Face of the day


Phil Goff has a Christmas card from “a Right-wing outfit” encouraging him to stand for mayor of New Zealand’s biggest city. Electorate office meetings this month were disrupted by a mechanic determined to persuade him to take up the mayoral chains.

Awwww why so coy Phil, why don’t you just admit that Cam texts you? Right wing outfit indeed. We here at the ‘ Right-wing outfit ‘ would love you to stand.


Wherever he goes it’s the same, visiting ethnic events and businesses, talking to workers around the city and even farmers who live near his 20-hectare lifestyle block in Clevedon.

Background noise about a mayoral bid has become something of a drum roll in recent weeks. And while he claims to be surprised, the 61-year-old former Labour leader is also flattered.

“I’m genuinely surprised that so many people from such a broad cross section have approached me,” Goff says in his office at Parliament this week.

Goff is famous within Labour circles for his ability to work long hours, week in, week out (something which led to unflattering comparisons for subsequent leaders David Shearer and David Cunliffe). He admits a reluctance to transition from his “static 80 to 90-hour working week” to the “110 to 120 hours a week” demanded of Len Brown.

Mary, his wife, has put up with his long political hours for three-quarters of their 40-year marriage: she would not be “at all” enthusiastic about a whole new political career in the town hall.

“Frankly, it’s not particularly the lifestyle that I want to choose and that’s why I’ve said no, at this point, to it. When pushed I’ll say I’ll consider it, but I’ve got to say that’s not my preference.”

Later, he says he will look at the candidates that are emerging then make a decision. The implication? That if nobody else from the Left emerges to depose Len Brown, then Goff may step up.

What kind of mayor does Goff want?

One who is “fiscally responsible”, he says, who “doesn’t rate people to death”, tries to do more with less, while creating a “socially inclusive city”.

This comes as Brown concedes an average residential rates rise of 5.6 per cent, more than double the 2.5 per cent he promised at last year’s election. Goff insists his comments are not intended to influence Brown’s decision on whether he seeks a third term.

Brown “will look at what the polling is telling him and make a decision on that basis”, Goff says.

Brown has been embroiled in controversy since the revelation he conducted an extramarital affair in the chambers of the town hall, but Goff says recent criticisms of the hidden wardrobe and bathroom in the mayor’s new office were “unwarranted attacks”.

Brown “works really hard as mayor”, Goff adds, and “right now people should just let him get on and do the job he’s been elected to do”.

Better known for his roles in foreign affairs and trade (helping secure the 2008 free-trade agreement with China), Goff’s latest demotion to a caucus ranking of 17 has left him with some low-profile, but handy portfolios: Auckland issues and ethnic affairs.

Goff insists this will be his focus over the next year, “looking at the key challenges in Auckland”, transport and housing, and liaising with the hundreds of different ethnic communities in the multicultural city.

It’s almost as if Labour is grooming him for the mayoralty

More to the point the MSM as shown by this article is grooming him for the Mayoralty, spinning  him as a reluctant candidate only stepping up because it is what the people want.







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  • Reaper

    Len Brown works 120 hours a week? Isn’t it a bit early in the morning for a Tui?

    • Cadwallader

      119 of them working on himself in the secret bathroom?

    • Nige.

      not only that, but to say that Phil LEAD the labour party? technically correct…but was anyone FOLLOWING?

      • Cadwallader

        Was it deliberate to use “lead” as opposed to “led?” Lead is a heavy weighty element which certainly would’ve dropped the Party.

        • Nige.

          (heh. i thought i was quick enough to correct that before anyone noticed.)

          No that was not the intention but that is a VERY good point you make.

          • Cadwallader

            It was not a criticism but a witticism!

    • Aucky

      All depends on what you call work Reaper.

    • maninblack

      thats seven, 17 hour days. Yeah right.

      That would have to include Lens extra marital time etc.

      • That leaves 119 hours and 58 minutes to be accounted for (I reckon he keeps his socks on as well)

  • Aucky

    Dalziel in Ch’ch, Goff in Auckland, Wilde in Wellington. Is labour trying to capture the country at grassroots level?

    • Bryan

      and chch are very sorry they voted her in already she has done nothing in 18months

  • Reid

    It’ll be interesting to see what his stance is on the Rail Loop. On the one side are the people who live in Akld who know it’ll never work and it’s a waste of money (e.g. where’s everybody who uses it supposed to park?) and on the other side are the braying fools who hallucinate the planet’s about to be burned to a crisp by next Wednesday and won’t someone think of the children.

    It’ll be the first time ever Goff’s had to negotiate delicately between a rock and a hard place without having some convenient scapegoat on hand about which he can lie and obfuscate. In other words, after 30 years in Parliament, it’ll be his first real political test.

  • Eiselmann

    Len Brown: Making Goff look good….and friends ask why I left Auckland.

  • timemagazine

    These lame MSM people should have the courage and be honest and say- we want PG mayor of Auckland. Stop beating around the bush, MSM people, we can read through you.

    • ex-JAFA

      I know you meant Goff, but I read “PG” as Gower. I was very nearly quite ill all over my keyboard.

  • Blue Tim

    Good grief. Auckland and NZ needs a decent right wing slam the the cheque book shut mayor for Auckland. Not another “professional” politician looking to top up their superannuation with a mayoral chain. The only advantage I can see is that lying, leaking Phil wouldn’t be an MP.

    Come on Auckland. You must put up someone with business and governance nous!

  • Abjv

    One way to get turnover in labours ranks and frees up a safe seat.

    • Aucky

      Safe for all except Angry Andy.

  • sheppy

    Hmmm, replacing one dishonest lefty mayor with a house in the country with another leaky lefty politician with a house in the country, is it going to make a lot of difference?

  • Damon Mudgway

    John Banks for Mayor!

    • Could be a shoe in if we get goff and brown splitting the left vote.

  • Rusty B

    I see he is using Len Browns campaign slogan as well.

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    If Len Brown stopped doing so much dodgy stuff then he wouldn’t need to work so many hours. He must be working less hours now since his sordid affair was busted because you can bet he was telling his wife he was ” Working ” when in fact he was playing up in the Ngati Whatua room.

    • Betty Swallocks

      Well, that aspect of his mayoral duties would have only taken up 56 minutes a week by all accounts.

  • ‘One who is “fiscally responsible”, he says, who “doesn’t rate people to death”, tries to do more with less, while creating a “socially inclusive city”.’

    Got my vote!; no mention of a fing train being the obligatory word in any councilspeak!

    • sheppy

      I suspect that may if we’re lucky last a full 5 minutes after the result has been declared