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Time for the Goffice to step up to the plate

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, January 29th, 2011 - 137 comments
Categories: assets, election 2011, john key, labour, national, phil goff - Tags:

We face a stark choice this year: a Labour-led government, which will create fairer tax and invest in jobs and innovation, or National-led government, which will govern for the kleptocracy, giving them tax cuts, then selling our assets and slashing our public services to pay for them. So why is the Goffice doing such a bad job making the case?

I can’t for the life of me work out what the hell Labour was thinking presenting a tax package without the costings. It’s not hard to do. In fact, NZIER did it within three days. They conclude that the $5,000 tax free bracket and GST off fruit and vegetables could be paid for by a 53% tax over $100,000. NZIER reckons that would leave 96% of taxpayers better off.

The top rate can be less and the threshold higher if investment property ring-fencing is also introduced. With $400 million from ring-fencing and the same from clamping down on tax avoidance and other loopholes, the new top rate be 45% at $120,000, and 97% of people would be better off.

Hell, Labour could simply say ‘we’ll introduce the Australian rates and thresholds’, which would give a tax cut to the 2.5 million on incomes below $42,000, and pay for taking GST off fruit and vegetables. (cheers to Marty for the tax numbers)

But by not having their shit together, they’ve let National and the media make them look stupid and irresponsible.

Why didn’t Phil Goff get up and say ‘I am here today to announce a tax increase, for myself. National has taken for the poor and given to the rich. People like me on high incomes do not need the tax cuts John Key has given us. I will increase the taxes on the rich and lessen the burden on 97% of Kiwi families, who have been preyed upon by this National government’? And why didn’t he have a simple table of costings, to prove it?

Where was the follow up and where was the messaging? If Goff is going to present a policy that makes him a bit of a modern-day Robin Hood why not have the gumption to frame it that way too?

Then there’s National partial asset sale policy. Everyone knew it was coming. On The Standard, we’ve published the Treasury papers, and even suggested more sneaky ways National might go about it than they actually have done.

Hell, we’ve all known National intends to sell assets since before Bill English split the beans at that cocktail party. So where’s Labour’s preparation? You would think they would have had a killer bunch of lines sorted. Nope.

Unlike Labour, National and Key have been building to this election for five years, as Matthew Hooton reveals (behind pay-wall):

As a strategy, it’s always been obvious. The breakthrough is Mr Key having the emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills and patience necessary to execute it, day-in, day-out since 2006. … the volleyball games at Ratana, the white-man dancing at the Big Gay Out and all the other excruciating photo ops that have made the vast majority love him, feel comfortable with him and, most importantly, trust him.

All so that he can build up the political capital needed to announce privatisation – under the pretext of a debt problem which he worsened and privatisation won’t solve – while still maintaining the popularity to get over the line at the election, which will be in July because the numbers won’t hold until November.

The media’s smart enough to see the holes in Key’s plan – even when praising it, like Fran O’Sullian this morning:

selling shareholdings in SOEs to fund assets such as hospitals and schools will inevitably run up against the argument that the Government is forgoing reliable dividend streams to fund assets that it cannot afford to build just now.

the reality is that unless the Government gets more revenue in from somewhere it remains vulnerable to accusations it is flicking assets to fund last year’s income tax cuts for top-earning Kiwis.

The Prime Minister repeatedly stressed this week that the 2010 National’s “tax-switch” package was revenue neutral.

But even on Budget night, Treasury forecasts predicted the switch would result in a $460 million shortfall in the 2011 year – which was certainly not enough to fund the big personal tax cuts at upper income levels that went into effect on October 1.

If Fran O’Sullivan can say ‘National has slashed taxes for the very richest New Zealanders with borrowed money. Now, it is selling our assets and cutting public services to pay for them’ why can’t Labour?

It has become more important than ever that we have a Labour-led government after the next election. The damage National will do in its second term will be irreversible. The election is only six months away but, in a two-news cycle a day world, that is still plenty of time to frame Key as having conned his way into our trust, and now wanting to sell the assets we have built up over generations and cut our public services to pay for tax cuts for the few. There is still time for Goff to position himself as a man willing to take back from the rich and make everyone else better off. What it takes is a concerted effort, not one-offs with little follow-through.

It’s a piece of luck for Labour that a Treasury paper from December confirms that ownership of assets if they are sold will go overseas. But it seems to me Labour is reliant too much on good fortune falling in its lap.The Goffice, if it really wants to become the Prime Minister’s office, needs to start making its own luck.

137 comments on “Time for the Goffice to step up to the plate ”

  1. “If you think you can you will” is a better alternative to “If you think you can’t you won’t”

  2. Pete 2

    The Goffice, if it really wants to become the Prime Minister’s office, needs to start making its own luck.

    Yes, but to get more luck and less muck they need to go back to the drawing board and think things through a lot better. They seem to be reactive and irrational.

    It has become more important than ever that we have a Labour-led government after the next election.

    I wouldn’t put it that strongly, but it’s important Labour at least becomes a much stronger more credible opposition, and starts to look like they are capable of taking over if the voters throw the dice that way. If Labour lose things won’t be as desperate as you make out, but a strong Labour will ensure a better balance. If they keep going like they are it may effectively give National an open chequebook.

  3. Roger 3

    I am considerably more disappointed with the media treatment of this than with Phil Goff. He did not present the numbers but as you have Eddie it can be tax neutral quite easily within reasonable bounds. While he did not present the numbers he has insisted that the package would not put us into more debt. The reason he had to do this was because media journalists and presenters including National Radio were repeatedly questioning him on how much this is going to cost and can we really afford it.

    I do not understand the high level of questioning considering that a increase in GST from 12.5% to 15% of consumption spending (some of a person’s income) was supposedly going to magically pay for tax cuts from 39% to 33% for the top earners down to 2% at the bottom. John Key said that the tax cuts were going to be neutral and everyone was going to be better off. This doesn’t add up. Key was not pulled up on this and harassed about the cost and fiscal irresponsibility by media the way Phil Goff has been.

    Maybe its because National presented bullshit numbers which must be better than not presenting numbers.

    • Eddie 3.1

      It’s not fair that National was allowed to get away with making tax promises it didn’t keep and it was never held to this level of scrutiny. But life isn’t fair and politics even less so. The media are the way they are and Labour allowed National to shape the analysis of both its own tax policies and Labour’s.

      giving a specific number for a tax change and not showing how you’re going to pay for it is amateur and allows you to be framed as irresponsible. If they didn’t want to get specific about what will happen at the top end, they should have just said ‘there will be a tax-free bracket’ and not defined it, piquing interest for later.

      Btw, by this in 1999, Labour had announced its tax policy in full detail.

      captcha: analysis

  4. Salsy 4

    The Cabinet reshuffle really needs to bring in new fresh energy right up to the helm – Cunliffe as deputy – facing off with Key & Blinglish. Lets face it, this ones about finance.

    • The Voice of Reason 4.1

      I understand Labour have a policy of having a male/female and urban/provincial leader and deputy. That would preclude Cunliffe being Goff’s deputy. National have maintained an urban/country split too, I believe, and the Greens have male/female co-leaders.

  5. Goff is our very own John Kerry to Key’s Dubya…

    • Eddie 5.1

      I just wonder some times how much he really wants the job.

      • Anthony C 5.1.1

        Exactly, who are this guys strategists?

      • Pete 5.1.2

        That’s a major issue – he doesn’t look like he is totally behind and enthused by the lines he keeps repeating. Is he having to comply with the weight of numbers below him? Is he going through the motions as a caretaker? Or does he just lack the confidence to do what he really believe in?

        Labour are in a bit of a bind, they and Goff have to lift their game, any major changes (eg leadership) would set them back even further at this stage of the cycle, it would add to the appearance of tryhard desperation.

        • pollywog

          30 yrs in parliament has got to jade even the most idealistic of politicians.

          Seems like he’s just going through the motions cos no matter what, he’s made his money and his mark through the Clark years and now seems content to play off the crumbs Key keeps feeding him in the media.

          Yeah, after all’s said and done, it’d be nice to have former PM added to his CV, but he just doesn’t seem to be cut from leadership cloth.

          Labour should have rolled him 18 months ago.

      • Gus 5.1.3

        Bang on Eddie. Its almost like sometimes its a ‘take it or leave’ attitude. Doesnt make sense.

    • johnm 5.2

      Hi pollywog I agree a kernel of truth in what you say: We almost have here a two headed one party state. Goff seems to me to be going through the motions!

    • Mrhappy 5.3

      So does that make Brownlee the New Zealand Dick Cheney?

  6. just saying 6

    I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that we’d be better off if Labour doesn’t lead the next, government, and I say this as someone with loved ones who will be worst affected by another Nat govt. Who are already being hurt actually.

    Goff and the Labour front bench are neither competent nor left wing. If Labour squeezes in with its policy of doing nothing much and trying to maintain some kind of 2000sesque holding pattern it will be a one term government. Everyone who doesn’t know already will be very clear in the next few years that bold action is required, along with wise courageous and compassionate responses to new problems as they emerge. If there is one thing worse that National in 2011, it’s National in 2014 with the country in a bigger shambles and with greater civil unrest than we have now. And there is the potential for a landslde to boot.

    • Deadly_NZ 6.1

      “And there is the potential for a landslide to boot.” yeah and after 3 more years of the NACT thieves there wont be anything left and it won’t matter who’s in government as they will be told what to do by the Multinational corporations run by key and his mates..

      But that’s where we are going to end up unless Goff has a change of direction, Grows a pair, or is rolled, and someone else with some balls steps up.. But a Ballless Goff, is worse than useless, as he is becoming a laughing (A tax reform package with NO costings MY GOD MAN!) stock, and all the fence sitters won’t go for that. So really it don’t Matter how bad Shonkey is , the NACTS are laughing all the way to the polling booth.

      And that’s the sad truth of the matter.

      • marty mars 6.1.1

        That is my view too deadly – after another 3 years of the gnats the for sale sign will come down because there won’t be any need for it – the sale will have happened and it will be too late to reverse it.

  7. Zeroque 7

    I agree with most of what you say Eddie. I am fairly confident that the Labour tax policy will be popular with voters and that the Nats asset sales agenda leaves the Nats vulnerable. It just seems incredible that Labour seem adept at not capitalising on opportunities as much as they ought to be. I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes. Goff doesnt always look confident and it’s almost like at times he doubts some of the things he is saying.

  8. Adolf Fiinkensein 8

    \”They conclude that the $5,000 tax free bracket and GST off fruit and vegetables could be paid for by a 53% tax over $100,000. NZIER reckons that would leave 96% of taxpayers better off.\”

    Just as well neither NZIER nor you blokes are running the country. They and you forgot to factor in the 90% of taxpayers who would arrange their affairs to avoid your futile 53c surtax.

    You\’d be lucky if you collected a lousy hundred million let alone $1.2 billion.

    Oh, and while you\’re at it, would you care to specify just which tax loop holes you are talking about? They wouldn\’t be the ones Bill English has already closed off, by any chance?

    You guys had better get used to the taste of locusts. You\’re going to be in the wilderness for at least forty years before you find some poor bastard called Moses.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Blinglish closed off one or two but he certainly didn’t close off the ones that needed to be closed. No CGT and no ring fencing. Those two alone would probably pay for the $5k tax free bracket.

    • IrishBill 8.2

      Advice from a guy who names himself after Hitler and refers to islanders as “darkies”? ROFL

  9. Gina 9

    I think Goff might be worried about appearing too left wing. Labour are in need of corporate and business donors or they cannot fight the next election. So Goff is saying what the left tell him to but he knows he runs the risk of an all out media war against him. Believe me the corporate media don’t want a labour govrnment. The big business people Labour needs to fund his campaign are most likely setting Labour up as we speak like Owen Glen did last time. Whats a bet we see Owen Glen back again giving more money to Labour then revealing more labour corruption next election. Really labour need to get their base educated that unless they fund politics the rich will take over like in the US.
    Best solution would be a major funding drive for labour. We could push the fact that if the people dont fund labour their only alternative is the rich so workers will loose control of their party. Once the coffers are full of non corporate money we might see a bit more left wing conviction coming from Goff and the party.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1


      Problem, Labour is so right-wing that the base that they should be calling on don’t support them that much any more.

      • the sprout 9.1.1


      • Pete 9.1.2


        The left thing Labour are too right wing.
        The right think National are too left wing.
        Why doesn’t everyone swap which party they vote for?

      • mickysavage 9.1.3

        I disagree. Over the past 12 months Labour has come out with more left wing policy than it has since the 1970s.

        Obviously not left wing enough for some but some of us are not looking for the perfect political party …

        • QoT

          I don’t want a perfect party, I want one that seems to give a shit and is willing to put its ego on the line to refute neoliberalism and remember why exactly they’re called “Labour”.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I’m not looking for the perfect political party either – just one that takes account of that minor inconvenience called reality. None of the parties seem capable of doing that.

  10. Pete 10

    Goff doesn’t always look confident and it’s almost like at times he doubts some of the things he is saying.
    I think Goff might be worried about appearing too left wing.

    Or maybe he’s being pushed where he isn’t comfortable, not his natural state – policy-wise and/or level of leadership.

    • Bill 10.1

      Which might explain why the likes of Cunliffe aren’t being given more media exposure? Insofar as their pronouncements or rhetoric would leave Goff looking stranded and playing awkward catch-up?

      I agree with comments that Goff appears to be responding to pressures from within the party and isn’t comfortable with his positioning.

      So what is the point of him? If the Labour Party is playing out some internal political game, they should cut the crap and conclude the game with whatever configuration or part configuration they have instead of waiting for whatever preferred situation it is that are waiting for.

      Since the left appears to have enough grunt within the party to push a neo-lib leader to positions he appears less than comfortable with, one would assume they have the grunt to quit with the pussy footing and to just get on with it.

      Further, one could argue they have a moral obligation to do so.

  11. ianmac 11

    Maybe a week/month is a long time in politics. Now is not the time for a brilliant burst. Now is the time to light small smouldering fires and build slowly towards an election. The electorate especially that of the swinging voter has a short memory so capitalise on that.
    “Hold your fire men! Wait till you see the yellow of their jaundiced eyes!”

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      While I kinda agree Labour do need to be able to deflect the incoming attack from the right – mostly the MSM and NACT.

  12. Gina 12


    Yes that’s a possibility. He was a Rogernome after all.

    I honestly think the only aleternative leader we have is Andrew Little. Be great if it were possible to add him to the list now pending someones elses early retirement then put him in as leader beffore the election . The media would try to crucify him but I don’t think they would suceed.
    I’d also advise Labour to make sure Andrew is high on the list. The nats will go all out to defeat Andrew in his electorate if they think he wont be on the list and they can knock out a potential future Labour leader who is already polling reasonably well before he has even entered parliament. Labour need to get smart pretty quick.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.1

      The Nats can’t go all out in New Plymouth, Gina. They’re stuck with the plonker MP who narrowly won it last election, and who has made no impression at all since his surprise win. I’d presume Little will have a top ten list ranking to back it up, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t bolt in in his hometown.

      • Gina 12.1.1

        I have read a couple of times that Little will not be on the list. That he thinks he can win without being on the list. That is more than likely correct however look at what happened to the perenially popular Jim Anderton in the Christchurch Mayoral race. The National party machine unexpectedly defeated him.

        As I said if Little is not on the list the Nats will go all out to ensure he doesn’t get elected. If he’s on the list they wont bother much and it’ll be easier for him to get the seat.

        Remember, Little in one poll got to 9% for preferred prime minister and hes not in parliament. Even John Key cannot boast that kind of popularity before he was ever elected as an MP. The Nats will be out to stop him ever getting in if he’s not guaranteed a high list placing.

        • The Voice of Reason

          You might be right, Gina, but it would be very strange. I can’t think of a prospective MP from any party who has put themselves under that much pressure, but there may be some I suppose. Bob whatsit from Tauranga? I could see it if you were a long time MP with a whopping majority, but not at the first try.

          As for Little assuming the leadership, even if Goff lost the election and immediately quit as leader, I don’t think Little is going to be given the Big Job on his first day at work. More likely King does a caretaker role till the dust settles and a new direction and leadership can be found. Then perhaps he could step up. Me personally, I’d love to see Little/Adern winning the 2014 poll, but only after Goff/King have won in 2011.

          • Gina

            If Little doesn’t make it throught this election he wont be a potential leader for 2014. I really think the country urgently needs one of the major parties to steer us away from the police state we arre headed towards. I’m happy for noses to be out of joint ot achieve that. If Goff suddenly becomes Roger Douglas or similar I want someone there who can oust him.
            With the threat of austerity, police state etc we need an alternative pretty quick or our democracy will be toast. I don’t know where Little stands on the police state and the direction of Labour in that regard but I don’t care who’s nose is out of joint if we can get someone who will lead the Labour party away from that then I’m for it.

            No time for politeness or noses out of joint as the free world burns. 2011 – 2014 is a danger zone for us all and thats why I’m here commenting on this blog.

            • Pete

              What the heck are you talking about – a police state? Doesn’t look anything like going there, and our democracy is more dependable than most.There’s always things to improve on but nothing drastic that should stuff things up badly.

              • Gina

                Sorry Pete but are you wearing blackout glasses. The search and surveillance bill destroys the freedom of the press. News outlets will have to hand over their sources to to the government. No one will dob in government corruption once that happens.
                There are things happening overseas on daily basis that our press refuse to publish and I can see those same things beginning here.

                We are going to have courts without Juries, no right to silence etc etc and I have good reason to suspect the Nats are making our electoral roles able to be changed online so they can be hacked. Even if they dont hack them the multinationals will to get the election results they want. John Key is here for a reason and its not to help you and I.

                • Pete

                  John Key is here for a reason

                  Yes, popular vote.

                  The world didn’t end for righties in the Clark years, and it won’t end for lefties in the Key years. There are a few differences between the two main parties but far more similarities in practice.

                  New Zealand will still be chugging along when Labour get back in.

                • Gina

                  The Nats have increased the prison bjudget by 40%. Either they secretly know private prisons will cost a whole lot more or they are planning to imprison a lot more people. Their justification that long term prisoners will amount to a 40% increase seems unlikley.

                  Interesting that Harper in Canada is expanding prisons despite falling crime rates for more than 2 decades. And corporations in the US are making a fortune out of prison labour. It would seem to me that prisoners working profits should go to their victums not to corporations. World economies are being threatened and crashed one at a time and its been done one at a time delberatly so that there is no rebellion to the international banking power structure. Our time will come. If New Zealand stands up against privatisation the bankers will threaten our economy. If we don’t stand up we will loose our country.

                  Exactly when this will happen is not certain. It might be years away but the international economic meltdown was no accident.

                  • Nick C

                    I hear they’ve also got satellites in space which send down beams to control our minds. No wonder they have been so high in the polls despite being so bad at everything.

                    Better put your tinfoil hat on Gina, or they will get you next!

                    • orange whip?

                      That’s a bit silly Nick. Gina gave several verifiable statements of fact to support her contention.

                      And instead of disproving any of them, you throw up a ridiculous, unverifiable mocking statement as if it were on a par with Gina’s easily testable examples.

                      It doesn’t reflect well on you, Nick. It shows that your thoughts are so rutted that anything you haven’t heard about before goes right over your head or is deflected via ridicule.

                      How about you contest Gina’s statements about prison numbers, judicial system changes, or removal of the right to silence instead?

                    • Nick C

                      Vague accusations that the press are self sensoring political content, Key facilitating a plot by multinationals to hack the electoral role and wrig an election. Come on…

                    • orange whip?

                      No Nick, try the three items I mentioned. You did read them yes? You must have in order to be able to reply as you did. So why did you ignore them? No way to address them without looking foolish I suppose.

                      Let’s hear your arguments for why Gina is wrong about the removal of the right to silence.

                      If you’re going to use cheap mockery you’d best be sure to do it from a solid footing, Nick, because you will be called on it.

                  • Pete

                    Either they secretly know private prisons will cost a whole lot more or they are planning to imprison a lot more people.

                    The prison population has been rising significantly over the last decade, due to political responses to public knee-jerks. Much of this happened under Labour – increased police numbers, tougher sentences – these have a flow on effect. This has merely continued under National. Three strikes hasn’t had an effect yet, but they have to plan for that.

                    The public seem to want more people jailed for longer, the politicians don’t seem to be able to resist that pressure. The public don’t seem to care about addressing the real problems of mental health issues for example, they just want the problems locked away out of sight.

                    Gina, you should look at what has been happening, not worry about an imaginary conspiracy.

                    • orange whip?

                      Gina is looking at exactly what has happened in other countries that have followed the same prescription.

                      No “imaginary conspiracy” required, just a dispassionate examination of facts.

                    • Nick C

                      @Orange whip – with regard to your previous commment: If Gina makes 3 debatable claims and 2 rediculous claims, i’m entitled to mock her for the rediculous claims, no?

                    • orange whip?

                      Do what you like mate.

                      Just that you look a bit silly rushing in to mock someone who raised some very valid and arguably important material without even vaguely addressing it, and then when called on it you pretty much do it again as if you still hadn’t bothered reading it the 1st or 2nd times.

                      That’s all I’m saying. But don’t let that stop you.

                  • RobertM

                    Collins has never made any secret that the Nat policy is to imprison more and build more prisons. But aren’t we on the wrong track. In Britain the Tory-Lib govt intends to reduce prison numbers, close prisons and reduce police numbers and salaries by a third. Of course they have kept a strong air force and navy. And it was always the British Marines, SAS and SBS in police uniforms ( not the police themselves) that did the hard necessary actions like smashing the miners and beating up Scargill’s thugs. And of course in Britain they have since almost done away with the miners and Brit coal industry. Offending isn’t to do with poverty or mental illness, both problems have been solved with welfare and modern drugs, if they were used intelligently. All people do better if they can control their own lives ( other than the seriously retarded and alzheimers victims) People know best, Gina, not you, not the social worker, planner, professor, doctor or policemen.

      • Bob Stanforth 12.1.2

        Let me guess, you live there, right? I suspect from your comments you do not, but do tell 🙂

        Take it from someone who does live in NP, who thought he WAS a plonker of an MP, but had his opinion revised – he is a bloody good and very active local MP.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Not in the electorate, Bob, but not too far away. Had my car parked across the road from Young’s office on Thursday, as it happens. Harry Duynhoven’s resounding mayoralty win is a good indicator of where the seat is going, but hey, if you think Young’s a good MP then enjoy him while you can! Your assessment does make me sure that Little would have to have the backup of a list placing though. If there are locals like yourself who are prepared to reconsider Young, then maybe it will be tighter than I’ve been saying.

          • Bob Stanforth

            VoR, I was most def. not a fan, he came across as an arse, but Ive been swayed by the effort Ive seen him put in locally. But then Harry puts in effort as well – he came to our kids school sports day and stayed for ages – but I still think Harry’s an arse 🙂

            As for Harry being elected, that was more a reflection of the paucity of decent candidates – hell, even I voted for him, didn’t want the utterly idiotic JR getting in! Harry will make a decent enough small town Mayor, but don’t confuse that with an election outcome. NP is still a marginal seat, but that will be tested soon enough 🙂 As for Little, he will need to be high up the list, union people tend to polarise voters in towns like this 😉

    • just saying 12.2

      At least Little is competent at the politics game. He’s a pretty smooth operator. Not left enough for my taste, but not a mealy mouthed Rogernome way out of his depth.

    • Pete 12.3

      Far too early for Little, he has to prove his worth in parliament first, presuming he gets in (most likely one way or another). I doubt National will be worrying about Little at this stage. Maybe 2014, but even that is a fast track – and would leave some more senior noses out of joint.

      No leader will be ideal for all party factions – but they have to be strong enough and successful enough to quell dissent with their popularity. Who in Labour could manage that?

    • RobertM 12.4

      I doubt that Little is a sure thing in the New plymouth electorate. I’ve only spent one night in New Plymouth in about 2004- but to me mainstreet New Plymouth was in every way a conservative country town even compared with Palmeston North. I slept in bus from the moment we left New Plymouth and saw nothing until we arrived at Palmy for refreshments-but doubt I missed seeing anything of the ‘sophistication’ of Inglewood, Patea and Hawera. I supect Taranaki is very much the backwoods and eminently cultivatable with a bit of Nact redneck and racist appeal. Cynical, but.
      In terms of the media, the australian takeover of the major and provincial newspapers results in a bland managed product, and much less access for freelancers and alternative commentators. After NZ did the apostary of rejecting Beazley and Howard third anzac frigate, the Australian were determined to stamp out independent kiwi comment. Now after the tenure of the overated kiwi halfback David Kirk’s as local Fairfax boss, you can’t even write a letter on any national or defence topic for most provincial papers without having it edited and suppressed by sub editors in Auckland and Christchurch. The local provincials have lost all control of their serious product, editorially.

      • Craig Glen Eden 12.4.1

        One night in a town in 2004 and you think you know how the electorate will vote in 2011?


        Little who is a Naki boy returning home, is down to earth but very comfortable with public speaking and mixing with all types will go down well in NP.
        Young only won because Dynhoven was unwell and couldn’t campaign as he usually does. Some locals thought the lack of campaigning by Harry was a sign that he was tired and it was therefore time for a change any change. What they now realise is Young was all spent after the campaign, Young is not liked he just happened to be their. He has no credentials and I suspect on election night he will be gone as fast as Paula Bennett losses Waitakere

        • RobertM

          No, I don’t think, I’m wrong, my antenna is pretty good. The first look at a town or person, usually give a pretty accurate reading , 99% of the time. Its only one percent of people, your RFK’s and Churchills that people always percieve as idiots, the first time and gradually revise, their opinions.
          The fact Dynhoven was selectable as New Plymouth Labour MP shows it a pretty, conservative town and neither Clark or I could really stomach him. He is what he seems, a staunch. conservative Dutchmen, selected because of past Labour ‘Mistakes’ by Clark like selecting Jan Walker in Timaru in 1985.Dynhoven’s main profile was on transport and defence he advocated, first the Danish Standflex cutters for the Navy and then British Vosper, OPVs’ to get spin off construction work in the naki. But I viewed the Irish- Tenix OPV’s Otago and Wellington as a better design to go after the whalers and poachers.
          Doubtless, Young won because of the swing to National and the general provincial reaction to Bradford’s Bill and Clark’s liberalism. Anyone who has observed Young in parliament, knows he’s an weak and inexperienced and fluffs things like asking questions in the house. The initial test. So if Little wins, it will really be because he’s running against a very weak opponent without much local appeal.

  13. It seems like goff doesn’t believe he can win – he has bought into the lines and as others have said appears to be going through the motions. The advice he is getting is below bad. All of the times he takes a hit from the gnats or the media are times where he could turn it around on his attackers – even the hair job.

    key is so confident now – overconfident – and if you couple that with his addiction to popularity it would seem not that difficult to put some peas/pee in his bed. But that can only happen if labour aren’t scared of him and his apparent popularity.

    If goff actually believes he is just there to lose the election then he may as well just rip into everything and go down fighting – his years in the house must be worth something. And if he believes he can win then get the lines sorted and start using them otherwise his legacy will be a small footnote in wikipedia written by his enemies.

    • Pete 13.1

      Little didn’t do himself any favours openly accepting defeat in Botany even before candidates had been selected – Labour may not win the seat but they could win some brownie (and whitey) points if they at least gave it a decent attempt.

      I agree that at a minimum they should refresh deputy, there has to be some look of the future in leadership.

      • mickysavage 13.1.1

        Strange post Pete.

        National has a huge majority and a two party swing of no less than about 28% will win the seat.

        This may happen, you never know. The moon may turn green and Key may also turn out to be a woman.

        Labour will be giving it a really good run. Michael Wood is a serious talented candidate who will be in Parliament fairly soon. But if Labour announced that it was running a serious campaign and then lost then idiots who do not know better would interpret it as being a loss.

        The future looks rosy. I think Jacinda Ardern will form part of it although I think that Andrew Little will be an effective MP but not a leader.

        • marty mars

          don’t have a “serious campaign” for that seat but “give it a good run”

          what does that mean?

          • The Voice of Reason

            Using the opportunity to promote the party, rather than the candidate. It’s rather like playing for the draw in football terms, a good tactic when you are away from home.

      • orange whip? 13.1.2

        I agree that at a minimum they should refresh deputy, there has to be some look of the future in leadership.

        You mean like English? lol.

        • Pete

          One fossil in leadership looks fine for experience, but when both are fossils the party looks prehistoric. Voters are not looking for last century parties.

          • orange whip?

            Fair call. Frankly I think Labour should get rid of the pair of them. Or more accurately, shouldn’t have given either of them the job 2 years ago.

            • Pete

              I think it was a reasonable decision after the election – install leadership with experience to help the transition to Opposition. But then, if they thought Goff was the right choice to see them through to the election, they should have replaced deputy with a fresh new face, injected some new ideas and enthusiasm.

              And if they really did think there was someone better than Goff to lead that should have changed last year, so the new leadership team was prepared and ready to launch now.

              Too late for changing the leader, but they could get away with changing deputy. And time for the Goffice to step up to the plate.

              • Salsy

                Why? Aussie Labour did just a couple of months before the election.. they won.

                • QoT

                  I don’t think NZ Labour has a Julia Gillard equivalent …

                  • Salsy

                    Based on Cunliffes performance on The nation also reported by The Standard I would have a hundred times more confidence in placing him opposite John Key in the all important, upcoming leaders debates. When Key is made to look dumb, he looks really, really dumb and frighteningly untrustworthy. Cunliffe can wipe the floor with him intellectually, he’s powerful and knows his facts. Goff on the other hand, knows his facts but cannot deliver them. He is unfortunately, more likely to made a fool of..

                    • QoT

                      This is all very true, Salsy. My concern is that there’s a consistent narrative in NZ politics and media at the moment which is deeply anti-intellectual, hence the constant focus on Key as being everyone’s chum, salt of the earth, not one of those ivory tower bigwigs with their theories and ideologies.

                    • Pete

                      Goff’s problem is not anti-intellectualism, he’s not portraying himself as an intellectual, he’s trying populist pandering with little attempt to show any sign he knows the facts. His current impression just doesn’t seem to fit his personality.

                      He needs to try something other than try-hard fraud. Honest intellectual would be nowhere near as bad.

  14. Rharn 14

    Labour need to dump King and replace her with Cunnilife. Will this happen………..nope. They just don’t have the killer instinct to win this election or the political nous to do so. When one considers all the mistakes and corruption of Key and his cronies and the ‘letoffs’ that Goff has not capitalised under his watch is it any wonder that Key and the Nats are so far ahead of Labour in the polls. Labour might just squeak home with the help of the minor parties but Goff needs to up his game and if he can not do this then the caucus need to help him do it by replacing King with someone who can.

    • Gina 14.1

      As a woman and a feminist I have to agree with you on that one. Its not fair but men hate her. And lets face it shes not a leader type. She reminds me of Mrs Marsh the dental woman.

      • Craig Glen Eden 14.1.1

        Men don’t hate her at all Gina what a croc of shit. In fact if anything she is a very typical Kiwi girl type, she loves a good laugh is easy to get on with and loves her rugby.In fact I know guys who think she is a good stick when they have spent time with her.

        Goff is the problem though, the rest of the team needs to be let of the leash especially Cunliffe but others to like Parker.
        It presents like Goff has to be put up on everything when Cunliffe could take Key and English out on the economy alone.

    • the sprout 14.2

      I agree, King’s hopelessness is only surpassed and mitigated by her invisibility.
      Change her for Street.

      • Jenny 14.2.1

        How about Mallard?

      • QoT 14.2.2

        You did see this post by Danyl, right? While we’re talking about “invisibility”.

        • the sprout

          yeah.. King ranks 4th – Goff, then Carter, then Cunliffe… then King. to be honest i’m surprised she’s even that high

          • QoT

            Yeah, but Street and Dyson are basically invisible especially compared to the attention some of the Greens got.

            • the sprout

              Street and Dyson are basically invisible

              neither of them are Deputy Leaders of the Opposition either;
              not really their roles to be getting media profile like it is for King

              • QoT

                Yes, but they’re being soundly trounced by less-experienced counterparts in a much smaller party with even less leverage with mainstream media. If the problem with Annette King is her invisibility the answer is hardly coming off the Labour front bench.

                • true, but then invisibility is only one of many of King’s problems and i suspect with the current leadership many of labour’s front bench are holding back.

                  which is not to detract from the efforts of some greens, they have at times done well, typically better than labour… although that’s not hard at present

                  • QoT

                    You have a good point there. Certainly it would be hard to do worse than the current leadership, but the bugger of it is that we’re in an election year already and I think it would simply be impossible to (a) convince Goff and King they need to go and (b) build the profile of their replacements fast enough.

          • orange whip?

            Make that Goff, then Carter, then MALLARD, then Cunliffe… then King.

            • ianmac

              When Annette King started as a MP she was marked as PM material. Almost as though it is a kiss of death to name anyone so.

  15. infused 15

    When I look at Goff, I see someone who isn’t confident. His words sound hollow. It comes across like oh you did that, well I’m going to one up you…

    Regardless of who I vote for, that’s how I see him. Everyone I talk to says the same thing. You need to lose Goff before Labour gets any traction.

    My 2c’s. I’ve said this from the start. You all said “oh he’s going to get better”. Well he hasn’t.

    EDIT: The other thing I’ve noticed is that he doesn’t get much air time. I believe this is related to people not really giving a toss what he has to say.

    • Gina 15.1

      I think he doesn’t get air time because the corporate media want tax cuts, hate unions etc etc.

    • Jum 15.2

      Goff not getting much air time is all about the rightwing controlling airwaves and written media. If NAct gets in again the left-leaning i.e. objective blogs will be on notice as well.

      • infused 15.2.1

        Oh bullshit. Labour held the spotlight when in power.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, they didn’t except insofar as that they got a hell of a lot of criticism and NACT didn’t. hmmm… Seems the same’s happening now except that the MSM ignore/criticise Labour even more and still give John Key rim jobs glowing, uncritical reports that are totally lacking in any sort of fact checking.

  16. the sprout 16

    Well said Eddie.
    I would love to see a press release along the lines of what you’ve suggested above, and I think voters would too. But we never do.

    I sorely lament what is going on with Labour’s leadership and whoever’s charged with comms and strategy. I look forward to a change of guard, but I fear we’ll have to lose the next election first – and what a terrible price that will incur. I feel very fcuked-off with the pathetic performance we’ve seen from Labour this term.

  17. Salsy 17

    Interesting blog/opinion goff-needs-to-exceed-expectations . Bold reorganisation, filling the void to counter his own failings. The cabinet reshuffle is really their last hand..

  18. Chris73 18

    Actually I agree with this, Labour can’t expect people to trust and vote for them untill they start showing they have their s**t sorted and stop looking like amateurs

    • KJT 18.1

      I don’t think either party have their shit sorted. National increasing our debt both present and future to pay for continued giveaways to their constituency in the grand tradition of Muldoon. (30 billion since being elected). Labour too scared to go back and say what they stand for. If they even remember. It has been over 30 years since they were a party of principles after all.

      Unfortunately unless Labour get their shit together we will have nothing left as National will have mined, sold or given away everything.

      • Chris73 18.1.1

        Personally I think we should be mining more, if the minerals are there lets get them out

        • KJT

          What are you going to sell for no taxes/subsidies to the rich when it is all gone?

          • Chris73

            and Labours big idea to solve our money problem is (drum roll please) raise taxes and give everyone (including the rich) an extra 10 bucks a week…wow

            • infused


            • Draco T Bastard

              Lovely attempt to not answer the question. Not really surprising though as a RWNJ, when confronted with reality, always tries to distract away from and to ignore it.

            • QoT

              Yeah, $10 a week, that’s such chump change. Except for the New Zealanders who aren’t privileged enough to have a computer, an internet connection, and time to spend being sarcastic on blogs because they can’t even afford to eat.

              • Lanthanide

                But what does $10/week buy, really? 5 litres of petrol, maybe 1 meal for a family of 4?

                • QoT

                  Let me guess, Lanth … you’ve never had to choose between “having enough food to make three full meals for the whole family on Sunday” and “filling up the car so you don’t have to walk an hour to work all week”.

                  • Lanthanide

                    No, I haven’t. That’s why I’m asking if it really does make a big difference or not.

                    I think raising the minimum wage to $14/hour would make a bigger difference and is where the money should be coming from anyway – not the government.

                    Also, I don’t think $10 would cover either of your examples.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      $10 can cover a meal for a family of four, but its really slim pickings for all. Very difficult to eat healthy. Very helpful if whoever is preparing the meal knows how to cook from scratch. $3 pasta, $3 mince, $4 tomatoes, mushrooms and other vege to make a sauce with.

                      Bear in mind that to cover all food on Christmas day for a prisoner, Corrections used a budget of ~$4 per person. That is seriously frak all.


                      Also its not unusual for adults to skip a meal or two during the week to make sure their kids can get fed.

                      This is a frakking different and difficult life. I’m about to pop out to a cafe for lunch with friends, its gonna set me back $20-25 without trying. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to think twice about doing that.

                      For many fellow citizens its not even a remote possibility.

  19. Jum 19

    It’s time Goff did what JKeyll does but for a completely different reason.

    JKeyll lurks behind his useless mps (and that’s all of them, especially the women that he is deliberately setting up to get rid of if he gets in again, by inferring they can’t handle the job, yet the job he has given them was a deliberately destructive road), looking sharkish.

    Goff needs to front up with the multi talent that is in the Labour Party. When a specific question is asked that requires a policy answer the actual opposition mp in that shadow portfolio should answer it.

    We need to see that Goff isn’t just a lone leader; the talent in his party is great. Team Goff I call them. They’re acting as a team; they should be seen in public as one.

    • Chris73 19.1

      That’ll be difficult since a number of MPs are on record (mainly Trev Mallard via red alert) as being for private-public partnerships as well as Goff being a cabinet minister in the Lange govt as well…

  20. Salsy 20

    Yes but all we ever see is him and King striding down the corridors of parliement – and there is nothing empowing there – way too nanny. Where on Nationals side we see countless shots of Key and English looking tight, well dressed, in communciation and in control. Wake the fuck up Labour, fire your advisor, survey the public, make the neccessary adjustments and let the change begin.. NZ prefer your policies, just not your people – that should be an easy fix..

    • Anne 20.1

      Hey Salsy, don’t blame Goff and King or their advisors for the parliamentary corridor shots. That’s the fault of the TV media and it’s no accident. They do it to politicians they have decided to humiliate and/or degrade. Think about it. They did it to Winston Peters in 2007/08… Rodney Hide in 2009/10. It was the same shot nearly every time – walking along the corridor to the debating chamber with files under their arms. They did it to Helen Clark for the whole of her third term in office. And they do it to Goff and King on a weekly basis. Rarely seen them do it to their chosen one, John Key. Even before he became PM they always placed him in a positive looking setting.

  21. belladonna 21

    I do not know one person who thinks Goff can win for Labour . Most of us on this site are left wing but if WE dont think Labour can win with Goff then how the hell can we expect the average voting public to do so. This reminds me of the Bill Rowling election when we all hoped but knew in our hearts it wouldnt happen and it didnt. Just find a new leader, any leader and go for it. Let’s at least give it a shot. If we dont then we could find ourselves in the wilderness for a long time. Do what is right for the country.

  22. just saying 22

    It’s not just that I don’t think he can win, I don’t think he deserves to win.

    I truly don’t get it. How can keeping Goff possibly be in the best interests of a win for the left. If they raffled off the leadership they couldn’t do worse (unless Goff’s name was in the hat).

    Goff himself could do what’s best for the country. He just cares more for his own ambitions.

    • QoT 22.1

      Raffling the leadership could be awesome. Or a random draw, anyway, raffles would be too open to charges of corruption.

      • orange whip? 22.1.1

        Dance-off. It’s the only fair way.

        • QoT

          Jesus, OW, don’t give the righties another opportunity to play that ~hilarious~ vid of Mallard and Hodgson dancing.

          (I have major fucking gripes on that one because it’s like, two government MPs are trying to show kids that you should be active/get up and dance even if you look like a dork, and how does our media spin that? LOL U SHOULDNT DANCE U LOOK LYKE A DORK. Thanks, people, really helping our teenagers accept themselves and be unafraid to participate.)

      • the sprout 22.1.2

        ancient athenians chose their leaders by lot

  23. BLiP 23

    I wonder sometimes if Labour is not part of the chimera.

    • Afewknowthetruth 23.1

      Labour and Nationa; are just two faces of the same coin, and neither can save us from what is underway…. the complete breakdown of western civilisation, due to resource depletion, the destruction of our life-support systems and inherent flaws in the economic system. National may perhaps brinbg about a faster collapse for NZ than Labour.

      Anyone connected with a mainstream political party is, by definition, part of the problem.

      Goff is either an ignorant opportunist, or an evil hypocrite, which is why we are fully justified in telling him to Philg Off.

  24. NX 24

    The top rate can be less and the threshold higher

    Why? If anyone can afford a tax rate @ 53% it’s rich people.

  25. I disagree on it being a plan which started 5 years ago. The method of these sales is a strategy suggested for Brash to use assuming he won the 2005 campaign, Key has merely adopted it. More 6-7 years ago.

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