Phil Goff

When it comes to signing trade deals there are two principles which should never be up for negotiation; the net benefit to your country has to outweigh any concessions, otherwise what’s the point? And you never trade away fundamentals, like the right to legislate to protect your environment, the health of your citizens, or your education system.


The National government hasn’t been able to reassure us that they really will protect these principles in their secret Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

Shane Jones wouldn’t be quitting if he thought he was going to be in government next year. His resignation is a very clear warning bell; Labour cannot win if it loses people like Shane Jones and voters who support him.

And Labour cannot keep Shane Jones and the people who support him unless it looks like a party capable of winning, and that means a party that is inclusive, focused on jobs, better pay, and on celebrating opportunities for all of us to do better in life.

John Key’s hottest line from the last election campaign could come back to haunt him as he ploughs ahead with the expansion of the “Mixed Ownership Model” by selling shares in a batch of state-owned assets.

The new National-led Government delivered a fine present as it shut down for Christmas – a big dump of official documents on its plans to extend what it calls the “Mixed Ownership Model”.  The Sale of the Century is scheduled to start in the third quarter this year and continue all the way through to next election in 2014.

The battle for the Labour leadership was first waged in caucus (Shearer), then on TV (Cunliffe). This week it moves to the regions as remains tight. So who does John Key fear most? And why do I keep thinking of Obama & Clinton?

The Labour leadership race is closer than is being spun, in part because Phil Goff's people still have their hands on the spin levers and Goff is backing David Shearer. As in any election, this race will come down to the undecideds.

So the names for the Labour leadership are now in the hat. The caucus has a decent buffet to choose from, but need to remember it's not all about them

It's hard to know what to say about Labour's leadership tussle. There's a logic inside the beltway and even inside the caucus room that doesn't always translate to the rest of the country. But it's the rest of the country the caucus needs to keep front of mind.