Q. Were you surprised by Carter’s action today?
A. I think ‘gobsmacked’ is the only word to describe my reaction.
Q. Why do you think Carter did what he did?
A. A mixture of two things, I suspect: a genuine belief that Labour cannot win under Goff and bitterness at the humiliation he suffered when Goff forced him to make a second public apology over his travel spending. At the time I described this as Goff ‘taking his pound of flesh”. That is still my view.
Q. How would you describe Carter’s actions?
A. Utterly stupid and hugely damaging to his personal reputation.
Q. Is he right that there is widespread dissatisfaction in the Labour caucus with Goff’s performance as Leader?
A. My understanding is that there is widespread dissatisfaction with his performance in the polls.
Q. Is Carter right that a majority of the Labour caucus doubt that Labour can win the next election?
A. That is my information.
Q. Doesn’t the unanimous caucus vote to suspend Carter indicate that the entire caucus is behind Goff?
A. Not at all. Anyone who voted not to suspend Carter would effectively have been declaring that they agreed with his view that Goff could not hope to win the election. Anything other than a unanimous vote would have had the Press Gallery hunting to find the disaffected.
Q. Can Goff win the next election?
A. Probably not. But the honeymoon is definitely ending. The electorate is beginning to see Key’s shameless, give-them-anything-they-want populism as weak leadership. And the promise of ‘catching up with Australia’ already looks hollow.
Q: Did Goff do the right thing in sacking Carter?
A. Yes, it was the only thing he could do. Carter’s action was disloyal to the party and intended to be damaging to its leader.
Q. Will these events be damaging to Goff’s leadership?
A. On the contrary, they will probably strengthen his position as Leader and his image in the eyes of the public. He will be seen as decisive and strong.
Q. What chance has Carter of winning Te Atatu as an Independent or Independent Labour candidate?
A. None. Labour voters are Labour voters. Their loyalty is first and foremost to the Party.