Phil Goff when he was Foreign Minister in 2001. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Phil Goff has expressed interest in a diplomatic post abroad if the opportunity arises, but pledged to see the current term as mayor of Auckland.

Rumors are circulating in Wellington and Auckland that Goff could travel to Washington as New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States, replacing career diplomat Rosemary Banks, who has held the post since February 2018.

Goff told the Weekend Herald he had heard the rumors but would remain mayor of Auckland for the full three-year term, which ends in October next year.

“I am elected for three years as mayor of this city and that is what I intend to do.”

Goff said he would decide early next year to run for a third term as mayor.

“I have to think seriously about what I want to do for the future. I have enjoyed the job as mayor. It is a privilege,” said Goff, who turns 68 next week.

Career diplomat Rosemary Banks is the current Ambassador to the United States.  Photo / Supplied
Career diplomat Rosemary Banks is the current Ambassador to the United States. Photo / Supplied

When asked if he had lobbied for the position, he replied, “No, I didn’t… if I had, I wouldn’t talk about it.”

“I’m not ruling out anything for the future. I will make a decision in consultation with my wife on what to do at the end of the term.

“Do I want to spend the next three years doing this? Do I take my life in a different direction? Do I want to retire? I’m not the type to retire, but at some point in my life I will reach I don’t want to work 75 hours a week. “

Asked about an overseas assignment given his passion for foreign affairs, Goff said: “Maybe in the future that would be an interesting option.”

Goff held the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolios in Helen Clark’s government before becoming Leader of the Opposition after Labor was defeated in the 2008 election.

After Labor failed to regain power in 2011, he resigned as party leader, but remained an MP until 2016, when he won Auckland mayor by a slip ground.

Labor and national governments have appointed politicians to fill positions abroad such as Washington and London. Former prime ministers Jim Bolger, Mike Moore and Bill Rowling and former National Cabinet Minister Tim Grosser served in Washington.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Secretary Nanaia Mahuta declined to say when Banks’ tenure is due to end and whether the government will consider Goff for Washington or some other role overseas.

“We will not comment on individual employment issues,” the spokesperson said.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-18 17:00:38


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