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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