Alf is struggling not to feel sorry for Phil Goff, after the kerfuffle in the Labour Party that resulted in Chris Carter being tossed out of their caucus for being a sneaky bastard and a disloyal one who sent an unsigned letter to media representatives in an attempt to undermine Goff’s leadership.
Why Carter went to the bother is beyond understanding, because Goff has been doing such a splendid job of being an election-losing leader that nobody really needed to be told this was so in an unsigned letter, although – come to think of it – the news media are not all that bright, and perhaps needed a nudge from Carter to see the obvious.
The bit of the Stuff report that Alf especially savours relates to Carter’s stress levels, which seem to be remarkably high, and to his love of overseas travel, which he seems to have been doing at the expense of Chinese taxpayers now that embarrassing publicity has caused him to be reined in from travelling too much at the expense of Kiwi taxpayers..
Alf notes with delight that…
he went on an unsanctioned trip to China and Tibet during a parliamentary recess, which Mr Goff and senior Labour members are citing as Mr Carter’s latest rule-breaking behaviour which they suggest has put the MP under stress.
Mr Carter said the Chinese government paid for the trip so he could attend a conference, and he is accusing his former colleagues of using the issue to deflect attention from his message that Labour can’t win the next election with Mr Goff as leader.
Alas, Carter intends to continue remaining on the public payroll.
He is determined to continue to sit in Parliament until the next election, representing the people of Te Atatu, although – a big hurrah, here folks – he won’t seek re-election.
Alf will not shed a tear when Carter has gone. Nor will Mrs Grumble, who reckons he is an ugly bugger and moreover he is someone she could never possibly have fancied, even if he were a Nat, although Alf would not have been too dismayed if she did fancy him, because Alf knows full well that Carter would never have fancied her, even when she was in her nubile prime and looked like Eketahuna’s answer to Brigitte Bardot.
But let’s get back to Goff and his political problems (may many more come his way before the next election).
Goff wants Carter to reconsider staying on as an MP.
“That decision constitutionally is his, but he was elected as a Labour MP and he no longer has that mandate. He needs to reflect on that,” Mr Goff said.
“I think that he does not have a mandate to be the Member of Parliament for Te Atatu, given the withdrawal of support from the Labour Party.”
Goff also said he was confident Labour still had the support of the community in Te Atatu.
A more fascinating question is whether Carter still has the support of the community in Te Atatu.
It’s an Auckland electorate, after all, and Aucklanders are apt to be warped buggers who probably get a buzz out of being represented in Parliament by a bloke with a track record for being a snitch and a sneak.
The snitch bit is the unsigned letter about Goff’s leadership. The sneak bit is the trip to China.
Mr Carter said he didn’t tell anyone about his trip because it didn’t involve any taxpayer funding, and Mr Goff only found out about it after he had returned.
Mr Goff said today Mr Carter had an obligation to tell the party whips about the trip, and seek permission for it.
“Recesses aren’t about holidays. They’re about doing your party work and your parliamentary business,” Mr Goff said.
“If this was parliamentary business he should have notified us and if he wasn’t going to be in the country, available to do parliamentary business, he should have notified the whips. He failed to do so.”
Goff – of course – disagrees with Carter’s belief that Labour can’t win the next election without a change of leader.
“I am confident. I think that we have the ability,” he said.
“We start as the underdog, but as we’ve seen in Australia, a week is a long time in politics.”
He would say that, of course.
Alf is wagering he is wrong and is confident he will not lose his money.
Labour was well on course to ensure the wager would not be lost, of course, before Carter tried to nobble his leader by sticking a knife – or was it a kriss? – in his back.