Goff occurred as early as 16 years in 1969 in the New Zealand Labour Party (LP) and was 1975-1977 chairman of the advisory committee of the youth organization of the party ( Labour Party Youth ) and 1980-1981 organizer of the union of the insurance clerk ( Insurance Workers Union ).
His real political career began in 1981 when he was first elected as a candidate of the LP for the Members of the House of Representatives, where he represented the constituency Roskill until his election defeat in 1990. During this time he was appointed in 1984 by Prime Minister David Lange first to Housing Minister and held this office until 1987. He was also from 1986 to 1987 and Minister of the Environment from 1986 to 1989 and Minister of Labour. As part of a Government reshuffle, he was from 1987 to 1988 and Minister of Tourism and Youth Minister 1987 until 1989. Recently, he was among the prime ministers Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore from August 1989 to November 1990 Minister of Education.
He was re-elected members of the House of Representatives in 1993, where he first again represented the constituency Roskill and then from 1996 to 1999 the constituency of New Lynn this time. As a representative of the constituency Mt Roskill, he was elected member of the House of Representatives in 1999 and then re-elected in the elections in 2002 and 2005.
In December 1999 he was appointed by Prime Minister Helen Clark to the Foreign and Justice Ministers. In a cabinet reshuffle after the elections of 2005 he was appointed Clark as a trade and defense minister. As Minister of Defence he was de facto commander of the New Zealand Defence Force ( NZDF ).
When Helen Clark resigned after the electoral defeat of the LP in November 2008 as party chairman, Goff was elected as her successor and is thus also Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.
While nine of the eleven predecessors Goffs were as chairman of the LP and Prime Minister, it was agreed that career already in a newspaper article, arguing that several aspects.