Goff’s goofs

July 23rd, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I had to laugh at List MP trying to insist on Breakfast TV that it had been a great week for .  It was like a finance company spokesperson trying to insist they were sound.

Where do I start. First the Herald reveals that Phil Goff did not tell them the sob story he fed to them, owned a total of three properties, and it was not the case of someone with no assets being forced out of their family home. It was just a case of someone being unwilling to sell their property investments for a loss. I hope this story appears in as prominent place in the print edition as yesterday’s story.

Now even before this episode was exposed, Guyon Espiner blogged:

Labour’s ill-judged foray into the benefit policy debate – offering the dole to anyone who losses their job regardless of their spouse’s income – is a strategic blunder which ignores these basic facts of political life….

Labour now claims it isn’t going to allow the dole to be paid to anyone, regardless of income. But that’s a back down because that is exactly what they were saying on Monday.

You could sense the desperation on Monday after the story was broken in the Herald. Goff had clearly blurted out the story too early because Labour party officials and MPs were scrambling to fill in the details as other media worked to follow up the story.

On Tuesday Goff was desperately trying to claim that he was talking about the principle of middle income people not missing out on welfare and not the details. All the more reason then for not announcing the plan until the details are worked through.

Guyon makes it fairly clear Goff personally blundered by making policy up on the hoof. Guyon also covers their banking inquiry:

I see Labour is having another go. Having failed to win a proper select committee inquiry into whether the banks’ interest rates are too high, they are teaming up with the Greens and Jim Anderton to hold their own “inquiry” – one with no standing, no authority and no power.

Essentially they’ll be sitting in a room, preaching to the converted. Looks like a gimmick to me. Looks like Labour hasn’t fully realised it was turfed out of power.

Indeed.Hat Tip: Keeping Stock

John Armstrong writes this morning:

This has been an especially awful week for Phil Goff. It is not just that the Labour leader has made two blunders – the first being a policy mishap and the second being caught out by failing to reveal pertinent information. It is that a pattern of bad judgment calls is starting to emerge. That will be causing his colleagues some serious concern.

The problem for his colleagues is the lack of options. After 2011 there will be options, but there are not yet.

Twice within the past two months, Goff has sought to cause National discomfort only to end up pinging himself by failing to disclose facts which ended up being revealed by his opponents to his embarrassment.

The first example was Neelam Choudary, the Indian woman who alleged former minister Richard Worth sexually harassed her. She turned out to be a Labour Party activist.

The latest example is a Helensville man, , who seemed the perfect example of the kind of middle-class distress Goff had been talking about when he floated a shift in Labour policy so the dole would be paid to redundant workers for up to a year regardless of the income of their partners.

There is a warning in Armstrong’s writing. Having twice sat on highly relevant information, the gallery is going to be far more suspicious of any information from Goff in future. His effectiveness will be reduced due to this.

Goff is kidding only himself if he thinks this new information would not change people’s perceptions of Mr Burgess’s predicament.

Labour knew Mr Burgess owned the properties. It should have dropped his case immediately it knew that. However, presumably Goff was blinded by Mr Burgess being one of John Key’s constituents. The Prime Minister had done nothing to help him. Goff could see the headlines before they appeared. Through his own fault, they have ended up being the wrong ones.

The information totally changed people’s perceptions. Just as Choudary’s identity did also. I actually felt a bit guilty, at the time, for blogging yesterday on the Burgesses as I felt sorry for them being on the verge of losing their only home. While still sympathetic they are in tough times, the fact they have two other properties means they do have options – far better options than most families.

If he fails to win in 2011, Goff knows his party will look for someone else to lead them into the next election. If he keeps performing in the fashion displayed this week his colleagues might start asking themselves whether they should not look elsewhere before then.

I think Goff is safe until 2011, again due to the lack of alternatives.

Duncan Garner also blogs:

Labour sat on the fact he owned three homes. To Labour it was irrelevant to its case – that hardworking Kiwis are missing out under National.

How many Kiwis can cry poor with three homes? It’s a bad look Labour – and I suspect you know it.

Can you imagine how Helen Clark, as Prime Minister, presented with this sort of information – would have acted?

She, and/or Michael Cullen would have not only crucified Burgess – but she or he would have damn well made sure John Key was cut into three pieces,

So Labour needs to go away and look at what it’s doing.

It needs to take a breather. Goff has been too damn keen this week. He’s cocked up. He’s acted like a cut snake.

And finally we have Colin Espiner:

Labour’s also attacking the appointment of former National leader to the new productivity taskforce, calling him a stalking horse for privatisation. Goff says it will lead to a renewal of ideas soundly rejected at the 2005 election.

Actually, as Key pointed out in the House yesterday, National wasn’t “soundly rejected” at the 05 election – it only lost by the narrowest of margins. And it was probably the Exclusive Brethren that spooked voters more than National’s privatisation agenda.

Indeed. Mps who call Don “Lord Voldemort” may want to reflect on the fact he got only 2% less than Helen Clark in 2005, and that their references to him as such actually alienate a large segment of the population. Anyway back to Goff:

Goff had another terrible day in Parliament today after the case of poor old Bruce Burgess, a constituent in John Key’s electorate no less, who having worked hard all his life now couldn’t get any assistance from the state after losing his job.

Labour shopped the story to the Herald this morning, which ran it without question. Trouble was, poor old Bruce owns two rental properties besides his lifestyle block in a leafy part of Helensville – in other words, he has assets of at least a million dollars. Now, that doesn’t mean he isn’t suffering, but that wasn’t the picture presented to the public by Goff or the Herald this morning.

Also, according to the Government, Bruce is eligible for $92 a week state assistance – something that wasn’t pointed out earlier either.

Once again, an issue that should have run in Labour’s favour ended up backfiring badly.

So this is what Carmel Sepuloni calls a great week for Phil Goff. I’d love to see what she calls a bad week.

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40 Responses to “Goff’s goofs”

  1. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Anyone got the link to that TVNZ Breakfast piece handy?

    Thanks.

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  2. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..It was like a finance company spokesperson trying to insist they were sound..”

    or maybe like john key insisting he is doing all he can to help the ever-growing ranks of unemployed/suffering..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  3. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/political-young-guns-labour-s-dole-suggestions-5-16-2864199/video

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  4. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Carmel who?

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  5. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    ..(cont:)..that tax cuts that put hundreds a week into the pockets of the elites..have used up all the dosh..

    ..we are now broke/poor…

    ..so it must be time to put the boot into the working class..

    ..and to keep preparing those state-asset/cash-cows..

    ..for future ‘privatisation’/flogging off to afor-mentioned ‘elites’..

    ..remember when john key ‘felt’ for the ‘underclass’..?

    ..aahhh!!..halcyon days..!

    ..eh..?

    (and in hindsight..astonishing how many ..(punters and media) actually ‘believed’ him..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    [DPF: Off topic 10 demerits- use general debate]

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  6. Le Grande Fromage (145 comments) says:

    Very soon some in his party will tell him “too far-Goff”.

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  7. Offshore_Kiwi (500 comments) says:

    Off topic DPF? I’d call is blatant trolling :)

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  8. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    “Also, according to the Government, Bruce is eligible for $92 a week state assistance – something that wasn’t pointed out earlier either.”

    Somebody with two rental properties is entitled to taxpayer-funded support? Wish I was rich enough to be on the dole.

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  9. MT_Tinman (3,188 comments) says:

    ’tis time this blog started suppporting Goff.

    He is, after all, National’s best asset.

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  10. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    Agreed MT_Tinman – Phil Goff should be appointed Leader of the Opposition in perpetuity :-)

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  11. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    Phil “Alfred Newmann” Goff has lost his marbles, He’s also been deliberatedly misled/misinformed by people within his own party to make “announcements” that show him in very poor light.

    Some of his conspiratorial socialist colleagues must be sharpening their knives. It’s only a matter of time before they roll him.

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  12. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..[DPF: Off topic 10 demerits- use general debate].”

    i was responding to your simile..

    pointing out how the finger you point at goff..has three pointing back at you/key..

    ..that’s not allowed..?

    um..!..

    ..anything to say..any demerits for the piece of shit the other day who advocated shooting me in the head..?

    ..and throwing my body in the tasman..?

    ..nah..!..that’s right..he’s one of your ‘crew’ of rabid/foaming/fervid righties..eh..?

    ..what a feckin’ joke..!

    btw..loved that one-liner against you on backbenchers last night..

    “david farrar told me that when they walked on the moon..that he was sitting on his own..in his room..

    ..waiting for the internet to be invented’..

    ..now..that was funny..!

    ..and hey..!

    at least they are talking about you..

    ..eh…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz

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  13. Cerium (23,567 comments) says:

    “I think Goff is safe until 2011, again due to the lack of alternatives.”

    Maybe he is safe, but it would be a mistake not to deal with this sooner. Like, very soon. Until 2001 Labour are supposed to be the main opposition party. They have to wake up to the fact that they are holding the gun back to front. Those holding the gun, and supplying the ammunition, need to either change completely (looking less and less likely) or to step aside and allow a major revamp. Their responsibility now is to be an effective opposition. And to prepare for next time they become government. It could be a long preparation.

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  14. JC (956 comments) says:

    The couple bought the Papakura and town house properties in either 2004/05 for $640,000. There has been an enormous escalation since then in AK values, and even the current downturn should have left the prices way above the initial investment. Anyone know what the current values are likely to be?

    Also, get this from the Herald:

    “Mr Burgess volunteered the fact he had reasonably recently purchased rental property, but said the rent was only paying off the interest, indicating this provided no significant capital asset. He said the rent was not covering costs.”

    So he’s able to meet his commitments to the bank. What he’s really grizzling about is he can no longer deduct his maintenance costs against a more significant salary.

    Like the Choudary and Korean womans’ cases, this looks like a “Never Ending Story”.. the childrens fantasy story of 20 years ago.

    JC

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  15. starboard (2,537 comments) says:

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    [DPF: Off topic 10 demerits- use general debate]

    heh heh..( snigger pfft snort! )

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  16. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Does anyone else see certain similarity between that nice Mr Goff and that nice Mr Rowling?

    I mean a shiver looking for a spine to run up and all that.

    And yes, who is ‘that woman’ and what electorate does she represent?

    Oh, silly me, List MP perhaps. Great advert for the system eh.

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  17. Cerium (23,567 comments) says:

    Not similar. I just remember Rowling being nice but not good enough (politically), not disastrous.

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  18. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    Carmel Sepuloni looked totally clueless and totally outdone by Simon Bridges. Missed the point that this gentleman took extreme risks when borrowing large sums of money to invest in property and has the temerity to ask the taxpayer to bail him out when it all goes sour. Had he been less grandiose and invested in shares, he would still own his house. Sure, his portfolio would have lost value, but he would not be ruined. Should the taxpayer be there to bail out people who gambled on property values. I would have more sympathy for people who tried to own and run businesses that employed people and increased productivity and taxable corporate profits.

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  19. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    Interesting that the Labour Party Staffer Known As Eddie is now telling Phil Goff to “get your shit together” in a very public way – is a leadership spill underway?

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/phil-get-your-shit-together/

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  20. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    So Labour would tax low income workers in order to pay benefits to millionaire property investors so that those investors wouldn’t have to flog a few properties when they make bad investment decisions?

    I can’t even begin to imagine the fuss that the Left would kick up if ACT, George Bush, or Don Brash had enacted a Property Investors Asset Protection Act paid for by taxes on low income workers (or, via borrowing, the children of those low income workers).

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  21. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    “I think Goff is safe until 2011, again due to the lack of alternatives.”

    Well, nobody seems to have told Cunners who, hard on the heels of Key’s comment, proudly announced on Radio Pinko this morning that “… there are no pixies at the bottom of the garden… ”

    Clearly the Key style has struck a chord with our Cunners.

    So, does this mean that the copycat commenting is the start of Cunners’ big push with Jones in low profile mode and those wimin sidelined with the political correctness backlash? And what happened to those bloody pixies anyway? They seemed to be perking away for nine years whilst Cunners was strutting his stuff as the person “in charge around here”. When did he notice they had gone? November 2008? When he was bagging the tax cuts? Or after Philin started serious dating with Mr Fuckup. And where did they go?

    Cunners will have all the answers as the measured voice of confidence-inspiring reason. “Steady as she goes troops; look to my lead”. Such a safe pair of hands. But can he out Key Key?

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  22. Hump (25 comments) says:

    Can we put to bed this comment about Goff being a nice person.. he has been complicit in every recent piece of muck raking by the Labour propaganda machine. It is such a delicious turn of events that the scales are now falling from the eyes of his adoring media scrum.
    They are finally starting to realise who the real Goff actually is. Actually, come to think of it, he is not that dissimilar from those around him.. King, Hodgson, Mallard, Cunliffe etc.

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  23. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    “..[DPF: Off topic 10 demerits- use general debate].”

    How could you tell?

    Goff needs to get back to doing what he does best – instructing builders in Wainui about home insulation.

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  24. starboard (2,537 comments) says:

    those around him.. King, Hodgson, Mallard, Cunliffe ..

    ..what a horrible team of no hoper political has-beens to have around you…I wonder which ones sharpening the knife…

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  25. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    IMHO unless Phil can raise the Socialists polling significantly by the end of the year then summer will see the BBQ with his head as the main dish on the menu.

    Again IMHO the Left Wing wont stand around waiting. They will point to Phil and the Right Wing being a failure and want to install their team to give them a clear 18 months plus run up to 2011.

    Of course for we of the RIGHT this is a dream senario as such a move would guarantee the Socialists continue to occupy the current benches after 2011.

    But seems to me the Left Wing would rather have their team up front for 2011 than waiting and hoping Phil can pull off a miracle.

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  26. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    … er Phil, those “elite” that you refer to; do you mean the people that WORK for aliving to PAY tax ???

    And what do you tell families working double shifts to support themselves Phil? That you would love to have a job, but unfortunately you have been burdened with the tasks of being the national Magpie and the lone blogger at the end of the corridor or whatever??

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  27. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller says:

    “Goff needs to get back to doing what he does best – instructing builders in Wainui about home insulation.”

    Indeed, in fact he seems eminently qualified to offer such advice given that he seems to have substantial quantities of that material between his ears.

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  28. richgraham (28 comments) says:

    “Goff’s goofs”.

    Hmmmmmm. this suggests a new New Zealandism.

    I propose a new simile for goof, and gaffe, – a goff.

    Henceforward, no need for any goofs or gaffes – the name Goff says it all.

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  29. lofty (1,315 comments) says:

    “Goff needs to get back to doing what he does best – instructing builders in Wainui about home insulation.”

    I would not have thought he is qualified to instruct real workers on anything, to the best of my limited knowledge, the closest goff has come to “real” work was a school holiday job in the fellmongery at a freezing works, to earn some pocket money.
    It is a pretty precipitous argument to call being a career politician a “real” job.

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  30. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    Lofty, he was probably instructing them on the reasons why they need a geotechnical report to install some bats, good bureaucratic work that is.

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  31. lofty (1,315 comments) says:

    Ha ha you are probably correct banana.
    Some of our builders do not understand the complexities of the social need to be warm & just require direction, and who wiser than goff to provide it.
    Perhaps he could set up an unofficial inquiry into the need to upskill builders.

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  32. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    As a grizzled old Mike Moore type Labour bloke I’m bloody disappointed in Goff,
    first rule in politics, check and double check the so called facts you are putting out.
    And for pities sake Phil grab some real bloody workers to be MPs, no more bloody lecturers or bloody lawyers.
    Have a look at the makeup of the people who vote for you and make bloody sure they are comfortable with the people you have as MPs.

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  33. lofty (1,315 comments) says:

    Perhaps he could set up an unofficial inquiry into the need to upskill builders.

    We tax payers would be happy to fund the inquiry of course.

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  34. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Memo: To Great Leader

    When old labourites like grumpyoldhori turms against us we’ve (you’ve) got big problems.

    signed

    wellwisher

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  35. lofty (1,315 comments) says:

    grumpy.. I fell out of love with the labour party 2 elections ago, but only refused to vote for them last election.
    the antics of the lecturers & lawyers, combined with the their facile alliance with the greens & their pathetic policies put me right off.

    MP’s like mallard, bradford, delahunty, norman etc etc etc do not spin my wheels.

    I smell meat on the BBQ

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  36. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Grumpy, there was a do-co on the other night about the first socialist commune (village) set up in the US. Apparently it was a huge hit with academics and lawyers and such, they were asked to join as their benefits to society were deemed essential. Of course all wealth and produce was to be “shared” according to ones needs. It was going great till they figured out they had forgotten to invite people who would actually work, seems the poor bastards nearly starved as they spent all day talking about what rules their society would live under. Seems to me not that much has changed , has it?.

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  37. TMC (75 comments) says:

    Why isn’t anyone slaying the reporting of these Goofs? It’s extremely lazy & irresponsible journalism. Actually it’s not even journalism. You’ve been fed stories from an opposition party no less and you go ahead and run them big without asking some basic questions? WTF?

    Following up later with “The Herald has now discovered…” doesn’t count. You’ve already shown a lack of any critical thinking/questioning.

    These questions should have been asked up front! And you can’t say it’s the benefit of hindsight either. We’re talking journalism 101. Otherwise just print all political party press releases word for word and be done with it.

    Do they have a journalism school or basic journalism courses in New Zealand? Has any one from the Herald been to one?

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  38. Cerium (23,567 comments) says:

    “socialist commune”

    Some of the theory of commune/communism is ok, but bob’s example and just about every other one (how many communes and communist states are still operating?) shows that it simply doesn’t work in practice. It can be hard enough with just two people together in a home commune (relationship).

    The the other hand capitalism may be able to hang together better but in it’s purest forms it has serious deficiencies as well.

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  39. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    I don’t know if Goff is silly or Lazy. Either way a bad week.

    However he may end off on top as some fool in the Nats has let both English and Power speak to the media in the same week. Just go to show there are fools in both of the major right of centre parties

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  40. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    I think Goff should be in charge of the Labour Party for the next eight years. I think he’s doing a really sterling job reminding everyone just how incompetent the last lot was.

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