Just plain stupidity

Written By: - Date published: 5:28 pm, July 29th, 2010 - 242 comments
Categories: labour, phil goff - Tags:

It sounds like Chris Carter has shot himself in the foot, or rather in the handwriting. Phil Goff and the caucus look like they have taken the required quick and decisive action.

MP Chris Carter has been suspended from the Labour Party after admitting to sending an anonymous letter claiming there is a plot to overthrow leader Phil Goff.

“His actions were stupid and disloyal,” Labour leader Phil Goff told a press conference this afternoon.

“There are no more chances. His future in the Labour Party is at an end.”

Mr Goff said Labour’s caucus had met today and a unanimous decision was taken to suspend him from the caucus

This is annoying at many levels. But the primary one is that I can’t see any damn reason to monkey around with the leadership before the election.

“The content of his letter, while not true, was designed to damage the party I lead,” Mr Goff said in his post-press conference statement.

“It was stupid and disloyal. His actions breached caucus rules and were calculated to damage the party and the leadership. This is unacceptable to me and my caucus.

I’m not interested in having a merry-go-around of leadership as we saw at the end of the 4th Labour government. It does nothing for the party and quite a lot to damage it. Stroking individual MPs egos and having a vicarious burst of excitement mid-term may liven up parliament and the political commentators lives. However it does absolutely nothing for the hardworking volunteers within the party.

If anyone is such a dickhead as to actually thinking about this kind of stupidity, then you can expect my very vocal opposition. If you don’t like what Phil has been saying – then don’t form factional cabals or write idiotic letters. Go and argue it in caucus, inside the party, or if you really feel strongly about it – write a post here.

It will be interesting to see what Chris decides to do. Hopefully not a distracting by-election. At least if it does come to that we’ll have some fun demonstrating to National that the Mt Albert by-election was no fluke.

I hate political stupidity!

242 comments on “Just plain stupidity ”

  1. bobo 1

    Agree 100% if that’s one thing Helen did was keep the party together now we are seeing what she had to deal with and keep a tight rein on. The party has to be more about policy than leader , political parties seem to be leadership obsessed with focus groups. Can they force a by-election or will Carter linger around till the next election?

    • pollywog 1.1

      Carter should call for a by election in Te Atatu and stand as an independent.

      If the party faithful vote him in over a Labour candidate in a safe red seat, then Phil might finally get the message and if not, then Phil’s got himself a mandate from the people…yeah ?

      • burt 1.1.1

        Stand as an independent… The Taito Field saga tells us that even suggesting that he might stand as an independent will be a bad idea. If there was anything even slightly illegal in his last few years of spending tax payers money like it was his own lotto winnings then the Police will be all over him.

  2. Pat 2

    Winston Peters: “Did someone say by-election?”

    • SHG 2.1

      Please, don’t even joke about it 🙁

      • Pat 2.1.1

        Well, he does live in Auckland now. And Te Atatu has its fair share of wrinklies. He ain’t gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

  3. Real Perspective 3

    Do you think that there is any truth to the allegations of the letter:

    1) Leadership Challenge

    2) George Hawkins challenge and threat to go it alone

    Also there is another claim floating out there, brought up by this sideshow, that the Labour Party is broke, or at least struggling to get money in.

    Would love your honest thoughts.


    • lprent 3.1

      Taken in reverse order…

      3. The NZLP is always pretty broke. There is nothing new in that. We aren’t exactly showered with money from business or even the unions. It makes very little difference because unlike the Nats, the Labour party doesn’t pay virtually anyone. We’re all volunteers. Selfish buggers those Nat supporters – for instance they don’t do phone canvassing with volunteers – they use paid students.

      2. Every sitting electorate MP has a prospect of a challenge whenever selection comes up again. It is rare for the incumbent to be turfed. I think the rumors are pretty unlikely.

      1. I don’t think so. After the election if we lose – then maybe. Before the election – well I’d be into (verbal) castration of whoever is stupid enough to do it. So is anyone who was active in the party the last time that kind of craziness happened.

      • Real Perspective 3.1.1

        I Just see on the news that Chris Carter said he did it in the hope that it would cause his colleagues to seriously consider getting rid of Goff. He said that he thought that Goff was no good for labour and only going to cause labour to lose the election.

        So, he is deiberately trying to ruin Labour (or at least Goff).

        Do you think this will damage Labour?

        • lprent

          Nope. If he’d dithered (like Key over Worth) then it could have been a problem. Pretty good and appropriate response by my high standards.

      • Inventory2 3.1.2

        But lprent; even you would have to admit that David Cunliffe HAS been smiling a lot lately …

        • lprent

          Bill English has been giving David a lot of opportunities to show how idiotic this governments numbers are. Read Davids posts on red alert. You’ll see what I mean. I’d be smiling too – and unlike David it isn’t my signature facial expression

          • Herodotus

            david has been posting some initial responses to major issues. There is only rhetoric so far re Changes to the OCR and to change NZs propensity to borrow to becomming a net investor but has not suggested the means that these and other reforms would take. This is the same from all parties (Esp NZ1) come up with great headlines, small print to follow that can only be critically reviewed post election, when we find out that there is a mass of fine print. David maybe raising these (And as here re Student loans) but no answers. It is great being in opposition pointing out the short commings of the govt. Yet when power shifts there are no answers comming.
            Re CC how to divert attention away from Nats performance. What a 30 sec bite on the news. Tomorrow who will remember Jerrys performance over the last week, so we will have over the next few days Labs leadership Sat & Sun papers, Q&A etc.

            • lprent

              It is the role of the opposition to spend most of their time poking holes in the governments performance. David has been doing a good job in doing that through his portfolio area.

              One of the difficulties in opposition on the major structural financials is that you can’t do a lot more than signal intents. You don’t have the ministries to dig through the data to look for the gotchas and unexpected side effects. So it will largely be rhetoric, it can’t be anything else, and nor would I want it to be. Making uncosted promises without looking through the implications is the role of political idiots (or Bill English in opposition on tax cuts).

              Chris will certainly divert attention for a few days. But it looks to me like this is going to be a bit of a fizzer as a story. The action of pushing this letter out is looking more and more like just being the action of Chris. Most of the reaction I can see in the party is just puzzlement.

              • Personally, I think that Cunliffe is going to follow a similar path to Bill English and Michael Cullen; unelectable as a party leader, but a competent Finance Minister in the next Labour government, whenever that is.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  ” a competent Finance Minister ”

                  I’d say it’s a little early to be passing judgement on Bling just yet.

                  Guy’s done 2 budgets.


  4. Anthony C 4

    If you throw someone under a truck it’s only a matter of time before they try and get pay-back, seems like amateur hour by Carter though…

  5. T(its-on-a-bull)Smithfield 5

    Just when the focus is on Nactionals bullshit proposals and bullshit bullshit this turkey goes and what?
    very very annoying and I hope it is because he’s not himself at the mo

    • lprent 5.1

      Exactly – it is a bloody stupid distraction from what needs to be done. Oh well the caucus did exactly what needed to be done – however reluctantly.

      • axeman 5.1.1

        Exactly. I’m waiting for a tin-foil hat wearer (Anne? Loota?) to claim this was a Crosby Textor initative to divert attenton away from the government and to destabilise the opposition.

        • Anne

          Thanks for the compliment axeman (good pseudonym for you) but I can’t claim to be of the same level of academic dexterity as Loota. 😀

          • loota

            This was no doubt a Crosby Textor initiative to divert attention away from the National Government’s walking around in circles.

            (That one was for you axeman!)

            Anne – thank you! 😀 You’re not bad yourself!!! 😀

    • Cnr Joe 5.2

      just watched Phil and Chris on Campbell LIVE
      I am with Chris on this one.
      Whats going to happen? A whole caucus of discontent?

  6. SHG 6

    Chris Carter is the best thing that has happened to the National Party in forever.

  7. jbanks 7

    This just makes Labour look stupid, again. They’ll take a hit in the polls. People don’t want to vote for these bumbling fools.

  8. Just heard Carter on 3News (via RadioLive – a bonus when you’re still at work or driving) – he claims he wrote the letter because Labour won’t win the next election under Phil Goff’s leadership. He’s on with Campbell at 7pm.

  9. coolas 9

    What an arrogant and selfish dork Carter has become.

    We’re facing the horrific possibility of a 2nd term with this destructive Nact Government and Carter can only think about himself, his career, his ego.

    Never was there a time more important than this for solidarity and unity within the Labour party, because another term for Nact will see all the positive changes made demolished.

    Yes, banish him. Force him to resign. There’s no place for this self serving toad in the Labour party.

    • Coolas – unfortunately, whilst Labour can expel Carter and withdraw his whip, he is an electorate MP, and if he wants to stay on and cause mayhem as an independant, he’s free to. This story has only just begun methinks.

  10. SHG 10

    Suspended Labour MP Chris Carter is calling for leader Phil Goff to go.

    Talking to reporters at Auckland Airport, Mr Carter said he felt liberated.

    “It’s the leadership I’m finding impossible at the moment,’ he said.

    There were a number of people who could do the job better than Mr Goff, he said.

    “I just want to see Phil Goff gone.’


    You go girl!

    • Pat 10.1

      And so it begins…

    • Pascal's bookie 10.2

      Suspended Labour MP Chris Carter is calling for leader Phil Goff to go.

      Who cares?

      “It’s the leadership I’m finding impossible at the moment,’ he said.

      The leadership of the caucus you are no longer a part of? Righto.

      The comparison with how the Nats handle this sort of stuff is interesting. Goff puts his fate in the hands of the caucus and fronts the media with a full explanation of what went down.

      Why was Worth sacked again?

      And what was the name of that fellow from down Canterbury way? That guy that questioned Brash’s position as leader given his hypocrisy around ‘sanctity of marriage’ related activity. Connelly? Something like that. How’d that go again? Guy raises issue, caucus suspend him. Brash flees north with nothing to say, plotters plot, smiles are smiled waves wave. Denials, roll over, guy that’s suspended gets proved right, but ends up right out.

      Something like that.

      • TightyRighty 10.2.1

        go get a job at crosby textor PB. honestly, real lame attempt. just wait a day or two, then you might not look like a shill.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Not shilling, just saying. I’ve only voted labour once and don’t really give a shit who their leader is. The fact that Labour deals with this stuff better than that nats is just an observation. If you don’t like it. Cry.

          • Sonny Blount

            You call what happened today ‘Labour deals with this stuff better’?

            • Pascal's bookie

              yeah. this sort of stuff happens in political parties, esp broad based ones. The deal for me is how open they are about it. That way as i punter I can make my mind up. I don’t give a shit how it plays amoung all the other punters. That’s their concern.

              Far too much so called political discussion among citizens and especially among the professional pundits is based around “what will the voters think?” Honestly, why should I give a shit. I am a fucking voter so I don’t need pundits to tell me what I should think, and I sure as shit don’t need them to pontificate about what other voters reckon coz that’s for other voters to work out for themselves.

              Instead of thinking sensibly about whatever happens we have citizens imagining that they are operatives and trying to second guess each other about what other citizens think. What a fucking farce mate. Call that thinking about politics? I don’t.

              Has Goff run away and hid? (no) Is he fronting and laying out exactly what happened? (yep) Do punters have a good idea of what is going on so that they can make their minds up? (again, yep).

              All in contrast to smile and wave’s traveling circus.

              • Sonny Blount

                So if Chris has something to say, the correct way to do it is to distribute an ‘anonymous’ letter to the press gallery suggesting what other people in the caucus are thinking and/or saying?

                Why couldn’t he just release a statement?

                Why does he feel the need to speak for his caucus colleagues who have now unanimously removed him?

                If the letter is correct, are you saying that all the members of the Labour caucus other than Carter practise this disingenious form of politics you describe?

                • Pascal's bookie

                  How would I know what Carter is thinking, and why should I give a shit?

                  I’m saying that the way Labour and Goff have responded to a member who has lost the plot, is better than the way National, and it’s leadership have responded recently in similar circumstances, ie when one of their mps loses the plot. (cf, Worth and that joker from down canterbury way).

                  I agree completely that mp’s that lose the plot, lose the plot. And that losing the plot is not a good move. It happens though. ‘MP loses the Plot’ is a fairly common thing, in all parties.

                  Re read what I’ve said. I don’t give a shit about what Carter thought he was doing. Why would I? He’s history. No longer relevant.

                  What is relevant, to me, is how the party deals with the situation of a member that has lost the plot. They’ve been pretty open about it. In contradistinction to another mob.

                  • lprent

                    Good description. As a active member of the party that is pretty much how I look at it as well. It is also part of how I make judgements on politicians and parties.

                    The action taken here was particularly clear and decisive. What Chris did was outside the bounds of what is acceptable political behavior for me. It was more of a inept Douglas or McCully type of action. It just damages the party.

                    I’ve been through the periods when Labour has been biting itself in the back. I barely tolerated it then. It means that most of the effort you put out in the trenches of canvassing gets dissipated wastefully in media speculation. I don’t want those days back. If that means a few politicians get disappointed in their ambitions, then I really don’t give a shit. They need to understand that it is easier to replace politicians than it is to replace the nearly tireless supporters inside the party.

                  • Sonny Blount

                    So all in all,

                    Yesterday was a bad day for Labour or a good day?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Stupid fucking question.
                      Who cares?

                      What does ‘good day for labour’ mean? I assume a ‘good day’ for a political party is one where they make some progress on either electoral poltics or policy advance. This is obviously a political story, and I’ve got no idea about any sort of polling around this stuff.

                      So what you are asking me is, I think, “What do you think other citizens will think about this in regard to their impressions towards the Labour party?”

                      A question I answered here:

                      Far too much so called political discussion among citizens and especially among the professional pundits is based around “what will the voters think?’ Honestly, why should I give a shit. I am a fucking voter so I don’t need pundits to tell me what I should think, and I sure as shit don’t need them to pontificate about what other voters reckon coz that’s for other voters to work out for themselves.

                      Instead of thinking sensibly about whatever happens we have citizens imagining that they are operatives and trying to second guess each other about what other citizens think. What a fucking farce mate. Call that thinking about politics? I don’t.

                      I have absolutely know way of knowing what other citizens think. To do so would need polling data. If you have some, good for you. I don’t see any real need for me to know what other voters think. Nor do I see any particular reason to care.

                      I’m not a political operative. It’s not my job to care. It’s my job to work out who I should vote for.

                      If a party is zooming up the polls, is that something that makes you think, “hmmm, maybe I’ll support them? I likes me a winner!”

                      coz that’d be really dumb.

                      So all in all, if you give shit, use your brain. If you’re a fucking sheep, carry on.

                    • luva

                      Their worst day since the 1990 election

                      If there were any deluded lefties who thought Labour would win next year, surely even they now know 2014 is the goal.

              • swimmer

                Exactly Pascal’s bookie, Goff has handled this well and long may he stay leader. The disloyalty displayed by Chris really puts a bad taste in my mouth.

          • thespiritofD4J

            “And you kiwi nitwits wonder why you can’t win another rugby world cup. What a pathetic country run by disgusting and weak individuals. No wonder we are the laughing-stock of the Western World. FFS!”

  11. kriswgtn 11

    Good glad he has gone
    disgraceful shitstirring

    sack him Labour caucus …

    should have gone ages ago

    If by election happens and he wins what side he gonna stay on

    cant see him going to Nact side — unless flowers are offered 😛

    what a clown

    but hey @ least we know why hes been suspended and facing expulsion

    unlike slime keys track record on Worth

  12. gobsmacked 12

    While putting on his best “tough, stern leader” face, Phil Goff must be privately dancing a jig.

    Chris Carter, speaking to the media just now:

    “It’s the leadership I’m finding impossible at the moment,” he said.

    “I’m hoping my actions will be a catalyst [for a change of leadership].”

    There were a number of people who could do the job better than Mr Goff, he said.

    “I just want to see Phil Goff gone.”

    Any Labour MP who was thinking about a challenge, or supporting one, has just been stopped dead in their tracks. Who wants to stand up now and say “Actually, I agree with Chris Carter”? He’s made it impossible.

    First rule of the ambush: wait for the order. One loose cannon jumps the gun (sorry), and it’s doomed to fail.

    Goff’s job just got a whole lot safer.

  13. bobo 13

    “Carter: Goff’s a nice guy, not a winner” we have 2011 slogan sorted then.. Carter has no self awareness of what a tool he looks like at the moment. Making out this is all about winning the next election, yeah right nothing about payback for being shown up himself by Goff.

  14. TightyRighty 14

    meh, honestly, this will have less impact on goff than everyone is starting to talk about. the electorate know what a fuck wit carter is. if labour panic this will have consequences, otherwise, it may just remove that dead albatross from around their neck.

    none the less, i must do my self-appointed role. goff was still stupid to not get rid of him sooner, instructions from new york? there is no other explanation i can think of why he wouldn’t have been demoted lower than 13 FFS. it’s not labour as we know it, oh wait yes it is, it’s helenbour.

    • lprent 14.1

      Oh dear. Probably have Felix around shortly to do his self appointed role

      • comedy 14.1.1

        I hear he’s busy trying to talk Mickeysavage down from the harbour bridge.

        • mickysavage

          I am absolutely fine.

          This stuff is really disappointing. Chris is actually a really effective MP, one of the hardest working electorate MPs there is. He has had to put up with the TV3 crap for a while and they have gone way overboard.

          He has responded badly however.

          The really sad thing is that Labour was coming up in the polls and landing some really good blows. The credit card stuff stalled it. And this week when Labour was showing Key to be a liar we get this to deal with.

          Chris also forgets MMP. Labour/Green are at 40% and the rest of the vote is looking really soft. All that we need to do is hold our nerve …

          • lprent

            Yep to all of that. We really don’t need this type of distraction.

            As far as I can see, the only thing holding up National at present in the polls is John Keys smile. But the support even for that ‘feels’ pretty soft when I talk to ‘supporters’. Because of the nature of what I do, I meet quite a few apoliticals – which is who national won with last time.

            What is it with electorate MPs and their lack of attention to how MMP works anyway?

            • Steve W

              MP’s and MMP – it’s a class thing. They are generally further up the list and don’t think they need to depend on party votes to stay in the job.

              If there’s anything good that can be said to come out of this it’s that Goff is getting a higher share of noise in the news reports and can show himself to be decisive. It might be diverting attention away from Mr Smile and Wave but I’d prefer to hear more from Phil to let others see what he’s really like. When he’s wired about a subject such as this he comes across a whole lot better than when we see the former politics tutor on stage.

          • TightyRighty

            everyone loves a trier mickey. Fortunately for the nacts (not so your nerves), as long as people like carter are allowed in front of a microphone or behind a credit card, everything will be ok. If only he had the dignity of Shane “quagmire” Jones. Soon, Carter will be claiming he was fired for being gay.

      • TightyRighty 14.1.2

        no tried to be as grammatically accurate as possible. I thought I would let felix leave his dictionary coated jackboots at home yesterday.

        • lprent

          Shouldn’t that be…

          “No, I tried to be as grammatically accurate as possible”


          • TightyRighty

            yesterday lprent, you know us righties can’t stay focused on something longer than twelve hours. if it hasn’t made money by then, it never will, so let’s sell it and find a nuclear option.

  15. mcflock 15

    “Mr Carter said that he was glad people knew it was him who sent the letter.”

    Hmmm. Signing it might have helped people with that.

  16. Rich 16

    Well he did have a point. Goff is worse than useless and basically seems to be quite happy with Key winning the next election. Maybe mainstream Labour feel that a Key government is better than one with a more right-wing NACT leader, hence they don’t see effective opposition as worthwhile.

    It’s quite amazing that with capitalism fucking up left, right and centre (BP oil spill, finance company collapses, attacks on workers rights, a failed war) our main supposedly left-wing party has no ability to gain traction. Maybe it’s because their idea of “capitalism lite” is so close to Key that they actually support most or all of his policies.

    • Anthony C 16.1

      I agree it’s not working, in this age of politics I don’t think you can win an election with a leader polling at 5% sad truth.

      Key is National and the shit ain’t sticking nor looks to start anytime soon.

    • WOOF 16.2


      • swimmer 16.2.1

        Calm down WOOF, I’ll find you something to bite later.
        I don’t know where you get the impression that Goff is happy with Key winning the next election but I think that’s bollocks. He’s trying his best and he’ll get there in the end.

  17. Santi 17

    Labour is finished, kaputt, gone, history.

  18. Alexandra 18

    Filthy behaviour by Carter. As hard as he might try to justify whats he’s done, an anonymous letter to the media undermining his party and leader plays right into the hands of the right… I just hope he’s acted alone, otherwise other heads should fall.

  19. Green Tea 19

    Here comes the Labour spin machine…

  20. Jenny 20

    Little for PM, Out with time servers.

    Let’s get some excitement back

  21. Steve 21

    And the winners are:
    That Cunliffe bloke with no T
    Maryann Street
    Annette King
    Chris Carter
    (in the shadow is Helen)

  22. Real Perspective 22

    This is a disaster!!! Just watched Campbell Live, and now Close-up and this is getting WAY to much air time.

    Carter is destroying things for Labour on Closeup. He has just said that the caucus think they are going to lose the election etc etc.

    No matter how it is spun now by Labour, many will buy it and walk away from Labour.

    He is a wrecker!!

    This is not what Labour needs right now.

    This just stirs the speculation.

  23. tsmithfield 23

    Chris Carter:

    Disloyal? Yes
    Stupid? Yes
    Deluded? No

  24. Outofbed 24

    He does have a point though Goff has fuck all chance of winning the next election
    And anybody with any serious leadership aspirations will go for 2014
    Labour has really probably already privately conceded 2011 if we were to be honest.

    What a sorry state of affairs
    I must say Carter made a fuck up but its great to have the debate and much more important then winning a few token arguments with Key et al.

  25. JohnE 25

    Chris was right to bring this out in the open
    To win against Key we need someone with a “TV personality”
    Sad but that is how it is today

  26. I’m pickin Carter will get the last laugh when, if things go on as they are, Goff gets bounced HARD in the next election and rolled within 3 weeks of it.

    If the Labour party truly wants a shot at winning 2011 and Goff had the best interests of the party at heart or if there were more in the party willing to state the obvious, as Carter has done, Phil’d be gone by lunchtime…tomorrow

    Surely the fact that people aren’t willing to open their wallets and donate to Labour, says many are speaking with their wallets in not wanting to back a donkey vs a jonkey ?

    Seriously, who wants to reach the end of next year, have Key and co running the country into the ground even more than they are now and be left wondering what if ?

    Phil should do the right thing, give someone a real shot at standing up to Key in an election and fall back into line behind them.


    • Bill 26.1

      “Phil’d be gone by lunchtime tomorrow”

      Nah. Yesterday.

      It’s all in his name at the end of the day Ph Goff. And sooner. Much sooner, rather than later.

      I do not deserve to be hammered by a pile of neo liberal cunts for another three years just because the opposition has an irredeemably hopeless set of….oh, that’s right, neo liberal leaders. Get rid of them. I, you, we deserve better.

      Much, much better.

      • swimmer 26.1.1

        Phil hasn’t done anything wrong, this is all about having knives out for him. Give him a chance, how’s that for an idea?

  27. The new face of politics is PERSONALITY POLITICS. We have seen it increasing in the last two General Elections. New Zealander’s are (unfortunately) following the awful American style of politics and voting for the person at the lead – not the party and their politics.

    This means that all political parties – current and future – have to look at putting forward a leader with (dare I say it) charisma, personality and a great media face. He or she needs to have a big presence, needs to be able to speak exceptionally well in public and be able to reach all levels of society. The politics and policies behind that person will be almost inconsequential, except for perhaps Health, Education and Law & Order and probably things Maori.

    Come on Labour – you can do it but you need to redesign yourselves. You need to show you have balls to face the fiercest opposition and stand up and be hear – clearly.

    • Agreed.

      The thing about these stupid issues is that Labour activists have been battling many serious issues like Super City, Education cuts, mining, worker’s rights and persuading ordinary people that this Government is bad for them. Slowly the polls were coming around.

      Then this sort of stuff happens, the media goes beserk and the messages that activists have been planting gets obliterated.

      Grrr …

    • swimmer 27.2

      Or give Goff the chance to rise to the challenge instead of tearing him down and making his job harder. I personally am horrified that everyone wants to insult the intelligence of the voters by assuming that only a TV personality can win. I prefer Phil Goff because he would make a good Prime Minister. Open your minds.

  28. RedLogix 28

    This is merely Part II of the mishandled ‘expenses scandal’. At the time I strongly criticised Goff’s leadership team for failing to make the obvious and necessary political defense of his MP’s unfairly targetted over perfectly legitimate private expenses.

    Of course Carter was disillusioned, he had every right to be. And once you no longer have respect for your leadership (in whatever context) your position is untenable, it’s time to leave.

    But Carter’s commitment to Labour runs a lot deeper than a superficial loyalty; he cares about what Labour stands for and the apparently slim to zero chance it has of winning any election anytime within a generation. Sociopathic suit Key has the electorate sewn up for as long as he can be bothered and Goff lacks the insight and mongrel to break the spell.

    Of course Carter isn’t going without making the point he truly believes in. Call him stupid if you will, but he’s sincere.

    • comedy 28.1

      No he’s not, he’s a troughing drama queen with a huge sense of self entitlement, his behaviour today was a fucking disgrace.

      • pollywog 28.1.1

        he’s a troughing drama queen with a huge sense of self entitlement…

        …that may be so, but he’s still called it like most of the public sees it, if the polls are to be believed

    • Andrei 28.2

      You do comprehend it is repulsive characters like Chris Carter that keep people like me from voting Labour

      • lprent 28.2.1

        Oh hell, and I thought it was me tearing into you for your daft arguments on climate change. Oh well – whatever rows your boat.

      • Anthony C 28.2.2

        Well Andrei from the homophobic insinuations in your 8.36pm comment about Chris Carter “misusing taxpayer money including some for “massages’ in third world countries”. I’m pretty sure Labour would be happy if you fucked off and stayed away.

        • SHG

          Sounds like a simple statement of fact to me. Chris Carter misused taxpayer money including some for massages in Third World countries. It’s black and white.

          • RedLogix

            Chris Carter misused taxpayer money

            In that case Carter should be demanding his money back. Seems it was taken off him under false pretences.

            Sounds like a simple statement of fact to me.

            Sounds like a shrilling warble to me.

          • Anthony C

            Come on SHG, you’re smart enough to know what chucking “massages” in inverted commas and then mentioning that they happened in third world countries alludes to…

  29. Chriso 29

    Who makes up the NZ Council of the Labour Party?

    • Many really good people.

      • TightyRighty 29.1.1

        good at what? mental gymnastics to justify the corruption within the ranks of the parliamentary arm?

        • Pete

          I really enjoy these calls of ‘corruption’, when both sides clearly put up a veil of obfuscation and contort themselves to justify anything that appears dodgy, despite Cabinet rules.

          The houses of both major parties (and the rest) should be clearly seen to be in order before stones can be thrown over so-called ‘corruption’.

  30. belladonna 30

    Carter has put out there what the majority of the country are thinking.
    Are Labour really just going to roll over for the next election. Why should anyone bother going out to vote if this is the case.
    Hard on Phil Goff but unfortunately the truth. He needs to put the country before anything else and step down or we face another term of the Nats – god forbid. If Winston Peters gets the numbers and goes with National it could be years of a NZ First/National coalition.
    Reality check needed!

    • SHG 30.1

      Carter has put out there what the majority of the country are thinking.

      The thing is, most of those people have the balls to admit it without resorting to an anonymous letter in an envelope with someone else’s office on it.

  31. Sophie 31

    I agree, Carter is telling the truth. The Labour party are screwed going into the election with Goff. I can see EVERY reason to monkey around with the leadership before the election…

  32. tc 32

    Yah at last, close the door on the way out please Chris…..Phil should’ve done it sooner but hey that’s the labour way.

    All Phil needs to do is develop a 10sec soundbite persona with the MSM rather than the considered response that the journo kidettes can’t get their pretty little heads around to even coin a decent commentary of what he said.

    Labour has the makings to win 2011 but gotta get that message across again and again and again.

  33. Andrei 33

    You should be grateful a man of such base character has gone.

    He is exactly what Labour doesn’t need – a spiteful little man who because he was rightly demoted for misusing taxpayer money including some for “massages” in third world countries is determined to damage the party.

    Utterly repellant

  34. Anthony C 34

    Something of note:

    The “what about Tizard?” and “the return of Tizard?” line that seems to be popping up around the place from people who know the difference between a list MP and an electorate MP.

    • SHG 34.1

      Probably alluding to a situation in which Phil Twyford – who desperately needs an electorate seat for credibility – would bring Judith Tizard in on the list should he win a seat and cease to be a List MP.

      • lprent 34.1.1

        A by-election doesn’t seem to me to be particularly likely. It is an electorate seat. That would only happen if Chris decided to resign the seat.

        However it is more likely that there will be a contested selection. I can’t remember if selection has happened in Te Atatu. Or if Chris gets dropped from the party.

        Phil Twyford would be a good candidate if the local party are interested. But he does a pretty fine job just representing Auckland for Labour at present. Throughout the super shitty debacle, I was pretty impressed at how well he was nailing NACT and that weasel Hide. He doesn’t need a seat for ‘credibility’ – he already has that and has done so for quite some time.

        • Herodotus

          I thought that CC was the only nomination.
          It will be interesting to see who places their name forward, and how Lab manage the Te Atatu party chair and the test will be how seemly any transition of the local branch proceeds.
          As an academic question if CC had not personnel written out the address on the envelope how this little saga would have played out. In retrospect this was a fortunate error, otherwis ethe story would have a longer natural life than it will have, perhaps it would have had a more destabilisation effect. But this will have kept any Mp’s with leadership aspitartions at bay now being deferred from pre election to now post. It was worked out well for Phil stabilastion his leadersip for another 15 months min.

  35. Carter seems to have completely failed to make the transition back to being in Opposition. Here’s my take on it all:

    • lprent 35.1

      Good post. I’d better get back to bed – the side effect of a boozy dinner with the family is that I tend to wake up in the wee hours.

  36. pohutukawa kid 36

    Right now Carter is creaming the limelight. In six months after the party has kicked him out it ‘ll be “Carter who?’

    Goff looked and acted like a leader. I just got a feeling that this is going tp play out very well for him especially now at atime when NACT’S wheels are staring to wobble.

    • pollywog 36.1

      Goff looked and acted like a leader. I just got a feeling that this is going tp play out very well for him

      …i get the feeling it is only an act and that it wont play out well for him at all well in the long run cos he doesn’t know how to play it.

      to underplay it or overplay it…hmmm watch this space

      of course, now all Goff has to do is lose the election and Carter’s view is vindicated, then it’ll be “Goff who?”

    • Herodotus 36.2

      So after campaigning against Nats changes in employment law (Some justifiable) we now have Phil not only supporting this against Labs commentary on the changes, but what is worse he is slowly becomming the apprentice to the master … how could I say this … BUT wait
      JAMIE MACKAY: Phil, you and I will agree to disagree on that one. What about cashing in some of your holidays for money?
      PHIL GOFF: Well, I don’t have huge objections to that, as long as the decision is freely arrived at by the worker, and the worker is not pressured to do it. If you’ve got that safeguard in, then if somebody chooses to do that, then I’m quite relaxed about it.

      “He steals Keys punchline in “I’m quite relaxed about it.” Is that not a breach of copy write?

      • just saying 36.2.1

        Goffs continuing attempts at aping Key have only failed to attract notice because they’ve been so inept.

      • Cnr Joe 36.2.2

        I am as pissed off as Carter on that – well not AS pissed off.
        Labour created the 4th week.
        Workers will be manipulated into selling it.
        Is Goff gonna sell out the workers some more or is that it?
        National Lite Vs Hard Labour is it gonna be at the next election?

      • Jenny 36.2.3

        Low income be it wages or benefit takes away your freedom.

        as long as the decision is freely arrived at by the worker, and the worker is not pressured to do it.

        Poverty is the pressure.

    • RedLogix 37.1

      Yes, I’d agree Edwards has pretty much got it right.

      Q. How would you describe Carter’s actions?

      A. Utterly stupid and hugely damaging to his personal reputation.

      I have to add that in my comment above I didn’t make this plain .. while I understand and empathise with Carter’s position and motives, his political career is at an end. There will be no coming back from this and in that sense it is all a stupid personal tragedy for Carter.

      If on the other hand this puts some fire into a few leftie belly’s then it will have been a price worth paying.

  37. Bill 38

    In the interests of the horses mouth and all that….

    Just a heads up on two issues you might find quite interesting in the Labour caucus.

    1) Next Tuesday the union based MPs will challenge Goff’s position on the tradability of the 4th week of the month’s annual leave entitlement. There is general outrage that in an unguarded media moment Goff bucked the caucus and CTU position that the 4th week was not tradable for cash and essentially supported Key’s position. This issue has brought to a head the growing discontent in the caucus with both Goff’s leadership style and his poor polling. David Cunliffe has a big smile on his face and many in the caucus now expect a move against Goff and King before the election.

    2) George Hawkins has been challenged in his electorate by a member of the Engineers union. Nominations close on 1 September. George is threatening a by-election and since the party is broke there is panic in the ranks over this prospect.


    • Mac1 38.1

      Note the first word in the transcript- “Just”.

      If ever there was a misuse of a little word, that was it.

      I am very disappointed with Chris Carter. I hope that the Labour caucus in its unanimity over its decision to support Goff reflects the view that the prize is too big, the stakes too high and the effect upon NZ too great, for any personal agenda outside NZLP agreed values and processes.

  38. dc_red 39

    The messenger is an idiot, and the means of communication idiotic, but the message is basically correct. Goff is a nice guy, but he can’t win, and he can’t even land a punch on Key, or worse, on the inept team of buffoons behind him.

    Cunliffe, Parker, Mallard and Street must all be thinking about next Tuesday pretty seriously. Although god help the NZLP if the unelectable Street gets anywhere near the leadership.

    • Gosman 39.1


      But why can’t Goff land a punch on Key?

      This blog is full of all the inept and dastardly actions that Key is responsible for.

      Surely the opposition doesn’t really need to do anything other than sit back and watch their support bloom and the National parties support wither away.

    • prism 39.2

      Why is Street unelectable dcred? She seems OK, so what are her bad qualities? She is a list candidate I think, representing Labour in Nelson, National Nick Smith’s stamping ground.

      The comment reminds me of those against Judith Tizard – I didn’t understand the depth of discontent there either.

  39. tsmithfield 40

    I wonder if Goff will benefit much from this in terms of looking strong. I think this situation so obviously required that Carter be sacked that it is more a case that he would have looked incredibly insipid and weak if he hadn’t acted immediately.

    The bigger problem for Labour is that people might pick up on Carter’s message, and also take the “where theres smoke theres fire” outlook.

  40. innocent bystander 41

    ha ha ha ha

    Now how in any confidence could New Zealanders vote for party to lead a new government when the party’s leadership is under public contestation?!

    Roll on term-two. Time for the big decisions to be made.

    • RedLogix 41.1

      All parties change leadership from time to time; as you may recall Helen Clark while leader of Labour saw more than a few National leaders come and go. It’s a natural part of politics and the day will come when it happens to National again.

      Your ‘not so innocent’ gloating about it on the other hand merely reveals what an uncivil person you are.

      • tsmithfield 41.1.1

        Red, if Labour really has little or no chance of winning the next election under Goff, then why not change leader now? Surely there can be very little risk in giving it a go.

        • Herodotus

          Its it is called step change. You will not always achieve the correct destination with a change. Yet the process may stregthen those inside the organisation in a well managed way. To much to quickly can result in KAOS ans subsequent undermining of that organisation. The process is what is important to achieve the desired results.

          • James Barber

            “To much to quickly can result in KAOS”
            Killing As Organised Sport, or have I confused it?

          • TightyRighty

            ah so when labour do it, it’s a process that may strengthen. when the national government practise step-change, they are do-nothings. I get it now.

  41. dc_red 42

    Sounds like the idiot had been to Tibet on the public tab, without caucus permission. Not so repentant about travel spending after all.

    • burt 42.1

      If he has been to Tibet on the public tab, without caucus permission then if he says he might stand as an independent he might be charged for illegal spending. If he stays he will be well protected and there will be nothing to see here and we should move on.

      Your move Chris, do a Taito and run the risk of being held accountable for all you have done or sit like a good lap dog and be defeneded for trying to help people.

      • Inventory2 42.1.1

        Burt – Carter doesn’t have to make any moves. He is the elected MP for Te Atatu until the next election, regardless of whether he is a member of Labour’s caucus or ebven the Labour Party. Labour can do absolutely nothing to force his hand.

      • burt 42.1.2

        Indeed, unless of course he hasn’t declared the ‘gift’ from the Chinese govt to travel to Tibet. So was it a gift or was it official business? Why the secrecy?

  42. TH 43

    Labour have two options: Keep Goff and lose the next election. Or shift Goff and close the gap of probability. Which would they prefer? Which is more irritating: unpaid volunteers fighting losing battle with fake enthusiasm. Or unpaid volunteers under new leadership with a real chance? It seems most are just pissed that Carter forced them to wake up before 6am.

  43. vto 44

    I’m sure every comment possible has already been penned in the 112 comments above but just need to add another 2c…

    I recall Tau Henare bemoaning the lack fo respect that politicians get. I laughed when he said that. And now Carter provides yet more crap to the political-childish behaviour scrapbook. I have never understood why those elected see themselves as some form of leadership. They rarely show any form of quality human-wide traits of leadership. I mean, in most any other workplace if you have a problem with your boss you bring it up in a professional manner and deal with it. Carter misses every single button on this card. And buffoons like Carter have the nerve to sit in parliament telling us all how to behave in a workplace environment. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ……… they wonder why they get no respect.

    Secondly, he has done everything he can to reinforce those old cliches and generalisations about gay men. You know, buying flowers on the bosses tab, throwing hissy fits, writing anonymous notes, and generally acting like a girl. Pathetic man.

    • TH 44.1

      Are you engaged in corporate circles? Those things happen often, from some big fat bullying macho males too. There is nothing that is unacceptable, unprofessional, unallowable, unforgiveable or new in politics or commerce.

      • vto 44.1.1

        Hang on, that sounds like that other old one that all’s fair in love and war. That means that its no holds barred for politics, war, love and commerce.

  44. Gosman 45

    I do like the fact that your thread title is right next to a picture of the (current) leader of the Parliamentary wing of the Labour Party. Very apt. 😉

    • lprent 45.1

      It was the Herald photo of Goff at the press conference announcing the Chris Carter was being dropped from caucus. It is highly apt… But I guess you have problems reading the words?

      • Gosman 45.1.1

        Why would you think that lprent?

        I don’t think I need to spell out what I was meaning or if I do then really that is your problem not mine.

  45. burt 46

    If Carter departs parliament you might want to sell any Air NZ shares you have pretty quickly.

  46. george 47

    Carter is an idiot but Goff ran an inept dirty-tricks campaign against him that has just backfired spectacularly. I can’t think of two people that deserve each other more.

    • TightyRighty 47.1

      And what dirty tricks campaign would that be? The one where phil goff sneakily runs up huge travel bills by travelling under chris’s name? or how he pulled the dirty on chris by sending lianne dalzell flowers when she got the elbow, and signing the card cwis?

      or how phil only bumped him six places down the list after the fiasco that was chris’ credit card? and offered the olive branch?

      honestly, you are insulting.

  47. Kindof agree with the post.
    Carter should have openly come out and said that Goff will not help Labour form a government in 2011. The letter is embarrassing for Chris but personally I think he’s absolutely right about the assertion that GOFF SHOULD GO, NOW!

    Leadership honeymoon period anyone?

  48. burt 49

    Carter unbalanced…. Of course it’s the stress from all that travel we made him do. He needs a rest and a big ACC payout…..

  49. windy.city.struggler 50

    Ah, a good old fashioned stoush. Overdue. It relieves the tedium of long southern nights at the last bus stop before the south pole. A bit of old-fashioned truth-telling never did anyone any harm. I think that Carter has done us all a big favour in rocking the dinghy.

    Frankly, before this all blew up I was in despair about the quality of Labour’s leadership. Key has had it his own way for too long – to the point that he has has the press gallery (the ‘chooks’ in Thatcherian jargon) eating out of his hand.

    Whatever Goff’s personal qualities may be, he was implicated in the Rogernomic reforms of the 1980s (watch any of Alistair Barry’s docos at
    ) and does not have the intellectual background, drive, or skills to dismantle Key’s transparent difficulty with the truth.

    Cunliffe, as finance spokesperson, seems best equipped to address Key – but Key himself is something of a moving target. To give him credit, he got out of Merrill while the going was good and seems intent to diversify into other areas. But his notion of politics seems stolen from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”.

    This election is winnable by Labour if they were to come up with someone both street smart and intellectually equipped to deal with the (deflationary) problems of our time, a fresh face, a new image, an optimistic environmental vision of living within our means, attractive to Maori, a breath of fresh air in a stagnant political climate.

    Sorry, Phil. This is not about personalities – we need the right person for our times.

    • pollywog 50.1

      This election is winnable by Labour if they were to come up with someone both street smart and intellectually equipped to deal with the (deflationary) problems of our time, a fresh face, a new image, an optimistic environmental vision of living within our means, attractive to Maori, a breath of fresh air in a stagnant political climate.

      Kelvin Davis FTW

      • Rosy 50.1.1

        I’m impressed, so far, with Kelvin Davis. But is it’s probably too soon for him.

        • pollywog

          yeah maybe, but i’m finding time is becoming compressed and things are moving at a faster rate, people are developing more rapidly…

          …i’d like to see Davis stick it to Key on tourism and see if he’s got the measure of him though.

    • swimmer 50.2

      That was ages ago and he’s good at his job.

  50. prism 51

    Carter may have had a hissy fit but it serves a purpose of reassessment of Labour at a stage in the electoral cycle which allows plenty of time to consolidate a viable position if Labour has one. He probably thought that he didn’t have anything to lose and expressed thoughts that all may have kept hidden until now. It is hard for people like Andrew Little to countenance this idea of ‘step change’ but it will bring any doubters to the surface and any alternative candidates should now check support among colleagues and speak.

    Goff is making some good points but is he up to the job for three years along with the old team that don’t inspire confidence?

  51. windy.city.struggler 52

    Kelvin Davis ?

  52. Santi 53

    I have hope of Labour winning the election in 2020. After the Carter debacle, I’m now convinced.

  53. windy.city.struggler 54

    pollywog: thanks

  54. Badger 55

    Personally I think Chris was right. Good on him for having the courage to stand up for his political beliefs.

    Phail Gooff is leading Labour to a disaster – there’s literally no one that i know who believes that Labour can win next year.

    Time to go. Goooff

  55. lprent 56

    It has been interesting reading the comments here for one particular reason.

    The comments that say Goff should go appear to come from pseudonyms that are one of

    1. Clearly right of centre – who obviously have a vested interest in causing the NZLP to fail electorally.
    2. Left of centre, but people I’ve mentally tagged as not being NZLP members (or even supporters).
    3. People I haven’t seen enough comments before to mentally tag (in which case they carry little weight)

    The people that are active in the NZLP appear to largely be supportive of both the caucus actions and Goff. Their most frequent comment echo mine – this is a bloody irritation distraction from the work of winning the next election.

    There are a few like OOB where I’m not sure of their actual affiliations…

    • burt 56.1


      With all due respect, I think the biggest problem Labour has had for many years is that it’s core supporters are not critical enough of the party machine. This IMHO is a legacy of the Clark years and the she-who-is-never-wrong and must never apologise mentality. If you genuinely think Goff is the man for the job then all good, otherwise get on with making the right noises to effect change.

      • lprent 56.1.1

        Oh they’re critical. They just don’t tend to do it on the blogs. Why should they?

        They can do it inside the branches, LEC’s, conferences, policy council, NZ council etc etc – the apparatus of a democratic political party. And they certainly do.

    • Gosman 56.2

      The point has been raised on Kiwiblog that whatever the thoughts of the Labour Caucus on this subject the matter has made it more likely that Labour will fail to win the next election.

      The comments made by Carter about Goff will be trotted out everytime there are news stories on Labour, even if Labour are doing well in the polls. In a general head to head battle between Goff and Key many people will have an inbuilt prejudice of Goff being an unelectable loser.

      • pollywog 56.2.1

        The only way Goff can ‘win’ IMO, is if in a prolonged double dip recession, a vote for Goff is a vote of disillusionment with Key, in much the same way as a vote for Key in the last election was a vote against Helen.

        The election is not there for Goff to win, it’s there for Key to lose.

      • lprent 56.2.2

        G – yep I can expect the eternal repetition from the sewer. It is one of the few things that they’re good at. But really – what do sensible moderates like NZLP members think?

        • Pascal's bookie

          I too am shocked, (shocked!!) that the right aren’t planning to run on their record.

          • Gosman

            How do you know what they are, or are not, going to run on?

            The point is that in politics perception is as important as reality.

            If a large section of the electorate perceives a Goff lead Labour party as having an inability to win the next election then there is a danger that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

            • loota

              Somebody said to me that “the bloody NZ electorate votes for politicians like they pick racehorses – they choose whomever they think is going to win.”

              So yeah, on this prinicple alone John Key is out ahead.

            • Pascal's bookie

              How do you know what they are, or are not, going to run on?

              The comments made by Carter about Goff will be trotted out everytime there are news stories on Labour, even if Labour are doing well in the polls.

              The passive voice there doesn’t fool anyone. Who is going to trot that out? The reason they will trot it out is to try and cause it to be, as you said.

              As I’ve said repeatedly on this thread, operatives might well think like that.

              That’s not talking about politics, it’s talking about the polis, and trying to second guess what your fellow citizens think.

              Unless you are a political operative, why do that?

              It’s the stupidest sort of partisan politics as sportsfan bullshit. It’s entirely the wrong focus.

              Think about the pollies, not the citizens reaction to the pollies.

              Journos do it, for their own reasons.
              Pollies do it, for their own reasons.
              Citizens do it, if they are fucking chumps.

            • Draco T Bastard

              How do you know what they are, or are not, going to run on?

              Easy, if the right ran on their record they wouldn’t be electable.

              • Gosman

                Oh well, I guess you have got to grasp on to something to explain it if the left loses again.

    • just saying 56.3

      So you’re saying that, on this site at least, Goff is supported by Labour’s base?

      I’ve noticed that, in my neck of the woods, as above, Goff is soundly disapproved of by the left of the left (understandably IMO given his ‘toriness’) and is also disliked by the less well off trad Labourites, including party members, and particularly women (- I think this will become even more apparent at the election). He seems to be tolerated by upper-middle class labourites in a kind of “it could be worse” kind of way.
      I’m yet to meet or even overhear anyone who actually likes or strongly likes him.

      I’m ‘left of left’ but do know many that aren’t.

      • lprent 56.3.1

        Yeah – but if people like Goff or not wasn’t what I was commenting on.

        It was if other people inside the party thought (like Carter) that there should be a leadership change in mid-term. That is a completely separate question.

        There are a lot of reasons not to do it as far as the good of the party is concerned that I referred to in the post and in subsequent comments. To date I don’t think that I have seen anyone that I’d clearly consider a NZLP activist or supporter (ie have a comment history of supporting the party) suggest this would be a good time for a change.

        Of course it could be omission by silence – but I really don’t think so. Mostly what I get is a sense of oh fuck – we didn’t need this crap.

        • just saying

          ..”Mostly what I get is a sense of oh fuck – we didn’t need this crap…”

          -I think most of us on the left are feeling this – me because I thought there was a 50/50 chance of Labour toppling Goff before the election, and moving to the left. Now I think that’s way less likely.

          And of course, because I’m genuinely afraid of what another 3 years of National will do to NZ and its people, and Carter’s tantrum has brought that particular nightmare a few steps closer.

          So ta for that chris.

    • Lats 56.4

      Hmm, I haven’t posted here much, but I’d consider myself to be in category 2, namely left of centre and a traditional Labour supporter, although I have split my vote with the Greens in the past as well.

      I can only base my opinion of Goff by what I’ve seen on TV, and this is not necessarily the best measure, but it is what most Kiwis have to go by. I’d have to say that he comes across as being a very reasonable and intelligent chap, but he doesn’t seem to be overly charismatic. Sadly, even though I think Carter acted in a fit of pique, he may actually be right about Goffs leadership. Politics in NZ is becoming more and more influenced by the soundbyte, and less by decent policy, so while Goff may be well respected within the party, if he doesn’t engage the sheeple effectively Labour may well find themselves on the opposition benches for another 3 years.

      • lprent 56.4.1

        Yeah, Phil isn’t that charismatic on TV (he is in person – I think almost every major politico has to be). But frankly that isn’t that much of criteria either philosophically or practically.

        I was working with Helen at her electorate level from 1990 (ie well before she was leader of the opposition). She was damn awkward on TV at the start and not all that charismatic even in 2008. Exactly the same things were said about her even compared to Bolger. She grew on people because she was overwhelmingly competent. Phil is much the same as far as I can see.

        Frankly I’ve always discounted the charismatic argument. Sure there are some people who operate that way (less than 10% of voters), but you realize when you’re canvassing that most people (at least if they are over 25) treat their vote pretty damn seriously.

        • swimmer

          That’s what I like about him 🙂

        • Lats

          There is a great deal of polititcal ignorance in this country. If you don’t believe me, check out this link, it is to an abstract, but you can download the paper from there.
          Interestingly, among other predicters, a right wing ideology is more likely to be an indicator of political ignorance 🙂 So while in your experience folk may take their vote seriously, many are simply uninformed, or make their decisions from a flawed starting point.

          And to be fair, when Helen was elected PM it was on a wave of anti-national sentiment. Had Phil been leader then he would also have won easily I suspect. I’d be surprised if we see a similar major swing away from the Nats next year, so I think you discount the charisma factor at your peril. The vast majority of voters are not going to meet Phil in person, and given the more presidential style of campaigns these days how each leader comes across on televised debates has real impact on swing voters.

          Don’t get me wrong, when Helen stepped down I thought Phil was the obvious replacement. I agree he seems very measured and competent, and for party insiders I suppose that is essential. I’m simply concerned that this may not come across to those outside the inner circle.

    • luva 56.5


      I would put myself in category 1, although I have voted Labour in the past when National has been unelectable, 1999, 2002.

      The fact is as a righty I am happy for Goff to remain in charge because Labour will not win with him there. I will bet my first born on that. We have daily updates on this site about how John Key is a lazy, hopeless, devious hard rightwing PM that will destroy New Zealand if he gets a second term. Now if the leader of the opposition cannot get any traction with even a quarter of those stories and use them as ammunition then one of two things is happening; either.

      1. The stories we read on here are all bullshit; or
      2. Phil Goff is the wrong man to be leading the opposition.

      Evidence and statistics shows many of the stories on here are reasonably accurate. That leaves number 2.

      Many blame the media. But there is no use crying about that. You need someone who will engage the media in a positive way. Goff is not doing that or can not do that. Isn’t it time to get someone in that can spread the Leftist gospel to those who do not read The Standard.

      • lprent 56.5.1

        Thanks for the compliment to the authors.

        But you have to remember time scales. Helen took over from Mike Moore at the end of 93 when we had a pretty bad defeat against a very unpopular government. It took her a full three years to get within a few percent of the Nats and through all of that time her figures were crap. That is why Winston got the large vote that he did. People wanted to not vote for either labour or national.

        Move on to 1999. Labour figures improved a lot. Helens figures didn’t particularly.

        Quite simply there is no particular reason to think that anyone else will be able to do better in this environment. There is a lot of damage in changing leaders.

        Also National are literally hanging on by a thread – it is hard to find a minister that is competent. The thread is John Keys personal popularity, which leaves national extrairdinaily politically exposed, and the factors that make that up are slipping. To me it looks like having every probability of key doing a rudd before the end of term.

        • Firsttimereader

          “Also National are literally hanging on by a thread”

          Except that thread is a twenty point party lead in the polls and a fifty point lead in preferred PM. Nice thread if you can get ’em.

          • loota

            I think – although I hate to second guess – that lprent means that day to day operationally and policy-wise National are literally hanging on by a thread.

            National are like a corporate in the last quarter of strong profits, because underlying their strong numbers, their day to day operations and product development programmes have started to run off the rails. When the flow on effects from these operational realities become visible, their numbers will drop.

            But without doubt, Labour needs fewer bullshit distractions of the Carter type and to keep their eye on target.

  56. 2. Left of centre, but people I’ve mentally tagged as not being NZLP members (or even supporters).

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend 😛

    • burt 57.1

      Left of centre people who are not Labour supporters are the people Labour should be listening to more than ever at the moment. These people (and I consider myself one) are the people who have voted Labour in the past, may vote Labour in the future but will not vote for Labour while Labour are a self serving bunch of has beens who are just waiting for their retirement.

    • lprent 57.2

      Yep P… That was where I’d had you tagged…. There are a lot of people with that attitude from both sides commenting on the blogs or authoring posts (including here). Moderates are much scarcer.

  57. Santi 58

    Carter is completely unhinged.

    I quote David Horowitz about people like Carter: “One has to make conscious efforts throughout adult life to ignore truth, common sense, and the principles of liberty and individual rights. Groupthink, political correctness, and other quasi-socialist processes must fill the void. This belief system is bereft of intellect and reason; indeed, it is the refuge of the uninspired, and is the polar opposite of the principles that any free nation was founded upon.’

  58. Santi 59

    Not PC nails it:

    Chris Carter has died politically just as he lived politically.
    Ineptly posting an anonymous letter announcing there will be a leadership coup—on Tuesday, no less—and saying when caught that his reason for trying the shabby deception was he hoped it would cause a leadership coup.
    A twisted ham-fisted ruse to pretend his idiocy hadn’t just made more unlikely what he claimed to be trying to foment.

  59. WOOF 60

    Looks like someone’s going to be in the dog house for a long time.

  60. Sybil 61

    What is the polling on Kelvin Davis Vs Goff ?

  61. Sybil 62

    Good luck, Loota !

  62. I sincerely believe that Chris Carter has had a breakdown .There is no doubt that the disgracfully way the news media treated him has had its effects. Perhaps we should show a litte compassion and urge Chris to seek medical help. If he does that then the door is open for reconcilliation in the future. However let me say that if it is not a breakdown then I withdraw my statement.

    • Bored 63.1

      Interesting viewpoint Pink, I have been fairly savage about Carters antics on this post, but should it appear that you are correct he will recieve my full apology.

      I was fairly critical of the parliamentary and party staff during the expenses fiasco, my contention was that they should have vetted their MPs practices. Goffs leadership (or lack thereof) allowed this scenario to continue under his watch, for this alone he should go. If he has missed out something like a breakdown he should be the one expelled for simple bad people management.

    • Anne 63.2

      I think you are right pinkpostman and good on you for coming out and saying it. A little bit of compassion for Chris instead of the diatribes of hatred (mainly from the dead in the head wingnuts) would be a welcome change.

    • infused 63.3

      Had a break down my ass. Smells like truth to me. He was fucked off. He tried to cause some shit anonymously and got caught. I believe he’s basically said fuck it, might as well go down in flames.

      That’s my take anyway.

      The medical stuff seems to be coming from Labour as a diversion.

      • lprent 63.3.1

        I can’t recall any one writing posts here or in the media about what Chris has been doing in the house in his shadow portfolios. I suspect that Chris has simply had a problem with adjusting to opposition, having a shift in hierarchy, and generally working in a much harder environment. He has been a bit more erratic than he usually is but I’d put most of that on the wing nuts and the media idiocy. It is clear that Chris doesn’t like criticism.

        In any case he went far over the line with this exercise. The labour party cannot afford to carry him

    • SHG 63.4

      I sincerely believe that Chris Carter has had a breakdown .There is no doubt that the disgracfully way the news media treated him has had its effects.

      Hey, at least no-one has outright accused him of mental illness.

      Oh wait – that’s right, Phil Goff and Trevor Mallard just did.


  63. tres 64

    Labour member who’s quite considering voting green, get rid of Phil eergh

    captcha: opportunitys

  64. Pat 65

    Radio Live has been a revelation. Laws dropping big hints about a team up with Winston. Goff stating he would happily form a coalition with just about everyone – NZF, Greens, and MP. Hooten reckons Labour only needs to get to 35% to make it work, 7% from the Greens and 6% from NZF.

    An unholy alliance, but a real possibility. Imagine a cabinet that puts Peters, Laws, Norman, and Turei together! Bad for the country, but great fun all the same.

  65. comedy 66

    “West Auckland lawyer Greg Presland was one possible contender for selection.”


    Deb Manning I know but who’s this Presland person ?

    Surely Phil Twyford won’t be overlooked again ?

  66. graham 67

    Look i am a national party member if you guys want to keep phil goff there fine .
    I take it you were never a fan of Bier Rabbit as a kid.
    There is no hope for labour in the short and medium term after the next election there is going to be blood letting which i am, looking forward too.
    But in a show of compassion i now how it feels in 2002 it was hard to be proud to be a national party member.I still rember that election and i got over it as i am sure you labour supporters will.
    So suck it up take the pain but remember it wont be forever

    • Puddleglum 67.1

      Brer (sp?) Rabbit? You mean the tale about the blackberry/briar patch? ‘Anything, but please, please don’t throw me into the briar patch’. (or words to that effect)

      Yes, I think there’s a lot of that kind of tactical rhetoric in politics. Sets off some interesting thoughts in relation to your comment, too. How far down the ‘rabbit hole’ should we go?

  67. Look there is a wider issue at stake here.

    That is the issue of democracy in modern political parties – quite frankly I think lprent is delusional about talking about party democracy. Has he ever been to a policy meeting? Has he ever been to an unconstest elections that are endemic of all levels of the Labour party?

    The fact of the matter is that Labour members not just a few priveleged elites in the Caucus have the right to vote for their leader.

    The fact of the matter is – watching the interview with Chris Carter pledging his allegiance to the Labour Party is that he has been expelled for telling the truth and vocalizing what so many people in the Labour Party are holding.

    • lprent 68.1

      The short answer to all of those is yes (assuming you meant uncontested). Most of the formal activities were a while ago. Personally I’m more interested in doing what needs to be done rather than going through the rather tiresome and lengthy processes (which is why I blog outside of the party systems). However I do have respect for the extensive systems in labour for formation of policy and other formal systems.

      But that wasn’t what I was talking about. I was talking about democratic party process. But that doesn’t mean that everything is put to a referendum. That is something that only the delusional would want. Like all organisations (including every business or voluntary organization I’ve been involved in) you find that people are listened to based on peoples respect for them. That is usually proportional to how much of a contribution others view them as having.

      I suspect that not getting listened to with respect will underlie whatever your point is. Perhaps you should look to what your contribution is?

      Perhaps you should suggest what you ideas on how a democratic party should operate like so I can mince them?

      • Pundit X 68.1.1

        Of course there is a disconnnect between the party as a whole and caucus if there hadn’t been then this tragicomedy spectacle wouldn’t be taking place. Image for a moment having lost the last election Helen Clark stands down as leader. Nominations are called for from the Parliamentary Party, affiliated unions, and the party itself. There is an election involving the whole Party. Goff is elected Leader of the Party. At the 2009 conference Goff is re-elected by the party as a whole. Goff would be a leader who commanded the respect of the whole party and not just caucus.

        Only the stupid or capricious would mount an attack against a leader with such a mandate…

        • lprent

          I suspect that you have a strange notion of what the party leaders position is. They aren’t the president of the party (which is similar to what you just described). They are leader of the parliamentary caucus. Their job is to run the parliamentary team, elected by their peers in the parliamentary team, to act as leader in the house.

          Tell me, how much do the ordinary members of the party understand about parliamentary procedure? It typically takes a new MP quite a few years to get their head around the procedures. How could a referendum spread amongst people who have no idea of the procedures in parliament make a accurate judgment of the capabilities of an MP to coordinate the effort in parliament?

          Your idea is idiotic.

          Incidentally, the party president is elected by representatives of the electorates and affiliated unions. Even then we’re looking at quite a large number of delegates and considerable expense.

          • Pundit X

            Elitist bullshit. The Greens seem to manage democracy well as does the British Labour Party. If the Labour Party is to survive into the 21st century and grow its membership then they have to be involved in more than just leaflet delivery and exhortations to join the century fund.

            • lprent

              I’d agree that they have to move into the 21st – most of my work inside and more frequently outside of the party (like this site) are designed to push that way. It is very hard work because some parts of the NZLP are like it’s constitution and are crusty with age.

              But that isn’t the case with the caucus which works under a much stronger evolutionary pressure. I can’t see much value in constraining the parliamentary team by trying to pick their team leader from outside. If the caucus don’t have confidence in their leader then it isn’t going to work.

              With the greens there are only a few mps and they have only been in opposition. That allows for far more room for peoples quirks.

              With the British labour party, well you only have to look at the last few years of back and front bench idiocies to see what a dead weight their system has been. You get the impression that there is a lot of pent up pressure in a dysfunctional caucus because of the technique of leadership selection. The mps seem to continually try go resolve caucus issues by appealing to the wider party which is simply not useful.

              Perhaps rather than saying it is elitist, you could elucidate the advantages you see

              • Pundit X

                At the moment caucus is almost completely separate from the party as a whole. The rest of the party can only look on powerless and in horror as this debacle unfolds in the mainstream press. Had there been a greater connect between Carter and his local party this probably wouldn’t have happened – he’d have consulted and they would have said don’t be stupid. I’m not arguing for an imposed leader that caucus has to live with rather that leadership candidates have a broader franchise than just the caucus. In any working system for broad based leadership contests I have seen the nominations come from the PLP as well as affiliates and the party. As with the British Labour Party NZLP has been reformed to ensure the ordinary membership have only a supporters role. Try following a remit up the chain.

                People join political parties because they are interested in politics and want to make a self perceived positive change. Whilst our membership grows old we are being overtaken by the Greens wh are attracting younger members with participation and the posibility of change. We offer leaflet delivery.

                The British Labour Party enacted a number of democratic reforms in the eighties. It widened the franchise for the election of the Leader and Deputy Leader and brought in structure for the reselection of MP’s involving the constutuencis or LEC’s. It also briefly bound the PLP to policies decided by Annual Conference. Apart from the electoral college for the election of the Leader and Deputy all of the reforms were reversed by Blair. The problems the party has faced with the Blair/Brown leadership have little to do with the electoral system and more to do with a Leadership style bereft of principle.

                Whilst we are a much larger political party than the Greens in terms of MP’s our membership base is numerically the same as the Greens. Reversing that decline means looking to growing our membership base with progressive policies and democratic structures.

                My original argument stands. Carter would not be able to throw his toys out of the pram over Goff’s leadership had Goff been elected by the whole party. As vain and as arrogant as Chris can be he would have baulked at sticking up two fingers to the entire party.

          • Firsttimereader

            Don’t trust ordinary members they’re too stupid to know what’s good for them. Just like people who get polled and voters who vote in elections, they’re too dumb but one day they will come into line.

  68. Daveosaurus 69

    As far as political suicides go, one a scale of one to ten, where one is a polite but firmly worded letter to one’s leader and ten is getting shitfaced and commandeering a television broadcaster to call an election you don’t have a hope in hell of winning, this would barely rate a six. Even another Labourite (John A. Lee) was able to perform a more spectacular exit.

  69. Firsttimereader 70

    If carter arranged his trip to china months ago as he says, he would still have been labour’s foreign affairs spokesman. Bloody stupid to accept a fully expended gift from china to visit when you’re foreign affairs spokesman.

  70. Armchair Critic 71

    The number of commenters, left and right, using this as a basis for predicting the defeat of the Labour party in 2011 astounds me. Labour are quite capable of winning the 2011 election, at present I’d rate them a 50/50 chance. Just like how I rate National as a 50/50 chance, at present. And it’s not that much to do with Phil Goff, or Chris Carter.
    There are a couple of dumb things Labour could do to weaken their chances at present:
    1. Dump Goff as leader.
    2. Not expel Chris Carter.
    On the subject of Goff as leader, and the rest of the Labour team.
    Goff is no less capable than Key, both in terms of intellect and public persona. Key is operating at the limits of his capabilities (his accent and diction are terrible, and his main skill is appearing to deliver a message, rather than actually delivering anything) whereas Goff is working well within his capabilities. Goff needs to step up.
    Key is by far and away the most capable leader of the National. There is literally no one to replace him who could actually win an election. Nor can I see anyone who will be capable for a couple of electoral cycles. When Key goes, so will National. Unlike Labour, where there are a number of people who are potential replacements for Goff. They will be fully ready to take his place after about 2012, IMO. So while the short term looks shaky for Labour, the medium to long term look pretty depressing or National.
    Chris Carter has to go. Mental health issues, or whatever, this is a sad episode that reflects very poorly on him and his judgement. Should his caucus colleagues have supported him more over the last few months? I suppose so, but it seems to me in hindsight that the various commenters calling for him to go over the last year (I recall Zetetic wrote a post on the subject)or so were correct. I think I’m on record disagreeing and supporting Carter – I was wrong. Carter should have been moved on earlier by Labour. Supported, but moved on. And now, like I said before, he must go, completely.
    There are a few of things that Labour can do to improve their chances of winning in 2011.
    1. Labour have to work together, as a team, with what they have. It is too close to the election to change leadership.
    2. Labour have to present themselves as an alternative to National. This means getting out and into the public eye, regularly, with consistent and coherent messages. The time for introspection and self-examination is almost at an end. IMO it is time to stop trying to find faults with National – because most of the current crop of National ministers are performing adequately at best, and are presenting opportunity after opportunity to present Labour as different, and better. There is no need to actively look for faults, just accept and capitalise on the fuck-ups that National regularly gift.
    My concern is that National already know they can not win in 2014, so a victory for them in 2011 will result in a huge rush of poorly thought-through, ideologically driven legislation as they prepare for a couple of terms in opposition against a very competent Labour government. And NZ doesn’t deserve three years of National with the idea that they have a mandate to not swallow dead rats. So, for any Labour MPs that read this, please get your shit together and get your party into a position where they can send National back to the opposition benches in 2011. Start now.

    • just saying 71.1

      Most posters on this board seem to agree that National will go for broke if it wins the next election.

      A big problem, it seems to me, is that Goff, (and maybe even most of the Labour Party) is positioned very close to, and often exactly where Key is pretending to be on the political spectrum. Which makes much of National’s rhetoric very difficult for Goff to oppose. So he’s stuck with having to try and point out inconsistencies between what Key says and what he does, rather than being able to present those “consistent and coherent” opposing messages.

      And the lack of having anything significantly different to offer to what Key espouses (which is different to what Key actually believes) is a large part of Goff’s image problem. It’s not all about biased media, and “charisma”, and media savvy. He can’t get the public’s attention if he has stuff-all to say, apart from occasional salvoes in the bidding war with National for the votes of the comfortable and aspirational, and pot-shots at Keys integrity. I think this is also part of the problem with Goffs lack of passion. It must be all but impossible to breathe fire into a debate in which you mostly agree with what your opponents are saying.

      • loota 71.1.1

        I really hope that Labour will provide a true progressive Left vision for the country.

        The old strategy of trying to win by essentially positioning Labour as National Lite, i.e. Left but only marginally, of National, is a failure.

        • pollywog

          Ultimately, come election time, i reckon it’ll boil down to the same worm track that foisted the self serving immaculately coiffurred muppet Peter Dunne on us.

          If Goff can stick Key on the issues, his flipflops and track record of broken promises in a leaders debate, win the public confidence and convince us that he’s got more to offer, then he’s got a shot.

          The easiest way to derail that though would be to include Uncle Winny in on the debate cos then no one would come out smelling good.

          It’s the classic case of never wrestle with a pig. You both end up covered in shit, but the pig likes it and like it or not, Winny is the champion pig wrestler.

      • swimmer 71.1.2


    • SHG 71.2

      Goff is no less capable than Key, both in terms of intellect and public persona.

      This is a perfect example of the head-in-the-sand denial that exists on the left at the moment.

      Seriously? You think Goff matches up to Key in public persona?

      Goff: a guy who’s never worked a real job in his life, who was part of the team responsible for some of the country’s most hated political and economic reforms, who is presently sitting on a preferred-PM rating of about 5%.

      Key: a self-made multi-millionaire who grew up in a State house with a solo mum on the DPB, who has no political baggage, and who constantly polls above 50% in preferred-PM.

      You think those are comparable public personae for a couple of politicians, do you? You think voters consider those two men about equal as far as personalities go, do you?


      • swimmer 71.2.1

        I would call the freezing works a real man’s job, and who worked there, why Phil Goff did.
        Part of the team yes, but also a changed man, it’s ancient history as far as I’m concerned.
        Phil has a good personality – nothing wrong with it.

        • SHG

          I worked part-time on a farm when I was at University. I don’t put it on my CV though. And I don’t take credit for being a farmer either.

          • swimmer

            But you have to admit that both farm work and freezing work are real jobs.

      • Armchair Critic 71.2.2

        Seriously? You think Goff matches up to Key in public persona/
        Try reading what I wrote again – you quoted it, after all. Phil Goff has the capability to match and beat John Key. At present Phil Goff isn’t living up to his potential. Whereas John Key is exceeding his potential. If Phil Goff continues as he has for the last 18 months then National will very likely win the 2011 election. But if Goff works to his full capability then Labour have a reasonable shot at winning in 2011.

        • SHG

          Then you’re using “capable” in a sense which is useless to the comparison. You might as well say that a bright 1-year-old with a pretty smile has the capability to match and beat John Key. Because the kid has potential.

          John Key is “capable in public persona” in the sense of present ability. That is, John Key is “capable in public persona” in the sense that the NZ voting public overwhelmingly likes the one he has right now.

        • pollywog

          You’re asking Goff to do something he hasn’t done before, nor shown that he can. You can only lead someone somewhere, if you’ve been there before.

          It’s like a rugby game where one team is down at the half by 30 nil. Yeah sure it’s possible to come back and win, but you’re asking them to stop the other team from doing what they’ve done well for the first half, and asking your team to do what they haven’t been able to do yet…score

          The trick is knowing when to use your substitutions and being able to change up your gameplan. As it stands, there is nothing to suggest Goff knows when to sub or can up his game.

  71. Mark M 72

    The most interesting aspect of this whole sorry saga , is the personal attacks on Carters mental state.
    The pre emptive comments about his sacking and his supposed stress over uncleared travel.
    One would have expected more sense with “employment matters” from the head of the EPMU and fellow travellers.
    Carter is not a happy chappy and any legal action over his “ill treatment ‘ as an employee will blunt future attacks on employers who are deemed to be unfairly treating employees over the 90 day law

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