Hughes stood down

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 pm, March 24th, 2011 - 112 comments
Categories: labour, police - Tags: , ,

Darren Hughes has been suspended from his shadow portfolios due to the continuing police investigation.  Goff probably should have done this earlier, despite the understandable wariness of a leader can’t punish an MP on the strength of a complaint alone. As Key did with Wong and Worth, Goff has waited until the media issue became too big.

I think we can all agree that the accusation is serious and, without saying anything about its validity because I have no evidence regarding it, I think we can all hope that a just conclusion is reached with all due speed.

Sticking, therefore, to the politics, that it’s important in these situations to be consistent and front-foot things. Goff probably should have sent Hughes down to the press gallery to tell them of the situation and his full side of the story with the understanding that they wouldn’t reveal details that are sensitive to the police investigation (and I think the media can be trusted on that – they all know who the complainant is and haven’t named him). In fact, I have heard that his did happen, although I can’t state that for a fact.

I have sympathy for Goff in not standing Hughes down immediately when a police investigation was launched. People in the limelight do get accused of things and the police have a duty to investigate. This complaint may or may not be valid – I have no idea and nor do those who are trying to join the dots from what is public. But if a leader says they’ll stand down anyone merely for being investigated by the police that invites trouble. Most senior political figures will be investigated for something during their political career, whether it’s a violation of electoral law, or contempt of court, or the three MPs on the front bench who have been investigated for assault. Key didn’t suspend Nick Smith during his assault investigation.

On the other hand, Goff should have been up-front sooner. When it became clear that this would be a long-ish investigation, which is must have relatively quickly, Goff would have been wise to go public and stood down Hughes until the investigation was concluded because the serious and sexual nature of the complaint is such that it was always going to generate a media storm. Waiting was a mistake because Judith Collins was always going to leak this story when the commissioner, as he is duty bound to, informed her of the investigation.

By waiting, Goff has allowed National to dictate the course of events and line up follow-up muck (I’m sure there’s more of that to come), and the delay itself has become part of the story. Not standing down Hughes straight away only gave the story a second round when he inevitably did do it. There’s no need for the story to become about Goff’s leadership and it wouldn’t if that leadership was more staunch in its decisions – that is one thing Goff could learn from Key, he gives the appearance of being decisive, even when he changes his mind. Frankly, there seems to have been a little too much hoping that things would go away by themselves (although, this does show they genuinely accept Hughes’ statement that he did nothing wrong).

Now, some of you may have seen Cameron Slater and John Key staffer Jason Ede trying to whip up rumours a Labour coup in their echo chamber of a blog with half a dozen ludicrous posts this afternoon. I’ve not heard anything to suggest there’s any substance to this. It’s just two losers’ fantasy as far as I can tell. Bludger Slater is probably just making trying to make some money by moving the ipredict markets and betting against the chumps who believe him. I seriously doubt anyone is talking about a coup and, if they were, Slater and Ede have killed it. Goff is the man to lead Labour into the election and, hopefully, be the next Prime Minister. So far, nothing has changed that.

It’s telling that the muck-racking on this is being led by Slater and Ede, not David Farrar. One, Farrar has to be able to show his face in public and, two, Slater and Ede are tight with Collins.

[we’re opening comments on this post but don’t dare try to post any information regarding the investigation that isn’t already public]

112 comments on “Hughes stood down”

  1. Eddie 1

    like I say in the post, this is a serious issue and I have no idea of the rights or wrongs of the accusation at the heart of this issue. So I wanted a good sombre pic of Hughes for the front page. The one I chose was the most sombre, every other one has him grinning like a cheshire cat.

    sigh, the pressures of being a blogger.

    • joe bloggs 1.1

      Your speculation on Collins being the source of the leak is an interesting theory. In a similarly rich conspiracy-theory vein as Adrian’s suggestion that police were forewarned to hang round AK’s house

      There are a couple of other options thought – equally as plausible.

      There’s already been plenty of interaction between the university students and Labour members – wouldn’t be at all surprised if a few loose lips amongst that lot was the source.

      Not forgetting yesterday’s assertion that it was via Wellington uni to a certain person in the press gallery and then like wildfire though parliament. (God bless Barry Soper et al.)

      Then there’s those who stand to benefit most from a reshuffle from the top down – David Parker, Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson.

      But the bigger issue isn’t the source of the leak – that’s a peccadillo. Idle speculation by the chattering masses.

      The show-stopper here is the poor advice Goff’s been given by his minders over how to handle this whole sorry mess. Will this spell the end of Goff? Time will tell. But we won’t need to wait long at this rate.

  2. Bob Stanforth 2

    Oh, word on the mean streets of Welly today, from a certain horses mouth (yup, no source, sorry, just like “it came from the Beehive”) – leadership challenge, next few days.

    BBQ anyone? Bye Goffers, been fun 🙂

    • higherstandard 2.1

      I’ve heard Trev’s doing the numbers and that John Key is actually Lord Voldemort.

      • Eddie 2.1.1

        Yeah, I’ve heard the cycle accident was a fake, all part of the plot to give Trev time to make lots of phone calls.

        His false cast has a hollow chamber containing sworn affidavits on Key’s management of the Aldgate Trust

    • Marty G 2.2

      is your source Jason Ede?

    • Irascible 2.3

      Scuttlebutt in Wellington has revealed that Collins is doing the numbers along with Tolley and a leadership puscht is on inside National. Key to be rolled and sent back to Hawaii to allow Joyce to lead NACT into the November election.

      As a result of the ChCH earthquake Collins, Joyce & co are concerned that Key & English have lost control of the financial reins and need to be rolled before Atlas Shrugs again.

      Just as much credibility as Stanforth’s Slater derived scuttlebutt.

  3. PeteG 3

    You’d have to be naive to think that no one in Labour circles hasn’t at least mulled over leadership options over the last couple of days. Quiet chats? Totted up a few numbers? It may be that nothing eventuates, but it must at least being considered.

    On both Hughes and leadership I’d have thought that there’s a lot more to worry about from within than without.

    • higherstandard 3.1

      Honestly pete who gives a toss – politics and politicians in NZ are so absurd that we could change the current crop with a bunch of barbary macaques and they’d probably be just as competent and tend not to not make arses of themselves on such a regular basis as the current mob……….. and if you think the solution is new blood…………… well look at the two newest MPs in Botany and Mana and abandon all hope.

      • PeteG 3.1.1

        I think there will be quite a few who give a toss, those (including me) who would prefer to be seeing a Labour party revitalising rather than one in self inflicted disarray. It’s a sad mess.

        I know quality of MP’s is a real concern, most sane people would probably not consider it as a career option, but we’ve got to find 120 from somewhere.

        • Nick C 3.1.1.1

          Or perhaps, instead of just hoping that good MPs will appear out of no where we could acknowledge that governments by their very nature arent good at running the economy and leave that to the market 😀

          • Galeandra 3.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, history proves that for sure. Look at the states today, what a Koch up.

      • Eddie 3.1.2

        yeah. actually, of the 8 MPs who have entered parliament during this term none of them really turn heads eh? Of Faafoi, Ross, Clendon, Hughes Jr (Jr), O’Connor, Calder, Calvert and Shearer only Shearer is real quality, Gareth Hughes might grow into it – although I had to laugh when someone (Hooton?) described Shearer as having Key’s star quality.

        8 intra-term new MPs. Is that a record?

    • Marty G 3.2

      people may or not not mull numbers now and then. Probably every bad poll. It’s a long walk from there to an actual coup.

      following on from what Eddie says about the Collins faction having this planned out. The first time I saw Parker mentioned as a possible leader was in a whaleoil post a week or two ago. Now we have them interviewing their keyboards and coming up with a plot involving Parker. Coincidence? I think not.

      • Anne 3.2.1

        Radio NZ reporter asked Collins yesterday if the police had told her about the investigation. Her response was a sharp and defensive sounding “no”. Nothing else. My reaction? You lying b—h.

        • higherstandard 3.2.1.1

          Anne drops in with her smear, nothing else.

          eh eh eh

        • Jim Nald 3.2.1.2

          If Collins has been telling the truth, our grandmothers have been having virgin births.

          • Jim Nald 3.2.1.2.1

            The RWNJs have little time for real policy work for the country but spend their time swinging things for their cronies and themselves and wallowing in smears.

            [Really it’s worthless speculating about these things. Either the evidence comes to light or it doesn’t. …RL]

      • PeteG 3.2.2

        It sounds a bit desperate to be trying to divert and paint this as a devious frame-up.

        Goff is ultimately solely responsible for his muddled performances, he hasn’t risen above a mire largely of his own making.

        Charges or not, innocent or not, Hughes is hardly faultless. At the very best he’s allowed himself to get involved in a very embarrassing situation, for him, his deputy, his leader and for his party. I doubt there will be many that will buy into an opposition inspired plot.

        • Marty G 3.2.2.1

          I agree with what Eddie has said about Goff being his own worst enemy in not having a firm and up-front line. You never want to have to go and alter your position day from day. And regardless of what happens Hughes has got himself in an embarrassing situation. That’s not a frame-up, no-one is suggesting it. But the Nats are, subtly, trying to exploit the situation. Of course they are, it’s called politics. And it’s also politics that they’re going to get called out on it.

      • mickysavage 3.2.3

        I have heard the conspiracy theory that the leak was timed to upstage Auckland’s launch of the Spatial plan process. Makes a lot of sense to me. Auckland is where National can lose the election and every time Key says they will not contribute to Len’s inner city loop they bleed votes. This will be a continuous problem for them. They will need to undermine and assault the process and Wednesday was perhaps the start of this.

        • The Baron 3.2.3.1

          Are you joking, Greg, or are you really silly enough to believe that Crosby Textor planted a nice lil honey trap for gazza, all to derail a glorified district plan?
          Care to explain just how this situation works as a set up?
          Christ you’re a moron.

          • lprent 3.2.3.1.1

            He was referring to the leak. Not the complainant.

            I am deeply suspicious myself about where the leak about an ongoing investigation came from.

            The political side around the leak seems to be quite well organized to me from the blog side. Consistent lines, groups of people I haven’t seen in years showing up with new handles, quite a number of IPs, and those interesting personalities – almost like caricatures. Their commenting style is all fire and forget, usually never reading responses to their comments. Quoting without backing links. Just like good astroturfers using the rulebook. And also running straight into my anti trolling routines.

            Could all be coincidence. It could be that they were just geared up already for the election campaign. But they seem to have just started here over the past weeks. Like they needed to establish personalities before an event. And they’re not clumsy like newbies…

            When I have been looking at the IPs of the people who have been collecting bans and warnings over the last few days, I am finding curious trait. Some of the IP C levels they they are using have been used before. In the months leading up to the 2008 election, and never since until this year.

            Unlike you and others, who I have been disagreeing with for a long while, I think that we have some pros around again.

            • Jum 3.2.3.1.1.1

              Thank you LPrent.
              It’s easy to pick up the types that blog for NAct, with their distinct sentence structure, and do other things for NAct, with their perfect timing and their targeting methods.

              Consider neo-conservative wealthy Lord Ashcroft who set up the reward for the medals to be returned and set up the turn in a crim website, to get his name in lights and to receive a favourable profile from trusting Kiwis. There is nothing remotely coincidental about this.

              Labour needs to learn that the new ‘friends’ they meet, may not be quite what they pretend.
              This election will be far worse that the 2008 election dirty tricks campaign by NActMU. NAct are very close to achieving all they want from this country. They won’t give up the power.

              Is Ashcroft emailing his advice these days or did we miss his latest visit to Key?

              • lprent

                They seem to be running a different type of campaign around here at present. The full blown Act style appears to be in abeyance. Their main focus at present seems to be trying to disrupt the left.

                What does amuse me is that we are getting such concentrations of the astroturfers. It must gall them that this site not only survived, but thrived despite their campaigns since we started, and that the level of comment has gone up so high.

                • Jum

                  Hee hee.

                  Keep up the brilliant and ethical slant LPrent. That’s why you have survived. You’ve built credibility and respect from me and plenty of others. Take a bow and let’s get rid of these greedy, unethical, selfish people in government.

                  You’re streets ahead of the creatures from the black lagoon blogs.

                  Watch your back. This government and its backers fight dirty. They’ve also given our country a very bad reputation and douglas is right at the heart of it with key.

            • The Baron 3.2.3.1.1.2

              Either that or I’m on a longer term contract. Na, don’t worry, I’m a self propelled jackass.

              Anyway I think you’re paranoid that anyone would want to subvert a blog as part of a campaign strategy, given that most participants on blogs are pretty much died in the wool partisans. What would be the point. Then again, I’m not the one reading the tea leaves/IP address logs.

              And I stand corrected with regard to my latest assault on the useless idiot that is Micky. Thanks.

              • lprent

                What would be the point.

                A question I have been asking myself since I have started seeing the patterns in the comments section over the last few years. It has become more evident as the data gets a longer baseline.

                I think that it has a lot to do with the way journo’s operate these days. They seem to look for grassroots ‘mood’ in the social media these days. Probably because they have much bigger production quotas than yesteryear and less time to do them in. It is easier to look in the electronic media than hang around church halls or spend time boozing with activists. Which is why the whole astro-turfing thing seems to be taking off around political movements.

                I’d thought that the biggest impact would come from the posts, but I now suspect that a lot of the impact of sites like this comes from the comments.

      • luva 3.2.4

        Didn’t pick you to be a whale reader Marty

        • Marty G 3.2.4.1

          i aspire to be like him. … not doing a day’s work since running my company into the ground a decade ago, living off income insurance, and then going on the sickness benefit and still having the sheer, mad arrogance to denounce others as bludgers…

  4. burt 4

    [Deleted….don’t even try to be cute. RL]

  5. Darren is an ok sort of guy, if you ignore the fact he is a politician, so I hope this turns out to be nothing.
    He is one of the most informed politicians, regarding peak oil, and I hope when the shit hits the fan he is able to put all the information I’ve given him to good use. …. they have (had?) a ‘Robert’ file in his elaborate office.
    One example of our chats http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/7/ju0cEtH2vus

    • QoT 5.1

      Given the alleged sexual nature of these complaints, I have to look askance at anything verging on “he’s a good guy so he couldn’t have done it”. Plenty of “ok guys” do shitty things.

      • Robert Atack 5.1.1

        I didn’t say he couldn’t have done anything, just that I hope it is a nothing, …. but for someone to go to the cops about something that is some what embarrassing, it is kind of a lot of smoke, so maybe there is something ??? …
        There again I don’t really give two hoots about any politician, just using this ‘blog’ to mention how much peak oil information I’ve give Darren …. we had a funny battle over a chair at a public meeting, when I was standing against him in the 05 election … he took my seat, so when he stood up to speak, I took it back ))

      • Marty G 5.1.2

        I agree that saying ‘he couldn’t have done it, he’s a good guy’ is rushing to judgment.

        It’s interesting though to think about why a lot of men have that reaction. I was listening to Radiolive and JT and Willie were taking calls about this. All the callers I heard were sounded like working class men and all had the response that Hughes shouldn’t be judged, and shouldn’t suffer any political consequences unless a charge is proved. They had an assumption that Hughes was being hard done by and I think that underlying that was the fact that they all could put themselves in the shoes of being a guy who has a night out and ends up with someone complaining about them, in their view, innocently trying it on. They also valued what they saw as Goff’s loyalty to his mate/ally.

        That’s not to pass any judgment on what happened with Hughes, I just think it illuminates the way a lot of men, especially more conservative-minded men, react to these kind of situations.

        It’s kind of funny, sociologically, because they’re defending a gay guy in a homosexual situation, maybe homophobia is dying out even amongst this group, or maybe the solidarity overrode that.

        • Lanthanide 5.1.2.1

          “It’s kind of funny, sociologically, because they’re defending a gay guy in a homosexual situation, maybe homophobia is dying out even amongst this group, or maybe the solidarity overrode that.”

          Or maybe they had no idea that Darren is gay.

        • Rosy 5.1.2.2

          It’s also interesting because that is a demographic group that Lab under Goff has been targeting. Maybe he has pitched his response well in those terms. (I say that as a voter than Labour is likely to shed in its rush for the talkback vote).

        • Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.2.3

          All the callers I heard were sounded like working class men…

          How do they sound?

          • KJT 5.1.2.3.1

            So does Key. Means nothing.

            Assumptions about working class males as hating rednecks who all think the same are just as offensive as those who think all gays, or Maori are all (pick your fav minority) (pick your fav slur).

            Most NZ’rs (working class or not) have a sense of fairness.
            That is why the majority supported homosexual law reform, women’s rights and restoration to Maori.
            Judging someone just because they are being investigated is not fair.

  6. Mike 6

    Helen stood David Parker down over some bs allegation while it was investigated and then reinstated him promptly. But I assume that’s because she was a competent and strong leader unlike the incumbent.

    • Marty G 6.1

      actually Parker stood himself down. Nick Smith didn’t lose his portfolios during the police investigation into the bs assault charge (or the contempt of court case if memory serves). I don’t think Trev was demoted until he was convicted of assault and I’m not sure Brownlee suffered any discipline for his.

      Mike Smith can tell you about being investigated by the police over electoral issues when he was party president. He wasn’t stood down.

      All that said, the nature of this one means front footing would have been smart.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        Yep Parker must be the ultimate catholic. He thought he had not sent a letter, stood himself down because of his belief and gave a wonderful speech in doing so, then found out he had sent the letter and was reinstated.

        I agree Martyg that this should have been front footed early. Allowing National to time the leak meant the maximum damage to the cause happened.

  7. deemac 7

    the MSM’s use of this to attack Goff’s handling of the case – as if there were a GOOD way – is in stark contrast to how they let Key wiggle around during the Pansy Wong case (among others).

    • joe bloggs 7.1

      oh crap! What a load of tripe.

      The media’s had 24 hours – Phil’s had two weeks and still can’t come up with a plausible excuse – ends up apologising to the nation about how he was unwise to scorn JK’s handling of Worth.

      Don’t blame the messengers – look to the root cause – loook at how Phil has mis-stepped throughout this dance. There’s your handling of the case.

    • Sam 7.2

      You forget how Phil Goff bleated about Richard Worth 2 years ago. And that was in the end just an allegation, no charges were laid, but John Key got rid of him.
      It is Phil Goff’s double standard that is the question here, despite him now saying he was wrong 2 years ago. Phil Goff protecting one of Helen Clark’s proteges is what is happening here and it displays for the whole country his weakness.
      National and John Key don’t want Phil Goff gone, that is why they are relatively quiet about it, because Goff is the best Leader of the Opposition that a government can have. John Key needs Phil Goff to lead Labour at the next election.

  8. Nick C 8

    Any evidence that it was Judith Collins? This could have been leaked by any number of people; the police have interviewed many people who were there that night, and word gets around pretty quickly in Wellington. A journalist could have just overheard it at a bar and decided to investigate.

    • Eddie 8.1

      or maybe Ken Ring told them.

      In his stand-up (video on stuff), Goff says to the media ‘the Beehive leaked this and I know that because you’ve told me’. I don’t hear any of them disagreeing.

      Collins has been given heads up on police investigations of MPs before, one would expect that she would be. That Slater has the inside running and Farrar doesn’t is just further evidence.

      • Lanthanide 8.1.1

        “That Slater has the inside running and Farrar doesn’t is just further evidence.”

        Why do you say Slater has the ‘inside running’? What specifically makes you say that?

        • Eddie 8.1.1.1

          when you’ve been watching the way stories the Nats want to run up come out of the two big right blogs for a while, the patterns become clear.

          if you look at the times and contents of the posts, it’s clear that slater is ahead of the msm, while farrar is behind.

          • joe bloggs 8.1.1.1.1

            and when the stories that Labour wants to run up comes out of this blog, the patterns are reaffirmed – political parties use stalking horses – and your point is what?

            Frankly the media are struggling to keep up with everyone, left and right. The power of social media is such that the MSM is reduced to trolling the blogs for news stories, or hanging around the fringes of the university’s social networks.

            Look at how Barry Soper et al. picked this story up.

            • lprent 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Sure there is a bit of that from most political parties and many politicians that winds up in my mailbox. Along with every other group and organization- TV1 and iPredict come to mind.

              Not mention all of those people who have our e-mail addresses, who button hole us, talk to us via phone, etc etc because most of us are involved in politics even if our involvement here isn’t known.

              But when I had time to write, I’d get more stories from people at work and in the family than all of those. Just depends what comes up in conversation. I get even more from just reading msm, blogs, and Facebook.

              It looks pretty much the same for everyone else here from what I can see. Each of us wind up writing about things that we’re interested in and that shows.

              Slater seems to be rather more limited in his ability to think things through IMHO. He is better at writing what others feed him.

            • Marty G 8.1.1.1.1.2

              can you tell me of an example of labour running a story out through these blog? Because it just doesn’t happen in my experience. there’s just not the links that farrar, slater, and ede have into the ninth floor.

        • lprent 8.1.1.2

          The interesting timelines…

          Personally I have been looking at some of the people I have been warning today, in their history when you look back towards 2008. The trolls traditionally associated with Whale pod swarms are back. They started well before this story started to break.

    • felix 8.2

      “Any evidence that it was Judith Collins?”

      Wasn’t it Collins who was smirking on the telly a while back, delighted with herself for having done away with the presumption of innocence for certain crimes/certain people?

      If it was then I don’t have much sympathy for her being accused of anything, evidence or not.

  9. Scott 9

    Goff is the man to lead Labour into the election and, hopefully, be the next Prime Minister. So far, nothing has changed that.

    Goff isn’t looking like PM material to me. He may manage to survive until November, but his public performances of late have been inept. It’s like there are two of them, each contradicting what the other just said.

    This may be the last straw for many in Labour. I’m sure many in the caucus can see what the rest of us can: that Goff’s become a liability.

    Labour could still win in November, if things don’t work out for National’s allies on the right. But it will be in spite of their leader, not because of him.

    • Eddie 9.1

      “Labour could still win in November, if things don’t work out for National’s allies on the right. But it will be in spite of their leader, not because of him.”

      no-one’s arguing with that.

      • mickysavage 9.1.1

        I would, sort of.

        Goff took over leadership of the party at the worst possible time and had to deal with the Key love in that lasted for sooooo long.

        Labour has remained united and have started to show coherence and started to make a mark. Various awful tragic events have made Kiwis ignore politics but the tide is ebbing.

        The party is in pretty good shape. I respect Goff’s general performance but there are a few areas he needs to sharpen up on.

        He needs to get less wooden and more able to adjust rapidly to changes in a debate.
        He needs to be crisper in his public statements. Most kiwis prefer 30 seconds of coherence to 5 minutes of blather.
        He needs to be himself more. He is actually very personable but does not get this across in some circumstances.

        I sense no appetite for a change of leadership. But boy do I wish we could have a debate about issues rather than personal crap.

        • Marty G 9.1.1.1

          “He needs to be himself more. He is actually very personable but does not get this across in some circumstances.”

          The same was true of Helen. For her, I guess it started with the need to project herself as tough and unemotional, as a women in what was far more of a man’s world than now. Goff entered parliament very young and getting respect in that environment probably required him to acquire a bit of a veneer over his true self too.

        • Lanthanide 9.1.1.2

          “Most kiwis prefer 30 seconds of coherence to 5 minutes of blather.”
          Actually I think Goff is much closer to 30 seconds than 5 minutes. The problem is that he needs to be at the 10 second mark.

          captcha: smallest

        • Herodotus 9.1.1.3

          “But boy do I wish we could have a debate about issues rather than personal crap.”
          MS try debating it some time and what results, Trevor M banning you for not wanting to blindly follow the Lab policy, and Lab not being prepared to call at the door.
          There are many things Nat are doing that I have issues with, try and see Labs position (oth er than to oppose) and there is no debate, the Clark leftovers donot posess the cream of Lab.
          Your party of today do not want to engage with the unwashed. At least Helen and Michael use to resond to corrospondence and get involved (even if I disagreed with it).
          And this is true to print then there is a faction of infighting, and it wsa not leaked by Nthe right ;-0. Keep smiling MS
          http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/71135/labour-mp-stood-down-from-portfolios

        • pollywog 9.1.1.4

          He needs to get less wooden and more able to adjust rapidly to changes in a debate.
          He needs to be crisper in his public statements. Most kiwis prefer 30 seconds of coherence to 5 minutes of blather.
          He needs to be himself more. He is actually very personable but does not get this across in some circumstances.

          He’s had 30 years in parliament to sort his shit out and hasn’t. What makes you think he can do it in 8 months going into an election ?

          Simple fact is…NZ doesn’t want him as PM even if they wanted Labour as teh gubmint.

          Somebody should poll the public to ask “would they be inclined to vote Labour more if Goff wasn’t leader”

          • lprent 9.1.1.4.1

            A leader of the opposition role is different to that of just a politician. I suspect that he has to fight his experience about as much as it aids him.

            Of course John Key has the opposite problem. His lack of experience is crippling him as a PM, but was really useful in projecting as a leader of the opposition. When Phil becomes PM, he won’t have hat problem.

            • PeteG 9.1.1.4.1.1

              The problem is Goff increasingly looks like he’s still just a politician, albeit trying to wear a leader’s pants. All he seems to manage is getting his knickers in a twist.

            • pollywog 9.1.1.4.1.2

              I admire your optimism but let’s be real…

              …the only way Goff will be PM is if Key dies before the election or Winston First gets an absolute shitload of votes

              not a scenario i would wish on any of them.

    • Armchair Critic 9.2

      Goff isn’t looking like PM material to me.
      Let’s face it Scott, most of the time he doesn’t even look like Leader of the Opposition material.
      Much as I despise National, I have deep misgivings about Goff as PM. Though they are based on his recent performance, I used to hold him in high regard (for a polician).

  10. Chris 10

    quote “Goff is the man to lead Labour into the election and, hopefully, be the next Prime Minister. So far, nothing has changed that”

    Boy ! I love your ‘optimism’. Are you on a natural high or is it chemically inspired ?

    • Green Tea 10.1

      Its called (blind) faith in the house of Labour, brother! Can I get an Amen!

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Shit dudes, Key doesn’t even want to be Prime Minister, he has his exit plan all worked out. Had his parachute packed months ago, according to the Herald. And you’ll vote for him anyways 😯

  11. Jenny 11

    Done the quiz today?

    Just in case your not that interested in politics and you are not too sure which party Darren Hughes belongs to.

    Stuff’s daily trivia challenge helps out

  12. Richard 12

    Absolutely agree that Hughes and Goff should have front-footed this when the investigation became known to them.

    It was hopeless naive to act as if this wouldn’t be leaked. You don’t even need to believe in a NACT conspiracy to see that it is obvious that sooner or later this would have been leaked. Journalists alone are quite capable of digging stories like this up.

    The worst part about this whole shambles is that we now have Goff busy explaining to everyone why John Key handled the Worth issue really well.

  13. PeteG 13

    Helen Clark spent years as leader of the opposition, starting with little in poll or public backing, and she gradually built support, credibility and control. The nine years that followed are now part of history.

    Phil Goff started as opposition leader with little poll and public backing, and he has gradually gained virtually no ground and more likely has gone backwards – and the worst may be yet to come. You don’t need to be a try-hard grand conspiracy proponent to see that.

    I’ve thought until recently that it would be better for Labour to stick with Goff and do as much rebuilding as possible, and hope for an outside chance of success this year. Now I really think things are such a mess, and Goff has not yet shown he’s capable of rising to the position, that a total rethink and restructure is necessary, ex Goff. It may make November even tougher (but the way things are now I doubt that), but it will at least bring forward a move to recovery.

    • lprent 13.1

      Still doesn’t convince me – it is basically a crap argument. Helen’s poll figures were pretty bad right up until she went into government. That was when they took off. We just cheerfully ignored them and soldiered on.

      On the other hand I remember that same argument being used in 1989-90 by your equivalents to destabilize Labour for no benefit to Labour. It took years to clean up the factionalisation that caused. The same as you can see in Labour in Aussie right now post coup.

      If anyone is daft enough to think about a leadership coup this close to an election, then they can expect my full opposition and that of many of the active campaigners in the party. Both before and afterwards.

      For the good of the party (and the country) in the long term, it is important that we keep the damn politicians focused on what needs to be done, and educate them that listening to fools and PR flacks is less important than listening to your own party members working on the ground.

      But I doubt that there is any mood amongst the Labour politicians. They’d be pretty aware of the consequences to their campaigns.

      • PeteG 13.1.1

        educate them that listening to fools and PR flacks is less important than listening to your own party members working on the ground.

        That would be a good start. They should listen wider than their own party members too, if they want to expand their appeal. Waiting until after the election delay recovery by a year, actually, that will actually have meant three wasted years.

        If they listened to even a fair proportion of those who post here….I think they would recognise that the need may have moved, from the need for a caretaker to the need for a resuscitator. And if this isn’t done soon Labour may need JC v2 to revive them from the dead.

        • lprent 13.1.1.1

          They do listen widely outside. But one of the best sources of useful information are the people inside the party. After all they are scattered and working throughout the community. Moreover, these are people who are active enough that they are willing to expend their own time, so they think about the issues. The same with people who are active in their communities in various organizations.

          Just listening to the ‘public’ through polls is often an exercise in listening to PR filtered through the MSM or what makes for good media story. It doesn’t really tell you much. A good example is looking at the type of story that fills Campbell Live and the like. It has to be visual, so anything that isn’t winds up never being shown.

          But think about what happens if you’re a person that wants to change something. What do you do? If you are serious about it, you join a group that is pushing for it, or you start commenting on a blog that covers it. Much more detailed information by people who have thought about the topics. Politicians are after ideas. Ones that have been thought through are far better than ones that are trying to cram into a commercialized format.

          • higherstandard 13.1.1.1.1

            I’d disagree that the best sources of useful information are the people inside the party(s), from what I’ve seen on the blogs and during elections of those who campaign along with the MPs people inside the parties are an unmitigated pack of arses who Joe public wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire.

            • Mac1 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Heh! Nice try, HS. Call someone an arse and then say I told you he was an arse when he objects in similar terms to being called an arse.

              Same thing as saying that all redheads are angry people, really.

              I am sure that there is some philosophical term for this kind of argument- self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps,- but as an unmitigated arse I wouldn’t know anything about that.

              HS, I would enlarge my sample before making such pronouncements. “I met a couple of arses once who belonged to the Drongo Party, therefore all members of the DP are arses.” Another logical fallacy, n’est-ce pas?

              Jeez, and I never did philosophy.

          • Herodotus 13.1.1.1.2

            IP – rightly or not the ” Phil Goff stop gap” has traction, and nothing that Phil has done from what is published contradicts his. the only way that Phil could have changed this percetion was to take firm control “Follow me over the top” boy bravos stuff. He is not that way, and events like the Carter and Hughes do not help, I sense als the media just waiting for post election and to see those striving to be leader.
            Also releaseing policy would assist Lab IMO, but I am afarid there is nothing bold out there, and posts like “flat as a Pan cake” Lab is still tarred with being the architects of where we are currently are, tax cuts did little in govt borrowing that is just a minor sympton, no one wants to look at the causes, same with our 3rd world wages/benefits paidout (thou I am sure some would debate that with me !! 😉 )

  14. sean14 14

    I think we can all agree that the accusation is serious and, without saying anything about its validity because I have no evidence regarding it

    Waiting was a mistake because Judith Collins was always going to leak this story when the commissioner, as he is duty bound to, informed her of the investigation.

    Eddie, as you’re not willing to comment on the validity of something that you have no evidence of, would you care to present your evidence that Collins was the leak?

    • nadis 14.1

      I noted yesterday that collins said on radio live she had not been informed by the police of this case, and she would not expect to be informed until charges are laid given a politician was involved.

      That should be pretty easy to fact check, and if it is a lie very easy to prove.

      I think it is a very bold – in fact a clearly defamatory statement – to present as a fact that Judith Collins leaked the story.

      I think in the interests of retaining any sort of credibility you need to provide a couple of links to:

      a) some source showing that collins leaked this story
      b) the commissioner is duty bound to inform her of an investigation before dcharges are laid.

      That last comment seems an exceptionally stupid statement. Is the commissioner duty bound to inform the minister of every investigation they are performing? Or is there a policy just applying to MP’s?

      The moderators here are extremely quick to hand out bans for bold statements (they disagree with) that aren’t supported by links, yet here is a defamatory statement plus a really stupid one neither requiring a shred of evidence. Double standards in a very big log in the eye way.

      If Collins has done what you say I’d be the first to condemn her. If I put a (completely made up) post up saying something like “quite clearly Goff thought it would blow over because a colleague of his has been speaking to the complainant about dropping the complaint” I’d be roundly (and rightly) lambasted for not providing proof.

      • lprent 14.1.1

        It isn’t defamatory because of the case law on politicians and that it is not specifying incorrect facts, it is a clearly an opinion saying what Eddie thought probably happened.

        Where we edit or hand out bans for defamatory statements, you will usually find that relates to either non political figures or where specific unsupported facts are asserted.

        Perhaps you should spend some time reading the decision on Lange vs Atkinson.

        • PeteG 14.1.1.1

          So “Eddie sounds like a disingenuous party mouthpiece, but could change my opinion if he/she provided evidence to support his/her claims” is ok or not?

          • Bright Red 14.1.1.1.1

            it’s silly but it’s clearly not defamation in the legal sense.

            of course, the mods’ tests for moderation are not limited to legal tests.

            • lprent 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. The actual underlying test is if it is good for the site.

              Discussion is good. And comments that promote discussion are great – even where the moderators personally vehemently disagree with them.

              Some of the tests are listed in the policy. Some are just judged when we find them.

              Various type of trolling isn’t (like fire and forget comments where people don’t respond to people replying). Advertising in the comments isn’t. Trying to or inadvertently starting flame wars are not. Quoting without links or references are not. Not noticing moderators giving warnings. etc etc..

              Defamatory comments are just one bit of that test.

              Despite what some of our critics believe, we don’t often moderate on straight opinion and those tend to be because someone is clearly expressing an opinion purely for a inflammatory reason. But we moderate a lot on other things.

              It always amazes me that those critics prefer to ignore what we moderate on, ignore warnings and then whine about the inevitable results – rather than simply changing their behavior to be able to contribute in the discussion. We usually try to go to a great deal of effort to explain what the moderating issue is. But some people simply seem to want think that it is their ‘right’ to change the rules to suit themselves.

              There are occasions where commentators deliberately break our rules but clearly do it for a reason and explain that reason (like being unable to find a link or reference for quoting). If it isn’t being done continuously, the moderators will usually leave those in place.

  15. nadis 15

    How is “Waiting was a mistake because Judith Collins was always going to leak this story” an opinion? Looks like astatement of fact to me.

    And the commissioner is “duty bound to”. Again another statement of fact – is it actually true or not?

    I acknowledge my lack of knowledge about case law concerning politicians, but I think my understanding of the English language is pretty good.

    And I didn’t say you hand out bans for defamatory statements. I said you have handed out bans (or warnings) to commentators that make statements of fact that are unsupported by a link or some other form of evidence. Just because you call something that is purple, yellow, doesn’t really make it yellow. Unless of course you rely on the argument that “it is my blog, I am sole interpreter of what constitutes a fact and I make the rules” in which case I concede the argument.

    • lprent 15.1

      Read the Police Act about the commissioner’s duties to report to the Minister. The duties of a police minister are a somewhat more flexible.

      But that first statement you quoted is a statement of opinion. Where in it does it state any fact? You might read it that way but it simply isn’t the case and really is more to do with your understanding of what is a fact than anything else.

      BTW: There have been a number of bans handed out for defamatory statements, quite a few of them for people being extremely persistent about it. I remember having a hell of a problem with one person defaming the guy that runs the sensible sentencing trust. They seemed to have problems separating fact from opinion as well.

  16. Green Tea 16

    Like Key and Hyde, Goff’s refusal to release it at the time is an attempt to mislead the public.

    • ianmac 16.1

      GT: “Goff’s refusal to release it at the time is an attempt to mislead the public.” Really. He did not refuse. He chose not to.

  17. randal 17

    well the l;abour party is not a family business and phil should straighten up and fly right and ditch excess baggage immediately.

  18. SPC 18

    Goff should have said that cases dealing with those in Cabinet and those in opposition are different but that at some point MP’s need to be stood down (when under police investigation for Ministers and when the matter of there being an investigation by police becomes public in the case of general MP’s).

    Latest news reports are of a naked man being seen that morning in the streets (the report even refers to the naked man seen by witnesses as a “boy – journo’s own words”).

  19. I’m baffled by all this conjecture, after all does anyone know what happened ,if anything did. What ever happened to innocent until proved guilty. I am rapidly becoming ashamed of our people ,we seem to be moving towards a type of kangaroo court justice. Then what happens if no crime has been committed ? What then ??

  20. chris73 20

    Instead of blaming Judith Collins, John Key, Phil Goff or “mysterious insiders” why not place the blame at the feet of the person who displayed extremely poor judgement (not a crime for most people but not good for a rising star politician) in taking home an 18 year old university student, the home of his deputy leader.

    Theres one person and one person only to blame for this

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      Yeah chris73, because it’s not that important that we have faith in the integrity of the justice system and those with access to sensitive privileged information.

      • chris73 20.1.1

        The issue here is judgment, but if you want to try and change the subject thats fine but this isn’t going away

        • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1.1

          So talk about judgement then. Fill your boots.

          • chris73 20.1.1.1.1

            Ok

            Senior MP goes out drinking with university students until late in the night, thats not good especially with the advent of mobile phones, facebook, twitter etc etc

            Senior MP invites (possibly drunk) 18 year old student back to his place of residence (also home of deputy leader) and thats putting himself (and deputy leader) in a compromising position no matter what happens

            Now to me that suggests that the senior MP shows poor judgement, what do you think?

            • felix 20.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you don’t like teh gays but you don’t want to say it.

              “thats putting himself (and deputy leader) in a compromising position no matter what happens”

              No matter what happens? How’s that work then?

              • chris73

                What someone does in private with another consenting adult (or adults if that lucky) is none of my business

                This would be just as bad if it was an 18 year old female university student and nowhere did I mention anyones sexuality or even hint at it

                Your names not Chris Carter is it?

                “thats putting himself (and deputy leader) in a compromising position no matter what happens”

                Simple: If word gets out an MP is going around hitting on teenagers and inviting them back to his digs then thats a bad look

                If the digs in question happens to be the deputy leaders home then that drags the deputy leader into it

                If something untoward has happened then you have a shit storm involving a senior MP, a teenager and the deputy leader

                • felix

                  “This would be just as bad if it was an 18 year old female university student “

                  What would be so wrong about that? What is the age of consent in this country? Why is her study relevant? What if she were an 18 year old pastry chef? Or an 18 year old concert pianist?

                  “If something untoward has happened then you have a shit storm “

                  Well duh. But what happened to “No matter what happens”?

                  People fuck. Get over it. Whatever Hughes is being investigated for has nothing to do with your uptight moralising.

                  • chris73

                    Its about perception felix, the perception that ministers shouldn’t be taking teenagers home.

                    Whether you like it or not (and I guess that depends if its a national mp or labour mp in trouble) politicians are held to a higher standard then you or I

                    Obviously Darren gets this and has done the honourable thing and resigned

                    And if it comes out hes innocent then I hope he makes it back to parliament (in the opposition)

                    • felix

                      Perception isn’t a single static objective viewpoint Chris. You speak of your own perception as if it’s universal.

                      Some people might perceive that it’s “not a good look” because the two people involved aren’t married.

                      Others – like yourself – may have some arbitrary age limit in mind (20 years according to your last comment) as an appropriate age for people to decide who they fuck. This is several years beyond the age which society, via parliament, has decided is appropriate btw.

                      Myself, I perceive that it’s none of your business and you’re a prude. Different people, different perceptions.

                      “Obviously Darren gets this and has done the honourable thing and resigned”

                      No, as far as I can tell he’s resigned because he’s the subject of a police investigation, which has nothing to do with your idea of what is or isn’t a “good look”.

                      No matter how much you want it to be so, there’s no official agency snooping around checking other people’s private behaviour against your particular moral compass. Thank the fucking lord.

                      “(and I guess that depends if its a national mp or labour mp in trouble)”

                      Whatever. I’m not known as a fan of the Labour party. I hope he’s not guilty of anything for a number of reasons, but if he is then I’m not likely to be too sympathetic.

                    • felix

                      Also, those “higher standards” for parliamentarians – like it or not – are becoming an anachronism. John Key is apparently popular because he doesn’t hold to traditional standards.

                      He’s just a normal bloke who gets on the piss a lot and makes jokes about his vasectomy in official press conferences and doesn’t read things before he signs them. He dances like an uncle and laughs at racist jokes and does funny “poofter” impressions.

                      In public, as part of his actual job.

                      For better or worse he’s lowered our expectations of the type of person who belongs in parliament. The times they have a changed.

        • Murray 20.1.1.2

          Probably they were trying to divert attention away from the real culprit and his cohorts Goff and King by spreading bizarre conspiracy theories.
          All really irrelevant now as Hughes is gone.

  21. So who will replace Hughes then? Tizard? Burton? Okeroa? Gallagher? Hereora?

    Labour’s list has an old, tired look to it.

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