Monday, 13 April 2009

Goffism

Interviewed by Paul 'The Rottweiller' Holme son Q&A, Phil Goff was given a chance to tell us exactly what he - and by extension Labour - are offerring New Zealand. This is what he had to say:
Well, my vision for New Zealand is it starts with a decent society. I grew up on my grandmother’s knee, her husband a war veteran from the first war died in 1934 right in the middle of the Depression, they lost their job, they lost their home, for me Labour was about a decent society that looks after all of its people, that treats people fairly that treats people with dignity and respect. So that’s the core of my political beliefs, and that could well become very relevant again in the next few months as more New Zealanders the Treasury say another 60,000 New Zealanders lose their jobs, people lose their homes and so on.

But it’s about more than that, as Minister of Trade it was about having an economy that was innovative, efficient, competitive in the world. As Foreign Minister it was about being proud of your national identity, not kowtowing to any other country but standing up for the things that you believe in, believing that New Zealand is a country of 4.3 million people can still make a difference, and we did, and finally I think it’s about the environment, a sustainable environment, living up to that brand of clean green 100% pure New Zealand. (1)
Goodness, is that sort of vapid rhetoric the best Labour can come up with? Change the nouns and it could be John Key, which is the problem - they're trying to out-piffle Key, and that's not a very enthralling spectacle, nor is it one likely to bring back the votes. Rather than sentimental clap-trap and cliche about Grandma's knees and decent societies and (Gag! Vomit!) clean green 100% pure New Zealand, can we have a proper, honest party that's going to tell us truth and admit there are tough choices to be made and we can't have it both ways? In two years time, people will be sick of Keyism and want something with substance - Goffism, which on current evidence appears to be Keyism without the slick image or the rampant popularity, won't do. The man needs to start stating the plain bald and often unpleasant facts now, otherwise he'll be stuck on 6% for the remainder of his (brief) stint as Labour leader.

Don't get me wrong - I want Goff to succeed, because if he doesn't it will be another term in opposition for Labour. But if he's going to have a chance, he needs to ditch the nicey-nicey stuff right now, and actually go after it.

[Hat tip: The Standard, though my take is rather different to theirs (2)]
1 - 'Paul Holmes Interviews Phil Goff,' Broadcast as part of Q & A, on the 12th of April, 2009. (http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/april-12-paul-holmes-interviews-phil-goff-2637846/video)
2 - 'Good to hear it, Phil,' posted by Eddie on The Standard, 13th of April, 2009. (http://www.thestandard.org.nz/good-to-hear-it-phil/)

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