Thank you Phil, Annette

Written By: - Date published: 7:47 am, December 15th, 2011 - 43 comments
Categories: Annette King, labour, leadership, phil goff - Tags: ,

Labour’s leadership contest has hogged the headlines for weeks, and the last couple of days has seen a focus on the winning team of David Shearer and Grant Robertson. Now that the new leaders are settling in, I think we should all take a moment to thank the outgoing leaders, Phil Goff and Annette King.

Phil and Annette took over Labour after the party had had a long term in government and a clear election defeat – the worst possible time for any incoming political leader. As a country we very seldom reject a government after just one term. No National government has ever failed to secure second and third terms. So a Labour win in 2011 would have been historically unprecedented. It was a next-to-impossible task.

But Phil and Annette gave it a damn good try, and Labour ran a strong campaign. Yes the 27% share of the vote is a terrible low for Labour, but it was a better result than National’s 21% in 2002 (after one term of the popular new Labour government). Also, breaking out of old fashioned FPP thinking, the vote for the Left as a whole held up well, while the majority for Key’s government as a whole has fallen.

I was particularly impressed by Phil Goff during the campaign. No one could have tried harder. He was set an almost impossible task, and he threw himself in to it heart and soul. He grew over the course of the campaign, and his popularity was rising. After the election he left on his own terms, and oversaw a productive and orderly transition. Bloody good work. Thanks Phil.

43 comments on “Thank you Phil, Annette”

  1. Agreed Rob.

    Phil took over at the worst possible time imaginable.  No other Labour leader ever had to take over in similar circumstances.

    And he campaigned really well, way better than the MSM informed public expectations.  Who would have thought that he would have won three of the four debates against Key?

    It is very evident that Labour’s support in the last week ebbed NZ First’s way to make sure they got over the line.  Pity so much went, this cost Labour a few good MPs.

    It is also very apparent that Labour made mistakes in its campaign.  Goff should have been on every billboard the way that Key was.  It is now clear that the Brand Key campaign was actually a Party vote campaign.  Labour’s localized billboards were only good for the electorate vote and the first rule of MMP campaigns is that the party vote only is important.

    And the headline should be that National shed 7 percentage points during the campaign and is now vulnerable.  We are a by election away from a very interesting time. 

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      Mickey, you raise an excellent point. Maybe it is time that after 6 elections and 2 referenda that Labour finally accepts that MMP is here, and here to stay? Key and Joyce certainly seem to get it. The public seems to get it. Now that there are two ‘MMP era’ leaders in charge of Labour, maybe they will finally take a genuine MMP approach to politics, the House, electioneering and campaigning?

      • bbfloyd 1.1.1

        so it wasn’t mr muddle, billy the kid, and the whole national party machine that campaigned to get rid of mmp then? funny, i could have sworn the opposite was happening…..

      • mickysavage 1.1.2

        From 1999 to 2005 I thought that Labour handled MMP pretty well.  In 2008 obviously it got swamped.  It did not handle MMP so well this year for two reasons:
        1.  It did not establish poodles in electorate seats that could get a vote in Parliament worth more than the meagre support each poodle party achieved.
        2.  The campaign de emphasis on Goff backfired.
        Otherwise if you want to find out how to really handle MMP read up on Helen Clark.

  2. Colonial Viper 2


    A magnificent effort, and within 2% or 3% of being able to form a Government.

  3. RedLogix 3


    And yes… for a long time I was somewhat underwhelmed by Goff’s performance; for too long National and a compliant media were allowed to set the agenda. But in the last six months Labour fired, they did get their act together and a lot of good was acheived.

    Phil Goff should remain in the House. He’s the kind of experienced and capable Minister every government needs. I’m not at all impressed at how some voices have tarred him with a ‘loser’ label that has to be expunged from public view.

    And critically Shearer needs to learn the lesson that took Phil far too long to master; engaging with the media and public with confidence and empathy. Because when Phil got on top of that he was on a roll; the great tragedy for him was that with the RWC foreshortening the campaign his momentum never reached it’s potential.

    • rosy 3.1

      It was a fantastic effort. Phil has loads more grit and passion than I thought possible. Never more so than in his concession speech. There were glimpses throughout the year, notably his budget reply, but the situation was always going to be tough for him.

      • mike 3.1.1

        Phil and Annette were heroic in a game that was impossible to win. The thing that bugged me most was how many of our own continually bagged Phil. They swallowed the narrative about Phil set up by Crosby Textor. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen with the new leadership. It’s the ideals and values of the movement that we’re committed to, so we need to support the people who currently populate it even if they’re not our ‘perfect’ choice.

  4. kriswgtn 4

    Yeah they did a great job against the bias of the media who one day must be called to account for their so obvious right wing leanings…… and good luck to Shearer

  5. Dan1 5

    Great campaign! Phil was excellent. I am proud to have supported and voted Labour.
    As for MSM: Fairfax… yeah right…unFair, noFacts!

  6. Lanthanide 6

    What did Annette ever do? She seemed pretty invisible during the last term of government.

  7. Blue 7


    I always thought that once the public got to see Phil for themselves, rather than through the lens of what the media said about him, that they would like him.

    And finishing up with a 19.5% rating as preferred PM isn’t too shabby.

    Thanks to Phil for all of his hard work, and for keeping his spirits up in the face of such a tough task.

    And thanks to Annette for all of her support and hard work.

    • Marjorie Dawe 7.1

      And that 19.5% was on the back of pretty much just 4 debates. Phil Goff is a hero who actually showed John Key as the hollow man he is. Substance over slogans should have won out but Unfairfax made sure that we only saw one side of the coin and a fraction of the truth.

  8. Tangled up in blue 8

    Thanks for everything Phil, but please don’t stand again in 2014. In fact, if you’re gone by the end of next year that would be great.

  9. fender 9

    Thanks Phil and Annette, its a cruel part of politics that sometimes the people with the most substance can miss out and we end up with a govt of very little talent.

  10. ianmac 10

    Way back when Annette was MP for Horowhenua she was identified as a PM possibility. Well not quite there but a powerful supporting roll for her party and the country. And huge admiration for Phil and his energy and optimism in spite of the campaign to undermine him. A plucky chap!

  11. Ant 11

    He did a good job, but still had a couple of major failings, like the inadequate managing of Chris Carter, could have all been done without the major damage to the party – thought the whole thing was pretty sad for all involved.

  12. marsman 12

    A sterling effort Phil and Annette!

  13. fisiani 13

    Great effort Phil and Annette. I hope David and Grant make an equally great effort in 2014 and 2017.

  14. randal 14

    five * for both of you.
    it was a difficult time and you didint have time to brace yourself for the storm.

  15. MrSmith 15

    Thanks Phil for not steeping aside 18months ago when it was obvious a cardboard cut out of winnie the poo could have got more votes for labour and thanks for delaying the new leader taking control by so lessening the chances of Labour wining the next election. 
    Sincerely though, thanks for continually adopting the greens polices thereby giving them more exposure, votes and seats in parliament.
    and Annette Who? …..

  16. Mark 16

    I would like to say thanks to Phil for all the years he has devoted to try & improve NZ for all. It is a shame NZ never got to see what a great PM he would have been – thanks to our MSM who can so easily manipulate the public to vote for a muppet!!

  17. fatty 17

    I’d like to say thanks for implementing the student loan scheme…thanks for ruining my future, and thanks for your lifetime of failures…glad to see you have gone…hope you choke on a pretzel
    (if you do choke on a pretzel, then you probably want to do it in a place with a decent public health service….hang on, I forgot, you’re rich enough to get decent healthcare)

    • mike 17.1

      Blow it out your arse Fatty

      [lprent: That just hit the pointless personal attack level – see the policy. Look at Tom’s comment for an example of how weave a personal attack directly into the point and not attract my moderating attention (apart from envy). ]

    • Tom Gould 17.2

      How did you get so fat, then?

      • fatty 17.2.1

        are you happy with how he was a rodgernomics cheerleader?
        I’m not

        • The Voice of Reason

          Personally, there’s a lot I didn’t like about the eighties, fatty. The woolly jumpers, underarm bowling, the failure of the Punk Wars to keep the bloated carcasses of dinosaurs like Queen, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles from clogging up the airwaves, but frankly, it was all a very long time ago.
          I’m pretty sure Phil Goff matured in the intervening decades. Why can’t you?

        • Colonial Viper

          The stuff with Douglas, Prebble and Caygill was shit but if you cant move on 25 years later its the least of your problems.

  18. Santi 18

    I join all in thanking Phil Goff very, very much!

  19. Nick C 19

    Thanks Phil for backing Roger in the 80s. New Zealand would be a 3rd world banana republic without your committment to opening and liberalising the economy. Many critise rogernomics here but I wonder how many would bring back import licencing, fixed exchange rates, 70% top tax rates, farming subsidies etc.

    Annette is a good local MP, I hope she stays on until 2014.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      The Chicago School Boat left a long time ago mate.

      Now the crony cartel capitalism boat powered by GFF (Global Financial Fraud) is sailing.

      Would you like us to get onboard that one too?

      • Nick C 19.1.1

        You dont have to be Milton Friedman to see that 70% top tax rate, import licencing, fixed exchange rates and farm subsidies arent good policies. How about you stop blustering and tell us which of Robert Muldoons policies you would reinstate?

        • Colonial Viper

          For starters I’d be building power stations and grid not selling them off, as well as building and electrifying rail not frakin holiday highways.

          BTW there is nothing wrong with a 70% top tax rate on those earning over 20x the median income, or companies earning more than $100M profit a year.

  20. MrSmith 20

    Oh and before I forget thanks Phil for not quitting politics and making sure after one of the worse election defeats in 80 years the public think nothing has changed in the labour party, looks like three more years ahead of rearranging a few chairs on the titanic and weak opposition, National must be pinching themselves.

    Sorry but someone had to say it! 

  21. seeker 21

    Thought you did a fantastic job Phil. Your strength, integrity and passion shone through. Another couple of weeks and we would have seen you trying to stitch a government together and not the antiPM key.
    Feeling desperate that your plans for so many things are having to be put on hold ,especially apprenticeship and training incentives for our youth and Annette’s Minister for Children. Thank you so much for trying and giving us hope. Have a good Christmas, both of you-and a bit of a well earned rest!

  22. Josh 22

    Yes, thanks Phil for securing another 3 years of professional well run government. National couldn’t have done it without you. Oh by the way, next time if you are trying to win an election, try actually producing policies instead of just attacking the opposition, it just shows, those antics haven’t worked for the last two terms.

    However on a brighter note the demise of Labour means the rise of the greens, now at least the green party have substance and policies that make sense from a lefty point of view.

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