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Goff’s Labour leadership

  • January 28th, 2010

Watch today for Goff to start pulling his party back towards mainstream New Zealanders. His speech is billed as including criticism of welfare bludgers (of course not in those words).

Gloat at  the discomfort of those in Labour who prosper only by exploiting diverse minority victimhoods, and only because they've mangaged to drive off, eject or terrify and marginalise any who do not sing along with them. Enjoy the in-party turmoil over the next year while it is uncertain whether it it too late for Goff to recapture the machine from those people.

See the inevitable media interpretations of Goff's positioning as populist desperation. They'll refuse to accept that it reflects a principled and intellectually coherent return to common sense (if that is what he announces), because they're uncomfortable outside their consensus territory defined by the political correctness of the Clark years.

But wait for their surprise at the rebound in regard for Goff and Labour if and when it is clear that Goff will prevail.

I think he will.

Goff will have to work hard. But he'll be assisted by the hunger for power and lack of deeply held principle among the junior players in his party. Even Grant Robertson, who seems to have thought he was leading his party's grass roots rejection of Goff's distancing of Labour from the Treaty industry, swung quickly into line when it became plain that Goff was prepared to appeal over the heads of his apparatchiks to the residually loyal Labour ordinary voters. They've always been worried about the racism in Labour's fostering of separatism.

For left wing legitimacy Goff can go further back, to better traditions and authority than the sickly academics around him. Labour's role in entrenching in New Zealand inherited privilege defined by race, despite the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Racial Discrimination, was always a shameful departure from the egalitarian principles that gave early Labour its moral force. Labour's elimination of any considerations of conduct or personal responsibility in welfare entitlements was a betrayal of the values of the people who established the welfare state. They were fiercely critical of those who suggested that it would encourage fecklessness. Entitlement depended on good behaviour, and it was meant only for those who could not help themselves.

Goff will not spend too much capital trying to wrest back Maori racist votes from their natural home, the Maori Party. He showed that in his equanimity over the Ratana reverses. He'll now be more free to woo the other ethnic votes anyway, of people who've always been worried about Labour's inability to respond to their fears of Maori radicals and criminals, and of race privileges generally.

I suspect he'll be quietly satisfied if the usual welfare industry spokepeople are appalled by today's speech.


  • Stephen
  • January 28th, 2010
  • 2:41 pm

Hi Eric
I shorted that stock some time ago, but I was not expecting his speech to nakedly index the salary he is seeking as PM to what is required for get Chief Execs to work for him.
Talk about cheek.

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