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Phil Goff's Political Strategy - Predictable and Doomed

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Contributor:
Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith

Phil mate, your party was in power for nine years under the supreme leader who hogged all the photo opportunities and headlines. Now she is gone and so has power. A new leader from another party has taken her place and you are left with the leftovers of a party since most of the experience saw the writing on the wall and jumped ship before the last election.

You were the last man standing Phil. For a while now the image makers have been hard at work. Your geeky boyish looks have been steamrollered. Gone are the glasses and the awkward suits that had you looking more like the office message boy than the big banana.
 
Now you are a man of the people with a rugged casual look. Image consultants surely are the biggest piss takers on the planet. We have had smiling Phil with lamb on shoulder mimicking those old Sunday School pictures of the good shepherd Jesus. Recently there was biker Phil in denim and leather looking Brando-like astride his throbbing machine. Like Helen before you Phil you are popping up everywhere for a photo opportunity. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this but you are not the Messiah and you are not the Godfather. Please show us who you really are, not who you would like us to think you are.  
 
I know you are following the well worn path of a new opposition leader in this country. You have to criticise the Government to appear a strong and viable alternative leader. You need to try and get yourself in the media and be photographed with important charismatic people. You need to rattle off some populist policies that try and tap into anything the public is feeling strongly about at the time.
 
It might be the way it has always been done Phil but if you carry on like this you are political toast.
 
Here is some advice that the spin doctors won’t give you but you need to hear it:
 
1.       The Key led National Government is popular at the moment. Whatever you say or do will not change that. If you criticise them you just look like a dick. People don’t like people who criticise people they like. It will take time for Nationals popularity to wane and they will shoot themselves in the foot long before any schoolyard bitchiness on your part has any effect.
 
2.       Remember what the Labour Party stands for. Groping around in Don Brashes failed policy bin for stuff to get you noticed is not a long term strategy that is going to work. Any political force that chases power for powers sake will fail. A lasting political movement needs a strong foundation of basic ideals and beliefs that others can understand and believe in too.  
 
3.       Form a strong alliance with the Greens. They are about the only party going who stick to their policies, principles and core values and have done for a while. Look at the way Rod and Jeanette conducted themselves and don’t be afraid to follow their example. Ditching the Greens in favour of Winston might have guaranteed your party another term in power but you had to sell Labours word and integrity down the river to do it. Do not let that happen again.
 
4.       Patch it up with the Maori Electorate. How hard can it be Phil to treat the Maori Electorate as equal partners? Stop acting like an old time settler government who expected the brown boys to tow the line and do what they were told. It is obvious that the bitterness between your crew and the Maori Party is personal. But to allow personal feuds to drive the Maori Party into the arms of their traditional enemy is ludicrous. Find the recipe for humble pie it must be in the Edmonds Cookbook and ditch the ‘Orewa’ rhetoric.  
 
 
5.       Promote the fresh young talent in your ranks. Modern New Zealand politics has gone the way of the United States where the focus in National politics is mostly on the leader.  Be different please Phil. All that focus on one or two politicians means that the people of this country just get sick of the sight and sound of them. Do not be afraid to put forward the talent you have. Present a fresh team to the nation and don’t be afraid to share the limelight together.  The people will choose the ones they like the best - the ones with intelligence and charisma. But they need the chance to get to know them.     
 
Phil, if you do all the stuff that has been done before then you will end up as ambassador to somewhere. If you decide to be fresh and different then you might just end up as Prime Minister. The choice is yours.  
    

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