DPF links to a Weekend Herald interview with Phil Goff, bafflingly conducted by the newspaper’s TV reviewer instead of someone on the political desk. The article is so poorly written it is virtually incomprehensible:
We were in his electorate office and I mentioned the Ranfurly Veterans’ Home just up the road, because I know he pops in all the time to say hello. So it was my fault, but he said, “I grew up on Warren Ave [around the corner] and it was just a dirt road … The last survivors of the Boer War and a lot of the World War I vets were there then …”AdvertisementAdvertisement//
Having raised the home, I’m really not being rude about his reminiscences, but I know better than to let him go on with them.
One thing he is known for is giving horribly long answers to questions, even to questions that haven’t been asked. There is an old joke about him in the Radio New Zealand newsroom which goes like this: Phil Goff has never missed a deadline. “Ha, ha, I haven’t heard that one. I’ve always fronted up to media.”
He has always been tremendously good at what he calls “staying relentlessly on message”. At one point he says “now, where was I?” and I say “that’s not like you, Phil, to lose track”.
“I’m trying to escape from elements of being too on track.” And how successful has that been? “I’m joking,” he said, but he shouldn’t have been.
It it goes on like this. David somehow managed to wade through all this inane gibberish and has advice for Goff, much of which I think is very sound:
If Goff wants to become PM one day, he should do the following:
- Do a series of puff pieces in the women’s mags etc. Have us learn more about Phil Goff. Do some extended interviews with the weekly newspapers.
- Dampen down the negative tactics. The handling of the Choudary allegations was clumsy at best. Labour is far too focused on “beltway” issues and not issues that matter to voters.
- Start outlining what Goff believes in, and how it differs from both Helen Clark and John Key. This will not be without risk but is necessary.
- Do a reshuffle within 12 months and promote some of the Class of 2008 to more senior positions, and go into the next election with a shadow cabinet that doesn’t look like the one thrown out three years earlier.
As I said before, Goff at the moment is a enigma. And people don’t vote for enigmas. Being a competent Foreign and Trade Minister doesn’t impress a lot of voters. They want to know more than that.
I suspect that Labour’s brain trust are plotting some kind of Orewaesque speech early next year and plan to ‘launch’ Goff as a product then. Of course these are the same wunderkind who gave us the Labour 2008 campaign, so it could be their plan is to give Goff a helmet and a spade, send him down a mineshaft and tell him to tunnel his way to victory in ’11.
More damning I think, than the lack of knowledge about Goff, or even his low polling is the lack of vandalism on his Wikipedia page. We will know Phil Goff has arrived as a political leader when his wiki page goes into protected mode.