Brian Edwards Media

Win or lose, Phil Goff can stay or walk away with his head held high.


 Over the past six months Judy and I have come to know Phil Goff really well. The experience of working with him has been something of a revelation for me. We were colleagues before, when he was out of Parliament, teaching at the AUT. I didn’t warm to him. Small things can influence your view of another person, often wrongly. Phil had this swaggering walk, which suggested  arrogance. He still has it. But I have known no politician less arrogant than him. Goff is a modest man, not given to airs and graces – a part explanation perhaps of his discomfiture on television.

Looking for words to describe him, I come up with: warm, generous, kind, caring, loyal, principled, hard-working, intelligent, passionate – a decent man.

‘Passionate’ may surprise. At the beginning of the campaign it was fashionable to call him ‘robotic’. But the television debates revealed a man with a passionate commitment to social equity. Where inequity and injustice are concerned, you have to add ‘anger’ to his list of qualities.

Ironically, it was his opponent who seemed ‘robotic’ during the campaign, a smiling photo-opportunist cuddling dogs and babies, yet whose eyes showed no trace of real emotion.

But what has most impressed those working with Goff has been his extraordinary resilience in the face of polls and pundits that until very recently have branded him  ‘loser’. I can think of only one occasion when I thought he looked a little down. But it was fleeting. Phil refused to be beaten. He showed, and continues to show, enormous strength of character.

Whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s election, Phil Goff can stay or walk away with his head held high.


  1. Much credit is due to Phil Goff, he’s campaigned very well and may have held up the Labour vote and saved his unsupportive party some real embarrassment

  2. Hear, hear.

  3. Agreed and I must say that there has been a marked difference in Phil Goff’s performance lately. For the better of course. (Can I credit this turnaround to your advice? Answer immodestly if you wish!!) A pity that he hadn’t sought your services earlier.

    BE: Phil had a small team of media advisors. Judy and I were part of that team.

  4. Given the strong campaign that Labour have run, do you have any explanation why their polling has not budged?

    For what its worth, I think the media has left it too late to properly scrutinise Key and highlight his poor record and his duplicity. People need longer to come to terms with the fact that they have been fooled before they can respectibly change their minds. Plus Goff has been inept up unil about 4 weeks ago.

    BE: These polls are self-fulfilling. Have a look at my post on this

  5. Couldn’t agree more… Must have been so hard to get up every morning with the polls as they are – He has done a fantastic job and been a fantastic role model actually… quite a contrast to the other guy who plainly hates not being loved and the centre of attention.

  6. Key’s performance during the “debate” On Wednesday night was a disgrace. The usual dead eyes, shrugging, appalling diction, lack of ideas,fudging of facts. He couldn’t look Phil Goff in the eyes. As for his claim that he knows best because he was a trader so therefore he knows how to prevent asset sales falling into overseas hands: absolute tosh. He is arrogance/ thickness personified. Goff has performed really well. He is intelligent, genuine and sincere.

  7. “Where inequity and injustice are concerned, you have to add ‘anger’ to his list of qualities.”

    I’m not sure I’d agree with that. Goff and Labour don’t seem particularly concerned with justice. As I said the other day, Labour released its Justice policy only a week ago. And there’s no mention how to improve the crinimal justice system and how to rectify miscarriages of justice. That doesn’t strike me as being fair or equitable. Just about every legal expert would like to see a Criminal Cases Review Commission, but Labour don’t seem to be committed to this. Why not?

    I read a story earlier this week about Scott Watson’s father complaining about the length of time it’s taken for officials and the government to make a decision re Watson’s application for the Royal prerogative of mercy. I haven’t heard outrage from any Labour MP. Watson has been in prison for several years.

    The Peter Ellis case is another case where there has been a lack of interest by Labour. Phil Goff established a narrow and seriously flawed inquiry in 2000 and then trumpeted its findings. Despite compelling and cogent evidence that Ellis was wrongly convicted, Goff and the rest of Labour have looked the other way. Their idea of social justice is quite different to mine.

  8. @ Adrian

    I profess no real expertise in the polling department. However I assume a number of them are conducted on landline numbers, sometimes during the day, and rely on people willing to spend 20 minutes on the phone to a marketing or polling person.

    As a result I think the people polled are probably disproportionally from a certain sector of the population. A sector more likely to vote for National.

    This may explain why there is always a certain jump for the minority parties and slump for the majority on election day (he said hopefully).

    However I stress that I have absolutely no idea whether any of my assumptions are true.

    I agree with you Brian, good on Phil Goff, I do wish he had stepped up earlier, but I would acknowledge that pre-election, the media often didn’t give him any airtime unless he was being a buffoon.

    That said, I think there needs to be a clear out at the top of the Labour party. I think some of the younger generation (people like Jacinda Ardern) should shoot up the ranks. The old guard should go and the Labour party should allow the younger generation to step up.

  9. I agree totally. Phil Goff has done us proud. So too have the policies he’s been championing.

  10. Brian,
    you’re right. I have been a bitter critic of Phil’s “style” over the years…but he has turned things round and must be congratulated. If he loses, he can feel that he put up a good fight.
    It’s sad that presentation is so important, but unfortunately, it’s the way humans operate. Perception is everything.
    Watching John Key slowly melt down has been fascinating. He isn’t a good loser – and even if he wins, we are about to see the bad side of Key’s personality. Things are about to get tough for him.

  11. You are right Brian.

    Kind – That was the main word that i found to describe Phil Goff and how i view him after this campaign, when i was discussing who i would be voting for last night.

    Unfortunately (if the polls are correct) kindness does not win elections, and we will be stuck with the opposite for the next few years.

    Pretty scary stuff really.

  12. Well we have yet to see the real poll but I don’t think there has been any rise in the polls for Labour over the last three years, quite the revese
    Mr Goff has only looked better to the public because we got to see more of him, which is normal at this stage of the electoral cycle
    Brian I hope you either charged him very little for your help or offered a money back option if Labour fail with a stab proof vest as a throw in

    Any bets on how long he will last if Labour fail to form a government

  13. Please, Brian, this almost sounds like a political obituary!

    I have been voting since 1972 and haven’t been so emotionally charged, as now, about the outcome of an election since 1984. I believe this election is equally a significant crossroads as 1984 was. I sense the outcome could go either way.

    If the voters choose a center left bloc then the test of Phil’s leadership qualities will truly be on display. If it goes to the dark side then Phil won’t just walk away as Labour will need him even more for a time at least in the dark days of the aftermath.

    Epsom: Never has so much been required from so few.

    “Please, Brian, this almost sounds like a political obituary!” Certainly not intended. Did you notice the word ‘stay’ in the headline: ‘Win or lose, Phil Goff can stay or walk away with his head held high.’

  14. Sam, the polls may be innacurate but presumably they are consistently so, so we would see changing trends even if the overall numbers are wrong.

    I’m still struggling to understand the how the John Key spell has lasted through recent events.

  15. I was just thinking yesterday how well Goff has hung in there given that he was starting from an impossible position – great fortitude of spirit.

    Anyway, it’s an interesting picture of Key and Goff on the front of the Dom Post. Key looks like a goober – one reason you don’t want to piss off the media.

  16. Are we about to start another Muldoonist regime?

  17. I must admit, I was no admirer of him before the campaign, but I could not agree with you more over Phil Goff’s strength of character. Since he became leader, he has been ruthlessley and relentlessly smashed to pieces by the most formidable and well funded political attack team ever assembled in this country, and their fellow travellers in the media. Yet he is still standing, fighting proudly for what he believes in, to make our country a better place and lift people up. To my mind, that makes him a pretty extraordinary New Zealander, worthy of our genuine respect and gratitude.

  18. For being so passionate and resolute and honest even when under malicious attacks from MSM and the political Right I hereby award Phil Goff the Victoria Cross.
    I think that there is something wrong with the polling. Have started reading up on the Horizon Polls and just maybe they have tapped into a greater accuracy than I believed previously. Especially note their data on the place of Landlines these days found at the bottom of the page on their latest poll 23-24 November.

  19. I think Phil has done wonders…spot on Brian.

    Alas..i think NZ will fall completely to the awful right tomorrow….and as a country we will be soooo much the worse off….

    I have completely lost faith in the nz public to vote with their brain cells!

  20. I agree whole heartedly with all the above and Brian’s article. Could one of the reasons why Phil Goff had to come from so far behind be the almost complete absence of his face on TV prior to the campaIgn. On the other hand Key has had an open door to the media, such as TV1 Breakfast every Monday morning. And what an easy ride as such pathetic presenters bill and coo over his every word. Patsy questions followed by well rehersed answers. How can they get away with this. A new Broadcasting Act would seem essential next time Labour take power.
    Concerning Phil’s media coaching. Perhaps you should suggest to him that it’s not a good idea to keep asking John Key questions during debate. I know it must be frustrating that no one else is putting Key under any pressure but this tactic simply hands over the floor to Key.

    BE: OK, but did you think it was OK for Key to ask Goff, “Show me the money!” I’m inclined not to agree with you on this. Phil’s questions during the debates put Key under a lot of pressure. Sauce for the goose!

  21. Phil Goff may have all the attributes you describe, but he also has others which include, an’ I know best’ lecturing style and a certain disconnect or awkwardness, in the vital meet and greet role now essential in a politician. Key has this in spades, as does Peters, unfortunately. While you have met many politicians over the years, you must realise that most of the rest of us haven’t, and rely almost solely on the concocted image, soundbite or spin. Call it what you will. I bet Labour strategists would like to start this campaign all over again. One, they would have Goff’s mugshot on the billboards. An unbelievably bad decision. Secondly, in an election defined by serious worldwide economic concerns, they would have their candidate fully up to speed with the numbers when trying to explain some quite radical initiatives. Capital gains tax, changing pension ages, etc, may be ‘gutsy’ but is also traditionally suicidal politically. Up against a numbers man like Key, these policies should have been aired months earlier, fully explained and fully priced. Thirdly, railing against National selling off assets is a bit rich. Those of us old enough to remember, recall that Phil Goff, was very much part of the Labour government that started that game. The bottom line is that while he may be a sincere, nice guy he is not a winner and has never looked like one.

    BE: I agree that the decision not to have an early launch and not to feature Phil on the hoardings was not mererly idiotic but highly damaging to Goff. On asset sales, Goff agrees with you that Labour got it wrong. Douglas was the man really running the show then. The Right had a possibly worse version in Ruth Richardson.

  22. Indeed Phil was wonderful and a fine figure of manhood.

    As for John…as my mother always used to say

    “never trust a man with dead eyes, or who sweats in winter.”

    BE: Edited

  23. Goff has come of age .He acted as a leader should.The previous asset sales by Labour should always be remembered as actions of an evil group of men who hijacked the labour party to play their own wicked games.I only hope the unusual poll results do not become self forfilling prophesies.

  24. Robotic? Block of wood would be the description I would use, although there were signs of sprouting leaves in the last debate. I doubt whether that could overcome his appalling performance at Christchurch where the death watch beetle seemed to have got to him.

    “Anger”; maybe, but largely synthetic but he shares that with most Chardonnay Socialists.

    I have no doubt he is a decent man but in the end he was not able convince those who switched away from Labour at the last election to come back and many more appear to have deserted.

    I was also surprised that the ‘Labour Team’ kept a fairly low profile. Whatever was said at the outset, it was still a presidential approach between Goff and Key with only fleeting glimpses of what else the Labour Party had on offer.

    The sad thing is that the National Party campaign was lacklustre at best and could have been derailed by someone who did not focus on tea cups and latterly whether Air NZ should have diverted a plane. That really sums up the Labour campaign; they allowed themselves to be diverted (rather like the plane) instead of presenting a coherent message.

    I now find myself wondering what is worse; a National Government or a coalition of Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail with Peters perfoming the lead role of Cottontail.

  25. I’m with you Brian, Phil has done an amazing job. My two ticks will both be RED without hesitation.

  26. Ben @ 1412

    It wasn’t Phil who focussed on tea cups and planes, that was the media. If they had the guts to do their job we would have heard that tape the day it was given to them. Phil has, in fact, consistently said that the tape was a distraction and has called for the debate to be about the issues. Unfortunately for us Key has declined to debate the issues, has lied ( for example saying Labour would borrow 16 billion more than NAtional when the truth is the difference is a mere 2.6 billion, why have the MSM allowed this lie to stand?)and has refused to release the full details of advice re asset sales. Yet the sheeple will still votre for him. They deserve what they will get if he is returned, sadly those of us who don’t vote for his neo liberal bullshit will be saddled as well. enjoy your next 3 years, if Key gets in only the already rich will

  27. Goff, did not ‘consistently’ say that the tape was a distraction. At the outset he was as vocal as anyone in saying that the content should be released and only distanced himself from it when he realised te isue was not getting any traction with the electorate.

    It would also appear that Goff has himself been caught out by being economical with the truth on the matter of police recruitment.

    Key may well have lied on the matter of Labour borrowing. However the Labour Party should not be relying on the MSM to nail te lie. They should have nailed it themselves and done it so effectively as to force the MSM to report. As it happens I did read an article by Vernon Small setting the record straight.

    It is no good always blaming the media. the reality is that the Labour Party campaign was inept and it failed in getting a message across.

    Rick above sums up some of the deficiencies rather well. And as Rick points out, Goff ‘has previous’ so whether or not he now admits he is wrong the damage has been done. It is little different from the accountant who having robbed his clients stands up an issues a heartfelt apology and admits that he was wrong. Perhaps had he followed the example of Jim Anderton (the best leader the Labour Party never had) the electorate might see him in a rather different light.

    BE: ” It is little different from the accountant who having robbed his clients stands up an issues a heartfelt apology and admits that he was wrong. Perhaps had he followed the example of Jim Anderton (the best leader the Labour Party never had) the electorate might see him in a rather different light.” A preposterous analogy. And Jim Anderton a better leader than Savage, Fraser, Kirk, Clark? Get real!

  28. Joanne I don’t think you can really accuse John Key of neo-liberal bullshit. I’d quite like a little neo-liberalism myself, but definitely won’t get it from the labour-lite, super-centrist Key administration. It’s always a puzzle to me how the left feels the need to demonise a man who basically seems to be Michael Cullen with a populist touch.

    And of course this thread wouldn’t be complete without Kerry chiming in with her inevitable “I can’t believe how stupid anyone who votes National is ?” meme. As a non-stupid National voter I find this a vaguely offensive message basically unworthy of a reply.

    But as often happens, I am getting off topic. On Phil Goff, I absolutely agree. He has done wonderfully well in the face of adversity and visibly grown during the campaign. I salute his tenacity, his good humour, his willingness to keep fighting hard when I am sure the there must have been a huge temptation to ease back into cruise control mode.

    He seems to have improved his communication skills as well. The lecturing tone is much reduced. There have been times in the past when he seemed to be constantly petulant, dismissive, sneering. I haven’t noticed much of that recently. Perhaps our two distinguished hosts have played a role in that ?

  29. Ben, I think Brian has responded better than I can so I will leave it there.
    You like a little neo- liberalism, ok that is of course your choice. Sadly it is the Neo Liberalists that have allowed the Banksters to have the power to destroy the world’s economy. If that’s your thing, fine just don’t tell me it’s good for anyone other than the rich. I’m a bus driver come admin assistant and I’m not rich so it really is a very negative thing for me, and for the vast majority of working people. If this Governmen is returned the poorest in our society (of which I am not one despite being low paid) will be the ones who suffer. I hope for your sake that you are rich, because the rich are the only people who have done well over 3 decades of Neo Liberal economic policies. I will survive because I have a reasonably secure job but those who have lost their job though no fault of their own will be crushed by the policies of this so called ‘National’ party. They are National only in the fact that they have people standing in every electorate. They are a party of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, no one else. Unless a person is part of the rich the return of the National Government will be a disaster and we will all suffer

  30. My fellow kiwis will probably re-elect Key but hey… a majority of Aucklanders elected Banks for mayor at one stage so there’s no accounting for taste, or the lack of it.

    I’d agree that Goff has turned a lot of skeptics around over the past few weeks. In the face of negative polls and some aggressive journalism he’s generally come across as intelligent and informed and a much better man than I’d originally assumed him to be. Well done that man!

    Key on the other hand has dived in my estimation. His refusal to acknowledge Goff in debates leaves him with those horrible “dead eyes” – whatever is going on inside that head? The teacup affair is a misleading nonsense and I’m left with the strong impression that Key must have something embarrassing to hide in that conversation. Why else would he waste so much Police time on trivia?

    Key’s claim that he knows how to prevent asset sales falling into overseas hands because he “was a trader” doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact I’m starting to see JK as the personification of corporate greed – he *is* the one per cent.

    Combine that with his increasingly irritating and let’s face it – smarmy – grin (what were his media minders thinking of?) then ask, “Would you trust this man with your assets?” For me the answer has become a resounding ‘No’.

  31. All I can say is that if the bile that spews from this website is what qualifies you lot to speak for the poor and down trodden, I’d rather take my chances with the other lot.

    BE: Goodness, have you looked at Whaleoil or some other Right Wing sites? We try to keep personal abuse to a minimum here.

  32. Tony @ 1702

  33. (1) Largely agree on Goff. Labour voters can be pretty happy with his performance.

    (2) Electoral Referendum: I hope everyone voting to RETAIN MMP in the first section then goes on to vote STV in the second part. If all MMP supporters do this in Part Two and if more than 50% of voters opt to change to a new system in Part One then it’ll be a run-off between MMP and STV in 2014 (two proportional systems) – thus creating a lose-lose situation for the National-Act-Business Roundtable nexus.

    (3) A little historical perspective on the eve of the Election for your mild amusement……

    The EVENING POST’s immediate post-Election coverage 1908:

    “All the long day that giant called “the people” worked his will upon the candidates, and in the evening he strolled out to gaze upon his handiwork, and he was surprised at some of the things which he had done by throwing white and green papers at men and institutions. In 1905 the giant gave the Seddonian Liberal Administration a push forward, and yesterday he pulled it down a few pegs. In 1905 he decided to close a few hotels, and yesterday he resolved to shut up some more. All these things the giant did in warm blood, according to the approvers, and in cold blood, according to the smitten, and then he went home to bed, more or less well pleased with his labours.

    In Wellington, the candidates – the survivors and the “slain” – congratulated one another last night about their gentlemanliness towards one another during the canvassing and speechifying campaign. Some other districts in the north and South Islands had their coats off, and many were wild-eyed and dishevelled, but a comparatively prunes-and-prism respectability characterised Wellington. This region had on a top hat, a frock coat, and spats, and kid gloves, by contrast with others, and maintained the hat, the coat, the spats, and the kid gloves in fairly decent condition right up to the last.”

  34. I am not old enough to remember Savage or Fraser. I do know that Fraser was a conscientious objector in the Great War and then happily sent others off to die in WW2 which colours my opinion of him.

    Kirk/Anderton don’t know.

    As for Clark, another one who stayed silent while Douglas and Co wreaked havoc for which we are now paying the price. Anderton in my view cared for those he claimed to represent. He also was not a hypocrite.

    Clark was an opportunist and like a block of ice and in my view did little in real terms to undo the damage caused by the governments in which she served.

    You may find the analogy preposterous but I, like many voters am unimpressed by this belated mea culpa; as unimpressed as I am with those who think they can express their regret in the hope of receiving a lighter sentence.

    I shall be voting Labour tomorrow, not with any great enthusiasm, but because I could not bring myself to do anything else.

    I just hope the Labour Party learns from this and we get a leader who is not tainted by the past and who has some real compassion for those who need help in this country.

  35. Watched the appalling National, sorry, John Key monologue on TV1 final address tonight. Can’t believe the rubbish that he spouted and the total absence of content or quality production. 1/10

    By contrast Labour’s was fabulous on all counts 9/10.

  36. I think Goff is finally getting a fairer go in the MSM so people are starting to get to know him a bit better. The MSM has acted as John Key’s PR company for the last 3 years whereas Goff has struggled to get any decent column space.

    A good example was a couple of months ago when Labour released some major policy. It was buried in some tedious prose at the bottom of p2 of the Dominion. What took up almost half the page? Key holding a baby with the story that he was the politician more people preferred to mind their child. What absolute garbage.
    THe MSM has enormous power and in my view, are becoming more and more abusive of that power. How could Goff get the coverage on anything worthwhile while the MSM continued their love affair with Key and gave him major coverage, no matter how trivial the subject?

  37. Brian, I have the same feeling about how Phil Goff has portrayed himself with great dignity, despite being absolutely pilloried in the MSM during the past 3 years and throughout this albeit shortened campaign, and how I felt about Bill Rowling in the 1975 campaign. This was the year I first met Helen Clark [she was the Labour candidate in Piako]. I joined the Labour Party that year and worked hard to get Helen elected as MP, though of course it was like trying to push the proverbial uphill!

    I’m now getting a bit long in the tooth, but am still fighting for the cause and will do my bit as a scrutineer tomorrow.

    At least the sun will still rise on Sunday morning, whoever it will shine on as incoming Prime Minister – if he or she is known by then.

  38. Joanne needless to say I don’t accept your interpretation of recent history. Listening to some people you’d think that pre-Rogernomics New Zealand was some kind of utopia that has been ruined by free market economics. There is a reason that the key policies introduced at that time have never been rolled back, even by nine years of Helen Clark.

    They are a party of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, no one else. Unless a person is part of the rich the return of the National Government will be a disaster and we will all suffer I am sorry you seem to have bought into every bit of propaganda you’ve heard in the last few weeks. National is a middle of the road party, pursuing a steady as she goes, don’t take too many risks, conservative policy. This approach minimises the chance of “disaster” and only a small proportion of the population are going to “suffer”. Probably a similar proportion as if Labour were running the country.

  39. 39

    The Nats opening address was terrible, the closing one just as bad. Lecturing to the faithful once again, with John Key looking like an undertaker trying to sell the most expensive casket! Terrible lighting – he looked orange! With all that money to spend – what were they thinking? Labour’s on the other hand was great, just as good as their opening address. I’m giving two ticks to labour tomorrow- Phil deserves to win! He’s been great on this campaign!

  40. Joanne, you can’t spend someone else’s money. Taking cash out of the hands of the wealthy and dishing it out to the skint isn’t going to solve anything for anybody, especially the skint.

    As for Goff, yes Brian you’ve indeed done a great job, but sadly your student lacks the raw materials for the job he seeks. Anyone who presumes he can improve everyone’s lot at the stroke of a pen by raising the minimum wage is clearly deluded, probably because he’s never had to run a business who employs anyone. The way to get wages up is to make sure that for every 10 jobs advertised there are only 8 applicants between them.

    Exactly how, Brian, you attract such a proportion of Labour supporters to what is essentially a thinking man’s website, escapes me completely.

  41. “Phil had this swaggering walk, which suggested arrogance. He still has it.”
    According to a talkback caller I heard the other day, it’s due to his knees. “His knees let him down,” she said.

  42. @ Bill Forster, yes ‘a small proportion of the population are going to suffer’ under National. Small children! As always under the Tories.

    And beats me why the Greens are so darn pleased with themselves. They’ve just ensured the fire sale of substantial assets ( some with rivers attached) and the continuation of a government bent of further privatisation. In return for more govt subsidies for insulation ( which goes up routinely by the cost of the subsidy) and more cycle tracks. Whoop de doo. Dr Norman as Battman?

  43. Win or lose, Phil Goff can stay or walk away with his head held high.

    That, he did: held aloft by his own two hands.

    BE: If that has a meaning, I can’t detect it.

  44. I was a poll clerk from the sixties until the eighties; have been a scrutineer for the Green Party since 1996. I’d always been impressed by the phenomenon that was the Labour Party polling day machine. It ran like well-oiled machinery to ensure that every known Labour supporter was checked off as they voted. If they hadn’t made it by late afternoon someone back at HQ ensured that they were contacted and offered rides to the polling booth.

    This year – a shadow of its former vigour. What happened? Looked like a collapse of both will and organisation. Pity…

    BE: That’s really interesting, Susie. They may have lost heart. If for an entire year or more, polls have been saying that your leader and your party are hopeless losers, you might well think your vote couldn’t make any diference and not bother. It’s not my approach obviously, but many Labour people may have felt like that.

  45. Then, let me unravel it for you: self-decapitation or Dead Man walking.

  46. Phil Goff ran a mighty campaign.An unfancied long shot, a bit slow off the blocks but a stayer who ran on strongly.During the campaign his rating as preferred Prime Minister rating rocketed from 18% to 49%.Pity he wasn’t backed up by a loyal wing man and a good research team.There was plenty to attack in the National track record eg credit rating downgrade,plenty of bureaucratic procrastination eg the empty promises made to Pyke River families, Canterbury Earthquake inactivity,the slowness of the Rena vessel recovery etc..I say before it is too late,and the daggers come out, that the Labour Party think long and hard about jettisoning Phil Goff.He is a worthy leader who should stay.He put up a great fight and has the markings of a great future leader with qualities of fortitude,integrity and decency.I hope other people who admire him email the Labour Party Party..This time around he went into the ring portrayed as a “loser” and was up against it from Day 1,confronting our most popular Prime Minister shortly after a successful World Rugby Cup,undermined by negative polls,condescending interviewers,the teapot distraction and a suicidal retirement and capital gains policy.He deserves a Victoria Cross for courage in the face of adversity not a casting aside.John Key will come to know this term that running the country is more than chasing smiley photo ops.

  47. Phil did a good job of leading Labour into the election, however if it is to have a chance of winning next time, the party MUST address the issue of the need to refresh the brand with a fresh new leader who is free of association with the squabbles of the past decade or more, and who has the X factor that – fair or not – compels our celebrity-obsessed culture to follow, listen and VOTE for him or her. RACHEL HUNTER, what are you doing in 2014? (LOLOL)

  48. After reading Ben’s comment above, I would like to add that the Labour Party on both sides of the Tasman appears to urgently need to address the issue of VISION aka MISSION STATEMENT. I haven’t belonged to a political party since I joined the Values Party as a teenager – an excellent, idealistic Party that I would join again if it were reformed. The Greens are good on many issues, as their vote reflects, but need a reality check on border security in Australia where they promote an open-door policy for asylum-seekers from Afghanistan and Iran that most Australians sensibly want security checked. Helen Clark appears to have held the door open for such an influx of immigrants from some countries that many Aucklanders are concerned at being swamped by. I don’t live in NZ at present, however I believe local councillors and political parties should not just dismiss as bigoted the views of especially older generation New Zealanders on issues such as this, given they sacrificed the most (including lives of loved ones in wars) to secure the society so many take for granted. NZ’s ‘CLEAN GREEN’ reputation and brand, and its environment and lifestyle, must be protected by politicians who should remember they are there to serve the best interests and wishes of their electorates, not to vilify and crack down on some disadvantaged sectors of society, such as so-called ‘dole bludgers’. Compassion must accompany fairness and sound judgement in the way New Zealanders treat their own poor as well as their attitudes to immigrants, which must be balanced with sound border protection principles, and not just a free-for-all as appears to have occurred under Clark-led Labour.

  49. If it is true, as Sunny says above, that rivers are likely to be included in the asset sales expected under a National Govt, then Maori leaders must unite with Greens to ensure ownership of NZ rivers remains with this country as a key intrinsic natural resource that is not to be sold off under any circumstance. I would also strongly recommend legislation to restrict foreign ownership of any asset to substantially less than 50% – that’s just commonsense! New Zealand should enter partnerships where this country retains control of its resources, not sell them outright. Are you with me, citizens and tangata whenua of Aoteoroa?