Labour leader Phil Goff has said the Darren Hughes affair has “strengthened” his leadership.
The senior MPs met for more than three hours this morning to discuss the Hughes fiasco, earthquake recovery and the sell-off of state owned assets.
The 11 MPs all presented a united front as they arrived at Dunedin’s Otago University this morning. All expressed support for Goff’s leadership.
And they have just emerged from the meeting flanking Goff as he declared they have his support.
Goff said they had a “constructive” discussion about his handling of the Hughes saga.
Labour was plunged into turmoil by Hughes’ resignation last week after a sex complaint was laid with Wellington police and it emerged that Goff had known about it for two weeks before it was made public.
Goff is a fool. There is no one, not a soul except Goff himself who think that he has performed well in dealing with the Darren Hughes affair. If Phil Goff thinks he has performed well then National will certainly not want him rolled. It is no wonder that I am receiving imploring emails from senior National party sources telling me to go easy on him.
Chris Trotter thinks that Labour should roll him with a powerful post recalling echos of 1990.
The very worst time to organise a leadership spill is when a general election is just months or weeks away. It smacks of desperation and panic – neither of which speak well of a party’s readiness to govern. The only justification for such self-destructive political behaviour is the reason of necessity. Making an active choice to do something bad, rather than allowing a passive choice to permit something much, much worse to happen.
This was the choice the Labour Party made eight weeks out from the 1990 general election when the caucus allowed Helen Clark to persuade it to abandon Geoffrey Palmer in favour of Mike Moore. It wasn’t that Ms Clark believed Mr Moore could win the election, merely that the polling data suggested that Mr Palmer was likely to lose it much more comprehensively. Giving Mr Moore eight weeks to weave his working-class battler magic on Labour’s deeply disillusioned voters simply made more sense than allowing Mr Palmer to drag his party into an electoral abyss from which it might never emerge.
With great reluctance I have come to the conclusion that Labour faces a similar choice in 2011. The scandal surrounding Darren Hughes (which shows every sign of getting a lot worse before it gets any better) has, I believe, fatally infected the leadership of Phil Goff and Annette King. While they remain at the head of Labour’s parliamentary team, controversy of a particularly distasteful nature will continue to, in Helen Clark’s memorable phrase, “swirl around them”. Questions relating to the soundness of their judgement will, fairly or unfairly, give way to questions relating to the quality of their ethics. New Zealanders will forgive a great deal in their politicians, but they will not vote for a party they believe to be morally compromised.
Trotter is dead right. Goff is finished, if it wasn’t for the cowardice of the rest of his caucus his corpse should be feeding the crows in the political gibbet. Duncan Garner has no such qualms comparing Goff’s leadership in this fiasco to the positions of Kings Cross hooker:
Labour’s decision to hang on to Leader Phil Goff after his woeful management of the Darren Hughes affair shows the caucus is clueless, gutless and talentless. And most of all, they have no collective balls.
If there was ever a time to roll Goff, it is now.
They have seven days before the next caucus to find a runner and present Goff with a letter saying he has lost the support and confidence of the caucus. If necessary, put it to a vote.
But it seems the caucus has chosen not to do that. It’s a defeatist and hopeless position to be in. Labour MPs appear divorced from reality.
Describing Labour’s caucus as having no balls essentially describes them as a bunch of pussys.
The Hughes scandal was always going to be a train wreck – 18 year old teenager, senior whip, alleged sexual encounter, Annette King’s house, police investigation, naked man etc.
Come on – what leader in their right and sane mind could think for one second that in Wellington that would stay secret?
Exactly! Yet Phil Goff still shows up on TV grinning like the village retard and mouthing words he clearly doesn’t believe. This has to be the case because he changes his story so often that now nothing he says can be believed.
Goff has so many questions he can’t answer. He looks like he’s stumbling around in a pitch black bedroom trying to put on his pyjamas. He’s got more positions than a King’s Cross hooker.
That is the nub of the problem for Goff, he has so many positions that no one believes a word he says any more, if journalists can’t believe him then why should voters.