Critics have attacked Labour leader Phil Goff for the way he reacted, after a woman collapsed during his State of the Nation speech in New Lynn today.
Goff was in the midst of his speech when the woman collapsed. Witnesses say that despite the woman being at the back of the room, Goff immediately stopped, ran to the woman’s aid, and began barking orders to those around him.
Cecil Meldreg, who was next to the woman, said Goff’s quick reactions were remarkable.
“I didn’t even realise for a few moments that the old dear was down. The first I knew was when Mr Goff leaped from the stage, grabbed the first aid kit he always keeps at hand, and ran down towards us.”
Mr Meldreg said that Goff quickly examined the woman, then told a group of party members to form a circle around the woman, with their backs turned.
“I heard him telling them that he had urgent but delicate surgery to perform, and that the woman deserved some privacy and dignity during the ordeal,” said Mr Meldreg.
It is understood that Goff then took a cake knife from the refreshments table and performed open heart surgery on the woman. Goff reportedly then sewed the woman up using a needle and string from her knitting bag.
Other witnesses reported that once the woman was stabilised, Mr Goff picked her up, put her over his shoulder, and ran outside. He was seen running down the road at speed with the woman on his back.
“I couldn’t believe how fast he was running,” said one unnamed woman. “I didn’t know anyone could run so fast.”
Mr Goff reportedly made the trip from the New Lynn Community Hall to Waitakere Hospital in Henderson in four minutes. The woman was reportedly in a stable condition at the hospital, and doctors confirmed that but for Goff’s swift intervention the woman would have died
However, critics have slammed Mr Goff’s behaviour as callous, irresponsible and uncaring.
“How is it that each and every elderly person at the meeting did not have a monitoring device connected to them, so that if they were in distress an alarm would instantly go off?” asked prominent blogger Adelia Smair.
“Does Labour not give a damn about the welfare of the elderly now? At least five seconds were allowed to elapse before anyone noticed there was a problem.”
Others have criticised Goff’s recklessness in running the woman to hospital at superhuman speed.
“What kind of example is Goff setting to young drivers?” Transport Minister Steven Joyce asked. “He would have been going at speeds that quite frankly were dangerous. Someone could have been hurt.”
Health Minister Tony Ryall also accused Goff of not leaving the treatment of the woman to the experts.
“Since when does the Leader of the Opposition have the skill to save a woman’s life? It is a miracle that the woman is still alive. Goff clearly got lucky.”
At a press conference in Wellington today, Prime Minister John Key also attacked Mr Goff’s response and called it extravagant and unnecessary.
“Had it been me giving the speech I would have simply laid my healing hands upon the woman,” said Mr Key.
Mr Key then smiled, causing several in the press gallery to swoon.
Questions have surrounded Goff’s performance since he took over the leadership of the Labour Party from Helen Clark
In 2010 Mr Goff was criticised for his handling of the Canterbury earthquake. On that occasion Goff flew down to Christchurch in his customised rocket ship and used his special superhuman powers to stop the Earth from shaking. However, he was widely panned in the media for failing to get a resource consent for his activities.
And Mr Goff has also been savaged for failing to prevent the devastating floods in Queensland.
Mr Goff issued a statement to the news media abut the incident earlier this evening.
However, nobody read it.