The ODT proclaims:
But if Mr Goff talked of this being a time for renewal of Labour, he must be challenged on whether he suitably represents the face of renewal.
He is certainly one of Labour’s “old guard” and usually thought to represent such remnants of traditional Labour as still exist; the presence of a new party president in unionist Andrew Little reinforces the notion.
Stunts like appearing in Rotorua on a motorbike, however, fall into the same farcical category as Don Brash pretending to be a racing car driver.
Younger voters are not fooled or even impressed by such public relations inanity.
Not sure it is just younger voters!
It was perhaps unfortunate – only hindsight will likely prove the point – that Mr Goff compared himself to the All Blacks coach as a man under pressure heading towards 2011.
An apology for trivial matters goes no way towards explaining why the Clark government took its eye off the economic ball in its third term; why Labour thought itself justified in having the taxpayers – those “workers” Mr Goff mentioned – unknowingly help fund its election campaign in 2005; why it did nothing effective about the charlatans in the finance industry; acted so slowly over the “leaky homes” disaster; and failed to intervene in electricity industry profiteering.
And why it took nine years to get a tax cut.
But – like Mr Goff – that is looking into the past: voters want leaders who embrace the future.
Come the next election, Labour’s present leadership will not represent a fresh young face to an electorate of which more than half will be under 50.
The chief problem Mr Goff faces is the one of personal relevance.
The public does not care about either him or his party at the moment, to judge by the polls, and Labour’s 14 new MPs and the revitalising of its younger membership – along with the appearance of an ancient Labour ghost, Jim Anderton, offering alms – are unlikely to be sufficient to turn that widely held opinion around by 2011.
And again this is the hardest part for Labour. How do you convince the voters that someone who entered Parliament when Muldoon was Prime Minister is the relevant fresh face to lead them forward.