong a team from all across the country) to a single electorate when it’s the sole focus is impressive, but it’s not an election winning approach (which can’t rely on flying in talent, and has far more balls in the air).

              And let’s not forget Mt Albert was one of Labour’s strongest seats in both organisation and support. It’s the red version of National’s Tamaki. It isn’t a marginal seat. A few months before the by-election I thought it might come much closer, but in retrospect for that to happen would have needed National to win on a whole lot of factors that didn’t eventuate.

              I don’t think Mr Goff can trade on holding onto Mt Albert for too long. It should have been Labour’s expectation to win Mt Albert and win big. Anything less would have been a humiliation for Mr Goff.

              Finally, Mt Albert was never going to change the government, the voting patterns would have been different if it had.

              That’s right. Mt Albert had Labour bring in very big organisational resources that National clearly didn’t have. They had John Pagani and that guy from Len Brown’s office working on the campaign, not to mention everybody from Labour HQ. You can’t duplicate that at a national level.

              I saw a quote somewhere saying Labour spent the equivalent of $200 thousand on retaining Mount Albert. That’s how important it was to Labour’s organisation. Labour can’t ship in every MP to campaign in every seat in 2011.

            • felix 3.1.1.1.1.2

              … I can’t see Goff’s outstanding charismatic motivational leadership in that win,

              Agreed. Three words too many, in fact.

            • Marty G 3.1.1.1.1.3

              You got the $200K figure from Whaleoil, that says all you need to know about the value of that information.

              You may as well just pull a number out your arse. That’s what Whale did. I mean, where do you think he would have got a number like that from? He just chose a large number to try to invalidate the massive win.

            • Anita 3.1.1.1.1.4

              Tim,

              Yes yes! 🙂

              I should’ve added, the Mt Albert win was consciously spun by Labour and allies as a demonstration of Goff’s strength as a leader. Despite that effort it still looks like a party organisation win from here.

              Presumably with all the spin removed it looks even less like a Goff induced victory.

            • Anita 3.1.1.1.1.5

              Tim,

              Tho now I want to disagree with this:

              Mt Albert had Labour bring in very big organisational resources that National clearly didn’t have.

              What makes you think National doesn’t have that kind of organisational resource? They’re clearly a wealthier party, they clear have the organisational resources to massively win an election, I can’t see any reason to believe they didn’t have the resources. Therefore they either didn’t use them, or they did use them but failed anyway.

              Which seems more likely from your viewpoint?

            • gobsmacked 3.1.1.1.1.6

              sorry, wrong place 🙁

            • Tim Ellis 3.1.1.1.1.7

              Interesting question Anita:

              What makes you think National doesn’t have that kind of organisational resource? They’re clearly a wealthier party, they clear have the organisational resources to massively win an election, I can’t see any reason to believe they didn’t have the resources. Therefore they either didn’t use them, or they did use them but failed anyway.

              Firstly the biggest difference is MPs with time on their hands. Labour’s whole caucus is in opposition. There’s not a lot for them to do, other than campaign in a by-election. Half of National’s caucus is in the Cabinet. They’re busier people. For example, I heard that Mr Hodgson was up in Mt Albert, going around to the homes of undecided voters to try and win their support. When you’ve got ten MPs up there supporting the candidate every day (because they’ve got little else to do) then that makes a difference.

              Secondly I don’t know if National is actually a wealthier party. Labour has access to a lot of resources and I suspect they have about the same number of people working in their respective headquarters.

              Thirdly organisationally and locally Mt Albert hasn’t anything like the strength for National as it has for Labour.

              Thirdly Mount Albert was never going to be a show stopper for National. It didn’t have a lot to lose. The consequences of a big loss weren’t going to be that great. Minor boost to Mr Goff in the short term, but in the long term not winning a safe labour seat in a by election (and governments have never won a seat off the opposition in a by election) isn’t really a big deal. If National had really wanted to throw a lot of money and resource at Mt Albert, they could have… but why would they with so little to win? It comes down to a simple cost-benefit on that score.

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1.8

              But Tim Mt Albert is in the middle of the biggest city in the country. National ought to have been able to at least put a scrutineer onto each voting booth table but were unable to do so.

              Sure by that stage of the campaign they were not going to win but they had a lot to lose and the size of the victory became the story.

              My impression is that National clearly has far more money, far more of society’s richest onside but little else.

              They won last time because amongst other things they had hand picked strategically placed ethnic candidates designed to make them look like Labour. One of them unravelled during the campaign and that look of labour lite went as well.

              Now for that slow seepage of support as people realise that National is not Labour lite.

            • Anita 3.1.1.1.1.9

              Tim Ellis,

              So you agree that National had the resource available but believe they simply chose not to use it?

              Secondly, do you really think National is no wealthier than Labour? I could point you to their historic donation returns to prove my point that National is much wealthier, or I could suggest that you pop past both their national HQs and check them out (staffing levels too).

        • Eddie 3.1.1.2

          yeah, like mickysavage says Anita, Mt Albert

          • gobsmacked 3.1.1.2.1

            @ Anita

            Because the election is in 2011.

            Because things change, and always have, and always will. Because National can only maintain popularity by not doing what they want to do – and they won’t be able to keep that up.

            Because we are not talking about some Herculean task. Labour need to make a net gain of 1% support every 3 months, between now and the election campaign. By historical standards, that is very modest. Get some perspective, please.

            • Anita 3.1.1.2.1.1

              gobsmacked,

              The gap is not huge, but there’s no sign Labour are closing it now. I’m pretty sure it will close some by the next election (that being the pattern we’d expect to see early in any election year), but your scenario needs more than that, and you have only faith/optimism that it will.

              You seem to be arguing that National will lose the election (not that it will be won by a resurgent Labour campaign), any evidence of that so far?

              You seem to be arguing that the gap will close by itself (polling pixies anyone?), that National will start screwing up, and that Labour will just coast to victory. If that was how things worked then I’d agree with you.

              But Labour need something/someone to make the difference and turn voters around; I’m arguing that it will not be Goff. Do you think it will?

            • gobsmacked 3.1.1.2.1.2

              Anita

              If National do nothing (i.e. are “centrist”), they will lose some support by attrition, but probably will retain enough support to get re-elected. No leader of the opposition will change that. The government would be doing much that Labour voters like anyway.

              But I don’t think that’s what National will do. They have kicked for touch on so many decisions, and that can’t go on forever. The natural pressure from the right (i.e. “We’re in power, let’s use it”) will prevail. Then Labour will have ammunition that they currently don’t have.

              Labour will not “coast” to victory (don’t put words in my mouth, please). They will have to work hard for it. The best available leader is Phil Goff, who has performed very well for many years, and has now made a mistake on one story that seems to have spooked people. (Congrats to the right-wing spinners on this, BTW. But there is nothing new here: undermining is Oppo 101. It’s just that the message used to be … replace loser Helen Clark with the winner Phil Goff).

              Now is the time for policy development, for 2011. Labour are a strong opposition, more united than National post-1999, and they can realistically target 40% if the government starts to turn off voters by actually making the decisions they have largely avoided so far.

            • Tim Ellis 3.1.1.2.1.3

              The odds aren’t really in Mr Goff’s favour of becoming prime minister though GS.

              There’s only been one party leader who was in parliament for longer than Phil Goff before becoming prime minister. He lasted two weeks.

              Mr Farrar made an interesting observation the other day. People like to see a bit of a fresh face if they’re going to be motivated to change the government. They need a good, specific motivation to change. As much as politically interested folks are fascinated by changes of government, the voting public don’t get that excited about it.

            • Anita 3.1.1.2.1.4

              gobsmacked writes,

              Phil Goff, who has performed very well for many years

              During the fifth Labour government he never had a high-risk/high-profile ministry did he? He seems like a safe pair of hands for a high detail relatively safe role, that’s not Labour leader tho.

            • Tim Ellis 3.1.1.2.1.5

              During the fifth Labour government he never had a high-risk/high-profile ministry did he? He seems like a safe pair of hands for a high detail relatively safe role, that’s not Labour leader tho.

              He certainly was quite effective as Foreign Minister and Trade Minister, although there’s so much hegemony between the major parties in those areas that if he did have any personal views of his own, they didn’t really come out.

              The last contentious role he had was when he was Justice Minister. He was a bit of a tub-thumping, hang-em-high get-tough-on-criminals sort of person then. Hardly a liberal. One of his first acts as Leader was to appoint Mr Cosgrove to the same spokesmanship.

              It is hard to see where Mr Goff stands on the super-city. I suggest his instinct is more populism than left-wing liberalism. My observation is that position doesn’t go down well with Labour Party activists.

              I think Mr Goff is at the wrong end of the party to lead it, in the same way that Mr English was at the wrong end of the party to lead it in 2002. Labour needs a leader who can invigorate and appeal to the left wing base, just as Dr Brash did the same for National in 2005. Labour needs a leader who can provide a sense of purpose.

              I don’t think Mr Cunliffe has that capability to appeal to the base, since ideologically he seems to be so close to Mr Goff. Can you think of anybody in Labour’s caucus now who might be able to fill that role Anita?

  4. Tim Ellis 4

    Very interesting analysis of what Mr Goff has to do to survive, Eddie.

    I guess the guts of it though is that there is nobody better in the wings right now. If there were an obvious, viable contender to the throne right now, Mr Goff’s numbers would be up.

  5. Eddie 5

    Goff’s office has both good people and not so good people. They’re not public figures and this blog isn’t focused on personalities, so I’m not going to be writing posts about them individually.

    • Tim Ellis 5.1

      They’re not public figures and this blog isn’t focused on personalities

      Of course you can write about anything you like Eddie, but let’s not pretend you’re not focussed on personalities. You have written at length on John Key’s personality rather than policy issues. You wrote at length about the Mt Albert campaign, and identified at least one senior figure as a major post in Melissa Lee’s campaign. You identified the contenders for the Labour Party presidency.

      • Eddie 5.1.1

        the contenders for the presidency are running for an elected office. the pm is the pm, and we focus on his policies, although ‘personality’ issues like lying, changing his position, the show-pony thing are obviously fair game when you’re talking about a major politician because they impact on the success of his policy agenda.

        melissa lee was making politically relevant statements as a candidate for elected office. we had a little dissection of why that campaign went awry but that one I wrote mentioning whathisname, the campaign manager, wasn’t about his decisions or personality.

        • Tim Ellis 5.1.1.1

          but that one I wrote mentioning whathisname, the campaign manager, wasn’t about his decisions or personality.

          History repeats for Mark Thomas

          You’re being disingenuous Eddie. It is unfathomable that you would be able to dredge up detail of events of 13 years ago and not remember Mark Thomas’ name.

          That post was all about personality. It’s pretty shabby of you to say otherwise. In the original post you claimed that Mark Thomas was National’s first “openly gay” candidate in 1996. That is pretty personal. Strangely that reference seems to have been taken out of the post.

          • Eddie 5.1.1.1.1

            I couldn’t remember his name, thought it was Thomas but had ‘Paul Thomas’ in my head but that’s someone else.

            Being National’s ‘first openly gay’ candidate is about National, not about him personally (and it turns out he wasn’t open, a mis-recollection on my part), as is the bit (I’m looking at the link now, thanks for finding it) about how Bolger shafted him. None of it is about Thomas personally, it’s about the National party and a link between two campaigns in which the leader deserted his candidate.

            • Tim Ellis 5.1.1.1.1.1

              When you review that post, Eddie, even the fact of him being Lee’s campaign manager appears to be wrong.

              I take your word for it that you were able to recall that Mark Thomas was openly gay (which was wrong but you tried to insinuate that National shafted him because he was openly gay), had enough information to identify him as Lee’s campaign manager (also wrong), and wrongly identified the media in which Bolger shafted him.

              I’ve met Mr Thomas a couple of times at his restaurant. He’s a pleasant bloke. I don’t think many people would agree that the personal references you made about him weren’t personal. It was gutter politics on your part. A lot of people said some unpleasant things about Helen Clark and used all sorts of lame excuses for going into the gutter about her personal life, and here you are using the same lame excuses for going into the gutter about Mr Thomas. Poor effort Eddie.

            • Eddie 5.1.1.1.1.2

              No I didn’t say he was shafted because he was gay you dipstick. He was shafted because Bolger wanted to ensure Prebble won.

              He was managing Lee’s campaign according to several sources. As with Labour, it appears the management of the campaign was split. Coleman managing the candidate and Thomas managing the campaign ie the activists and stuff.

              Pretty sure it was on Radio NZ that Bolger shafted Thomas, that’s my recollection from the doco Campaign but I couldn’t care less where he said it.

              What did I say about Thomas that was unpleasant? You actually feel sorry for the guy, screwed over in Campaign he’s clearly heartbroken.

      • Tim I don’t accept your assertion that the left attacks Key on a personal level. I have not seen one post about Keys relationship with his wife, his sexuality, his teeth, hair,sound of his voice, or any physical features in a negative vein, or his relationship with his children.I have however noticed Key is trying to bring in the fact that some of his cabinet have kids and that some how makes them informed with regards to the issues facing other NZ families.

  6. Doug 6

    If Phil can’t sort out his Office how can he run the Country.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Bill Ralston is so often, so hilariously wrong, we can now safely assume Phil Goff will become Prime Minister.

    It’s sad that an experienced, intelligent obsever has declined to this, nothing more than a hack whose weekly column is basically just a cut and paste of blog talking points, along with flat-wrong forecasts, never acknowledged afterwards.

    Ralston observed at close quarters the careers of Helen Clark (polling rock bottom, written off by the pundits … and won three elections) and Jim Bolger (attacked on all fronts, inside National and out, mocked by the media … and won three elections). He might have learned something from that.

    But I guess John Key paid the piper, and he delivers the tune.

  8. Jasper 8

    Goff is far too dependable and reliable.
    Personally, the NZLP made an error in the passing of the baton so quickly and efficiently.
    Personally, Goff should have been a deputy leader, with one of the new intake as Leader, perhaps someone like Cunliffe. Then the support would have been there in Goff as the deputy leader, who knows his stuff, but just doesn’t have the necessary spark needed to engage with the public.
    Fierce for New Zealand? Possibly the worst slogan – right up there with Ambitious for NZ.

    • gobsmacked 8.1

      After three years of seeing promises slip-sliding away, “dependable and reliable” may be exactly what former Labour voters want. And that’s who will decide the election.

      Spin doesn’t last. Substance does.

    • QoT 8.2

      Cunliffe is “new intake” now? I guess if you’ve bought the Nats’ line that things people said in 1985 are relevant …

  9. Wayne 9

    What I find hilarious is the way Ralston thinks that sectarian nutbar at Against the Current is a Labour supporter. I thought you were a journalist Bill.

    • Eddie 9.1

      Yeah, I went to that site for the first time after seeing that link in his article. The last post attacks me for proposing a recession package including housing insulation, rather than the nationalisation of the means of exchange. Apparently, if you’re not demanding things that are in the realm on pure fantasy you’re not going far enough.

  10. infused 10

    I think you’re a bit deluded if you think Goff will lead. Evertime I see him on TV he just reminds me of someone not in control.

    He seems to be gliding along waiting for something to happen instead of doing something himself.

    This might change later in the end game, I donno. But right now there has to be someone better.

    • Eddie 10.1

      infused – mark my words. Unless there is a major scandal involving him, Goff will lead Labour in the 2011 campaign and not because there’s no replacement but because his leadership isn’t under challenge.

      • Tim Ellis 10.1.1

        Perhaps the real reason Mr Goff’s leadership isn’t under challenge is two-fold. Firstly because there are no real contenders, and secondly an acceptance in labour’s caucus that fighting Labour’s campaign in 2011 is a poisoned chalice.

        Bill English might be prime minister now if he hadn’t rolled Shipley and then tried to take on the impossible of beating the very popular Helen Clark in 2002. The labour contenders in waiting, including Mr Cunliffe, Ms Street, Mr Cosgrove, Mr Jones, Mr Hughes and now probably Mr Shearer all saw what damage 2002 did to Bill English’s leadership hopes and are quite happy for Mr Goff to take the fall.

        • Eddie 10.1.1.1

          lol. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that none of the people you’ve named ever lead the Labour party. They’re capable people all but I don’t see any of them leading.

          • Tim Ellis 10.1.1.1.1

            I doubt any of them will be Prime Minister, Eddie. I don’t doubt one of them will be Labour Party leader soon in an interim capacity to bench warm for Mr Little. Mr Little I think will be prime minister eventually.

            It doesn’t say a lot about the state of Mr Goff’s labour party or the strength of his leadership however when the only major personality with the gravity to take on the leadership long-term isn’t even in Parliament.

            • Anita 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Fastest possible case: <counts on fingers>2011 Little enters parliament, 2014 labour loss, 2015 Little becomes leader, 2017 election with Little as leader</counts on fingers>. In 2017 Little will be 52 (ish?) and Key 56.

              That requires a three term National government which seems unlikely unless they get rid of MMP even more dodgily and quicker than they currently plan, and a relatively fast turnover in Labour leaders.

              Every time I do the math about Little I can’t see him actually being PM, if Labour win in 2014 followed by two terms of Labour and two of National then the first election he could win to make him PM is 2026, and he’ll be 61.

            • Tim Ellis 10.1.1.1.1.2

              I think Mr Little could conceivably enter parliament in 2011 and be leader by 2014, Anita. Dr Brash fought the election for National in 2005 after just one term.

              Importantly Mr Little has been seen for a long time as the leader in waiting.

              I don’t think I’m being too bold here when I say that there is a fairly wide spread feeleing that Mr Goff won’t be the leader in 2014 if he doesn’t win in 2011. So there will need to be a new leader who will have to be from the current crop of MPs (Mr Jones, Ms Street, Mr Cunliffe, Mr Cosgrove, Mr Hughes, maybe Mr Parker or Mr Shearer), or somebody who’s not currently in Parliament. About the only name I hear in that respect is Mr Little’s.

              While I can’t see Labour’s caucus giving Mr Goff any leeway when he loses in 2011, I can see they would give Mr Little leeway for losing in 2014 if he’s only been leader for a short time.

            • felix 10.1.1.1.1.3

              It doesn’t say a lot about the state of Mr Goff’s labour party or the strength of his leadership however when the only major personality with the gravity to take on the leadership long-term isn’t even in Parliament.

              There you go again, stating your own hypothetical as fact.

              It wouldn’t say a lot about the state of Mr Goff’s labour party or the strength of his leadership however if the only major personality with the gravity to take on the leadership long-term wasn’t even in Parliament.

              There, fixed it for you.

            • Anita 10.1.1.1.1.4

              A 2011 entry to parliament and leader in the 2014 election is a very high risk strategy, and one that cost both National and Brash dearly.

              If Little has a run at 2014 and srcews up, cos he’s not proven in that context, then he’ll never be PM will he? And Labour will be in deep trouble unless they have someone lined up to take over pdq.

            • Eddie 10.1.1.1.1.5

              Anita and Tim. Your little circle jerk where you predict the outcomes of the next half-dozen elections based on the personalities of the people you think will be in charge is a little nauseating.

              This is where non-materialist paradigms on the one hand, and sub-normal mental development on the other get you.

            • Anita 10.1.1.1.1.6

              Every now and then I read posts and threads here that remind me how good The Standard was and perhaps could be again, and I think it might again be a place I enjoy hanging out. Each time it’s a poster’s behaviour that reminds me what an ugly and unskilled place it can be at the moment.

  11. Outofbed 11

    The Goal is obviously win the 2011 Election
    So the question is can the Labour party under Goff do this?
    On current form ? doesn’t look like it does it. So we blindly march on to another defeat FFS. And anyway i want a government of the left not some wishywashy centrist crap that we have had to endure for the last ten years.
    Where was the reform of the ECA ? The Electricity sector ? etc etc
    There is a reason its called the LABOUR party. its about time it lived up to its name

    • gobsmacked 11.1

      OoB

      If Labour get a majority, it will be with the Greens. So not likely to be “centrist”.

      Today’s caucus is to the left of “old” Labour.

      • Tim Ellis 11.1.1

        Good point GS. It certainly won’t be with the Maori Party, given the way Labour are treating them.

  12. Doug 12

    Trouble is Goff is to the right of Key at times.

    • gobsmacked 12.1

      Examples?

      • felix 12.1.1

        Well Farrar says so. And Slater. And Hooten and Ralston.

        Is any further discussion of the premise really necessary with that sort of intellectual weight behind it?

  13. The post is notable for an absence. Yes, the Party needs to have a political strategy,a focus on membership, an emphasis on a more united Left. What about policies and vision? The post is entirely about the ‘politics’ of the process. but the politics must rest on a policy framework and vision for New Zealand that becomes the leitmotof of that politics. I understand that some of the ministers have woken up to this and are beginning to ask how the economic transformation, inclusion and national identity approach should be revised. This is essential work if we are to win and then hold power. Put another way, we have to be in a better position when next in power than National are today, who seem to me to have dozed off when in opposition, rather than develop a strong and coherent policy base. In their case, I think that was because they have a strong default position (enter Right, Mr Brash).

  14. Brett 14

    What you are seeing in NZ politics is similar to what happened in the USA , both main parties end up basically the same.
    What wins it is the personality and charisma of the leader of each party. This is why Key will always beat Goff

  15. burt 15

    Eddie

    the Right’s attempts to destablise suggest they are more worried about his potential to seriously challenge Key in 2011 than they are letting on.

    That explains why prior to the election 3 out of 4 posts were attacking John Key.

  16. gingercrush 16

    Expect 2011 to be built around re-distribution of taxes to the middle and lower classes. I am quite convinced that will be Labour’s strategy. What will be interesting is how that will conflict with other members inside the Labour party who want a more liberal platform.

  17. Tim Ellis 17

    There’s a lot of discussion in the middle of the thread but as the “reply” part is getting messy I’ll reply to it here.

    Micky said:

    But Tim Mt Albert is in the middle of the biggest city in the country. National ought to have been able to at least put a scrutineer onto each voting booth table but were unable to do so.

    I don’t know, Micky. I don’t live in the Mt Albert electorate, I didn’t vote in the byelection and I don’t know how many scrutineers a party needs to put somebody at every table. How do you know National didn’t have somebody in every polling booth? Is there any evidence that says having somebody in every polling place makes a big difference?

    If so, from memory when I went to vote in my electorate in a very Labour friendly area last year, that might explain why Ms Tizard lost. Nikki Kaye had four scrutineers there but Ms Tizard only had one. I don’t think that says a lot about the campaign.

    My impression is that National clearly has far more money, far more of society’s richest onside but little else.

    I don’t know about money. Mt Albert showed Labour has the money to spend when it needs to. As for resources on the ground, when it counts like in the general election, National had numbers on the ground.

    They won last time because amongst other things they had hand picked strategically placed ethnic candidates designed to make them look like Labour. One of them unravelled during the campaign and that look of labour lite went as well.

    I don’t think Nikki Kaye is a “strategically placed ethnic candidate”. I don’t think Peseta Sam Lotu-iiga looks like Labour. Nothing I’ve heard him say in parliament sounds like a Labour MP. Nor does Pansy Wong, or Todd McClay, or Tim McIndoe or Paula Bennett or Simon Bridges, who all won seats this time among many others.

    So you agree that National had the resource available but believe they simply chose not to use it?

    No I don’t believe that, Anita. Sure National could have thrown a lot more resource at the by-election if they really wanted to, but I don’t think it was a big priority. It’s a balancing exercise around how much you think you can win, and how important it is to win.

    Secondly, do you really think National is no wealthier than Labour? I could point you to their historic donation returns to prove my point that National is much wealthier, or I could suggest that you pop past both their national HQs and check them out (staffing levels too).

    I’m not sure the donation returns count for a lot. They only count for big donations. Sure National has a much larger membership, but Labour can access union facilities in ways that National can’t of its friends. What you see in donation returns I suspect is money that is spent on the big campaigns. At any point in time I wouldn’t assume that either party is rolling around with big pots of money.

    • Tim

      “I don’t know, Micky. I don’t live in the Mt Albert electorate, I didn’t vote in the byelection and I don’t know how many scrutineers a party needs to put somebody at every table. How do you know National didn’t have somebody in every polling booth? ”

      Easy, I was there. Approximately 90 tables, a Labour scrutineer at each one, the nats struggled to have a scrutineer at each booth. 200 Labour doorknockers, the nats nowhere to be seen.

      “Is there any evidence that says having somebody in every polling place makes a big difference?”

      At the beginning of the campaign things were pretty even, by the end it was a thrashing.

      “If so, from memory when I went to vote in my electorate in a very Labour friendly area last year, that might explain why Ms Tizard lost. Nikki Kaye had four scrutineers there but Ms Tizard only had one. I don’t think that says a lot about the campaign.”

      This is the proof sought by your previous question. I accept that in Auckland Central the nats may have had more scrutineers. Things like having plenty of scrutineers can create the impression of organisational might and professionalism. That is probably why Nikki Kay did well and one of the reasons why David Shearer also did well.

      “I don’t know about money. Mt Albert showed Labour has the money to spend when it needs to. As for resources on the ground, when it counts like in the general election, National had numbers on the ground.”

      BS. Where were the signs of money for Labour? There was a lot of voluntary work but no signs of wealth. See any TV ads or paper ads? If resources on the ground count then where were National’s?

      “I don’t think Nikki Kaye is a “strategically placed ethnic candidate’.”

      I was not referring to her.

      “I don’t think Peseta Sam Lotu-iiga looks like Labour. Nothing I’ve heard him say in parliament sounds like a Labour MP. ”

      What is said in Parliament matters only to activists. Sam looks and sounds like a Labour MP.

      “Nor does Pansy Wong, or Todd McClay, or Tim McIndoe or Paula Bennett or Simon Bridges, who all won seats this time among many others.”

      Only Bennett looks like a Labour MP. Todd McClay? Are you being serious?

      “So you agree that National had the resource available but believe they simply chose not to use it?”

      I don’t know. I only know that they were not there and on election day there should have been hordes of them if the machine was in good shape.

      Finally, “Sure National has a much larger membership, but Labour can access union facilities in ways that National can’t of its friends.”

      Like the Engineers have the same sort of resources as the Business Roundtable or Telecom or any one of a thousand corporates that want the right wing agenda entrenched in NZ politics. Get real.

      • Tim Ellis 17.1.1

        Easy, I was there. Approximately 90 tables, a Labour scrutineer at each one, the nats struggled to have a scrutineer at each booth. 200 Labour doorknockers, the nats nowhere to be seen.

        Fair enough Micky, but you haven’t established why it was important for National to put in the effort that Labour did. I said before, National had very little to gain by throwing the kitchen sink at mount albert. Labour had everything to lose even if its majority was cut. If a byelection had happened in Tamaki, would Labour have shipped in three hundred people on the day? Somehow I doubt it.

        What is said in Parliament matters only to activists. Sam looks and sounds like a Labour MP.

        Why? Because he’s brown? Does Labour have a monopoly on brown people? Does Winston Peters look like a Labour MP too?

        BS. Where were the signs of money for Labour? There was a lot of voluntary work but no signs of wealth. See any TV ads or paper ads? If resources on the ground count then where were National’s?

        Try three hundred labour party signs in the electorate. Or maybe the seven pieces of mail that my daughter got in the mail at her flat in Pt Chev. That costs money. So does sending up ten MPs every day of the campaign, although in that case it was the taxpayer paying and not the Labour Party. I wonder if Mr Pagani was working for free? How about Conor Roberts? Did he take unpaid leave from Mr Brown’s office, or was he paid by the Labour Party or subsidised by Manukau ratepayers? Not to mention the staff that flew up from Labour Party headquarters.

        Like the Engineers have the same sort of resources as the Business Roundtable or Telecom or any one of a thousand corporates that want the right wing agenda entrenched in NZ politics. Get real.

        I suspect the engineers union get more money in membership dues than the business round table and have a lot more people working for them than NZBR, Micky, and I haven’t heard of the business roundtable or Telecom sending people in to scrutineer for National. I’m happy to stand corrected but I doubt the round table has given money to the National Party ever.

        • felix 17.1.1.1

          It’s a bit revisionist to suggest that National never thought they had a shit’s show in Mt Albert so they didn’t even really try. It’s pretty funny though, especially from Tim who actually claimed to have attended a few meetings and rallies during the campaign (despite being neither eligible to vote or particularly interested of course).

          As I recall, in the lead-up to the campaign the usual suspects (Farrar and his monkey, most of the inbred righties who comment here, maybe even you Tim? – don’t remember) were actually calling it a pretty even race, one the nats could even take out.

          See the received wisdom from the trolls way back then was that Mt Albert wasn’t really a Labour seat at all, it was a Clark seat – and with Helen gone it was an opportunity for the nats to rise up and give Labour the kicking they deserved.

          Interestingly part of the reasoning for this theory was that Mt Albert’s demographic had changed so much during Helen’s tenure that the electorate was now so wealthy and upwardly mobile that it was a more natural Nat seat that a labour one.

          Tim wouldn’t go along with that of course, because he doesn’t think the nats represent money.

          Key even put his best girl on the job. Wow, what a disastrous judgment call from Mr Key that was – and everyone on the right who backed it.

          Of course, that’s all so long ago I doubt anyone remembers – what is it, two months? – so it’s safe enough to rewrite history and say it loud:

          LABOUR ONLY WON BECAUSE NATIONAL WEREN’T TRYING.

          And they weren’t trying because they didn’t need to win / knew they couldn’t win / couldn’t afford to win.

          Hilarious isn’t it?

          • gingercrush 17.1.1.1.1

            The problem with Mickeysavage’s analogy on Mt. Albert is that for all that Shearer and Labour did well (and they did fucking well) and for all that National did not well (absolutely awful) what is clear is that it was a candidate vote. Both the TV One and TV 3 polls had Shearer decisively in front with Lee way behind and could end a possible third. What Mickey seems to ignore in that the very poll TV 3 held they also showed that National’s party vote in Mt. Albert not only held up to what they got at the 2008 election but actually bettered what they got at the 2008 election. Of course as we only know what candidates got and not the party we won’t know.

            Undoubtedly had National got in a better candidate,had they got in the activists to work the scrutineers etc and had they STFU about Waterview the contest would have been closer. Still likely a win for Labour but surely closer.

            • felix 17.1.1.1.1.1

              Another way of saying that is that the Labour candidate whipped the pants off the National candidate.

              Even though it was National’s best girl (as seen on TV) vs some guy from overseas who no-one knew.

          • Tim Ellis 17.1.1.1.2

            Funny how despite your apparent obsession with everything I say and do, Felix, you still seem to deliberately misquote me.

            It’s a bit revisionist to suggest that National never thought they had a shit’s show in Mt Albert so they didn’t even really try.

            I didn’t say that. Read again. I said that while I thought at the time National had a better chance, in retrospect realistically for National to have a better chance it would have needed a whole lot of things to fall in National’s favour. None of those things happened, making winning a safe labour seat pretty much impossible.

            What’s hilarious, Felix, is that you continue to crow about an overwhelming victory that a) doesn’t change the government, and b) only temporarily strengthens the leadership of a man who will never be Prime Minister.

  18. graham 18

    i agree with you tim abount andrew little.Remember helen lost one election before wining in 1999.With the leason of bill in 2002 no labour contender is going to stick there head up until 2011.To a polictal supporter it seems crazy that if they think goff is going to lose why dont they put there hand up.But remember they only have one shot at being pm so thats why cunlife and street are waiting.And to eddie i can assure you torys are not scared of goff just amused he is the gift that keeps on giving.He reminds me of the briar rabbit story (tar baby) the more we laugh at him the more the left thinks we are scarred.So please dont sack phil role on 2020

    [lprent: Have you read the POLICY yet. At least you’ve stopped shouting. ]

    • To all the wingnuts.

      In Labour circles Andrew Little is not being talked about as if he is a future leader of the party. He is not our plan B in case Goff does not make it.

      Posting comments suggesting that he is wastes the time of various lefties responding to it.

      If you have anything interesting to debate perhaps you could do so.

      • Anita 18.1.1

        Every party should have an idea about who the next possible leaders are and be making sure that they’re developing candidates for the leader after that. That’s not the same as assuming the current leader will fail, it’s facing the reality that every leader has a best before date.

        I’m guessing that while you’re willing to rule out Little as the next leader (and I’m surprised at that) you’re not willing to give us an idea of who is being talked about as possibilities for the leader after Goff?

        • gobsmacked 18.1.1.1

          Politics doesn’t work like that.

          That’s why the Prime Minister is not Simon Upton. Instead, it’s some guy nobody had heard of, when they were making their Informed Expert Predictions about National’s successor to Bolger, Shipley and English.

          Nobody predicted the Maori Party. Nobody predicted Peter Dunne 2002. Nobody had heard of a certain Senator Obama, just 5 years ago. And so on.

          The 2014 election will probably be decided by the Auckland Popular Front or the Anti Afghan War party, holding the balance of power. And I will be Prime Minister. 🙂

          We like to think we know what’s going to happen. We don’t.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox 18.1.1.2

          Labour has lots of decisions to make- mainly how they respond to the dual climate and economic crises. Do they want to continue with the Neo-Liberal economic policies that they did in government for example?
          Who leads them is irrelevant until they can sort out their basic philosophy.
          Their present leader is ten times more articulate than the PM (not that hard- listen to how bad his latest interviews have been), has a good understanding of NZers and seems to have a reasonable grasp of economic, social and political issues.
          He’s not Barack Obama but he certainly stacks up well against Key.

      • gingercrush 18.1.2

        Why do you insist on using the word “wingnut” Mickey?

        You are a wingnut. You are a stupid cheerleading Labour voter that comes to kiwiblog like a little fucking troll and makes the same ludicrous cries that somehow Key won’t last long and will be toppled by English.You don’t debate shit. After all, you still believe Mt. Albert is somehow applicable to the whole of New Zealand. Even in this post you make stupid claims that National put up Labour-lite candidates and it was this Labour-lite campaign that got National into office. You’re still in denial about the 2008 election.

        Of all the people that are left-wing voters and comment at The Standard, you are the worse example of who should be throwing out the world,”wingnut” or going to Kiwiblog and c/p the dittohead thread. You are after all the leftwing’s equivalent of a dittohead as well.

        • r0b 18.1.2.1

          In your dreams ginger. Mickysavage is one of the few who can be bothered trying to engage with the sewer. Dirty dirty work, I certainly can’t be bothered with it, so I have the utmost admiration for those that can. And if you don’t like MS’s style, perhaps you can reflect that all he is really doing is inciting happy mischief…

        • BLiP 18.1.2.2

          Awwww – Rats! I thought I was the worst.

          (Note To Self: must try harder)

    • graham 18.2

      yes to policy

  19. Zaphod Beeblebrox 19

    The criticism of Goff, in my view been petty and childish. It will be the abilty of labour to come up with effective economic, environmental and social policies and how well he can articulate them that will count in the end.
    If he gets caught up fighting about short term political dstractions like car crushing, gang patches, ministerial adultery etc… which seems to obsess the media (and a good deal of the Nat caucus by the look of it), he will have merely wsted his breath.
    From what I have read of the quality of the Labour discourse of policy, (the really do have some good thinkers in thier caucus) it seems a whole lot more sophisticated than that being uttered by the government- if he can keep that going and pull it all together it will be Key who will need to do the thinking.

  20. Swimmer 20

    Man, I can’t believe how much doubt there is around Goff when he’s only been leader of the opposition for five minutes. Wasn’t Helen Clark once on 3% or something? Give him a chance.

  21. NX 21

    they only need to chip off less than half a percent of National’s support a month on average from now to the election

    Half a percent of the electorate is something like 10,000-12,000 votes.

    So Goff has to win over something like 350 people a day just to be in the running.

    Goff actually has to try and convince not only the left, but also moderate centre right voters like myself that he has what it takes.

    • BLiP 21.1

      There’s that many a day being made unemployed – then there’s those people’s families – should be a walk in the park

      • NX 21.1.1

        Your’e very confident BliP.

        I dunno what you think Phil Goff has to offer than is substantially different from John Key.

        Don’t forget Goff is the on the right of Labour. He could quite happy sit on National’s front bench.

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