With some time to consider….

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, December 1st, 2009 - 80 comments
Categories: articles, labour - Tags:

I’ve been thinking about the reaction Phil Goff has had to his Nationhood speech, and whether Team Labour would be happy with the way it’s rolled out. Got headlines, tick, got commentators to notice, tick, appealed to demographic ‘non-Labour voting male’, tick, made some positioning statements on policy, tick. But what about the down side?

Allowed commentators to speculate on future of leadership, tick, annoyed grassroots lefties who actually do the work on the ground, possible tick, widened the disconnect with Maori voters, tick:

Two commentators I thought summed this up nicely:

Tapu Misa: Goff can be forgiven his frustration, having emerged from the shadow of one strong leader only to languish in the shadow of another…Goff says that revisiting the foreshore and seabed issue will reopen old wounds; that it will set Maori against Pakeha – as if it will have nothing to do with him. He’s wrong. Just how divisive it proves to be will depend in large part on the kind of leader he wants to be.

Colin Espiner: Nurse, the defibrillator please. A nationhood speech by Labour leader Phil Goff has applied the paddles to the nearly lifeless corpse that is his 2011 prime ministerial leadership ambitions. Now it’s time to search for a pulse…The speech has caused much angst in Labour. If it ends up winning votes, all may be forgiven. If it doesn’t, the rumblings of discontent at the leadership will grow.

Timeframes before the pressure for results really starts to show? Early into the New Year will see commentators start to follow up on these initial speculations…..

80 comments on “With some time to consider….”

  1. Ron 1

    Fronted the Maori Party on their morally reprehensible stance of supporting a very bad Tory party in order to get piddling concessions for Maori. Tick.

    The Maori Party must start wearing some of the flack for their part in setting up the Tories to carve a swathe through our communities. If they wanna be Tories they should be treated like Tories. With contempt.

  2. zelda 2

    Lets not forget that the Maori Party only gets say 25% of the Maori votes that go to Labour.
    Of course it will be a battle between the two as the only way the MP will grow is steal votes off labour. Goffs strategy is to push them further into the arms of national and let the minor party poison work its effect.

    • Lew 2.1

      Goff’s strategy to steal back Labour’s “rightful” votes from the māori party:

      1. Blame Māori for everything.
      2. ????
      3. Profit!


      • Ron 2.1.1

        No. Blame the Maori Party and their cronies. As he should.

        • Lew

          Except he didn’t. Perhaps he could have, but the language was too general. And too reminiscent of a certain other speech of recent NZ political history.


        • Lew

          Interesting also that you don’t take issue with the “rightful” part of my rather facetious comment, which is the nub of the problem: Labour think they are owed by tangata whenua, whereas, in fact, they owe what electoral success they have had to strategic alliances with Ratana and the Kingitanga and a few other groups — the same groups y’all are now calling the “tribal elites” and the “Hori Tories”.


          Captcha: “culture”

          • Ron

            Don’t get me wrong. I have no interest in supporting Labour. I also think they owe their Maori electorate big time.
            I think that they mishandled the F&S issue but were between a rock and hard place politically. If it was me I would have stood by Maori rights to have their day in court but the Tory spin machine turned the country against any such stand and it would have been the end of that Labour government. (It’s one of the things that makes me so wild with the Maori Party. If it hadn’t been for the Torie’s racist propoganda the whole thing wouldn’t have happened.)
            Me – I would have stood by the rights of tangata whenua and gone down knowing I did the right thing but that is unfortunbatley not how politics works, is it?

            • Ian Llewellyn

              Putting aside the rhetoric. I would just point to the fact that the Labour Government said it would legislate over the Court of Appeal’s finding that there“might” be some claims to customary title, just days after the decision and well before the National Party began their “iwi,kiwi” campaign

  3. Ron 3

    “Push them further into the arms of National?” How much, bloody closer do you want the f*&%ers?!
    Why are we still talking about the Maori Party like this? They MADE THEIR DECISION.
    AFTER they made their decision a few people thought “Well, let’s see if they can modify the worst of the Tories while furthering Maori aspirations”.
    Well, they can’t or don’t want to. They’re Tories. Simple as that. They can’t hide behind “Maori aspirations” any longer. By doing what they’re doing they’re screwing their own electorate as much as any other. And now they have to pay the price.

    • Daveo 3.1

      I don’t think Goff should go easy on the Maori Party, but that’s not where the fault line is in this debate. This is about Goff titling a speech attacking various groups of Maori ‘Nationhood’, the same as Brash, and delivering it to a conservative white audience in a conservative white town.

      If he’d delivered it on a Marae to a group of Maori and not deliberately tried to shadow Brash then you might have an argument. But from where I’m standing it just looks like a blatant appeal to racists.

      • Ron 3.1.1

        Maybe I need to look at it again.
        But so long as Maori Party cronies use the a Tory Maori Party for their deals then I think they’re fair game.

        I, too, am opposed to Goff shifting to Maori bashing agenda. I too support Maori aspirations.

        But what we’re seeing is “Maori aspirations” being used as an excuse for supporting this appalling bloody government. And that makes them a target.

        Any Maori group that stands and says “The Maori Party need to get out of this government” I will back. Any that say “Well, we’re getting what we want” I will attack. I’m sorry but why is THAT cause so important that it justifies licking the arse of the Tories? That it justifies screwing us all?

        Too bad that they couldn’t make it work with Labour. I was just as angry at Labour for the F&S legislation. I was just as angry at them for screwing up an opportunity to work with the Maori Party to make a better NZ.
        But if Maori are saying “boo hoo, Labour wouldn’t work with us so we’re going to f&%k this country to get what we need by sleeping with the Tories” – then they’re fair game.

      • Galeandra 3.1.2

        Hang on, Daveo.
        He had a crack at those same Maori who left their urban ( and in many cases, disconnected) iwi members behind over fishing allocations, perhaps?
        Them, or the ones who nearly blew Tainui’s nest egg?
        The ‘educated’ & ‘managerial’ classes are the same everywhere?

        He had a crack at pakeha who serve the vested interests of overseas ownership, or their own selfish ends (bonus time for pulling off lobbying coups, anyone?), in the face of the environmental costs we all will have to bear, and to pay for.

        I think it was a Labour speech for the 21st century… the battlelines are different now, and to be honest, the proloteriat more internationalised than ever. Who will oppose the ‘civil’ servants of fugitive and self serving corporate capitalism?

        The media TV & print have successfully sold the line that it’s a Brash style piece of red neck itchery. Shallow analysis from bloggers like ‘Danyl’ and an uncritical acceptance of those who can’t read it without whistling have supported this view.

        It’s a chestnut to say that if you repeat a falsehood often enough, it becomes the truth. I’m no great fan of Labour, but I have to say that Goff has been spun. Supine acceptance of this superficial trickery is galling to say the least.

      • zelda 3.1.3

        Palmerston Nth a ‘conservative white town’ ???
        Who do you think invites politicians to speak these days, and has audience to turn up.
        The other groups are either annual conferences ( Fed Farmers, a major economic speech) or the (Erebus) commemoration.

    • Tim Ellis 3.2

      Oh good thinking. The Maori Party should have sided with Labour, and formed a government with Labour after the 2008 election, just as Labour chose to side with the Maori Party and form a government with the Maori Party after the 2005 election.

      That would have been the best deal for Maori voters.

  4. It was a weirdly timed initiative: we’re entering the period of the year when the electorate is too drunk or hungover to pay attention to politics, so Goff can’t really follow his initiative up. Maybe he’ll try again in late January?

    Whatever happens, by March he needs to have dragged his personal support into double digits and his party support to the 30% mark.
    If he’s not there by then his caucus will have to admit that:
    1. They cannot win the election and they risk a National in ’02 style annihilation.
    2. They’ll surely sack Goff after the election.
    3. They might as well sack him sooner and take a chance on a new leader who might perform better.

    • Tim Ellis 4.1

      The timing is very interesting Mr Mclauchlan. Just a few weeks after Mr Goff said he would cooperate with National on the foreshore and seabed, he changes his mind.

      It’s hard to think that Mr Goff’s timing was anything other than completely opportunist. There doesn’t seem to be a plan. He seems to be taking positions on the hoof.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        You mean after he was saying that to make the ETS work long term that there needs to be a broad agreement between the major parties.

        The National response to that was stitch up a stupid deal with Maori for peanuts. In other words they didn’t want to get long-term support for the ETS.

        So now the ETS is dead – national have made it a joke in terms of emissions control.

        The mood within the party probably isn’t to try and resurrect the ETS. It is probably to dump the ETS and put in a straight simple carbon tax under urgency, with a sharp phase-in time, and with no compensation.

        But as we all know, national is the short-term party….. A bit like your self-serving ‘history’

        • Tim Ellis

          I was referring to the foreshore and seabed issue which Mr Goff effectively ruled out of cooperation on LP, not the ETS.

        • Dean

          By the way, Smith. I seem to have run out of razor blades. You wouldn’t have any to spare would you?

          “But as we all know, national is the short-term party”

          It’s difficult to enunciate my opinion about a Labour party member making such a statement when said party’s last leader went on record, on television, as saying she wouldn’t be supporting a ban on smacking “because I think it’s defying human nature”. If you want to talk about “short-term” parties then you’re going have to clean up your own back yard before you make these sorts of statements. Otherwise, you just make yourself look silly.

          I believe the correct response is to tell you that you’re trying to have a buck both ways and that your doublethink powers are extraordinary but knowing you you’ll just tell me to shoot myself.

          Back to the matter at hand though. Your support and defence of Goff’s flip flops on this matter will, I predict, magically disappear the moment he’s rolled and the party realises they’ve got a better option for leader.

          To be fair Goff is a hell of a lot more pragmatic than the last one – he even did a mea culpa over the EFA, something I’ve seen you defend over and over again.

    • IrishBill 4.2

      Danyl, nobody in the party is going to sack Goff. There is still a strong memory among the current MPs of the leadership fiascos of the fourth Labour govt and subsequent (long) opposition.

      He might be transitioned out after 2011 if he doesn’t claw back some vote but changing before then would cause more harm than good. I suspect your dislike of Goff may have coloured your view of the political possible.

      • Tim Ellis 4.2.1

        Logic would suggest that no Labour MP wants the poisoned chalice of the leadership before 2011 IB, but politicians being who they are who knows if one of them doesn’t get a stroke of vanity if Labour’s poll ratings continue to stay low, and think that only they can stop Labour from being completely annihilated before the 2011 election.

        I wouldn’t underestimate certain MPs’ sense of heroism, or Labour MPs potential to panic particularly if their own seats are on the line. At their current polling Labour MPs will be losing seats at the next election. If their polling doesn’t improve then rational behaviour might not determine Mr Goff’s longevity until the election.

        • lprent

          Highly unlikely. Whoever tries it would get crucified by the party and they all know it. We remember the stupid leadership crap in the 4th labour government and more recently in National.

          Phil will go when he chooses to or if he runs a terrible campaign (Mike Moore in 2003 was like the latter). Which isn’t that likely.

          A more likely issue is when exactly the nats will roll Key. Not exactly a party with any loyalty amongst its MP’s. When Key starts losing those nice poll numbers due to his ‘relaxed’ attitude, I’d expect someone to start looking at rolling him…

          • mike

            Very funny IP… you try and deflect Mr 5%’s imminent doom by questioning when the most popular PM in recent history will get rolled.

            Perhaps when Key thinks he’s got the country back on track (probably around 2013) he will look at a calm handover to one of the Simons (Power or Bridges) and retire to cosy board(s).

            • Galeandra

              About time we evaluated what it means to be ‘popular’ surely?

              The infatuation with “the polls” is just damn silly when you consider the shallowness of NZ’s political debate and media perceptions. A fair number of us don’t know what we think, or why.

              Why, given the chance we’d even turn up for a Key booksigning. Now what’s his position on international affairs again?

            • Lew

              Popular: would likely win lots of votes if an election were held tomorrow.

              Any time you find yourself complaining about how the polls are an unfair measurement of political worth, ask yourself: would I want an election to be held tomorrow?

              I sure as hell wouldn’t.


            • Draco T Bastard

              Yes Lew, but there’s a hell of a difference between popular and capable of doing the job. National are popular but are incapable.

  5. Evidence-Based Practice 5

    How many posts on Phil Goff’s speech does this make it now? How often is he now mentioned or quoted in the news? Seems people are now talking about him. That’s a good start.

    • Tim Ellis 5.1

      There was a lot of talk about Mr Peters in his last few months Ev, but that didn’t help him back into Parliament.

      • lprent 5.1.1

        I suspect that the bugger will get in next time. His PR errors look kind of simple compared to the outright stupidity and rorting in NACT so far.

        • Tim Ellis

          Oh I don’t think there is much room for him on the political spectrum if Mr Goff continues to try and soak up Mr Peters voters by giving the same kind of speeches he did to Grey Power the other day LP.

          Still it would be interesting in an alternative universe where Mr Goff might have the numbers to govern if he would again prefer Mr Peters to the Maori Party.

    • toad 5.2

      No it is not, because they are talking about him being a racist prick no better than Don Brash, Winston Peters, or Michael Lhaws.

      If that’s all he can do to get attention and make people take notice, he should stand aside and let someone who can lead the Labour Party without pandering to bigots take over.

      Shane Jones or David Cunliffe are probably the best bets at the moment. Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern have more leadership potential than either Jones or Cunliffe, but need more experience.

      As Idiot/Savant said on No Right Turn yesterday:

      Will we be seeing similarly caveated and deniable speeches essentially telling gays to get back in the closet and women to get back into the kitchen?

      • gobsmacked 5.2.1


        Anyone can fantasise about what might happen. Here’s a more useful idea: examine what has happened. Fear versus fact, take your pick.

        John Key (so nice! so moderate!) voted AGAINST Civil Unions – and almost every other progressive bill. Phil Goff (boo, hiss!) voted FOR.

        Here’s his voting record:


  6. Daveo 6

    Two posts by my count. But you’d probably see even more posts and more quotes in the news if he pulled his pants down in parliament or punched a baby. Maybe he should try that?

  7. In fairness, I’ve been making similar comments about this issue for some time while trying not to peeve Felix off and not respond directly to the post 🙂

    As I see it, Goff is a left leader that appears to appeal to the right … which is kind of a problem!

    The problem of Goff moving on from the past and gulping down all those dead rats was that he’s been there all along. Labour can’t move on and appear fresh and revitalised with Goff and King at the helm.

    Just look at the number of posts attacking Key … that’s the left’s biggest problem is that – for a change – the right have a leader who is liked. Moreover, he’s a pragmatic politician who’s making up for significant weaknesses within his own party.

    To me – blinkered admittedly – Goff looks like yesterday’s man. The race speech was ill considered as it begged comparison with Brash – see my opening comment.

    IMO, IF Labour has a chance in 2011, it will only be without Goff.

  8. Kevin Welsh 8

    Referring to Tapu Misa’s quote, who is the strong leader’s shadow Phil Goff is languishing in now?

    Hide? Sharples? Turia? Norman? Key?

    You have to be kidding me.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Polls. The new religion. Move over Jesus, we worship at the Church of Colmar Brunton.

    Polls told us John Howard was finished, before he’d started (wrong), John Major likewise (wrong), to name just two of countless cases of premature election throughout modern history. Closer to home, they foretold – no, they guaranteed – the imminent demise of Total Losers Jim Bolger and Helen Clark, both of whom committed blasphemy by ignoring the Divine Oracle, and went on to win three elections in a row (how dare they!). Not to mention the 50% plus, single-party majority consistently promised to Clark in 2002 and Key in 2008, which the stubborn voters then failed to deliver (who do they think they are?).

    My personal favourite:

    March, 1991 – President George Bush’s approval: 91%.

    November, 1992: President George Bush loses.

    Bugger the people!

    • Quoth the Raven 9.1

      Bush Sr’s tax raising was a major factor in his defeat. With tax cuts already cancelled and the tax working group reporting back I wonder what might happen to John Boy.

  10. Craig Glen Eden 10

    Goff didn’t attack Maori he attacked the Maori Party. The Maori Party have got away with ” we will do what we have to do to further the interests of are people” for two long the truth has been the Maori Party caucus have furthered their own interest and then the interests of a Maori Tory elite. I have to agree with others they are a TORY Party
    The Maori Party have tried to make out that they are neither left or right wing in their policy stance. This is of coarse total crap but it has worked for them quite nicely up till now.
    Hone does not fit with this lot but he has no were else to go he cant suck up to Labour because his mother shat in that nest along time ago. Its the Maori Party that are in trouble not Goff. Goff’s not after the red neck vote, these people would never vote for Labour no matter what he said and does anyone really think the rednecks are going to vote in two years time based on this speech now?

    • Daveo 10.1

      Explain why he deliberately named his speech after Brash’s one, why he delivered it to a conservative white audience in a conservative white town, and why he felt the need to weave several issues about Maori (Hone, the ETS, the foreshore) into the one speech. Also explain why the sudden u-turn on the foreshore.

      It just doesn’t stack up mate. You’ve got to look at who he was pitching to, and what he was trying to pitch to them, not just what he said.

    • toad 10.2

      Read this bit Craig:

      But for all the criticism I have heard, most people accept that the current foreshore and seabed rules aren’t broken and they’re a good foundation for moving forward. They believe it’s good legislation for all New Zealanders .It’s hard to see why the country should be put through all the grief just to put a new brand on law that’s working . If the foreshore and seabed issue is left for the courts to resolve, we could be tied up in knots for years. The government has a choice between sticking with the status quo, which guarantees access but allows for agreements around customary rights, and the alternative of never ending court battles .National wants to reopen the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Labour asks: What isn’t working? Will reopening court action help or would it see wounds fester?

      Most tangata Tiriti, I would say. Most Maori, whether they are affiliated to the Maori Party or not, would disagree, and disagree very vehemently.

      I have no truck with the National, Maori, or Act Parties, or with right wing politics. I am Green through and through.

      But no Green Leader would ever have made a racist speech like this. It’s just pandering to those who couldn’t get Peters elected last time around. Completely the wrong demographic to appeal to from a practical point of view too, because they are dwindling in number and most of them will be dead by the 2014 election.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1

        No racism there either. As I said – the only people finding racism in that speech are the people looking for it.

        • Lew

          DTB, claiming a racist Act isn’t racist is itself a racist act.


          • Eddie

            Lew. There’s a line ,and you crossed it there, between robust debate and just being a cock.

            People can honestly disagree with the meaning of the speech without being racists themselves.

            You don’t get to label anyone who disagrees with you that something was racist a racist themselves – you’re not the King of anti-racism.

            • Lew

              Eddie, putting aside the fact that racist acts can be committed by people who aren’t themselves racists, the point I was making was about Goff’s minimisation of the FSA and its racist intent, not anything about DTB. I was pointing out the racism for him, since he apparently couldn’t see it.


            • Eddie

              Ah, that’s not an accidental capitalisation of Act. Apologies.

              It looked like you were saying DTB was being racist for disagreeing with you.

            • Lew

              Teach me for sacrificing prose upon the altar of poetry. I initially had “Act of Parliament” but it ruined the flow.


          • Galeandra

            It’s not racist, it’s illogical. I think your punctuation lets you down, along with your a priori assumptions. Such a claim ( claiming that the Act isn’t racist) may be racist…. or ignorant….. or correct, depending upon the writer’s perceptions and purposes.
            In a discussion, one might expect positions to be modified or clarified over time.

            Here, not the case.
            You simply want ot edit people’s thought processes, and to deny them point of view.
            I don’t regard the F & S Act as racist. I consider it unjust. It was an issue of property rights, not of race. But it achieved a steadying down of an awkward racial/political situation.That is my opinion, anyway. Now abuse me for so thinking?

            Goff’s position is reasonable. It can be tested by discussion.
            His audience were older New Zealanders, grey haired, ethnicity unknown. So what?
            The real audience was NZ at large. The opinions expressed or policies outlined are open to discussion.
            The consequences of revisiting the Act are as he suggested, alrady clear…this sort of discussion will probably lead to ‘never ending court battles…”, writ large in the media no doubt.

            Goff thinks NZ should let well alone. Other’s disagree.
            To accuse him or those who defend his speech, of racism for thinking this, is in itself ignorant and prejudiced.

          • Draco T Bastard

            There was nothing racist about the Act either.

        • toad

          Didn’t have to look for it DTB. It hit me over the head with a big hammer. What’s worse, there wasn’t even a hairy arm wielding the hammer on behalf of workers that might have mitigated (at least somewhat) against the racism.

          A lose/lose from Fill-in Phil who has no strategy and, trying to get one, either deliberately or inadvertently panders to racism.

          My pick is the Shane Jones coup.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The only way you could possibly find any racism in Goffs speech is if you were looking for it and finding it were there was none.

      • Craig Glen Eden 10.2.2

        Most Maori Toad, oh really? So Now you speak for most Maori just like the Maori Party.
        Problem is that most Maori who voted, voted Labour so they obviously are not to up set with Labour’s sea bed and for shore act!
        How many Maori voted for the Greens do you reckon?
        As for your green leader he has one of the biggest egos I have seen in politics, he is so full of his own self importance and struggles to work with others on just about any level. Get a few drinks in him and I think you would be very surprised what he comes out with. Personally I have seen quite a nasty side to him. So lets not try and claim the Green high moral ground we are more left than you shit TOAD. Rod and Jeanette I might have given it to, but not that Aussie clown.

        Daveo all of those issues were are topical at present so no big surprises.
        As I have already said what redneck will vote for Labour in two years time based on Goffs speech. So its a big stretch to say he was after Peters vote.

        As for Palmerston North being a conservative white town their is some truth to that . However Palmerston North and Rangitikei have more left leaning voters in them than right. Palmerston North has been Labour for many years and Rangitikei left vote is always split. Trust me I have been all over that electorate and been in every pub I know it better than probably anyone other than Simon Power. So while their is a strong Church conservatism they are not anti Maori by any stretch.In fact my experience is Maori in the Manawatu are held in quite high regard. If you were going to Maori bash you wouldn’t pick PN. So back to the drawing board Daveo, I have to agree with DTB.

        • Lew


          Problem is that most Maori who voted, voted Labour so they obviously are not to up set with Labour’s sea bed and for shore act!

          Give over, we can play this idiotic game all night.

          P1: Labour, National and ACT are (broadly speaking) capitalist parties.
          P2: More than three quarters of NZ electors voted for one of those three parties in every election in NZ history.
          Conclusion: NZ loves capitalism!
          Question: Why are you fucking socialists still bothering?

          As for Palmerston North being a conservative white town their is some truth to that . However Palmerston North and Rangitikei have more left leaning voters in them than right.

          As for fish, I concede they’re mostly wet. But there are more dry fish than wet fish. QED.

          Palmerston North is a Chris Trotter kind of town. It’s generally to the left, but not in a very liberal way.


          • Craig Glen Eden

            I think you are the one playing games Lew.

            So Maori voted Labour, why Lew?

            “Palmerston North is a Chris Trotter kind of town. It’s generally to the left, but not in a very liberal way.”

            Oh the negative value judgments just keep on coming.

            So now you decide who’s racist and who’s left leaning but not liberal.

            So what does that make you Liberal but judgmental?

            • felix

              I don’t mean to speak for Lew, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t applying any value judgements to the words “left” and “liberal” in that statement.

              He’s just pointing out that they don’t mean the same thing, i.e. there’s nothing unusual about a “conservative leftist”.

            • Lew

              Felix is right. Craig, you might go and read some of Trotter’s recent writing, where he argues explicitly that the political left ought to become more socially conservative.

              So Maori voted Labour, why Lew?

              Loyalty. There are generations of alliance between Labour and core tangata whenua groups, and that takes more than just a few short years to erode. But erode it will, if it’s allowed to, and then Labour will be screwed. That’s good for nobody, and at core that’s why I despise this new strategy.


            • RedLogix

              Craig, you might go and read some of Trotter’s recent writing, where he argues explicitly that the political left ought to become more socially conservative.

              That’s misrpresents his argument. I read Chris as asking for the left to implement a wider, more inclusive approach to equality and justice, rather than the special interest pleading that it has degenerated into.

              It is after all what we actually believe in… don’t we?

  11. wtl 11

    There has been a lot of talk about the speech, but what about its political implication – surely if the speech does cause Labour to lose support, it will be lost to the Green party? Given that they are by far the most likely support partner for Labour in a future term, is this really going to hurt Labour that much?

    • Lew 11.1


      The danger — not for Labour, but for the left as a whole — is that those against whom the speech is targeted will just stay home. This is a big part of what cost Labour the win in 2008: South Auckland and other key areas just didn’t turn out for them. They didn’t change their votes en masse: they just stayed at home.


    • toad 11.2

      Yep, and then the Greens just hold them to account with a “no racist policies” bottom line for forming a coalition after the next election.

      What happens if Labour don’t agree?

      It’s what National is gearing up for – massive privatisation. That’s why Goff is being such a dork on this. The issue that will get all New Zealanders, other than those ideologically wedded to the right, to vote for a pro-worker, pro-Maori and pro-environment government at the next election is privatisation. Go thre, and we all lose.

      By dividing the pro-worker, pro-Maori and pro-environment voters, Goff is playing a losing hand.

      Shane Jones, step up to the plate. I don’t trust you entirely, but you are pro-Maori and pro-worker and at least to some extent pro-environment, and I trust you in those regards a hell of a lot more than I do Goff.

      And in the wings are Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern – both potential leaders, but still very inexperienced. The problem is that there is a lot of deadwood at the top for them to climb over.

      • Herodotus 11.2.1

        Shane Jones ivy league vocab and mannerisms makes it difficult for me to see him connecting. He is not someone that would fit the mould of a typo lab leader . Lab need in my mind to find someone not tarred with the 80’s or a major player in the last govt. There is to much baggage that people associate with. yet I cannot see the heirarchy allowing a newbie take over, there is to much of having to work the party to get to the top that takes time and understanding. So yo are left with a nice face with 6-9 years experience which leaves 2-3 potentials, I am sure in 9months time the heir apparrant will show themselves. With a precurser in feeling out certain groups perhaps an increase in profile on RA or here.

      • Lew 11.2.2

        Herodotus, I would rate him a stronger orator than Cullen was, and able to switch modes more fluently as well. He grew up on the marae, and made the transition to business and politics without losing all of what he learnt there. Now, being able to talk ain’t everything, but it sure goes a long way.

        But you’re right in a sense; the biggest flaw Shane Jones has is that many people will not reflexively trust him: to some Māori he’ll always seem a bit too whitebread and disconnected; to many Pākehā he’ll seem like one of those tricky natives; to the workers he’ll seem a bit too big-business, but big business will never really trust him anyhow. A secondary problem is that he is — like Cullen — somewhat prone to sarcasm.

        At the policy level, he’s been largely un-challenged so far. He’ll need to demonstrate his chops there before making a credible stab at the leadership. BUt then, given the current leader’s role as a manager, spokesman and delegator, maybe not…

        I simply don’t think there’s much alternative in the immediate term. Can’t be a woman — too much Clark baggage. Can’t be Mallard or Hodgson, same reason. David Cunliffe, while highly capable, is unfortunately referred to about the traps as ‘Silent T’ and while it’s the most stupid and trivial thing, that could well be enough to prevent him being credible in a world populated by the KBR.


      • Draco T Bastard 11.2.3


        Now we’re finding the racism.

  12. Doug 12

    Where is Phil’s deputy she has been unheard of for months, she is of no use to Phil or the Labour Party. Is the deputy about to retire? Surely she should be taking some heat of Phil.

  13. Neil 13

    Two weeks ago Goff apologised for the Foreshore and Seabed Act, promised to support its repeal and to act in a bipartisan manner to resolve the issue.

    Two weeks later he’s saying the exact opposite.

    He now claims that the only people who want to revisit the issue want to wreck our sense of Nationhood. What part of all that is just an attack on the Maori Party?

  14. Adrian 14

    I have not read any where a “what if?” scenario of Labour allowing the mythical “day in court” over the F&S. My pick is that 5 years or so on, most small iwi would be facing monumental legal bills to the point of bankruptcy, still fending off barracuda barristers tearing metorphorical flesh from their reserves while being left with less than they had and considerably less than can be acheived under the current consultancy regime.

    • Lew 14.1

      Adrian, the trouble with that bit o’ logic is that the last three or four decades have seen a cadre of highly intelligent, motivated and politically aware young brown kids graduate law school (and elsewhere) with the express purpose of tearing down this sort of fence. Some of them have got genuine legal chops these days, and they’re used to working for family rates.


  15. deemac 15

    judging from people I meet, this issue may excite the blogosphere but has zero traction in the outside world. Amazed at the hot air being expended on it.

  16. gingercrush 16

    I think Labour has several possible leaders. But they’re not from the 2005 intake or any year before then. I have hopes Grant Robertson could lead and I don’t believe him being gay is a weakness. I also think Andrew Little is still very credible and should get himself into parliament in 2011. Kelvin Davis may not have the profile and his political nous hasn’t been that evident but he surely looks better than Shane Jones. Stuart Nash and Iain Lees-Galloway have kept their heads down and been less prolific than some of the other 2008 intakes but both have something to offer. And you can’t discount David Shearer.

    • Lew 16.1

      GC, none of these are a 2011 concern, though. Things in 2014 will be very different.

      That said, there’s a good argument to be made to flag 2011 away (while not being seen to be doing so) and focus on 2014. Goff is certainly the man for that job.


  17. Herodotus 17

    Perhaps the ETS may sace Phil. As how are Nat going to play its going to cost each household $5k and we are following dove-tailing Aust. When Aust will not have an ETS. But was not our plan to do as they do?
    If Nick & John can save face here and not score quite a few own goals, I will eat my hat. Now Nick will have to write an entire ETS can anyone see this being done adequatley?
    Dollars in pocket will hurt the govt esp as they will not be there. ACC, ETS but wait we CAN have a tax cut sometime in the future. Lowest denominator wins the election, and we are told that NZ is at it heigest level of educated people that the country has ever had, so much for education.

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