Sep 27, 2008

Clark - Goff Tensions Growing?

There was much talk this week about why Helen Clark chose to steal Goff's thunder over the major breakthrough in relations with the US. Clark was claiming triumph before Goff had even arrived in New York. 12 hours after her announcements it was still possible that the deal might fall over. It was not until 7am on Tuesday that the US joining the P4 negotiation was actually announced in New York. Yet it was confirmed by the PM on Monday afternoon NZ time.

What was going on? Was it designed to distract away for the guilty finding by the Privileges Committee? Was it simply a desire by the PM to be announcing some good news? Or was it a sign of growing tension over the Labour leadership.

This did not get much airtime in the media but Trans Tasman picked it up:

When you are PM you get to announce the good bits. So Helen Clark broke the news the US wanted to start free market negotiations to join NZ, Brunei, Chile and Singapore while Trade Minister Phil Goff was still in the air on his way to New York ……Goff, however, is made of sterner stuff and took several hats in his luggage. He was actually Acting Acting Minister since Clark is really the Acting Minister while Winston Peters awaits the referee’s decision from the penalty box. Wearing his Disarmament hat, Goff did some work on UN business and also joined Commonwealth Ministers scrutinising Fiji, whose military PM Voreqe Bainimarama was circulating around the UN trying to persuade anyone who would listen he and his soldiers were really acting only in Fiji’s greater good……