Phil Goff’s leadership may not be on the line today at the shadow cabinet meeting in Dunedin, but no change is no longer an option.
That’s also a big call.
Looking again at the wider leadership team including Annette King and David Cunliffe and making a change there may be the answer.
Helen Clark did it in 1996 to shore up her leadership.
At the time her rivals did not have the numbers to roll her, but she recognised the concern in the party at its poor poll rating and knew she needed to act.
The result was her deputy and finance spokesman David Caygill hit the cutting room floor in favour of Michael Cullen, creating the leadership team that was so effective for Labour during nine years in office.
Politically that might work, even though it would be quite unfair. Goff is the one who has ballsed up so badly, and I don’t think King has done anything much wrong – we don’t know what she advised Goff. And the fact the incident happened at her house is not a reflection on her. There’s nothing wrong with having a colleague stay with you – in fact probably saves the taxpayer money.
But Annette is very loyal to Labour, and it is possible she could walk, to save Goff.
There is clearly a split between Goff and the party or at least president Andrew Little over the handling of the issue and the lack of communication. It goes deeper than the papering over of the cracks that occurred late on Sunday when the two finally talked about the issue.
Labour is in full fund-raising mode, made difficult by the current controversy. Its activists on websites and blogs are openly questioning the party’s direction and Mr Goff’s judgment. Its union backers and foot soldiers need to be motivated but are in danger of being demoralised.
Business as usual is simply not an option.
You can’t make shit this good up.
Image courtesy of Iidiot/Savant.