Chris Trotter wrote an interesting piece about the demise of Clark and her government, blaming a 'feral' electorate for dumping her out of small-mindedness (http://www.stuff.co.nz/sun
Goff appears to offer a return to a less threatening politics. But it's worth asking, if Labour moved to the right under Goff's stewardship and took its focus off socially progressive policy, in what way would it differ from the Nats? This would be curiously like the status quo before the fourth Labour government, when the major parties saw eye-to-eye on certain Keynesian institutions, including the welfare state. The Nats saw it as a safety net, and Labour as a means to redistribute wealth, but in practice, the welfare state stayed much the same under both.
It remains to be seen what form the rest of the backlash against the era of Helen will take. I have a suspicion that we will not see another female leader of either major party for a while. The ladies have had their turn. No one would be boorish enough to disagree that girls can do anything - but we don't want them doing it too often, and certainly not as often as men. So runs the logic of those who point out that we have had a female PM, Governor General and Speaker of the House simultaneously, overlooking the many decades in which all three posts were held simultaneously by men.
By choosing Goff, and somewhat disassociating itself (for now, at least) from Clark's more progressive politics, Labour has taken what will likely be a popular direction in the current climate. However, if Labour chooses not to differentiate itself from the Nats, it won't win the 2011 election - and wouldn't have much to offer if it did.