Phil Goff

Continuing friction between Brownlee and Defence Force

Gerry Brownlee 1200

If Gerry Brownlee thought the trickle of leaks in Defence was bad, wait until the troops find out what he has been saying about the Defence Force.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is less than impressed with the advice provided to him by his ministry and the defence force, giving them barely pass marks.

Mr Brownlee rated his satisfaction with the advice he received from both agencies at just 50 per cent, according to their latest annual reports.

The target is at least 90 per cent.

Vice-Chief of the Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short told parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee Mr Brownlee had problems with the quality and timeliness of the advice he was receiving.

When Mr Brownlee took over the defence portfolio from his predecessor Jonathan Coleman, the defence force had to change the way it did things, Mr Short said.

“We were just dealing with Minister Brownlee as we had before, it’s not his style so we hadn’t adapted to that,” Mr Short told reporters after his appearance before the select committee.   Read more »


Media Party fans of Andrew Little turn on him in unison

They simply can’t spin Angry Andy’s stupidity.  Audrey Young writes:

Three guesses who Labour’s trade spokesman is …

David Shearer? No, foreign affairs (at least he still was last night).

Grant Robertson? No, finance.

Phil Goff? No, defence.

All three having been talking trade this week, but no.

Three more guesses.

David Parker? No, he was it when David Cunliffe was leader.

Clayton Cosgrove? No, he was it when David Shearer was leader.

Maryan Street? No, she was it when Phil Goff was leader, and is out of Parliament anyway.

Get the picture?

No wonder Labour’s messages have been anything but clear.

It is in fact Dunedin MP and former reverend David Clark, and has been since last November in Andrew Little’s first-anniversary reshuffle.

But the Trans-Pacific Partnership is far too major an issue at present to be handled by Clark.

For the next few months, Little himself and Robertson will be de facto trade spokesmen.

On National’s side, too, Steven Joyce is doing the heavy lifting instead of the new Trade Minister, Todd McClay.

This past week, without doubt, has been Little’s worst week as leader.

This isn’t unexpected.  Last year was the honeymoon period.  It was the time to jettison bad ideas dreamt up by Cunliffe and those who failed over the election.  It was time for “review” and “consolidation” and “listening”. Read more »

Phil Goff is an independent? Nope, not even close.


Phil Goff claims he is an independent candidate for Auckland’s mayor.

Unfortunately his leader has busted that particular lie…one of many from Phil Goff.

“Phil is not malicious. I have absolute trust and confidence in Phil. He is tribal Labour.”

Now if only the candidate would be as honest.   Read more »

A Strange Article about Victoria Crone’s Campaign

Political backroom operators from across the political spectrum get on pretty well. Good professionals keep the back-channels open, partly out of mutual respect for their backroom opponents, partly because there are so few good people who are any good at campaigning and they like to talk to others even if they are opponents, and partly because it is important to be able to exchange information and stop stupid stuff from happening on the campaign trail.

So I wasn’t surprised when I got a call from a Labour person close to Phil Goff asking me about the NBR article on Victoria Crone’s campaign. Part of it was a fishing expedition for information, and part of it was because Goff’s team have been laughing themselves silly at every move Crone makes and wanted to make sure they weren’t underestimating their opponents.

The article itself was strange because experienced campaigners know that they should never be in the media. Their job is to get the candidate in the media, not get attention themselves. Yet the article is all about Joe Davis, who has given himself the title “Campaign Director”. There is a rule in politics, adhered to by all the backroom operators worth paying, that campaigners who want profile should be running themselves, not running other people’s campaigns.

Although it appears Auckland Future is still pondering this question – its website is entirely silent on the issue – Mr Davis tells NBR he made up his mind a month ago to throw in with Ms Crone.

“During the Christmas holidays Vic approached me and asked if I’d consider leading the campaign for her, which I was obviously thrilled to be able to do,” he says.   Read more »

Labour’s leaders on the TPPA

Arts, lifestyle and travel blogger David Farrar is blogging like he used to.

The frigid polar air has done him wonders.

Last night he posted this image:

labourtpp Read more »

Labour can’t even be consistent: Goff can have his own opinion, but Shearer is to be censured

The Labour Party is now tearing itself apart over the TPPA.

Phil Goff is opposed to Labour’s stance and has been given free rein to oppose Labour’s stance, but not so for David Shearer.

Labour MP David Shearer is set to be censured for breaking the Labour line on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after speaking out in support of the trade agreement.

Labour leader Andrew Little would not outline possible sanctions or comment on whether Mr Shearer could be stripped of his foreign affairs portfolio.

“There is a range of options. I don’t want to go into any of them, but it is important he understands, and that every caucus member understands, that caucus collective responsibility is real and it’s got to stand for something.”

It follows comments Mr Shearer made to the Herald in support of the TPP, just days after Labour’s caucus had decided it would oppose any legislation required for the TPP. The sanctions could depend on Mr Shearer’s willingness to back down from his stance and are likely to range from a reprimand and apology to being stripped of his portfolio and demoted. As foreign affairs spokesman, Mr Shearer sits on the foreign affairs select committee which will be considering the TPP.    Read more »

Labour’s caucus splits over TPPA

Andrew Little announced what we have long suspected: that he and the Labour Party are opposed to a trade agreement that will grow our economy, reduce trade barriers and give us access to much larger markets for our products.

But there is a wrinkle…it looks like that decision has split their caucus and Phil Goff, at least, will cross the floor, and David Shearer may also join in the insurrection.

Two senior Labour MPs have broken ranks with the party line and declared their support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), amid rumours that at least one, Phil Goff, could cross the floor of Parliament to vote with National if Labour opposes enabling legislation.

The issue was hotly debated at the Labour caucus retreat in Wairarapa this week.

Labour has joined the campaign to oppose the deal as the focus turns to the signing in Auckland next week.

Mr Goff, a former leader and former Trade Minister and now an Auckland mayoral candidate, and David Shearer, also a former Labour leader, last night told the Herald they both still supported the TPP.

Mr Goff said the deal should be signed.   Read more »

Russell Brown on Auckland Local Body Politics

Russell Brown writes an interesting article at Public Address about National failing at Auckland Local Body Politics.

He correctly points out that the centre-right is dead set useless in Auckland, especially when Auckland votes National by a significant margin in General Elections.

General Election PV 2011 2014
National  339,809  366,160
Labour  214,391  207,724
Total Valid Votes  706,230  776,180


What Russell gets wrong is his analysis of what is going on with the centre-right. He says divided. This blog takes the position that it is incompetence, not division, that is the problem.

In part it’s because the Auckland centre-right is so divided and thus not very effective. Even in this year’s local body elections, it will be standing against itself, with C&R declining to make way for the more urbanist Auckland Future. The common answer to this problem seems to be that the elected Council needs managing, via the equivalent of a whipped caucus. Which, as I’ve noted before, isn’t necessarily something Auckland wants – and very probably is not what it needs.

Read more »

The Auckland Mayoral Candidates’ Vacuity


The current Auckland Mayoral candidates are trying to convince us they are serious, without having any firm policies or intellectual rigour behind their campaign. They seem to want to be mayor because they think they would be good at the job, rather than any burning ideological reason for transforming Auckland.

It is a shame we do not have mayoral candidates with the ambition of Canadian Maxime Bernier who is running for the Conservative Party leadership.

“I’m in politics for the ideas,” says Maxime Bernier. And with that line alone he may be starting something of a mini-revolution in the Conservative leadership process.Bernier, who’s been the Conservative MP for the Quebec riding of Beauce for a decade, has confirmed he’s testing the waters for a potential leadership bid. In a phone interview, Bernier laid out what would be his philosophical underpinnings as leader.“If I run I will run for more freedom and less government intervention in our day-to-day lives,” says the man viewed as the most libertarian-leaning Conservative caucus member.

Read more »

Red Radio lines up three Auckland Mayoral candidates