Mr Goff provided the surprise of the evening by answering a question with two contradictory but correct answers. Let me explain.
He was asked why he is criticising the National government in Parliament when it cuts spending or jobs but is now attacking Auckland Council for not doing the same.
Mr Goff effectively says – “in Wellington I am in opposition and you criticise the government no matter what. Now, I am standing for mayor and this is what voters want to hear – an end to waste and a reduced budget for the council.”
This is true of the opposition. But it need not be true. You are a stronger opposition if you don’t oppose everything.
Labour’s opposition to every spending cut or piece of fiscal discipline in the last eight years is part of the reason they are now seen as having no credibility on economic issues. People do not trust them to be able to manage the books.
He went on to say he hated being in opposition because after being in power politicians know exactly why the government is doing this or that but in opposition they have to ignore that.
In running for mayor, Mr Goff is effectively saying Labour has little chance of beating John Key and won’t be hanging around for another term in opposition.
Goff has spent 18 years in opposition (and 15 in Government).