Goff: Shearer had 'toughest job in politics'

Phil Goff says David Shearer had the hardest jobs in politics. Photo / Richard Robinson
Phil Goff says David Shearer had the hardest jobs in politics. Photo / Richard Robinson

Former Labour Party leader Phil Goff has spoken about David Shearer's resignation, calling Leader of the Opposition the toughest job in politics.

Goff told TV3's Firstline this morning that while Shearer was relatively new to politics, he gave the 20 months on the job "everything" he had.

He was a "fresh face" for the Labour Party, with outstanding integrity and political courage, but leading the opposition was tougher than being Prime Minister, Goff said.

"You talk to people like Bill English and Helen Clark and they'll both tell you that's the hardest job in politics.

"The Prime Minister's got a whole department to service his every need, he clicks his fingers and somebody provides the information. The Leader of the Opposition has maybe three or four people to help."

Shearer would work 120-hour weeks under high pressure, with very few resources.

However, despite his energy and enthusiasm for the job, he lacked the experience, Goff said.

"He wasn't able to get the breakthrough, and he thought, 'If I can't do it, it's better to give somebody else'."

His 20-month stint had moments of brilliance, and his Labour Party conference speech was the one of the best Goff had ever heard.

"But in the end, he looked at those poll results and he wasn't able to lift it for Labour."

- APNZ

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