Chris Carter’s Hypocritical ‘Coup’ Sledge
Chris Carter is not a bad person. I am on the record as blaming Jonathan Hunt for his downfall which, to be honest, is a fairly generous interpretation of events.
But, Chris, Chris, Chris….what on earth are you talking about when you compare your conduct favorably to Phil Goff’s attempted “coup” against Helen Clark in 1996? Are you really, truly going there?
This nonsense begs to be debunked.
First, it is not an offense within a political party to support an alternative to the incumbent Parliamentary leader. It is an internal Party matter, and fair game for all concerned.
It would be an offense if Phil Goff and others were secretly supporting another political party — and no-one is leveling that charge.
Phil Goff was joined by at least half of his colleagues in 1996 in believing that Helen Clark was leading Labour to electoral defeat, which she promptly did. There were two reasons for her survival:
- Clark’s inspired last-minute promotion of Micheal Cullen, a key coup lieutenant, to deputy leader (hat-tip, HC!)
- While a majority of Labour MPs supported dumping Clark, they fell just short in securing a plurality for either alternative, Goff or Mike Moore.
That is what happened. I am a primary source.
Chris Carter had a secret poll taken in ’96 to ascertain whether he could hold Te Atatu with Clark at the helm. I know this because I conducted the poll. The results were unequivocal: Carter would lose big time, which he went on to do. Chris was not keen on backing Mike Moore — a figure of derision on his side of the Party — but his clear preference was for Goff to run. The numbers, however, forced Mike Moore’s name into the race.
Based on conversations he and I had at the time, I have every reason to believe that Carter was supportive of a Goff ‘coup’ in 1996. Plenty of people know this, including Goff himself, and it is to their credit that they keep quiet. For my part, I am tired of the sanctimony of people — Carter being the latest– who try and misrepresent those events as treachery. Leadership spills happen, some for good reason, some for ill. Some succeed, like Clark in 1993; some fail, like 1996. Such is politics. The tendency within NZ Labour to vilify the vanquished in these internal party disputes is not entirely non-Stalinist.
Carter shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such shameless hypocrisy. Surely?