Someone is telling lies

August 20th, 2011 at 12:39 pm by David Farrar

The latest story on the Labour leadership makes it quite clear someone is telling lies.

Now I think most would agree that a blog post from on the should not be taken as automatically accurate. Of course neither does it mean it is automatically wrong either.

But Trans-tasman reported on Thursday :

Meanwhile Goff questioned his front bench colleagues last week as to whether he should resign as leader. The questioning took place at a pre-caucus meeting of the front bench group. It followed publication of at least three opinion polls showing Labour slipping heavily in electoral popularity.

Caucus sources says the response to the question was muted, with one senior MP saying

“it’s up to you Phil.” There was no disagreement. The catalyst for a leadership discussion is the realisation if Labour slips further respected list MPs like Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash may lose their places.

This has greater credibility. It references to a specific meeting on a specific date, involving a specific group of people. It refers to multiple sources and uses a quote from one of the sources, who by definition must be a frontbench MP or a senior Labour staffer.

Then we have today’s Dom Post:

An increasingly angry Labour leader is again facing leadership speculation after conflicting accounts over a meeting with some of his closest and most senior colleagues.

He furiously denied reports in political newsletter Trans-Tasman that he asked his frontbench MPs whether he should quit.

Several frontbench MPs backed Mr Goff, either describing the report as “bollocks” or insisting the discussion never took place. Others refused to comment.

But one senior Labour MP said the conversation did happen. “[Phil] did consult the front bench over whether he should go.”

Now I don’t think anyone really thinks that both Trans-tasman and are simply inventing stories and specific quotes.

This leaves two possibilities:

  1. Goff did consult the front-bench on whether he should go, and is now lying about it
  2. A member of the Labour front-bench has invented this story and fed it to the media in order to destabilise Goff

It goes without saying that neither scenario is particularly good for Goff and Labour.

I suspect the conversation did happen. I don’t judge Goff harshly for lying and denying it, because it is a reality of politics that you have to deny stuff like this, otherwise you are fatally wounded. Goff probably never imagined that one of his front bench colleagues would leak that he asked his senior colleagues if he should quit.

One Labour source has described the polls as “OK Corral” territory for Mr Goff, with a number of well-respected MPs set to lose their seats should Labour’s support drop any further.

But another MP said Mr Goff’s leadership should be safe – even though there were probably the numbers to roll him should any of the contenders put their hands up.No one wanted the leadership because it was such a “a poisoned chalice” this close to the election.

This sounds like at a minimum three different Labour MPs are talking to the media about Goff’s leadership, so I don’t think one can blame all of this on Matthew Hooton. What is interesting is the assertion that if someone stood, they would have the numbers to roll Goff.

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23 Responses to “Someone is telling lies”

  1. reid (16,189 comments) says:

    The source said Mr Goff raised the issue during a discussion about polling and said he was worried that, after battling for three years, he was still failing to get cut-through on policy. He also thought the media weren’t interested in him.

    No, really? Notice how he doesn’t blame himself for failing to get cut through, or the possibility it might just be the policies either, no, he blames the media.

    This is why he is where he is and after a lifetime in the game, you woulda thunk he’d understand it a bit better than he does.

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  2. Elaycee (4,351 comments) says:

    DPF opines: “Someone Is Telling Lies”…

    Yup. Given we still have recent memories of porkies being told by Phil Goff re the SIS briefing, the odds have to be good that the fibs are still flowing from the same source…

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  3. reid (16,189 comments) says:

    No one wanted the leadership because it was such a “a poisoned chalice” this close to the election.

    Aren’t Liarbore’s MPs full of integrity. They’d rather let Liarbore take a hammering than do a Mike Moore and make it as soft as it could possibly be. I’m not surprised Silent-T hasn’t put his hand up but I am surprised Mallard or Parker haven’t. I thought both of those had more integrity than that, especially Mallard. His days in govt are over, what does he have to lose?

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  4. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    Mallard has other things on his mind like avoiding getting spanked in a cycle race.

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  5. reid (16,189 comments) says:

    Yes that will be embarrassing for him, let’s hope. GL Cam, whup his sorry ass. See if you can make him cry, that would be good.

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  6. RF (1,366 comments) says:

    Flip flop Goff. Classic example of short term memory loss. Should improve after the 26th November when he joins the dole queue.

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  7. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    DPF –

    I don’t judge Goff harshly for lying and denying it, because it is a reality of politics that you have to deny stuff like this…….

    Thanks for the confirmation (not that I needed it) that politicians are indeed liars and doing so is normal practice and apparently acceptable.

    Of course if you put this suggestion to them they would deny it……….lol

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  8. db.. (80 comments) says:

    Where’s Helen in all this.
    I guess it WAS a working holiday..

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  9. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Goff will last till the election, which he will lose. Then he’ll get dumped.

    After that the Labour party leadership might get interesting.

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  10. Sofia (851 comments) says:

    As reid comments .No one wanted the leadership because it was such a “a poisoned chalice” this close to the election.

    So after the Election, Labour think we will say “Poor, Labour, they didn’t have a good leader, but now an eager replacement will carry them to victory next time and make them a good opposition meanwhile’

    But why that, rather than –
    “No one thought Labour worth saving by trying to replace Goff, why should I have the slightest interest in them, when they themselves didn’t? Fuck Labour, and justifiably so”

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  11. Inventory2 (10,264 comments) says:

    It doesn’t matter WHO leads Labour into the next election. As long as Goff (1981), King (1984) and Mallard (1984) are there on Labour’s front bench, the public just will not believe that the party is serious about rejuvenation.

    A cull; a real, and meaningful cull is needed. Goff, Mallard, King, Dalziel and Dyson all need to go. Horomia is wavering, and should probably stand aside for the good of his health if nothing else. Maryan Street is probably too close to Helen Clark to be able to stay. Labour needs to be brutal about this, or its chances of a bounce-back in 2014 will go out the window again. A new, fresh front bench is called for, untarnished by the baggage of the Clark years.

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  12. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    IV2 – a purge that substantial wouldn’t leave much substance on the Opposition benches.

    I struggle to see Labour having the guts to go that far – it’d leave them wide open to being overtaken by the Greens.

    Mind you the watermelon party’s a damned sight more credible than Labour right now

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  13. jacko (7 comments) says:

    “Someone telling lies” . . . Yes, Hooton and Farrar.

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  14. jaba (2,118 comments) says:

    I2 .. who will lead such a purge? they are in a terrible position due to a lack of talent. We are talking about the need of a MP list of at least 10 (better if 20 min) of top of the range CEO type people. The cupboard is all but bare. National had better do some culling as well mind you.
    Rolling Goff now would be silly .. they are stuffed. The gutless MP’s who know they are dead having Goff as leader still, should be ashamed of themselves.

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  15. jaba (2,118 comments) says:

    jacko .. ummmm

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  16. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    Personally I think Goff is unwell, all this fantasy about leading a government

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  17. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    reid: “Notice how he doesn’t blame himself for failing to get cut through, or the possibility it might just be the policies either, no, he blames the media.”

    Not sure where you’re reading that. The quote was that “the media isn’t interested in him”. There was no claim that it was the media’s fault rather than Goff’s.

    Personally I don’t think it’s entirely Goff’s fault either – in so far as I don’t think any of the other senior Labourites would be doing any better if Goff wasn’t there – this is why they won’t roll him – they don’t have the confidence that doing so would improve the outcome.

    It seems to me that the main problem Labour has is that the NZ public is enamored with the incumbent and thus unless the Nats makes a monumental mistake, Labour will basically be ignored by middle NZ.

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  18. jaba (2,118 comments) says:

    “tell me lies tell me sweet little lies, tell me lies”

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  19. reid (16,189 comments) says:

    Not sure where you’re reading that. The quote was that “the media isn’t interested in him”. There was no claim that it was the media’s fault rather than Goff’s.

    ll let me explain.

    The fact he said it was the media who weren’t interested in him begs the question of: why, doesn’t it.

    So if he’d ever looked honestly at himself at the way he appears in camera, he’d understand precisely why the media aren’t interested in him, but since he made that comment, he ergo doesn’t get it.

    His low poll ratings are because the public think he’s weasely, weak and spiteful. He’s only got his life-long political persona to blame for that, since that’s what he’s been, in the public mind, since forever. If he changed that, he’d change his poll ratings.

    So personally ll, I actually do think it is in fact, entirely Goff’s fault and given this is entirely self-inflicted, I am very pleased that such an incompetent man will never inhabit the high office which he whinely proclaims as his rightful place.

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  20. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    @reid. If you mean it “raises the question” then yes it does. However it doesn’t provide an answer. You’ve chosen one that fits in with your “he’s weasely, weak and spiteful” view. Another option to consider might be that the reason Goff asked his front bench whether he should step down might be because he thinks it may well be his fault.

    Notice also that I did not make any statement as to whether Goff’s popularity was his own fault or anyone else’s. Rather I suggested that Labour’s position in the polls was not entirely Goff’s fault, implying that if Goff had stepped down (or been rolled) that Labour would still be in the same position they are now.

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  21. Fisiani (1,024 comments) says:

    The only Labour MP with the ego to take over is Grant Robertson. He daily dreams of being the first openly gay PM.
    He has failed Wellington Central by spending his time self promoting and advancing the Rainbow Coalition in the list to survive the 2011 loss and try for 2014.

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  22. Whafe (652 comments) says:

    Goff has no one to blame but Goff………….

    Honestly, the man has the personality of a pork chop, and pretty much all NZ agrees. As do most of his spineless senior MP’s, so sad that they are actually enjoying seeing him go through a horrible slow death in politics….

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  23. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I just find it ironic (or is it karmic?) that this has arisen as a result of a supposed leak – the phrase ‘Gone by lunchtime’ does spring to mind.

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