Garner on Labour

March 29th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Well no one say they’ll die wondering what thinks. He blogs:

Labour’s decision to hang on to Leader after his woeful management of the affair shows the caucus is clueless, gutless and talentless. And most of all, they have no collective balls.

You do have to wonder how much worse things would have to be, to have something happen.

The Labour caucus has opted to go down in 2011 without a fight. If this was the Australian Labour Party Goff would have lasted just 6 weeks two years ago. They’d be on their third opposition leader by now.

And someone like Mallard could do to Labour, what Tony Abbott did to the Australian Libs – get them competitive. Might not win, but will provide a positive point of difference.

I have spoken to most of the senior MPs, they say – while disappointed with the management of the Hughes scandal – no one is of a mind to roll Goff. Why not? Not one MP is defending him. Goff is now Labour’s biggest liability.

The only MP insisting that Goff handled it well, is umm Goff.

Goff has so many questions he can’t answer. He looks like he’s stumbling around in a pitch black bedroom trying to put on his pyjamas. He’s got more positions than a King’s Cross hooker.

I like the colourful metaphors. Also wasn’t half this problem the lack of pyjamas :-)

The Hughes scandal was always going to be a train wreck – 18 year old teenager, senior whip, alleged sexual encounter, Annette King’s house, police investigation, naked man etc.

Come on – what leader in their right and sane mind could think for one second that in Wellington that would stay secret?

I just can’t believe someone didn’t say “You’re mad if you think this will stay secret”. But the problem of course is Goff did not seek advice from anyone.

I know this is written in hindsight, but the obvious thing to do was to front foot it, stand Hughes down, send him away, strip him of his duties and wait for the cops to rule.

That way Hughes may have been able to keep his job in the short term and do some kind of mea culpa around what happened if the police were not to lay charges.

This is the sad thing. If Goff had handled this competently, it is possible Darren Hughes would be able to remain an MP, if no charges were laid. Sure there may be a period of penance, but resignation might have been avoided.

And who let Darren Hughes appear in the Press Gallery debate, ‘politics is a grubby business’? Surely Hughes, Goff and King who appeared in the debate would have thought, ‘hey we better lie low over the next few weeks eh?’

As much as I enjoyed the debate, it was in hindsight a very insensitive decision to allow an MP facing a sexual assault complaint, take part.

So Labour needs to choose a runner to take Goff out. They need to get organised and stop pretending they’re in Government. They’re not. They’re in a parlous and paralysed state in opposition and Phil Goff is now to blame for that. For the sake of all their grassroots members and other Labour voters – they need to go into the election with a new leader.

I’ve come across people who want to vote Labour because they don’t like National – but they say they won’t because of Goff.

Surely they are not isolated comments. If that attitude is widespread, and I believe it is, it is now the moral duty of Labour’s MPs to change the leadership and draw a line under this hopelessly managed scandal.

Duncan is right, but the problem for Labour supporters is it really seems that no one wants the job.

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33 Responses to “Garner on Labour”

  1. BeaB (2,118 comments) says:

    “Labour’s decision to hang on to Leader Phil Goff after his woeful management of the Darren Hughes affair shows the caucus is clueless, gutless and talentless. And most of all, they have no collective balls.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    How could anyone vote for such a pack of whimps?

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  2. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    Well said Dunc.

    I would have a beer with Duncan ;-)

    Give that man a DB.

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  3. buffalobob (14 comments) says:

    “He’s got more positions than a King’s Cross Hooker”

    I wonder if Garner knows this from experience…hahaha

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  4. Nick R (506 comments) says:

    What a strange post from Garner. Somehow I doubt it is motivated by his concern for the welfare of the Labour Party. He wanted a leadership coup which would have given him lots and lots of lovely attention and air time and now he isn’t going to get one, so he is going to sulk. Not fair.

    It will be interesting to see if the public is as fascinated with the Hughes fiasco as the media has been. I reckon Goff’s job is probably safe until the election no matter how hard Garner stamps his little foot, but if the polling collapses who knows?

    None of which should be taken as meaning that I think Goff has handled this well. He didn’t, and it will be added to the catalogue of crimes and misdemeanours when his time comes. But I’ll be surprised if that is before the election.

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  5. ben (2,375 comments) says:

    Wow, who isn’t hammering on Phil Goff at the moment?

    His interview with Paul Holmes on the weekend was excruciating.

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  6. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    For the Political Editor of a major news outlet I think Garner’s blog is remarkable – not entirely surprising but it just reinforces the impression that he tries to push the news to fit his wishes.

    Blogs can be dangerous things for supposed professionals, they sometimes seem to treat them like bragging at the bar with mates, but they can reveal far more about the messenger than the message.

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  7. DJP6-25 (1,376 comments) says:

    What’s bad for Labour is good for New-Zealand.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  8. voice of reason (490 comments) says:

    Pete George (9,513) Says:
    March 29th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
    For the Political Editor of a major news outlet I think Garner’s blog is remarkable

    Really ?? I thought it completely unremarkable. A rehash of 100 other opinions devoid of any real insight.
    I think we all know Goff is hapless and Labour are hopeless.
    In reading his blog what information did you garner (hah). Did any of his points surprise or enlighten? I doubt it.
    He may as well have been writing about todays weather ……… Tomorrow.

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  9. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    lol – Garner should really stay away from this topic …..

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  10. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    voice of reason – the gist of what he says is unremarkable. You’re right, nothing much new in it, and I’m not entirely surprised to see how he views things.

    The way he says it seems to me to be remarkably unprofessional for a senior political journalist. Maybe that’s just how some of them are behind the scenes, it’s no wonder it’s hard to take them too seriously on screen.

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  11. slightlyrighty (2,471 comments) says:

    When you read of the alledged behavior that Goff was willing to overlook, His caucus must question his political acumen.

    When his caucus questions the political acumen of your leader, they question his leadership.

    When the caucus doesn’t replace the leader, we question the political acumen of the Labour Caucus.

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  12. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    There is where I reckon David Parker would make a better stunt puppet than Goff this election. Parker’ll never have a better chance to become PM, and he might be sold on a Finance job later on when Cunliffe or the next pretender wants the leadership.

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  13. andrewcarrot (7 comments) says:

    Garner blundered again – unlike senior Labour MPs today, the Labour caucus has yet to consider Goff’s leadership.

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  14. Bob R (1,363 comments) says:

    ***I’ve come across people who want to vote Labour because they don’t like National – but they say they won’t because of Goff.***

    Goff is one of the only reasons to vote Labour. He’s smart, and not beholden to Maori like Neville Key.

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  15. georgebolwing (793 comments) says:

    Politician often greatly over-estimate their abilities, compared to their colleagues. And they are very risk adverse. So while non-politicians might look and say you would have to be mad to take over from Goff now, most Labour front-benchers would probably be thinking (a) I could do a lot better job than Goff and (b) this might be my only chance to be PM?

    Ask yourself: why did Mike Moore agree to be become PM in 1990 and why did Helen Clark seek to roll Moore so soon after the 1993 election? In both cases, I would suggest that it was a combination of over-confidence is their own abilities and risk aversion. They both thought that they would do a better job than the incumbant and where worried that if they left Palmer and Moore respectively in office, something might happen to make them popular.

    From this I conclude that if they thought they had the numbers, any one of a number of front-benchers would challenge.

    What we might be seeing is that while Goff has minority support within caucus, there is no one other challenger who can command a majority. So what is happening might be that the various factions are trying to put together a deal by which it come down to a head-to-head between Goff and one other contender.

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  16. slightlyrighty (2,471 comments) says:

    In the 2008, Goff held his seat by 6418 votes, which is a drop of about 3400 votes from his 2005 majority.

    The party vote in that electorate was won by Labour, by 207 votes.

    Should the Nats stand a strong candidate, might Goff get rolled by his electorate come November?

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  17. Bevan (3,923 comments) says:

    Goff is one of the only reasons to vote Labour. He’s smart, and not beholden to Maori like Neville Key.

    Hows that working out for you?

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  18. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Garner once again demonstrates he is not an impartial reporter but rather likes to drive the story himself.

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  19. Bob R (1,363 comments) says:

    ***Bevan (3,345) Says:

    March 29th, 2011 at 4:18 pm
    Goff is one of the only reasons to vote Labour. He’s smart, and not beholden to Maori like Neville Key.

    Hows that working out for you?***

    Not well, but that’s not the point. I’m saying that I like Goff and consider him far more reasonable than most of the Labour crop.

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  20. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    Pete George

    “Blogs can be dangerous things for supposed professionals”

    No probs for Garner then. He doesn’t even pretend.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    Bob R

    “I like Goff and consider him far more reasonable than most of the Labour crop.”

    Then I guess you also like the fact that his hands are dripping with the slime of THE most dishonest, corrupt, vile Government in this country’s history.

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  22. Bob R (1,363 comments) says:

    ***Then I guess you also like the fact that his hands are dripping with the slime of THE most dishonest, corrupt, vile Government in this country’s history.***

    You mean the Clark government? How close was he to the locus of power? I thought he was relatively focussed on foreign affairs & trade matters.

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  23. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    Bob R

    He was THERE. It doesn’t matter if he sat hiding in the corner, HE WAS THERE. HE was a SENIOR MINISTER. It doesn’t matter if he disagreed with it, HE WAS THERE. If he disagreed with it, he could have left. HE STAYED. Every bad thing that happens to this clown from here on on in is fully deserved. He is a complete and utter arsehole and now what goes around has come around and is smacking him in the chops (he hasn’y got any balls). Good fucking job. He is no different from Mallard, Cosgrove, Dyson, Chadwick, King and the whole disgraceful bloody lot of them.

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  24. Viking2 (11,412 comments) says:

    davinci; Can’t agree with that. Goff is quite different from those you named. He is on the right and worked bloody hard for NZ and our exporters etc. About the only one that did. Apart from that he is a true Labour Person unlike most of the other aspirants of various hues and ethnics.
    And I know from him personally that he hates Winston’s guts, but recognizes the reality of MMP.

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  25. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    If this was the Australian Labour Party Goff would have lasted just 6 weeks two years ago. They’d be on their third opposition leader by now.

    Yeah and how’d that turn out again? Annihalation in NSW and a PM who is, as the signs at the anti-climate change rally so eloquently put it “Bob Brown’s bitch”.

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  26. Fisiani (1,031 comments) says:

    Every Labour seat with a majority under 2500 is at risk in November

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  27. Joseph Carpenter (214 comments) says:

    Viking2 I think Davinci is correct. Consider this: in the last Labour Government he was Minister of Trade, ranked 3 on their list, acting PM on occasion, one of the most senior in the parliamentry party and with obvious aspirations for leadership. But what was his real job – it was going round clearing up the crap from Winston Peters, a person he detested, a corrupt venal person who was the bauble king and got all the face kudo’s while you actually did all work in the background, a person who quite often defecated on your own Governments postition and party policies. Imagine how soul destroying it would be to be Winston Peters own personal pooper scooper for THREE YEARS and acting totally submissively about it. I submit that a person with a modicum of integrity would not have tolerated it for even three weeks. I submit Phil Goff is in a fact an empty shell: he has no core passion or idealogy or vision or anything beyond being a weak career politician, he is what smile & wave actually looks like after serving 30 years/10 terms, he deserves everything that is happening to him.

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  28. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    Can’t wait for more engrossing episodes of this Farrar soap opera.

    Still to come:

    Jamie Farr on Labour

    The Naked Chef on Labour

    Then the piece de resistance:

    Labour on Rye with Egg Mayonaisse

    reid on Labour has been cancelled, simply didn’t make sense.

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  29. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    Neither can we Maggie.

    But I don’t think there will be any hope of seeing the walk-ons you’ve suggested. Your good friend Goff appears to be determined to hog all the limelight.

    What do you think? Has there ever been a more bumbling and incompetent leader of your party? Do you feel this Farrar soap opera has strenghtened Phil’s leadership? Do you agree with Phil when he said on Checkpoint that he would not have done anything any differently? Do you agree with Phil when he said it was important to keep this under wraps in order to allow the police to complete their inquiry? What do you think of Annette’s role in all of this this? Do you believe anything that Phil has said? Why do you think Phil keeps changing his story? Can you ever remember when a leader of your party was ever subjected to this level of ridicule by the public and so-called media?

    How does this stack up with the English secret recording sandbag, the Brash emails and the ‘gone by lunchtime’? Do you think that this will take the heat off Labour for getting into bed with Peters and all that embarrasing Owen Glen business? Was this a cunning plot by Phil to distract the public’s attention from the fact that the last labour government stole a million bucks of taxpayer money and then passed a law to purportedly legitimise that theft? Is this his way of distracting the public’s attention from all the naughty things your guys did in government? Has he been successful in your view?

    Will you guys be pulling out all the stops at KFC in South Auckland this coming election? Do you think that the new Double Down could be the rabbit Williams pulls out of the hat for you guys this election (he seems to have eaten a few himself)?

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  30. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    V2, that is a very naive view of the world. Goff was complicit in everything they did. He is as guilty as the rest of them. He wasn’t “just” the getaway driver (as if that should make a difference) he was actually inside the bank.

    Hating Winston Peters doesn’t necessarily qualify anyone as a decent fellow. it only distinguishes people from about 2.5% of the population.

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  31. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Davinci

    Agree 100% with every comment you have made on this post

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  32. wreck1080 (3,881 comments) says:

    Goff took the line of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

    I find it remarkable how naive Goff has been. Surely a man with so many years in politics knows to keep an arms length from any scandal.

    Although, Helen Clark also made the same mistake with Winston Peters I believe.

    It makes me wonder if Goffs age is working against his better judgement.

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  33. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    tdvm, I realise your questions are rhetorical, but I’m up for some fun.

    1. I think lots of things. I think this blog is largely populated by individuals who, if they even had the capacity to think, stopped years ago.

    2. Probably not. BTW Labour isn’t my party. I don’t have a party. I think for myself.

    3. Probably. If Farrar’s soap opera is an example of National Party thinking.

    4. I didn’t see Checkpoint, I live in Australia.

    5. ditto

    6. Yes.

    7. I know nothing of Annette King’s role.

    8. I never believe anything politicians say. That includes John Key. who is a known liar

    9. Politicians frequently change their stories, Key does it regularly

    10. Yes

    11. I think the issues you mentioned are far more important than this one.

    12.Perhaps

    13. No

    14. No

    15. N/A

    16. I don’t have any guys

    17. I have no idea what this question means.

    Now, one question for you:

    Has there ever been a more devious, deceitful, inconsequential smirking clown as leader of your party? If so, who?

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