Prime Minister John Key's visage will be smiling at voters throughout the country now that election hoardings have started to appear in the lead-up to the November 26 election, writes ODT Political editor Dene Mackenzie.
But if voters want to see Phil Goff's face on a hoarding, they will probably have to visit Mt Roskill, his home electorate.
Labour has been criticised by some bloggers for ignoring Mr Goff in their hoardings.
For instance, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran has no hoardings in her electorate featuring Mr Goff. In contrast, her National counterpart, Joanne Hayes, will have several with Mr Key on them, along with the National Party logo.
National is highlighting Mr Key because he is the party's best asset, and candidates, especially those dependent on the list to get in, will want people to tick the National Party list vote to try to get themselves into Parliament.
Being seen with Mr Key is regarded as a major campaign asset by National candidates.
Being with Mr Goff is a liability for Labour candidates.
Ouch! That last line has to hurt. But it would seem that someone has been having a wee chat to the media; Mackenzie continues:
Labour MPs, already in trouble in Auckland for putting up signs before the official start (and some, like Jacinda Ardern, for breaching size regulations) are distancing themselves deliberately from Mr Goff.
The party signs will show the candidate's photo, a silver fern and a tick to vote Labour.
The MPs believe Mr Goff will hamper their campaigning and want to put as much distance as possible between him and themselves during the campaign.
Other signs feature a call for a $15 an hour minimum wage, the removal of GST from fresh fruit and vegetables and stopping the sale of state-owned assets.
Some of the MPs believe Mr Goff will announce his resignation on election night, leading to the real election for Labour taking place on Sunday, when a new leader will need to be identified.
Goodness. It would seem that the good ship SS Labour is leaking like a seive, and its occupants are for more intent on self-preservation than they are on being loyal to their leader. It's evident that the decision to exclude Phil Goff's smiling visage from Labour's billboards was made at a reasonably high level within the party, but we can't help but wonder how they managed to get it past the party leader.
But the comment about the perception that Mr Goff will hamper his candidates' campaigning is very, very revealing. It's clear now that Phil Goff will survive as Leader of the Opposition until the election. Whether or not however he enjoys the confidence of his caucus is another matter again. This article from Dene Mackenzie is further evidence of a bitterly divided Labour Party, but also one where nobody is prepared to put their hand up and volunteer to take the fall.
The 49th Parliament will adjourn tomorrow for the 2011 General Election. The Valedictory Statement season concludes today when a number of National MP's give their last hurrah, with the final hurrah of all to come from Justice Minister Simon Power. However in this afternoon's General Debate Maurice Williamson noted that there will be some MP's who are deprived of the opportunity to make a Valedictory Statement by the decisions made by the voting public on Election Day. Will Phil Goff be amongst that number?