Good to hear it, Phil

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, April 13th, 2009 - 37 comments
Categories: phil goff - Tags:

Back during the election campaign, the Standard writers wrote a lot about the need for Labour’s leaders to talk more from their values, values that they quite happily talk about in private. Well, Phil Goff did exactly that on Q+A yesterday (video here). Here’s the best quote:

PHIL Well my vision for New Zealand is it starts with a decent society. I grew up on my grandmother’s knee, her husband a war veteran from the first war died in 1934 right in the middle of the Depression, they lost their job, they lost their home, for me Labour was about a decent society that looks after all of its people, that treats people fairly that treats people with dignity and respect. So that’s the core of my political beliefs, and that could well become very relevant again in the next few months as more New Zealanders the Treasury say another 60,000 New Zealanders lose their jobs, people lose their homes and so on. But it’s about more than that, as Minister of Trade it was about having an economy that was innovative, efficient, competitive in the world. As Foreign Minister it was about being proud of your national identity, not kowtowing to any other country but standing up for the things that you believe in, believing that New Zealand is a country of 4.3 million people can still make a difference, and we did, and finally I think it’s about the environment, a sustainable environment, living up to that brand of clean green 100% pure New Zealand.

For the first time, I’m excited about Phil Goff as our next* Prime Minister. Keep talking like that Phil. In one statement you illustrate why you are in politics, the kind of country you want to see, the bedrock your policies are built on, and the difference between Labour and National.

*(maybe second to next, after Bill)

37 comments on “Good to hear it, Phil”

  1. marco 1

    It’s about time a politician laid out a vision for New Zealand, the last several years have seen reactionary policies that have lacked the scope needed to take New Zealand forward.
    Good on you Phil, now if you can lay out a decent plan to take us there I’m happy to return my vote to Labour.

    • George Darroch 1.1

      It was cringe inducing watching the Labour Party at the last election, as they failed to articulate any kind of hope or vision, and spent their entire time in negativity – which works okay if you’re an opposition.

      I’m not convinced this rogernome has the vision we need for NZ. That highlighted paragraph is essentially meaningless to me. In fact, reading it again, I think he’s full of shit.

      “it’s about the environment, a sustainable environment, living up to that brand of clean green 100% pure New Zealand.” A bullshit myth, as NZ’s forests got cleared for methane production and filling our rivers with shit, NZers consumed and threw away more than ever and greenhouse gas emissions increased greatly, fisheries became ever more depleted, demands for a GE free NZ ignored, rare habitats were destroyed for coal, erosion continued unabated, native species continued to decline (most kiwi species are on the edge of extinction). On all of these things and more the Government was challenged on and refused to act.

      “that treats people fairly that treats people with dignity and respect.” The unemployment benefit, the sickness benefit, and every other benefit was maintained at Ruth Richardson levels (adjusted for inflation, of course). And if you were the children of someone on these benefits, tough luck, no extra support for you.

      “not kowtowing to any other country but standing up for the things that you believe in,” NZ is a key intelligence partner of the US and UK, processing their data, and allowing them to go to war. The Government refused to arrest those indicted for crimes against humanity when they had the chance.

      “as Minister of Trade it was about having an economy that was innovative, efficient, competitive in the world. ” As Minister of Trade, he was about selling milk solids and being a primary producer, rather than moving NZ up the value chain.

      The last Government ran a soft-line neoliberal agenda (privatised and deregulated economy, with interventions for some market failures) with a strong social component (third way politics). They failed to embed anything like the Scandinavian model, claiming it was too difficult politically. Of course, in the first 24 months with the Alliance they bought their own rhetoric, but over time that softened and bottomed out with conservative New Zealand First and United Future, who could be relied on to keep them in the steady centre. They did many good things of course, but they can’t make these claims while the reality belies them.

  2. Ron Shaw 2

    Unfortunately for Phil we can only judge by performance while he was in Government.

    The Labour led government treated people with conditional respect. If you were a ‘rich prick’ earning more than $60,000 pa you were seen as fair game for abuse and exploitation. If you had a different point of view you were treated as needing a draconian electoral finance act to keep you in line. If you broke the law you got differential treatment from a venal police force depending on whether you were a Labour supporter or not. If you were Maori you missed out on possible property rights in favour of a confiscatory Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

    The Labour led government set a target to get NZ back into the top half of the OECD. Finding that its policies created so much dead weight on the economy it quietly ‘lost’ that commitment because it could never be delivered. So much for an innovative, efficient, and competitive economy.

    The ETS was left too late in Labour’s term. It didn’t have time to get embedded in the way we do business so it was vulnerable to change. So much for addressing New Zealand’s Dirty and Brown reality.

    Only in Foreign Policy did NZ tread an independent path and much of the thanks to a functioning foreign policy rests equally between Phil and Winston Peters.

    The thought of Phil Goff as Prime Minister fills me with horror. He is yesterday’s man. And he has the deadweight of Annette ‘Full Moon’ King to cope with. The sooner Labour address the reasons for their rejection at the ballot box and purges the faces of failure [Phil among them] the sooner they will be in a position to contend for the Treasury benches.

    • TBA 2.1

      “The thought of Phil Goff as Prime Minister fills me with horror. He is yesterday’s man.”

      I couldn’t agree with you more Ron. The sooner that the Labour leadership replace Phil with somebody who can attract the traditional Labour supporters back home (and hopefully new ones too) the better.

  3. ak 3

    (pardon the interruption, but some cracking stuff on Hickey’s blog this morning….William Black vids a must watch, Dubai article an eye-opener too….
    As you were)

  4. Brett Dale 4

    Somewhere I hear a violin in the background.

  5. Simon-7 5

    [deleted]
    [lprent: still banned]

    • BLiP 5.1

      Tell me, when these banned buggers pop up and you spot them . . . as inevitably seems to happen 🙂 . . . does their ban-period recommence?

      hahahahah capcha economists ignorant

      . . . are you sure you’re not feeding the database???

  6. Brett Dale 6

    Fiddles is for happy music.

    Yes we do.

  7. Felix 7

    That makes sense.

    edit oops that was supposed to be a reply to Brett.

  8. toad 8

    Yes, Eddie, I was impressed by that bit too.

    But, unfortunately, I was far from impressed by this bit, in which either Goff suggests that belting kids is appropriate discipline in his opinion or he was naive enough to be sucked in by Paul Holmes’ use of the deliberately ambiguous language in Larry Ballcock’s referendum question.

  9. Pat 9

    I like Goff. I think in the main he has served this country well during his years in Government, and for Labour he is the best option they have got for leader.

    Watching him on Q&A showed me why he can’t foot it with Key. Somehow he lacks an ability to connect. It is hard to put your finger on it but it is hard to warm to him. Perhaps he suffers from being in parliament for too long, so the words that roll off his tongue come from a practised politician rather than the “everyman” impression you get from Key.

    Goff said he has been getting around the country a little bit. Maybe he should make this his primary focus – to get away from parliament whenever possible to meet grassroots Kiwis, until he can learn to find a genuine connection and a policy platform to work with. And also pick his battles a bit better, so that he is not seen whining everyday on the news about everything National does.

  10. Paul Robeson 10

    and the rolling over and accepting that the nanny-state bs was a valid interpretation of the government not a media smokescreen.

    not impressed with that. He’s twice what John Key is to NZ in service and experience. I’m not convinced about him yet, in terms of his ability to hold to principles e.g. what toad mentions above, and fighting for a fair electoral funding system.

    Paul Holmes? are there no journalists who graduated in the last 20 years?

    Barnett and Therese Arseneau were a bit rubbish as well- we should change our values, and the anti-smacking bill wasn’t the little stuff. and National gets MMP…by government by PR.

    can’t believe we let this vacousity stand in for informed comment…

    Basically is he a fighter? he’s a competent minister, but can he chase the Nats down and scrag them?

  11. Bill 11

    “As Foreign Minister it was about being proud of your national identity, not kowtowing to any other country but standing up for the things that you believe in,…” (derisive laughter off stage left)

    This was the minister who ( as Trade Minister?) kow towed to the US by allowing them to sell nuclear technology to India. NZ had the option of the veto. Didn’t use it. Got a promise of talks on free trade in exchange.

    Proud of that is he? Whatever.

  12. george goldsmith 12

    For a party that has changed its leader it will always take a while for a NEW LEADER to form new relationships/roles in the party let alone with the public of NZ.Give the man his due.Hes up front,out there with the public and keeping Labour true to her values.
    I for one like the man.Any one who has ridden a Norton has my support.
    geo

  13. aj 13

    So long as he hasn’t traded the Commando for a Harley

  14. lurgee 14

    Goodness, is that sort of vapid rhetoric the best Labour can come up with? Change the nouns and it could be John Key, which is the problem – they’re trying to out-piffle Key, and that’s not a very enthralling spectacle, nor is it one likely to bring back the votes. Rather than sentimental clap-trap and cliche about Grandma’s knees and decent societies and (Gag! Vomit!) clean green 100% pure New Zealand, can we have a proper, honest party that’s going to tell us truth and admit there are tough choices to be made and we can’t have it both ways? In two years time, people will be sick of Keyism and want something with substance – Goffism, which on current evidence appears to be Keyism without the slick image or the rampant popularity, won’t do. The man needs to start stating the plain bald and often unpleasant facts now, otherwise he’ll be stuck on 6% for the remainder of his (brief) stint as Labour leader.

  15. george goldsmith 15

    You know,there is no response to the people that can’t accept that this is a site where all are welcome.
    In depth comments are sometimes good but some times the plain truth is all that is needed.
    I have meet with John Key and survived his sound bite speeches.I have been at the end of his witty tongue”Id like to lock you up”.I have listened to him talk with no understanding of what his ministers are doing and am underwhelmed.
    Why do I have to pretend to think that the comments on this thread are in the interest of building the labour party up.
    I would put more store in the lack of knowledge I have of Phil up against the new leader of a party that grows a new head every so many years ,if not months.
    Give me a man who knows were he stands on all the issues that I have talked to him about and not J Key who has never had any understanding how tenuous a leadership he has.
    The last time I was close enough to listen to JK he did not even know that the support Staff at our schools were being held up in their pay round talks because his minister had not allowed the ministry to start negotiations.
    So give me a break. I would give this new leader in Phil Goff a greater chance of being around as leader than JK and all that have gone before him.
    geo

  16. lurgee 16

    Problem is, GG, that the Labour party might not give Phil Goff a chance if he doesn’t start scoring some points with the electorate – he’s at 6% in the preferred PM stakes, That’s the sort of figure Wonston Peters might have considered respectable in the last parliament, but it’s not very good for the leader of the main opposition party – especially since it is lower than than Helen Clark’s current rating!

    Don’t get me wrong, I want Goff to suceed – if only because of pragmatic concerns. Swapping leaders again will just mean another three years in opposition after the 2011 election, and another leadership contest after that defeat … Labour will be running out of potential leaders, because lets face it, the talent pool isn’t very deep with Clark, Cullen and Maharey all going, going or gone. But he won’t last unless he can start convincing people he’s a alternative leader, and I don’t think he’ll accomplish that by spoouting vacuous Keyisms like the goff-guff above.

    • lprent 16.1

      Hell I remember Helen at lower figures after we she took leadership. It isn’t uncommon.

      • lurgee 16.1.1

        That was because of Anderton, though. He was pulling in 25% in 1994. There might have been a split between potential leaders of the left, but there was still a lot of support for leftwing cndidates. And Jim Bolger’s ratings weren’t very flash either during that period. This time, Goff is the only show in town for the left, and he’s still barely registering, where as Key is getting monster numbers.

        Data cortesy of DFP: http://www.getfrank.co.nz/preferred-pm-polls/

  17. Daveski 17

    This is a big problem for Labour and not surprisingly follows a golden period of settled leadership.

    Goff isn’t yesterday’s man, he’s last century’s. He may be solid, with a reasonable track record, but I can’t see how he can escape from the criticisms of the past nor demonstrate that Labour has learnt from last year’s election result.

    It’s ironic that the same people here who damn the right for their irrational hatred of Clark and the same people who are displaying an irrational hatred of Key.

    I’m increasingly of the view that some of the cattle Key has at his disposal are less capable than he needs. He will need to do something about this in the medium term.

    However, I would argue that the Nats best bet for re-election lies with Goff staying as leader of Labour – IMO the first thing Labour should be doing is getting Andrew Little into parliament.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Seems those criticisms of Goff also applied to Clark when she first took the leadership. Low poll numbers, not a fresh face, criticisms of the past etc and so on.

      I think it’s way way too early to tell.

      • Daveski 17.1.1

        I think that’s a reasonable point. I note that I’m not knocking Goff either. I’m simply arguing that it would be in Labour’s interest to present a new face as part of a new vision (rather than old face/new vision).

      • gingercrush 17.1.2

        I think there are some key differences. The Alliance factor was important. It’s hard to believe that at one time this party was polling at such a level that they could have for a time at least do better than what Labour would have done. Yes Goff has the Greens. But the Greens are very different to the Alliance, in that Alliance got good support from low income voters in the cities something the Greens just aren’t able to get.

        Clark’s poll numbers were low on one basis because people still didn’t like the 80s Labour government. And by the time she became Leader of the opposition. National had slowed down its neo-liberal policies and become much more the traditional National Party.

        In contrast despite what some on the right like to believe. The Clark government was popular. And even though Key and National defeated them. I do believe people will look fondly on the Clark government. That means people compare Goff to Clark and that will continue to happen for the time being.

        And despite what the left here like to think. Key has done nothing that has offended the public. The Auckland issue may change that and I’m sure there are other factors in play that may plague National and bring support back to Labour.

        Of course, its too early in many ways. But Labour doesn’t seem to think they did much wrong. That is a factor in play. Goff doesn’t have a coherent message of what his party is now. While, they were popular. They still lost the election meaning they need to project something new.

        And they’ve got problems when they don’t have a clear message on the Auckland super-city. What could well be a strength for Labour is now at least missing in action. Labour just doesn’t have a coherent message on it. On one hand they support a super-city but on the other hand they don’t. That may well be legitimate. But the message needs to be clear. Because right now the message is blurred.

        Mt. Albert is actually going to be quite big I think. All the parties are entering a candidate. The Greens will likely shave a number of votes off the Labour candidate. Its certainly still Labour’s to win. But its less about the people running for the seat. But more about where everyone stands and what their policies are. Its almost a mini-General Election. If National wins, that will be a huge blow to Labour and will kill off Goff. If Labour wins, which they should. They may finally be able to turn the tide, and actually get some traction. This will mean the end of a honeymoon and more importantly a likely change in poll numbers. But that depends on how large they win. I expect things to tight. Which while Labour wins the seat, it doesn’t give them the necessary traction to move on in government.

        Of course the supercity issue is going to play big in Mt. Albert as well. If Labour wishes to have a coherent message on the super city. This is their chance to do so. Its also a chance for a much clearer position on roading and public transport in Auckland. Something that I think has always been an issue for Labour. Because while they would spend more money on public transport, one would almost say they’re as fixated on roading as National are.

        Goff has time. As long as they win Mt. Albert which most people expect and is able to survive till next year. Then likely, his profile will grow. National is bound to make some mistakes. The recession is a factor. If it continues to be bad, it will impact things. Here Labour once again needs a clear and coherent message. Despite their criticisms of National. The most Labour is able to say on the economy is cancel the tax cuts and to the 1 billion home insulation project. That is fine and all. But it hardly projects a clear way of getting out of this economy. If the recession worsens, this will likely hurt National.

        I just don’t think there is a magic bullet. I know some here believe the National has ruined everything and that eventually the public will realise this. I just find that position, naive at best. Despite what the left believes National is doing rather well and is likely to continue to do rather well. For Labour, they just need to slowly grow a coherent message and slowly take away votes from National and slowly grow Goff’s profile, that takes time. Additionally, in New Zealand we don’t tend to kick out our governments after just one term. Something Labour and its voters need to come to terms with.

        • BLiP 17.1.2.1

          The Super City is a potential trap for Labour. Far better to focus on issues that affect the rest of New Zealand and leave the local operation to slug it out and bring home a good result.

          Sure, support the Mt Albert ground troops with appearances and speeches, but also let the good people of the West Coast know that they deserve broadband as much as the rich pricks in Remuera. The Labour Party needs to keep all of New Zealand in mind at all times and oppose such things as the impending looting of the nation by John Key and his mates.

          Now is not the time to narrow focus or be distracted by the functioning of Auckland.

          • gingercrush 17.1.2.1.1

            Go on, oh smart one what are John Key and his mates going to loot off? And don’t mention things like ACC or Prison. Because those are either being opened up to competition or tendering private services to work with public institutions. Which isn’t the same thing.

          • Felix 17.1.2.1.2

            Of course gc, they’ve never done it before and they won’t do it again. Even though they’re going about it all in exactly the same way.

            Oh look, a castle.

  18. Jasper 18

    GC

    Good points. You’ve put up a good argument about Mt Albert, which will no doubt be a big part of TS in the next few months.

    Im pleased that Goff has finally done something (at last! at last! He Speaks) about Tizard and Mt Albert by election here

    This should go some way to negating the furore that has been started by KB and the Rabid Right.

    As for the the one term thing. Not since Kirks days have we done this. However, given that Kirk had a coherent vision for leading us through that difficult economic period, I think that contrasting that style to this bumbling National government, coupled with the coup that English will no doubt lead shall lead to the downfall of National.

    Personally, I think that the best thing for Labour to do would be to prey on fear and insecurity in 2011 especially around Kiwisaver, Kiwibank, Kiwirail, ACC and other SOEs being sold off by National in 2011 – 2014 leading us back to where we were in 99.. broke with barely a fistful of dollars.

  19. gingercrush 19

    Well the right wouldn’t be able to make Tizard an issue if Labour themselves didn’t keep making it an issue. With Goff now stopping such speculation things may well focus on the Mt. Albert by-election itself. But I actually think Labour are nervous about Tizard and its shown and I’m not entirely sure Goff speaking in the Herald is going to stop that.

    One can argue over how coherent National’s actions during this recession are, but Labour themselves have not been that coherent either. And where this, “Bill English will do a coup” nonsense is coming from is beyond me. If you’re in National would you rather go with the person who lead the party and pulled a result that was the worse ever for a National party or would you continue to support the leader that actually won this election? I think the majority would go for the latter. This idea that National is merely bumbling I think is a naive point.

    Labour would be committing suicide going into the 2011 election with another negative campaign. While, certainly its easier when in opposition. Negative campaigning doesn’t help. Labour would be much better campaigning on the issues. Look at the 2008 election. They may have announced the student allowance changes which would eventually see all students able to get an allowance each week. But because of their negative campaigning that was the focus and not their actual policies. The “you can’t trust John Key” hasn’t worked. It didn’t work prior to the election, it didn’t work during the election and it isn’t working now. Instead of focusing everything on John Key. Labour should do what it does best. Which is putting out policies that are likely more pleasing to the public and in a way that is more coherent and clear than National are able to do.

  20. gingercrush 20

    And just as we’re about to say Goff may have finally closed the subject. The right wing blogs are now starting a new line which may have some truth in it (who knows) that this has set in motion a huge disagreement between fractions in the Labour party.

    http://roarprawn.blogspot.com/2009/04/scoop-young-labour-demand-meeting-with.html

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/content/goff-unites-labouragainst-him

    • Tane 20.1

      GC – Those two sites are well known for laundering National Party talking points. Whale’s piece doesn’t even read like it was written by him, chances are it’s from National’s parliamentary research unit.

      I don’t care for Goff one way or the other, but the story strikes me as incredibly unlikely. I’ve heard nothing from my sources about any coup attempt, imminent or otherwise. People in Labour understand it’ll take a while for the party to gain any real momentum at the present time, and unless things go terribly wrong for Goff over the next year or so I can’t see him being in any danger.

      • Daveski 20.1.1

        Which reminds me of the saying about English football managers.

        There’s only two types … those who’ve been sacked and those about to be sacked 🙂

        Little is Labour’s Key (I sometimes like my own work :))

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