Goff’s hypocrisy

I find Goff’s criticism of McCully’s trip to Myanmar totally hypocritical.

When he was a Minister in the last Labour Government he was fully supportive of engagement with Myanmar… New Zealand even signed up to more engagement with the country.

New Zealand supports fully the efforts of the United Nations to keep the doors open and build foundations for the future, including the two visits to Myanmar by the Secretary General’s Special Envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, and the recent visit by Mr Pinheiro.

New Zealand shares the sentiments of the international community, in line with the view of the UN Security Council, that genuine and open dialogue is the only way to address Myanmar’s ongoing crisis.

When he was Foreign Minister he was getting emails from the public urging him to do more in Myanmar.

I am puzzled that a Labour-led government (who I would expect to be concerned for basic human rights and dignity) does not seem to have been at all active in taking steps to encourage a resolution to the twenty year old conflict in Burma

And during his time as Foreign Minister he signed several travel warnings for people visiting Myanmar:

And in his long past, Mr Goff even had a Myanmar refugee working in his office who was shocked that he did not require more security in New Zealand.

When Myanmar democratic activist Naw Htoo Paw spent her first day with Defence Minister Phil Goff , she was astonished that he drove her to electorate functions himself.

Using the former name of the country still favoured by political activists, she said: “In Burma when the Defence Minister goes out there will be a lot of security guards and there will be at least 10 cars that guard the minister.

So Goff’s attack on McCully is hypocritical, petty and naked opportunism.


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  • joe bloggs

    Don’t disagree in the slightest Cam – this is an opportunistic attack and another piece of 180 degree spin…

    … but I can’t help thinking that McCully has left himself open to questions over the cost of these trips. Perhaps there’s a time and a place for conspicuous consumption but I’m not entirely convinced that “now” and “Myanmar” are the best time and place…

    … it may well pay for McCully to demonstrate restraint, particularly in light of the MFAT cut-backs

    But Phil can still phuck off – the duplicitous creep that he can be!

  • grumpy

    I remember an editorial in one of the Bangkok English language newspapers a long time ago denouncing Clark for being too close to Burma.  They were especially pissed off with Clark touting for business for Kordia (part of Telecom?) and overlooking the regime’s human rights abuses.

    I’m sure it’s available on the Bankok Post or Nation’s archives.  I also sent it through to Murray Macully’s office.

    •  yes..i reported on that at the time..how labour/telecom so easily iverlooked human rights’ abuses..for commercial gain..

      ..and i don’t think goff is complaining about contact with myanmar..

      ..he is complaining about flushing twenty-six grand down the gurgler..

      ..when commercial flights would cost six grand..

      ..that is the complaint..

      [email protected]

      • In Vino Veritas

        And of course there are reasons for the charter (among them that the NZ Ambassador recommended it). Probably have escaped Mr Goff (since sheep usually travel overseas in a freezer and leemings usually fly self propelled).

  • grumpy

    …and it even came up in The Standard, apparently Kordia building cell phone towers was to aid “democracy” – see comment from Connor Roberts


  • Kthxbai

    Hells teeth, they didn’t even object to Chris Carter spending public money like water on overseas trips of little or no benefit to anyone.

  • politically unstable

     Unfortunately, McCully has a knack of leaving himself open to critcism – e.g. email cock-up…

    He is not the smartest person to have graced parliament…..

  • Blair Mulholland

    Naw Htoo Paw is correct – the name of the country is Burma.  Calling it Myanmar is a bit like calling Cambodia Kampuchea.

  • grumpy

    This one is the best…..Helen Clark “isolated from reality” , noooooo, who would have thought?


  • Vlad

    I don’t have a problem with the Foreign Minister representing NZ flying charter, first class, or Air Force (if they have a working airplane) to look after our interests, as long as they are not just troughing it on a holiday with the partner/girlfriend/missus.  That goes for National, Labour, or even (holds nose) NZ First.   What do we expect makes us look like a player especially in the status-conscious east?  Waiting for a standby seat at the back of Pacific Blue? 

  • Rockyr

    Labour was guilty of widespread  extravagant waste. That said there is no reason for self important  pompous National ministers to emulate them. A total unnecessary waste of time an money, no-one outside NZ will even realise he was there or where he was from the moment he leaves.

  • toby_toby

    I understand the job of the Opposition is to attack but jeez, you need to be smart about it otherwise you just look inept in the eyes of the electorate. No voter wants a foreign minister like Goff if this is how he carries on. I’m sure the reigning military junta has some nice digs to put McCully up in, but this is hardly troughing. He’s hardly going to be sunning himself in the middle of a mine field.

    • Gazzaw

      Anyone with an understanding of ASEAN knows that Burma represents huge opportunity for NZ. Boss Hogg are you there? You are a local – how do you see it?
      To me it’s Vietnam fifteen years ago, democracy will return, foreign investment is pouring in as are tourists. No Foreign Minister worth his salt would be ignoring Burma right now.

      Vlad has it right, it’s all about ‘face’ in Asia & I couldn’t give a rat’s arse if he charters an aircraft to get there AS LONG AS WE GET RESULTS.   

  • toby_toby

    @rockyr How is McCully emulating Labour in this instance?

    And why does it matter if no one outside NZ realises he was there? The point is to engage with their govt, not to show off to other countries. That’s what Labour does.

  • johnjack

    A small issue which seems to have escaped your attention, Cam, and that of most of your commentators, is that at this very moment New Zealand is host to the annual round of trade talks with Indonesia. McCully should really be criticised for not having the grace to be in town to meet these boys (who are, after all, worth a large part of over 1.25 BILLION dollars a year – with the balance of that firmly in our favour). Our man in Jakarta seems to have buggered off to Burma as well.

    I don’t give a damn whether McCully charters airplanes or not; but I do care about him paying attention to those countries in which we have a strategic interest, and Indonesia is the biggest Moslem country in the world: worth a lot of dollars to us if we get it right.

    It’s bothering me that I’m having to defend the people – like Phil Goff – with whom I don’t normally agree; but he is consistently showing more good sense on these issues than are you, John Allen, or McCully.

  • Phar Lap

    Goff really is buck tooth the boy who lives in a myopic barrel.When i watch him wherever,or whenever i can never forget the day he hugged the terrorist Yasser Arafat in middle east,and give him a cheque for FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND of NZ taxpayer money to help the group HAMAS as alleged to carry on their attacks on Israel.Now thats what wee Murray Mc Cully should remind him off.

  • MarcWills

    And Mallard’s trip to Blighty is for who’s benefit, and at what cost?