Aug 1, 2008

This Week's Trans Tasman: Feel Sorry For Goff

This week's Trans Tasman was another good read. We were particularly taken by this snippet

Timing is of the essence in
politics (or political fund raising for that matter),
so spare a thought for Phil Goff. He’s been
toiling in the WTO engine room in Geneva,
trying to resolve the Doha global trade round.
Despite his vast experience, he’s not in the
Group of 7 key negotiating states, where the
position is held by Aust and Simon Crean,
Canberra’s Trade Minister, in the job less than
six months. Meanwhile at home, Goff ’s long
tenure as Foreign Minister (and responsible for
much of the early work on repairing US/NZ
relations) is buried while Winston Peters soaks
up the kudos for winning the hearts, if not the
minds, of Washington DC, not to say Condoleeza

Our own sources tell us that this analysis is spot on. One US negotiator was overheard musing about the pity that Crean and Goff's rolls were not reversed. While several Cairns Group members were of the view that Goff should have been the group's leader. Goff apparently gave such a good speech to one Cairns Group gathering (at a particularly tense time in the negotiations) that he received a spontaneous round of applause. That just doesn't happen at Cairns Group meetings.

There is also some interesting tension between Canberra and Washington over less than staunch support for the US in the G7 process (the probable reason for US wishing that Goff had been in the room instead of Crean).

Does anyone believe that Winston Peters would have done such a good job for New Zealand at an equivalent gathering on the political side?

As TT seems to be implying, should the Foreign Minister position come free on Friday next week, Goff is the guy for the job - not Cunners.