The Labour Party will not be judged by what Darren Hughes has or has not done in his private life.
It will be judged according to how Phil Goff handles the crisis which has enveloped one of Labour’s bright young rising stars and consequently the party as well.
Goff’s management of the crisis has already begged a major question. Why did the Labour leader not immediately stand Hughes down from his roles as Labour’s chief whip and education spokesman two weeks ago when the MP told him he was the subject of a police investigation?
It is a surprise that Phil Goff, Labour Party Leader, did not take the advice of Phil Goff, Leader of the Opposition. Here’s a quote from PGLOTO in 2009:
Opposition leader Phil Goff said today Mr Key should have sacked Dr Worth last week.
“The matter could have been dealt with rather more promptly,” Mr Goff said.
So let us compare the cases of Dr Worth and Mr Hughes.
- Dr Worth’s leader is informed of a Police complaint. He briefly investigates, and then sacks Dr Worth. All of this occurs before the Police complaint is even made public. PGLOTO claims the matter should have been dealt with more promptly.
- Mr Hughes’ leader is informed of a Police complaint. PGLPL does nothing at all until the matter becomes public.
John Armstrong notes:
Had he gone on the front foot then – rather than being forced to fess up yesterday in the face of rapidly snowballing media inquiries – Goff would have got some plaudits for being upfront.
He would also have got marks for consistency. Back in 2009, Goff launched into John Key for not immediately stripping Richard Worth of his ministerial warrant after the Prime Minister had been apprised of allegations of a sexual nature made against the then National MP.
Goff now risks being marked down for double standards.
Rather large double standards.
Goff’s political management accordingly starts to look misguided at best and downright stupid at worst.
I’ll be generous and say they are thinking with their hearts, not their heads.
UPDATE: Phil Goff just interviewed by Sean Plunket on NewstalkZB. Goff said it is up to the Police to decide if Hughes’ behaviour was appropriate. Plunket pointed out that no their job is to decide if his behaviour was criminal. Goff does not seem to understand the difference.