Yesterday marked the resignation of Phil Goff as labour leader after a campaign that has been rather fraught with setbacks and has ultimately ended in the worst Labour result in New Zealand political history. Although, this has been claimed to be the result of poor leadership, I would more put it down to a veritable trial-by-media that stripped Phil Goff of any possibility of ruling because he couldn’t keep up with John Key’s likable ”Kiwi” attitude. Despite his portrayed lack of ability, however, I do believe (along with many other Goff fans) that he played the campaign exceedingly well. This really was evident at the end when he began to find his stride and dominate debates. At the end of the day, this may have been a little late but it really did show just how experienced and politically astute he could have been (had he not been destroyed by detractors).
All of this aside, Labour must look past this defeat and see what it can learn from it. In my opinion, one thing might be that, in order to beat a rhetorical leader (like John Key), you either need to find a more skilled rhetorical leader or take the ball out of there court. This is because John Key has all the attributes of a rhetorical leader in that he knows how to play a PR campaign (in some respects) and talk in a way the people he represents understand (“troaties” included). In essence, he is a very admirable guy. So, with that in mind, let’s look at what other types of leaders Labour could choose….
The Interpersonal Leader:
This is the type of leader that can make connections and network their way to the top. They are popular with the public because they seem like they can do the deals that will provide stability and prosperity for the country. I would class Phil Goff as one of these leaders because he had all of the experience and networking ability of a very seasoned politician. One thing to mention here though is that these leaders may not seem impressive against a person like John Key…
Think Aunty Helen. These leaders take the reigns and use their amazing ability to do a million thinks at once to control a country and build trust. These leaders are incredible when they are done properly, but can fail miserably if the country does not support their management style or philosophy…
There you have the main types… the two contenders (David Cunliffe and David Parker) probably fit in to one of these two other types. But would it be wise to pick people like these or choose a fresh, charismatic face? I guess we will see what Labour decides shortly…
Welcome to this blog!
I am a left-leaning New Zealander who has decided to give a few of my ideas on New Zealand politics. Under the new 2011 government, this perspective may provide a bit of well-needed clarity and debate about issues of national importance.
At this point, I think I should make it clear that politics is a very touchy subject and I do not intend to give out my name, age or occupation. I am also not affiliated with nor authorised by any particular party. With all that in mind, please feel free to comment with any opinion on subjects I write about.