Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Phil Goff 2

This is Phil Goff, he is the leader of the labour Party and the opposition party. I wonder if he will be the Prime Minister in the near future. He had taken over the role of Helen Clark. I can't imagine the enormity of Phill Goff's new job after nearly fifteen years of Helen Clark's leadership of the Labour Party and nine years as Prime Minister. It won't be easy to fill in Helen's huge shoes.

JASON OXENHAM/Central Leader

NEW ROLE: Phil Goff is the leader of the Labour Party but will still be visiting the electorate in his red van.

As the comic book super hero Spiderman once said with great power comes great responsibility.

It’s a sentiment Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff has taken to heart since being made leader of the Labour Party in November.

While he won’t be seen swinging from tall buildings anytime soon, he is still dedicated to his weekly trips around the electorate in his red van to listen to the concerns of his constituents.

"The electorate is always my primary responsibility. My preference is to be an elected member rather than a list member. It keeps me well grounded."

Although he’s now leader of the opposition, people can still pop into the van for a cup of tea and a chat.

Taking the leadership is something the self-confessed amateur farmer never considered when he was first elected to the Mt Roskill seat in 1981.

"I don’t think I created that kind of expectation in life.

"My philosophy has always been whatever challenge was given to me, I would pick it up and do the best I can and give everything 
I can to do that job well."

He was happy to support Helen Clark during her nine years as prime minister but was also delighted to be unanimously voted to fill her shoes after her election night resignation.

Looking at the portraits of former party leaders that decorate the walls of the caucus room, Mr Goff is honoured to know his picture will join them.

"It’s an honour and privilege to be the leader of a party I’m a lifetime member of. What goes with that is being leader of the opposition.

"People say it’s the worst job in Parliament but I’m looking forward to undertaking it and the challenges that go with it."

Losing the election is a chance for the party to rebuild, re-think and develop new policy, he says.

Labour’s 43 member caucus features 13 new members who recently gave their maiden speeches.

"I think it’s the most talented intake of new MPs the caucus has ever had.

"We’ve hit the ground running."

He firmly intends to lead the party for the next election and rebuild the public’s confidence in Labour, while making sure John Key’s government toes the line.

His family is also helping to give his image an overhaul, although he won’t be raiding Miss Clark’s wardrobe for red outfits just yet.

"My wife and daughter work very hard to overcome my conservative dressing and have me wearing showy ties," he laughs.

New Zealand Council of the Labour Party affiliates vice-president Andrew Little says Mr Goff will do well in the leadership role.

"In terms of the party going into opposition, he has a huge amount of experience which is just what the party needs at this time.

"I think the party will have great confidence in him being in that role and his leadership."

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