Saturday, March 26, 2011

What they're saying ...

We're not normally big on "around the blogs" type posts. But today, everyone's talking about Phil Goff, Darren Hughes, leadership coups and the New York branch of the Labour Party. So here's a selection from right across the sphere of opinion:

Over at The Standard, ROB denies that a coup is imminent, but the comments section suggests that there is a mood for change

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, Rober Winter, a Labour supporter opines:
I am on record as suggesting for some months that David Parker is a serious candidate for Party leadership. He has the numbers, as far as I can tell, and MPs once loyal to Mr Goff. now deeply disillusioned by the Hughes affair and the Party's poll ratings are mulling over seriously a coup that might not be perfectly timed, but which is a last hope for a pre-election positioning of the party, and would, in the case of defeat, allow some bold thinking and the emergence of a long-term succession strategy. Personally, I think that Mr Parker would scrub up quite well as leader, and a team with Mr Robertson captures a number of imaginations.

Selwyn Manning from Scoop
quotes sources from
within the Labour Party - he writes:

Scoop can confirm Phil Goff's leadership has been in question since it was revealed he knew about the complaint made to Police two week's ago. The alleged incident is said to have occurred at Labour deputy leader Annette King's home, where Darren Hughes was a border.

Labour insiders have told Scoop that Hughes offered Goff his resignation weeks ago, after confiding in his leader that he was under Police investigation. The fact that Goff didn't accept it then has caused stress amongst Labour caucus members.

Scoop has also learnt that indeed a cabal representing a group within caucus is counting numbers against Goff.

Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson are representing a cabal that is seeking support for David Parker to replace Goff. And rumours that Helen Clark and her strong-arm strategist Heather Simpson have been consulted appear to have some substance.

Today, Scoop understands Parker has the numbers to roll Goff. He does have the support of the majority of the Labour caucus. But Scoop also understands the cabal will not make its move to roll the leader until Goff absorbs full responsibility for his handling of the Hughes affair.

Over at Kiwiblog, DPF reckons that it is not impossible that the "Labour insiders" that Manning refers to might in fact be David Parker himself; surely not!

The NBR takes a similar line to Scoop, and introduces us to the New York Branch of the Labour Party:

Word from inside the party is that the New York branch (aka former leader Helen Clark) has been involved in secret talks over the future of current leader Phil Goff.

Mr Goff has always been considered a temporary head, okay to lead while National is firmly in power, but unlikely to be the next Prime Minister.

Parker, Street, Dyson running numbers
“I am reliably informed that Labour rank and file are planning a challenge to Goff," a well-placed insider told NBR.

"David Parker, Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson – with the approval of the New York office – are gathering numbers to see what can be done,” the source said.

Mr Goff’s handling of the Hughes event was the final straw.

No Minister's resident leftie, Psycho Milt laments the absence of an opposition that opposes, opining:

It shouldn't just be Darren Hughes resigning, there should be wholesale ritual suicide in the Labour ranks - if you lot can't give National a hiding when they're performing this badly, there's not much point in you continuing to draw breath, let alone a salary.

And then there's today's papers. At Stuff, Vernon Small and Tracy Watkins write:

The Labour Party is in turmoil, with senior figures questioning leader Phil Goff's judgment over the Darren Hughes affair and a crucial frontbench meeting on Monday and Tuesday likely to discuss the issue.

Mr Goff has defended his actions, saying the allegation could have been unhelpful to the police inquiry, set off a storm of controversy, and would not have helped Mr Hughes or the complainant.

Yesterday he dismissed talk of a move on his leadership as "bullshit" and said he had received no criticism of his handling of the affair and expected none.

But one of the party's rising stars, who asked not to be named, said next week's meeting was likely to crystallise how angry MPs were over Mr Goff's handling of the issue and whether there was the will for a leadership challenge.

"It depends if people like Charles Chauvel, Shane Jones, David Parker and Trevor Mallard have the balls to say something."

Lastly, we turn to Fran O'Sullivan at the Herald, who notes:

Goff's inability to apply consistent standards has also left him facing charges of hypocrisy. Unlike the Richard Worth affair, Hughes has not been accused of operating a political casting couch.

But in Worth's case, Goff showed no mercy when demanded why John Key did not take his Cabinet minister's warrants from him the moment he knew he was facing allegations from two women.

Goff now says he got it wrong and that "people are entitled to be regarded as innocent until they're proven guilty".

It is a pity that the Labour leader did not apply that reasoning in 2009 when he failed to supply any real evidence to back his own allegation that Worth tried to entice the "strikingly beautiful" Labour activist Neelam Choudary with the offer of a job on the Lottery Grants Board.

But that was then.

Goff's leadership has now been called into question by some of his colleagues. But claims that MP David Parker would mount a challenge were farcical.

It's also notable that (so far) National has not openly smeared Hughes.

It doesn't have to. The Hughes affair has been the "gift that goes on giving" as far as National is concerned.

Right across the spectrum, it seems that the tide has turned against Phil Goff, and that it is going out at a furious rate. We await developments with more than a passing level of interest.

Oh, and as an aside, WhaleOil has a satirical take on Helen Clark's legendary capacity for keeping in touch with her former colleagues by txt message; here's an excerpt from his latest series:


Julie Collinge said...

Phony. At least Cameron Slater uses his name.

Inventory2 said...

That's the story Julie; attack the messenger. Just like Phil Goff is still blaming National for the situation that Darren Hughes is in.

Labour doesn't get it; you'd think that when even their own commentators are calling for change, they'd take notice, but apparently not.

pdm said...

Julie - what business is it of yours what name is used. How do you know Inv is not his knickname from when he was 1 year old building new creations with blocks.

pdm said...

I have just read Claire Currans post over at Red Alert and you can add to your list loyal Labour supporter and sycophant Tracey who says in the comments:

Tracey says:
March 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

damned if you do and damned if you dont. I still believe it was right that someone resigned, I just think the wrong person did.

Inventory2 said...

Quite so pdm; it's the same at the Standard, where there are plenty of Labour-aligned commenters publicly questioning Goff's tenure as leader.