Herald on Goff

November 24th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Pointedly, Mr Goff offered to bring “a different personality” to the role in his announcement on Sunday. The pity was that he did not offer much else that was different, or indeed much at all. He promises to eliminate wasteful spending and needless bureaucracy. So do they all.

Can he point to any spending committed to by the current Council he does not support? If not, then why should people think rates won’t continue to skyrocket?

He aims for rate rises no higher than at present.

No higher than 10% per annum!!!

He supports higher density residential development and the central rail link. He will not allow the port to expand but he will not sell it, or even shares in it. He will not sell any “strategic assets”.

These are all off-the-shelf positions for a candidate from Mr Goff’s side of politics. Nothing he said on Sunday gave any sign he has been thinking deeply or originally about Auckland and the problems of the council, and what he might do with the sole executive powers of the mayor. Mr Goff has had a long time to consider these things.

It’s swapping one Labour Party Mayor for another.


Tags: , , ,

Phil Goff’s plan for Auckland is to try and get non Aucklanders to pay for his promises

November 23rd, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports on Goff’s announcement:

“We need to do more than just finish the motorway network. We need to get on with the city rail link to double passenger capacity and deal with congestion at Britomart. We need light rail on the isthmus, in the East and out to the airport,” he said.

So he plans even more spending than Len. And how would he fund it?

But as far as he was concerned funding for that infrastructure would not come from asset sales, as two independent reports released last week suggested.

So he won’t free up capital to reinvest in more capital. That means borrowing for it, which means rates to go up to pay the interest.

However funding for major infrastructure could not come from rates, and he believed Aucklanders would see a change of heart from central government.

This is almost dishonest. It is the same thing Len Brown did. Promise all this spending, but just assume that the Government will pay for it. And when they don’t, well bang rates go up 10% (on average – often much more).

Phil Goff is campaigning for taxpayers in Napier, Invercargill and Christchurch to fund his campaign promises for Auckland.

“If we go with a well presented case, and it’s central government that’s holding up what needs to happen in Auckland, then central government wears the opprobrium for doing that”

So Phil Goff’s plan is to win the Mayoralty and then campaign against the Government for not giving him taxpayer money to fund his promises.

Under his leadership the council would learn to do more with less, and rates increases would be brought under control, he said.

How? Can he give any concrete examples of where he would reduce spending?

Tags: ,

Would Goff be a better Mayor than he was Leader?

November 9th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


As Goff lines up to try and become the leader of Auckland, it is worth looking at how he did as the leader of Labour. The graph above is the data from the TV3 Reid Research poll which asks if people approve or disapprove of the job party leaders are doing.

As you can see Goff started with a positive public response. He had 43% approving and just 27% disapproving for a net of +16%.

But over the next two and a half years his disapproval rating rose from 27% to peak at 54% in October 2011. That takes some doing, to double the number of people who say you’re doing a poor job. And his approvals dropped from 43% to 28%.

Overall he went from a +16% rating to a -26% rating.

Were the public wrong, or was Goff not a good leader?


Goff to announce on 22 November

November 8th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour MP Phil Goff is poised to confirm his bid for the Auckland Mayoralty, sounding the final death knell to Len Brown’s prospects of another term.

Goff is expected to make the announcement on November 22 and has already pulled together a campaign team, which includes former Brown aide, top spin doctor David Lewis.

Lewis’ presence in Goff’s camp is confirmation that the Left have swung in behind Goff’s candidacy, stripping Brown of the support and financial backing behind his previous successful bids.

Sources say that Brown will announce a decision about the mayoralty before Christmas and he has been counselled that he no longer has the backing to mount a successful bid. But it remains unclear if he will try to win another term, despite his lack of backing of the progressive vote in Auckland.

Goff’s camp are confident the MP has strong support across the Auckland region and that he is also a popular pick in Wellington, where the Government sees him as a strong and credible mayor who they can work with to get things done.

The key question is will Goff spend less than Brown? Len Brown and his Council hit Aucklanders with a 10% rates increase, at a time when inflation is under 1%. Will Goff commit to a cap on rates increases?

Len has surprised no one by saying he won’t stand again. But will a Goff led left Council be any different?

Tags: ,

Stupid Defence Force

October 29th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A decision to deny an Iraqi-born New Zealand woman a job in the New Zealand Defence Force because of her birthplace has been slammed as stupid and prejudiced.

Warda Jawad, a 25-year-old psychology masters student whose family fled to New Zealand in the wake of the Gulf War when she was three, said she burst into tears after hearing the reason for her rejection.

Jawad told Radio NZ she applied for a job as an army psychologist after listening to a presentation from recruiters, and was initially told she appeared to be “the right candidate for the job”.

However, after a four-month application process, she was told she would not receive a security clearance due to her birthplace, as well as a 19-month period spent studying medicine in Oman.

“[The recruiter] said, ‘Hey look, the news isn’t good, basically your application has been rejected, given your place of birth and being away for extended periods of time from New Zealand, you weren’t able to pass a security clearance’.”


That was a pretty appalling decision. You treat people as individuals and don’t judge them off stuff they have no control over, such as where they were born.

One of my best friends was also born in Iraq, and her family left she she was very young.  I’d be furious if this had happened to her, and I can only imagine how upsetting it is for Ms Jawad.

Again you should treat people as individuals. If an applicant has beliefs or behaviour or even associates that could make them a security risk, then that is okay to decline them for a security job. But if someone has lived here since they were three years old, and you refuse them purely because of where they were born, then that’s nuts.

Labour defence spokesman Phil Goff said the NZDF had shown a narrow and conservative mindset, and had been unreasonably prejudiced against Jawad based on her birthplace.

“It is a stupid decision, it lacks any sound rationale, and they may have burnt off a person who could have been incredibly useful to them.

“There are not that many people around that are motivated to join the Defence Force and are capable of making the sort of contribution she could.”

Goff said Jawad’s fluency in Arabic, understanding of Middle Eastern culture and ability to talk with Muslim women would all be assets to New Zealand’s military operations.

“We lack in New Zealand people with those very sort of skills…we give people a few weeks’ training in the local culture and a few simple words in the local language, but those sort of skills would be so valuable to the Defence Force.”

I agree with Phil Goff on this.

NZDF have changed their decision, but the damage is already done.

Ms Jawad facebooked her feelings a couple of weeks ago:

Earlier this year I applied for a Psychologist role with the New Zealand Defence Force, a role I had my heart set on for a long time. As I had met all of the criteria for the position, my application proceeded and I met the medical requirements and began training for the NZDF fitness test that I would shortly need to pass. I was told, I only needed security clearance to progress further and become shortlisted. 3 months later, I was told I wasn’t eligible to pass security clearance and on that basis my application was rejected. Why? I was told “Given your place of birth, and being away from NZ for extended periods of time [a 9 month and 10 month period], you are not able to progress through security clearance”. …

Having been 18 years in NZ, completed all of my education here and completing a Masters degree, contributed to the community with various volunteer work that put me in risky and dangerous situations, and a completely clean slate, I am deemed to be a threat to national security because of where I was born. Serving in the Defence Force isn’t just an ordinary job, and I think we all know what sort of sacrifice is present. I willingly chose to put my life at risk and sacrifice many things, to serve New Zealand because here is what I have called home for a long time. Yet, the only thing that has been taken into consideration, is my ethnicity. Heartbroken, disappointed, confused, amongst other awful feelings. Time to turn the page and look ahead for what tomorrow has to bring. Thanks for reading friends 

Very very sad – someone who really wanted to contribute, and got turned down because of where she was born and lived for three years.

I have no doubt that some people will claim that anyone born in a Muslim country could be an extremist, and hence NZDF were right. That’s crap. As I said, one of my best friends was born in Iraq. She is the most Kiwi person I know. She is also Iraqi and also a Muslim. These things are not contradictory.

Tags: , , ,

Len will not run unless he wants to go out on 10%

October 23rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Len Brown says he will announce “soon” whether he will run for mayor of Auckland again.

It’s now less than a year until the 2016 local body elections, and so far no significant contenders for the mayoralty of New Zealand’s largest city have officially declared their hand.

Brown is in his second term at the helm of the merged Auckland super city, and says his 2016 mayoral intentions are “certainly not the most important thing I’m dealing with at the moment”.

He would make it known whether he intended to go for the job again “soon”, but would not be drawn on a timetable.

Len wouldn’t get even 10% of he stands. I’ll be amazed if he does.

The other major possible candidate, Labour MP Phil Goff, has said it is likely he will stand and that he will make the call by the Christmas break.

Which will me more 10% rates increases.

Tags: , ,

Sense from Goff who comes out in support of TPP

October 16th, 2015 at 11:22 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Senior Labour MP Phil Goff says it is unlikely the party would have to breach parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA) free trade deal if it came to power, with “more than one way to skin the cat” regarding its concerns.

What Goff is saying that while TPP wil not let you ban foreigners from buying houses, it would allow you to impose 100% stamp duty on them, which is effectively the same.

This is very different to the ramblings from Little who has said they’ll just ignore the parts they don’t like!

Goff, a former Labour leader and the trade minister who signed a free trade agreement with China in 2008, told TV3’s Paul Henry he had encouraged his party colleagues to consider the costs of opting out of the deal, which was “not the monster” that opponents were afraid of.

Goff is right. The problem is his colleagues have spent two years claiming it is a monster and Little campaigned for the leadership on the basis of opposing it.

Goff say he “maybe [knew] a little bit more about the trade than some of the others” in Labour due to his involvement in initial negotiations, and said he had asked his colleagues to consider the costs of not being in the TPPA.

“This is a deal that’s going to get bigger: It’s 12 countries now, but I can conceive that China will come in, South Korea will come in.

There would be significant costs to not being in the TPPA. As Clark said your biggest fear is a trade bloc forming you are not part of.

Well done to Phil Goff for being the first sane voice from Labour so far on TPP.

Tags: , ,

Goff’s running

September 24th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Super City mayoral contest has sparked to life with Labour MP Phil Goff all but declaring he is standing and the first centre-right candidate coming forward.

Last night, Mr Goff told the Herald “it is likely I will put my name forward”, telling voters to expect an announcement before Christmas.

If Goff stands, will he remain an MP and campaign while being paid as an MP? Lianne Dalziel resigned as an MP prior to the results of the Mayoral election. Will Goff do the same?

This comes as Orakei Local Board member Mark Thomas puts his hat in the ring.

Mr Thomas is standing as an independent with encouragement from several councillors but no political backing at this stage for the October 2016 contest.

The mayoralty is important, but even more important is getting a majority on Council who will stop doing over ratepayers with 10% rates increases.

Tags: , ,

Auckland Mayoral candidates on the big issues

August 10th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald asked some questions of potential Auckland mayoral candidates. The more important answers (my summaries) are:

Would you cap the rates rise?

  • Phil Goff – no
  • Michael Barnett – no
  • Colin Craig – yes to inflation, and referendum for anything beyond that
  • Cameron Brewer – yes 2.5%
  • John Palino – yes to inflation

What projects would you cut?

  • Phil Goff – none, need a briefing
  • Michael Barnett – none, just prioritise
  • Colin Craig – drop rail loop
  • Cameron Brewer – low quality bureaucratic programmes
  • John Palino – city rail link

Priority for transport – roads or public transport?

  • Phil Goff – public transport
  • Michael Barnett – need a mix
  • Colin Craig – roads and busways
  • Cameron Brewer – too much focus on rail used by only 1.6% of communters
  • John Palino – not clear
Tags: , , , , ,

Will Gattung stand?

August 8th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former Telecom boss Theresa Gattung is believed to be seriously thinking about standing for the Auckland mayoralty next year, sources have told the Weekend Herald.

Ms Gattung and Labour MP Phil Goff are the two biggest names to emerge to challenge Len Brown, who has not said if he will seek a third term. Last night, Mr Goff said he had still not made a final decision, but sources close to the MP put the odds on him standing at 95 per cent.

That would be great.

I can’t imagine Phil Goff could possibly lead Auckland Council to reduce costs. The current left dominated Council has just put rates up 9.9%. Someone like Theresa Gattung could get rid of waste and focus the Council on core business.

Tags: , ,

Goff oversaw four times as many land sales as National

July 23rd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government has “rubber stamped” $6 billion worth of farm sales to overseas investors over the past three years, Labour claims.

Labour MP Phil Goff’s bill seeking to curb rural land sales to overseas buyers failed by just one vote in Parliament on Wednesday, sparking an angry debate and accusations of racism.

Speaking during debate on his Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill, Goff conceded the last Labour government allowed too much land to be sold to overseas buyers  – “but to its credit it changed its policy four years ago”.

Opposing in opposition what you did in Government isn’t credit, more hypocrisy.

The bill sought to curb foreign investment in rural land by imposing a rule that it must deliver benefits over and above what a New Zealand investor could produce.

Goff accused National of rubber-stamping every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farmland over the past three years.

“It is clear that National has not followed up on public concern about the ease with which foreign investors can buy New Zealand farmland and ministers are just acting as a rubber stamp. The result is 140,000 hectares of our land, worth over $6 billion, has passed into overseas ownership in just three years.”

And how much was sold under Labour? Goff and his colleagues approved 1,431 applications for 650,00 hectares.

So the rate of land sales is one quarter what it was under Labour.

Incidentally the amount of land in NZ is 26,802,100 hectares. So the amount sold under National is 0.5%. Also note that in some of these cases it would be one foreign owner selling to another foreign owner.

Tags: ,

Translating Phil Goff

June 30th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Phil Goff criticises Auckland ‘presidential’ leadership | Stuff.co.nz

Auckland mayoral prospect Phil Goff says he would run the city differently from the current “presidential” style of leadership.

In a local television interview the Mt Roskill Labour MP has reiterated that he’s seriously considering standing for mayor, but claims he still hasn’t made the final decision.

Translation: I’m definitely running

“If I ran for mayor, that’s the reason I’d run as an independent.

Translation: Labour is unpopular in Auckland, so I’m hoping to con people into thinking I haven’t been a Labour MP for the past 34 years.

“I think a mayor needs not to be partisan, but to be inclusive to look after the whole of the city and to try and work with the whole of the council.

Translation: I hope to win with no policies, no position on rates increases by just promising to be inclusive.
Also Phil Goff claimed that Auckland is 40% of NZ’s GDP. He’s out by $11 billion or so. NZ GDP in March 2014 was $220 billion so 40% is $92 billion. Auckland’s GDP was $81 billion.
Tags: ,

Ambassador Goff?

May 29th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I see New Zealand is opening an embassy in Iraq.

I always thought Phil Goff, as a long-serving former foreign minister, would make a great Ambassador.


Bradford fisks Goff

April 26th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A statement from former Defence Minister Max Bradford:

“Comments by Labour MP Phil Goff that the incoming Clark government in 2000 simply followed a decision by the outgoing National government in 1999 to purchase 102 LAV III armed personnel carriers (APC) is, at best, trifling with the truth” said Max Bradford, National’s Defence Minister in 1997-1999.

Mr Goff’s comments were made in response to criticism that the Labour government’s decision to commit over $750m to purchase the LAVs was foolhardy, given that only 11 have seen deployment since their purchase in 2002 (see RNZ report (1) below).

“In 1998, the National government made a decision to purchase only 35 LAVs, which was seen as sufficient at the time. The purchase included a number of LAVs as maintenance and recovery vehicles, so there were fewer than 35 available for combat purposes” said Mr Bradford.

“Although National decided in principle to 102 vehicles at the time, we had serious doubts that 102 were ever to be needed, hence the decision to buy only 35 as replacements for the M113 APCs. There was a serious need for other defence force equipment replacements ahead of the full LAV purchase. These included:

  • a third frigate for the Navy, which never proceeded and only now are the implications being felt
  • new helicopters to replace the 15 or so Iroquois, eventually replaced by 6 NH90s
  • replacements for the A4 Skyhawks: the Clark government scrapped the air combat wing, to help pay for the 102 LAVs
  • replacements for the then-aging Hercules, which only now is being considered
  • replacement of the then VIP transport aircraft with 2 Boeing 757s

“When the Clark government announced the decision to buy 102 LAVs, there was considerable criticism at the time. Indeed, the purchase process was the subject of an Auditor-General Office thorough review and report to Parliament. The Auditor-General found serious shortcomings in Labour’s decision on the LAVs. Now Labour’s chickens coming home to roost”

“I am disappointed that Mr Goff should seek to shift the blame for a stupid Labour government decision in 2000 to proceed with the purchase of 102 LAVs, as the responsibility rests solely with the Clark government, not National. Certain very senior officers in the Army at the time have to share the responsibility for poor advice and a poor decision. We should be thankful that the problems within the hierarchy of the NZDF at the time have now been fixed and I trust the public can now rely on the integrity of the Defence Force to give the appropriate advice to the government today in a difficult international environment.”

“Today’s geopolitical landscape certainly isn’t the “incredibly benign strategic environment” that Helen Clark confidently stated in 2000 should apply to defence procurement decisions, so we must get the very best defence advice nowadays” concluded Mr Bradford.

Useful to have the other side of the story. Amazing only 11 LAVs have been deployed out of 105.

I recall at the time that people calculated it would take six months to a year to transport them all to another country, so it was obvious far too many were purchased.

Tags: , , ,

Goff apologises

December 17th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

“All witnesses, including Mr Goff, were subject to a confidentiality order of the Inspector-General. The order was made to ensure fairness and the integrity of the inquiry. The disclosure of the report by Mr Goff was in breach of the order,” IGIS said in a statement.

Today’s release said no classified information was disclosed, but it led to “premature media reporting on the content of the report, to the detriment of other witnesses to the inquiry, particularly those adversely affected by the report”.

Gwyn said she would be taking steps to ensure there was greater clarity around release protocols and legal obligations for future reports.

“I have met with Mr Goff and received a full and unreserved apology, in person and in writing. I have accepted that apology, and do not intend to take this matter further.”

I joked on Twitter that now Goff is writing a column for the Sunday Star-Times, will he leak his own column the day before publication to try and spin it! :-)

Tags: ,

Mayor Goff?

December 15th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Background noise about a mayoral bid has become something of a drum roll in recent weeks. And while he claims to be surprised, the 61-year-old former Labour leader is also flattered.

“I’m genuinely surprised that so many people from such a broad cross section have approached me,” Goff says in his office at Parliament this week. …

“Frankly, it’s not particularly the lifestyle that I want to choose and that’s why I’ve said no, at this point, to it. When pushed I’ll say I’ll consider it, but I’ve got to say that’s not my preference.”

Later, he says he will look at the candidates that are emerging then make a decision. The implication? That if nobody else from the Left emerges to depose Len Brown, then Goff may step up.

Penny Hulse is known to be interested but won’t stand if Brown insists on standing again.

What kind of mayor does Goff want?

One who is “fiscally responsible”, he says, who “doesn’t rate people to death”, tries to do more with less, while creating a “socially inclusive city”.

Sounds good to me.

Brown “will look at what the polling is telling him and make a decision on that basis”, Goff says.

Brown has been embroiled in controversy since the revelation he conducted an extramarital affair in the chambers of the town hall, but Goff says recent criticisms of the hidden wardrobe and bathroom in the mayor’s new office were “unwarranted attacks”.

Brown “works really hard as mayor”, Goff adds, and “right now people should just let him get on and do the job he’s been elected to do”.

Sounds to me like Goff will challenge Brown, but not right now.


Goff joins Collins at Sunday Star-Times

December 12th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Jono Milne writes at the SST:

When we announced last week that Judith Collins would be writing a column for the Sunday Star-Times, it excited comment across the broadcast and digital media. …

Would we also be running a column from an MP in one of the other parties, asked a Green Party PR person, for balance? “Wait and see,” we replied, coyly.

Quick as a flash, the PR person moved the goalposts: “Cool, you got a Labour and Green MP signed up too? News to me,” she said, just a tad sardonically. Apparently it would now take two columnists from the left to take on just one Judith Collins.

The outrage on Twitter was hilarious.

A few Twitter users demanded our readers cancel their subscriptions. Three of them actually went through with their threats by emailing me their cancellations – though one refused to identify himself or herself in the email because, this correspondent said, the right wing had so corrupted journalism that the writer could not risk me knowing his or her identity. Without knowing the person’s name and address, it was rather difficult to cancel his or her subcription!

Paranoia at its best.

Indeed, there is plenty of healthy precedent for senior MPs writing columns for the country’s big papers – among them, David Lange, Simon Upton, Deborah Coddington, John Tamihere, Jim Anderton and George Hawkins.

So who has the SST got to balance Collins?

Finally, for those who believe commissioning Judith Collins was an outrage, I have more bad news … as foreshadowed, I’ve taken on a second MP, too. Phil Goff will go toe-to-toe with Collins in the Sunday Star-Times every week. Goff, once the leader of the Labour Party, has now been moved off new leader Andrew Little’s front benches. Like Judith Collins, he is freed of the constraints of collective responsibility – both of them can call it like they see it. If that means they sometimes criticise their own leaders, so be it. This weekend, the former foreign affairs minister will examine whether Kiwis should be allowed to go take up arms in foreign wars like those in Syria and Iraq.

This is hilarious as many on the left regard Goff as a right wing sell out. I look forward to more howls of outrage.

Tags: , ,

The benefits of fighting protectionism

November 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour has fallen in behind the Government’s decision to join a trade pact that gives Kiwi firms the right to bid for more than $2 trillion of overseas government contracts.

New Zealand has joined 43 other countries, including the United States, Japan and all European Union countries, in becoming a party to the World Trade Organisation’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).

Exporters including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Hamilton’s Gallagher Security are celebrating the agreement, which is designed to ensure companies are treated equally when competing for government tenders in any of the signatory states.

However, the reciprocal deal could have a flipside for some local businesses which may now face more competition from overseas firms when bidding for work with the New Zealand public sector.

So why is Labour supporting this, when they have spent years complaining that companies like Dunedin’s Hillside should have been protected from foreign competitors? In fact wasn’t their policy to tilt the field towards local companies?

Labour foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff supported the agreement. “I am prepared to accept the balance of advantage lies in opening up new opportunities for the best of our exporters to sell goods and services into those markets,” he said.

Although it does not cover all government procurement in all those countries, Joyce said the deal would ensure New Zealand firms were able to bid for work worth more than US$1.7 trillion ($2.16t) annually.

Good to see Goff ignoring the rhetoric of his colleagues, and signing Labour up to support this agreement. If you have confidence in NZ firms, we stand to win more than we lose by having equal access to government procurement tenders across the developed world. Plus it is better for taxpayers to more competition for tenders.

But I wonder why the left blogs who daily denounce neo-liberalism have been so silent on Labour’s support of the GPA? Shouldn’t they be demanding that the four leadership candidates denounce it as neo-liberal trickle down policies?

Tags: , ,

Goff interfered with OIA request

September 9th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn blogs:

Phil Goff was interviewed by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security today, and in the process admitted on oath to unlawfully delaying an OIA request:

When I spoke to the Director of the SIS who phoned me suggesting he intended to release the documents immediately, he was coy about whether he knew of the identity of the Mr Slater who had requested the documents sought under the OIA. He then acknowledged that he did know who Cameron Slater was. The documents were to be released immediately until I challenged why the SIS was acting in the way he proposed. He at that point suggested he would delay the release for a number of days.
So, just to be clear, Goff didn’t like the identity of the requester, so he demanded a delay. And Tucker gave it to him. That is unlawful. The OIA is clear: a response must be made“as soon as reasonably practicable”. The information clearly could have been released immediately, so it should have been. Goff (and Tucker) has behaved unlawfully by having it delayed.

Still, Goff’s frankness is illuminating: he believes, contrary to law, that not liking the identity of the requester is a reason for delaying a response. Which shows perfectly why he is unfit to hold office and should never be allowed to control an OIA process ever again.

Goff stated he had not been briefed on the Israeli tourists, when he clearly had been. He then tried to suppress the evidence he had been briefed. And now he claims it was wrong for the Government to release information which contradicts him. And this is the man who got up in Parliament and read out extracts from a highly confidential note take by an MFAT staffer at a meeting with National MPs and US Senators. Goff is many things, but consistent is not one of them.

Tags: , ,

Goff tried to suppress the fact he was briefed

August 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

He said Dr Tucker told him about Slater’s request for the documents on July 26, the day he received it.

Mr Goff said Dr Tucker said he intended to release that day, “and I hit the roof”.

He had told Dr Tucker it was “unbelievable that you would contemplate doing anything like that – that draws you right into the political arena”.

He said Dr Tucker then agreed to delay the release for a week.

Now think about this.

Phil Goff told the media and the public he had not been briefed on a security issue.

He had been.

The SIS told him that they planned to release the briefing note, after redactions, as it had been requested under the Official Information Act, and there were no legal grounds to refuse it.

Goff hit the roof and heavied the SIS into delaying the release. He thinks that documents showing he was briefed when he claimed not to have been, should not be released to protect him.

And Labour are trying to claim some sort of moral high ground!!


Tags: , ,

Goff says halving the harassment rate is going backwards

February 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Military Women in the New Zealand Defence Force report said one in 10 women (10.4 per cent) reported they had been harassed, down from 19 per cent four years ago.

“However, women in all services also report higher rates of bullying than men (13.4 per cent v 6.6 per cent), and there has been no improvement over the past six years.”

It’s good the harassment rate has halved, but still of course too high.

Labour defence spokesman Phil Goff said the report confirmed women were “going backwards” in the NZDF

Sigh! A halving of the harrassment rate from what it was when Labour was Government is described by Labour as going backwards.

Of course the opposition should criticise and scrutinise, but there is such a pattern of factual inaccuracy that they just continue to lose credibility.

Tags: ,

Does Labour think RNZAF should stick with analog planes?

January 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour has hit out at a Defence Force decision to ditch its New Zealand training aircraft manufacturer and risk jobs by handing a $154 million contract to a United States competitor.

The Government on Monday announced it had selected Beechcraft to provide a new fleet of 11 high-performance training aircraft and simulators.

The T-6C single-engine turboprop aircraft would replace the New Zealand-built Pacific Aerospace CT-4E Airtrainers and the twin-engined turboprop Beechcraft King Air B200s.

The CT-4Es were due to reach the end of their service life in 2018 and the King Air B200s’ lease also expired that year.

But Labour’s defence spokesman Phil Goff said the Government should save taxpayer money and Kiwi jobs by sticking with Hamilton-based Pacific Aerospace, which supplies and maintains the current single engine CT-4E.

As it happens I was talking to a former RNZAF person about this yesterday and the answer is very simple.

The RNZAF wants the new planes to be digital rather than analog. All their other new planes are digital, and I don’t think anyone would argue that in 2014 one should be buying analog planes.

Sadly for Pacific Aerospace, they have to date only built analog planes. They have no experience or track record with digital planes.

So even putting aside what the respective costs may have been with Pacific Aerospace, the reality was the planes they have experience in making are not what are needed anymore.

And even if you get past any issues of price and experience, you then have the problems of parts if you go with the NZ company. Even if they could produce digital planes for RNZAF, it would be the only digital planes they have. This means they would not have the same capacity for spare parts and maintenance as another company that has produced hundreds of digital planes for other customers. So RNZAF decided the risks are too great to go Pacific Aerospace.

Note that this info doesn’t come from anyone political, but a former RNZAF officer.

Tags: , , ,

Will Singh keep his JP?

December 13th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

Daljit Singh was convicted on two charges of forgery in the High Court in Auckland on Thursday over the registering of 116 voters in the Otara-Papatoetoe area, where he was standing for the local board in 2010.

The Royal Federation of Justices Associations says the integrity of its members is paramount and it has asked the Auckland association to seek Singh’s immediate resignation.

Singh was made a JP in 2005 by then Justice Minister Phil Goff. You have to be nominated or supported by an MP and I understand that his application was supported by Taito Phillip Field.

Tags: , ,

Goff on TPP

December 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand would benefit more than most countries from a concluded Trans Pacific Partnership deal, former Labour trade minister Phil Goff told the Herald last night.

“We have the least barriers and therefore we have the least we have to give away,” he said. “Other countries have to give away much more.

“While there are all sorts of problems involved in this negotiation, you have to look at the wider picture and the wider picture is that each country will benefit from a successful conclusion to it but New Zealand will benefit more than most.”

It’s great to have Phil Goff say this, but once again Labour is the yeah, nah party.

On union demands they say yeah to the unions and then tell employers nah, don’t worry.

On oil Shane Jones says yeah all for it, and Moana Mackey says Labour is against off shore drilling.

On TPP Phil Goff says it will be beneficial for NZ, while other MPs such as Twyford organise protests against it.

This is Labour standing for nothing, and trying to be all things to all people.

Mr Goff made his comments just before Trade Ministers from the 12 countries negotiating the TPP ended four days of intense talks in Singapore in a bid to resolve the toughest issues.

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser is thought to have played a central role in the talks, having been a professional trade negotiator and diplomat before entering politics.

Groser is excellent in these forums.

Mr Goff said opponents of the TPP were seeing the talks through their particular lens “and they are highlighting worst-case scenarios” and he was not criticising them.

“It’s unlikely we will get to a worst- case scenario and if it was a worst- case scenario, it is unlikely that we would agree to it.”

Exactly. I don’t like a lot of the stuff the US is proposing – but it is only a proposal. The leaked documents have shown that in fact the NZ Government is doing a great job in resisting any provisions that are bad for NZ.

Tags: , ,

Goff vs Cunliffe on trade

October 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young reports:

Labour’s trade spokesman and a former Trade Minister Phil Goff says he understands why the Government is not releasing text of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement but says it could be doing more to communicate with New Zealanders.

His position is more moderate than that of new Labour leader David Cunliffe, a former diplomat, who called on the Government to release the draft text on his first day in the job. …

Asked for a response to the online campaign by some New Zealand celebrities to release draft text of the TPP, Mr Goff said that would probably not be possible.

The 12 parties would have an agreement that the text could not be revealed.

“You probably can’t breach that agreement but what you can do and what the Government hasn’t done is broadly spell out its negotiating position,” he told the Herald.

Goff is playing this straight, while Cunliffe has been talking nonsense on this (and he knows it as a former diplomat). I’m all for more openness in some of our treaty or trade negotiations, but it is simply impossible to unilaterally release a negotiating text. You’d be effectively expelled from the negotiation.

All countries need to agree to to release a text. New Zealand has no authority to release a draft text. At the beginning of negotiations, it is agreed whether drafts will be released or not, and the international default is they are not. If you do not have agreement from other countries to release a draft text, and you do it anyway, then they’ll never trust you again. You won’t be allowed into any negotiations more significant than the protection of small snails convention.

Personally it would be good if there had been agreement when the talks began (under Labour) for draft texts to be released at certain stages. But you can’t unilaterally change or ignore the rules later on.

What is a worry is that Cunliffe knows this beyond any doubt. He has been a trade negotiator (according to his CV). When he called for NZ to release the draft text, he knew absolutely that it was impossible and if NZ did so, they’d be effectively expelled from the negotiations.

I’m glad to see Phil Goff is not acting so irresponsibly.

But what will Cunliffe think of Goff contradicting him? If Goff the one MP that has yet to swear loyalty to Cunliffe and Cunliffe has pledged to expel from party membership if he doesn’t get it? It’s probably Mallard, but might not be.

Personally I think Goff should pledge to be just as loyal to Cunliffe as Cunliffe was to him. How could he complain about that as a loyalty pledge? :-)

Tags: , ,