Phil Goff has the potential to be an excellent mayor. He is capable and personable.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like him. I don't know anyone who doesn't think him able.

He knows Auckland well having represented Mt Roskill since before most Aucklanders were born.

He also knows Wellington having been an MP since 1981, bar a one-term break, and has served as a senior Minister in the Lange and Clark-led governments. He is tribal Labour but is respected across Parliament.


That will be important. For Auckland to succeed the mayor needs a good working relationship with central government and MPs across Parliament. Understanding the workings of government and Parliament will be a huge boon.

Over his parliamentary career Goff has travelled left to right and back again and so has represented, at one time or another, the breadth of the New Zealand political spectrum.

He is more broadly representative than anyone else I know.

He has lived most of his adult life in the public eye. There should be nothing in his private life that should shock or offend even the prissiest among us. He knows the scrutiny that comes with high public office.

If I were writing a spec for Auckland's top job, Goff's CV would prove a perfect match - apart from him being white, middle-aged and male, but we can hardly hold that against him.

The challenge for Goff will be to step up to the leadership role. Auckland is a huge region with big challenges. The Mayor of Auckland is a tough job. The position lacks the systems and structures for support that, for example, the Prime Minister enjoys.

The Mayor has no party for support, no cabinet to call on, and no competing advice from a range of departments.

It's a bigger job than most will appreciate.


For the sake of Auckland - and the country - we must wish him all the very best in stepping up to the job. It also means wishing the very best for a council that must step up with him.