Labour’s political management

August 21st, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Bryce Edwards wrote:

Of course Goff and his party played the crucial role in sending New Zealand into the war, so his current stance would appear, to some, to be hypocritical. Goff refuses to say that ’s intervention was wrong, essentially suggesting that it has only been wrong under the National Government, but few will be convinced. Goff’s view of the future is bleak: ‘ was slipping towards civil war…. He said success in relied on a local administration that could capture the “hearts and minds” of its people. The Karzai administration had failed on that front, and Goff said it was “deeply corrupt”. “It is involved in drug trafficking, supports war lords, and hasn’t got the support of the people. Why are our guys dying to defend an administration of that nature?”‘ Ironically, those criticisms were, of course, the exact ones made during Goff’s tenure as Minister of Defence. Goff’s words now amount to an admission of defeat.

David Shearer’s position on the withdrawal appears to be more cautious than Goff’s, and is effectively the same as the Government’s. When interviewed today Shearer said: ‘I don’t think we should be cutting and running, because that will undo the very good work we’ve done over the last nine years. But we shouldn’t be staying any longer than we have to – I’m talking about months, rather than a year and a half’ – see TV3’sFirstline – Leave Afghanistan ‘as soon as practical’ – Shearer.

Labour’s position has been all over the place. Goff has been saying one thing, and Shearer another. Plus Shearer’s position varied throughout the day.

This suggests to me that Labour’s parliamentary unit is not operating as effectively as it should be. The moment news of the three further deaths broke, there should have been a quick meeting to determine what the Leader would say, and then if he signed off on it, it should be communicated to all MPs with clear instructions that no Labour MP is to say anything beyond that.

This is not advanced political management. This is basically Politics 101. A party needs to speak with one voice on issues like this. Goff is saying the mission (which he started) has failed, while Shearer is saying it has not.

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30 Responses to “Labour’s political management”

  1. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    Labour’s position is one that many New Zealanders will understand:

    “We tried to help them, but those Afghans are just so uncivilised that we can’t do any more for them.”

    Beginning to piss me off.

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  2. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    Goff says anything he thinks will win him short term political gain. He forgets we can gooogle everything and expose the hypocrisy.

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  3. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    tvb,

    Actually I think the problem is rooted in him knowing that most people won’t

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  4. greenjacket (466 comments) says:

    As early as 2005 it ws obvious that the Karzai administration was essentially a narco-regime and that the Taliban were regaining strength, and that NZ soldiers were at risk. Goff was Minister of Defence (and de facto foreign minister) until the end of 2008. But now Labour seek to make political capital from the deaths of NZ soldiers.

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  5. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    But opinion leaders will including Mr Farrar

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  6. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Bring back H1 and H2 and the party with many bodies, but only one mind and one opinion.

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  7. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    Shearer is to blame here for allowing Goff to do his own thing. It reeks of incompetency, and this is the guy that’s vying to lead our next government? oh dear.

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  8. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    Putting the politics aside and the pretence of an orderly withdrawal, we are watching a defeat. JK presented a pattern of the importance of working against terrorism on Close Up last night, mentioning that 50 countries were involved in Afghanistan. The point seems to be however, that terrorism won in Afghanistan a long time ago, and the apparently symbolism of 50 countries working together isn’t advanced because reprisals have occurred throughout and will only intensify. Gains made will be gains lost, revenge, and the thought of revenge was never suppressed and was never going to be by invasion.

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  9. speters (108 comments) says:

    Maybe if every change in direction wasn’t attacked by partisans from the other side as hypocrisy we might see more constructive debate. I don’t think its necessarily hypocrisy to say the position has changed in the past five years, particularly in the context of a conflict as nebulous and dynamic as Afghanistan.

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  10. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Let’s not forget goff lost a nephew serving for the US army so his perspective may have altered a little and be somewhat different than those of us who have not had to deal with a loved one. It is always so simple to be wise and critical from an armchair. I don’t like Goffs politics but I am not going to condemn the man for his views on this issue as they may in fact be born of a different insight.

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  11. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    Mark

    If the idiot Goff’s “different insight” arose only by virtue of his nephew being killed, then that says nothing good of about his involvement in sending our people there in the first place. Any decision to deploy of our people to overseas trouble spots and wars carries the risk that they will suffer death and injury, and that any injuries suffered will be crippling.

    I have a more charitable view of Goof’s weasel words in this instance; namely that they simply reflect political opportunism. Although that hardly flatters him.

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  12. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua

    Is English your second language?

    “….It reeks of incompetency,…:

    The noun you seek, old chap, is ‘incompetence.’

    Best you leave invented English to the Americans.

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  13. speters (108 comments) says:

    Yes tdvm of course there is always a risk of death/injury. And, while tragic, the death of troops shouldn’t trigger a knee jerk reaction of withdrawing from the conflict. BUT when NZ troops die it brings the conflict to the public consciousness and provides an opportunity to reflect on why exactly we are there, and if those reasons continue to justify our intervention.

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  14. speters (108 comments) says:

    Adolf – after 2000+ posts I would have thought you’d be beyond attacking the grammar of people you don’t agree with and capable of focusing on the substance. It gets boring fast doesn’t it?

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  15. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Labour’s political management

    ??

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  16. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Actually, until recently the government said it intended to withdraw troops late next year. Now it is talking about April next year. More deaths might bring that date forward even further. All the while the government is saying that soldiers’ deaths are not related to the early withdrawal. There’s the next Tui ad.

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  17. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Initially the government intended troops to stay in Afghanistan til 2014.

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  18. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    LOL Adolf, ever heard of a typo? it might help.

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  19. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Labours Political Management, Military Intelligence anyone know any other oxymoron?

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  20. Nostradamus (3,344 comments) says:

    Ross69:

    Initially the government intended troops to stay in Afghanistan til 2014.

    Citation needed.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    speters

    No. It provides another opportunity to reflect. The fuckwit Goff should have reflected on this possibility at the outset. You aren’t suggesting that he didn’t are you; that he had other motivations and at the time was not in the least concerned at the prospect of our troops suffering death and injury?

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  22. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Labours Political Management, Military Intelligence anyone know any other oxymoron?

    Smart Green policies

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  23. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    In 2007 Goff extended the PRT stay for another 2 years. It was by then quite obvious the Karzai govt had it’s problems.

    What changed so dramatically since then? Labour lost power and Obama became president. Perhaps Goff just preferred Bush.

    I remember when Locke used to go on about how Labour was sending troops to Afghanistan just to toady to the Americans. Now Goff is saying the same thing about National.

    He drips insincerity and spent 3 years destroying Labour’s reputation but he’s still around. So much for Shearer’s new look Labour.

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  24. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    ^^ Green Jobs

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  25. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Labours Political Management, Military Intelligence anyone know any other oxymoron?

    Wussel’s Economic Vision?

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  26. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    Not one word from Shearer about why Labour sent them there in the first place. Gutless wonder.

    I am also sick of Goff trying to escape responsibility and always make capital out of his nephew’s death as a member of the US defence force. Saying it is harder because it is more personal is shameful. Making political decisions on the basis of your own interests is actually corruption and should never be the starting point for foreign policy or for sending troops overseas into combat.

    Our MPs sound so fake in the House today with a lot of mock solemnity. John Key spoke succinctly without all the tosh that only demeans the sacrifice these young people have made. Interesting it is always old men left to eulogise.

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  27. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    It might have taken Shearer a while to get there, but at least he seems to get it now. On the other hand Norman…

    Shearer acknowledged it may take months to complete the handover and it had to be done in an “orderly” fashion.

    “But it is right, after almost a decade, for the end of our commitment in Afghanistan to be firmly in sight.”

    Earlier, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said he would be seeking an urgent debate in Parliament to bring New Zealand troops home earlier.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7519333/Peters-ejected-as-soldier-tribute-marred

    Why didn’t he asked for an inquiry into a moratorium?

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  28. Steve Wrathall (284 comments) says:

    “…anyone know any other oxymoron?…”

    Union representative

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  29. RF (1,404 comments) says:

    Dear God.. More flip flops from Labour with a goodly dolip of he said…no he said. Depending on who is speaking… Goff or Shearer.

    Major fail from a party who should not be looking like a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.

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

    Isn’t the title a contradiction of terms?

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