According to Vernon Small:
Labour leader Phil Goff will be asked to explain his controversial “nationhood” speech at next week’s party caucus meeting. Discontent, especially on the Left of the party, has centred around Mr Goff’s comments on the foreshore and seabed policy. Insiders say the speech was discussed during a “robust” national council meeting of the party last weekend. The speech endorsed the current law but failed to reiterate the party’s backing for a change that would accept the rights of iwi to seek customary title.
Mr Goff was criticised as “playing the race card” by Maori Party MPs, which he has denied. Members of Labour’s Maori caucus were absent when the speech was discussed in advance, and yesterday questioned whether they were given enough time to comment before it was delivered at a Palmerston North Grey Power meeting.
I think it is good that MPs (and the party) have the opportunity to discuss and debate issues – if done with care and respect. It’s also the best way to try and work out whether the aims of the speech were met or not – and whether it has got the sort of attention the leadership were after. Most importantly, it will allow some consideration of where to go from here.