Is “independent” Phil Goff really just a Labour plant in a bigger plan

Rob Hosking sees a nefarious rationale behind Phil Goff’s candidacy in Auckland:

Mr Goff?s weak points are twofold. One, is he is more tribally Labour, at a national level, than incumbent Len Brown. Labour is targeting the council of the country?s main city, along with Wellington, (it already has Christchurch in the bag).

Denuded of support, both financial and other, Labour is hoping to create bases in local government from which to challenge the government and, no doubt, surreptitiously support its general election campaign next year.

Two, Mr Goff?s priorities, and the priorities of staffers he brings with him, are going to be less Auckland-focused than those of Mr Brown.

The resources of the council, including ratepayer-funded sinecures for campaign staff, will be there for the taking, and Labour will need those to hang on to its ground, let alone gain any ground, in Auckland at next year?s general election. ?

And the same issues are appearing in Wellington, but with a wrinkle.

This is also a reason for the growing bitterness in the Wellington mayoral contest: former Labour Porirua mayor Nick Leggett is running as an independent business-friendly candidate against Labour?s official candidate, Justin Lester.

Mr Little, in one of his more misguided splenetic outbursts, called Mr Leggett ?right wing? and claimed his campaign manager is from the ACT Party. Factually incorrect on both counts ? Mr Leggett?s policies are fairly centrist, and his campaign manager is another fed-up ex-Labour-ite, a breed not exactly thin on the ground.

Primarily, though, Mr Leggett has committed the unforgivable sin in Labour?s eyes of not viewing business as alien and threatening. The campaign against him by Labour activists in the capital is bitter and vicious and like almost everything else Labour does these days will be counterproductive.

The campaign is so bitter it has actually involved threats against people wanting to speak out against Justin Lester and some very untoward behaviour while on a council trip.

Either way Labour know they can’t win nationally, so they are going to stack local body instead.

?- NBR