Mike,”Fat Tony” Williams was Labour’s best fundraiser. He was also the president of Labour under Helen Clark and resigned shortly after the 2008 election loss.
He writes in the “Hawkes Bay Today” about Labour’s leadership problems:
THE week in politics graphically underlined the knife-edge result of the 2014 general election.
A parliamentary majority was recently assembled by the Labour Party to extend paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks, and Finance Minister Bill English was forced into the rare use of a “financial veto” to defeat a measure that would have otherwise passed into law.
This demonstrates just how close the National-led government came to defeat in 2014, and caused me to contemplate our political parties’ succession plans and to speculate on who will be National leader in a few years’ time.
One of the few weaknesses of the Helen Clark government was that no such plan was developed and this meant that Phil Goff, her successor, got off to a weak start from which he arguably didn’t recover.
We acted as though Helen would be there forever, even though we all knew that anything more than three terms was historically unlikely.
Goff was effectively selected over the heads of the party and the caucus as a whole by the outgoing cabinet, which delivered a fait accompli via cabinet solidarity.
He would have won a contested ballot, but the contest would have engaged the media and given him a three-dimensional profile which he never really achieved.
As he contests the Auckland mayoralty, people are getting to know him in ways that simply didn’t happen when he was Labour Party leader. He’s interesting, he’s funny and he’s grounded.