Phil Goff has admitted Labour might not win the election.
Ben Thomas writes in the NBR this is the first time a senior minister has acknowledged this possibility and that he might seek the leadership if Helen Clark stood aside,
Mr Goff made the comments in an interview with Oliver Driver for the Alt TV show Let’s Be Frank two weeks ago. The interview will air tonight at 9.30 pm.
Trade minister Mr Goff said he would look at the leadership in the event of an election loss “If I felt that I was the best one [candidate] in that position and that Helen had stood aside
Pressed on whether he felt he was the best candidate, Mr Goff demurred.
“Well, I don’t know yet. I don’t know who’s going to put their hand up,” he said. “And I’m not going to think in a defeatist way about the next election.”
“Sure there’s a prospect of defeat,” he said when asked about polling between the parties. But, he said, “I’m not thinking about the future.”
The comments were made before a weekend poll which showed Labour’s support at 29 per cent, a low during its time in government. That poll result has re-ignited speculation from commentators about the future leadership of the Labour party.
Privately, most within Labour believe the party will win fewer seats than the opposition National party, but hope that Labour will be able to deal better in post-election talks with coalition partners and remain in government.
There is always a possibility of this and Clark’s strength as a campaigner can not be underestimated.
However, while polls are a snapshot in time and no one poll is significant by itself, the trend is clear. National is well ahead and the longer that continues the more the prospect grows that Labour may find themselves where National was in 2002. As Labour’s support slips, voters will go from them to the wee parties in the hope they’ll be able to form a coalition with National.