Espiner on Goff

Colin Espiner blogs:

So, it seems, is . Labour’s leader has issued a ringing endorsement of his own abilities today at Labour’s caucus meeting in Auckland.

“You’ll have to put up with me for a couple more years,” he told reporters this morning before Labour’s traditional vote on the leadership, which has returned both himself and deputy Annette King.  “I think it’s a recognition that the leadership team they’ve got is the best team they could hope for.”

Bloody hell. Talk about damning with faint praise. I can almost see Labour’s next election slogan now: “Phil Goff: The best Labour has to offer.” Or maybe “Goff – there’s really no one else.” It’s almost as bad as Dunedin’s “It’s all right here” or Hastings’ “Take a fresh look”.

Heh. Who is going to be first with the photoshop?

Mind you, it’s probably not Goff who has to worry much this year. As he says himself, there really isn’t any alternative. As long as he can keep the Government honest and score a few points during 2010, he’ll still be there at the end of the year.

Yep, as the alternatives are worse.

No, I’m starting to think it’s our prime minister who has his work cut out this year. When even the Right-leaning business publication the National Business Review starts telling National to get on with the job, you know that the tolerance of National’s natural constituency for its steady-as-she-goes approach is coming to an end.

To be fair to Key and National, it does have some major plans this year, ranging from tax reform to the Whanau Ora policy of allowing private providers (mostly Maori) into the provision of welfare. It’s got national standards to implement in education, energy sector changes to complete, the legal aid system to overhaul, and the Foreshore and Seabed Act to repeal and replace.

But there’s a difference between planning things and actually implementing them, and that’s going to be the litmus test of this administration this year. In 2009 Key proved himself to be a political manager almost of Helen Clark’s calibre. In 2010, we’ll get to see whether he can match her in getting things done as well.

A fair call. People do want to see progress, and a sense of direction.

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