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Fare thee well

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 pm, November 9th, 2008 - 37 comments
Categories: articles, helen clark, john key, labour - Tags:

Firstly I must say congratulations to the winners on the night, and sympathies to those who did not succeed. We may not hold politicians in high regard but they put themselves on the line.  The voting public have had their say and that, if nothing else, we must celebrate and respect. But for Labour the price has been high. It is the end of an era – and a time for both reflection and optimism for the future. Ian Lllewellyn said it well when he wrote:

…it was Miss Clark’s political and policy partnership with her deputy and finance minister Michael Cullen that built a legacy that is likely to stand the test of time. The introduction of Working for Families, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (also known as the Cullen Fund), Kiwibank, KiwiSaver and the renationalisation of the rail system all stand as a complete turn around of the policies of the 1990s.

It is a testament to the Clark/Cullen administration that the only way National leader John Key could win office was by promising to keep all of those institutions in place or tinkering with them at the edges.

Clark and Cullen have been a formidable team – the challenge for Labour is to create and support the next generation. Meantime we can look to the challenges ahead for Mr Key, as summarised by Steve Braunias:

The real John Key – assuming he exists – now has to stand up. He said he was ambitious for New Zealand; New Zealand, broke and vulnerable, is ambitious for John Key. He has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime.

And we will all be watching.

37 comments on “Fare thee well”

  1. John Dalley 1

    I look forward to Winston hanging around in politics and repaying Rodney, ACT needs to be removed from the 2011 equation and i welcome Winny getting his revenge.

  2. keith 2

    Michael Cullen, hands down, best finance minister ever.

  3. Vinsin 3

    To be honest John, i think Rodney and Act will destroy themselves. They’ve had the luxury of being the opposition shit chuckers for quite awhile now, when they actually have to do something I think the tide will turn very quickly, and then they might just drop off the map completely.

  4. TimeWarp 4

    Vinsin.. we now have Roger Douglas, who didn’t think the government should invest in much – or even steward that it had already invested in – in cahoots with a party that wants to spend $1.5 billion on fibre to the home. So yes, it will be very interesting to see what eventuates.

    Most of the supporters of that strategy have not thought it though enough that they are even likely to smartly point out to me that the plan is not for ownership and operation but co-investment with other parties.

    That not withstanding, it’s the ultimate in what KB reactionaries would label ‘marxism’ that the Nats in effective want to nationalise Telecom’s ownership of the copper local loop.

    Maybe National really has moved back to the centre, because we haven’t seen such generous largesse since “Think Big” todays. We haven’t seen the consequences, either.

    Principles, whether right or wrong, seem to have been sold out here. A coalition that doesn’t know what it’s principles could make for some challenging and interesting times!

  5. ken 5

    Both remarkable for their time served.

  6. SeaJay 6

    Hey Vinsin, I’m pretty sure the new Minister of Tourism will be able to wrangle the fractious bunch of goons he now sits around cabinet with. When in doubt he can trade them up and down as their values rise and fall. Oh the joy, the right have gone and ripped off this election with bullshit and jellybeans and we have the front seats to the coming tsunami of incompetence, mismanagement and ill suited solutions, 156 weeks of lightweight entertainment and real-time misery. Blog On.

  7. Lampie 7

    Ummm might be off subject here and already mentioned

    Did John Key thank his wife?

    TVNZ cut it short (which I didn’t think was good) and he may have at the end. Few ladies I’ve spoken were not impressed

  8. fiona 8

    With Clark gone, who to succeed her ? I am concerned that Goff, from the same political generation as Clark seems to be considered a strong contender. Doesn’t Labour need renewal? Who else?

  9. Janet 9

    There was an extremely good interview on Friday night on Alt TV with Helen and Oliver Driver. He said then it could be her last interview as PM and it had a completely different tone to the others – much more personal and gentle. Can someone put up a link to it?

    Maybe Oliver D will now do one with her on her analysis of the election and the future.

    I really hope Helen and Michael get a chance now to reveal a bit more about some of the nasty stuff thrown at them.

  10. Lampie 10

    Leadership between Goff and Cunliffe, Cosgrove dep.

  11. infused 11

    Yes Lampie, he did.

  12. Lampie 12

    Thanks infused, I see that in the Granny today, still thought she might be in the leading bunch of thank yous, wouldn’t you?

  13. higherstandard 13

    Lampie I would think that his family would have been the first he thanked after Helen phoned to concede.

    Unless you think he was too busy shouting them down to thank them 🙂

  14. Janet 14

    There is a great photo tribute to Helen Clark on the stuff website http://www.stuff.co.nz accompanied by her speech on Saturday night. Good tonic for us grieving Helen fans.

  15. Ianmac 15

    Nine Golden Years. Helen, Michael and Team,
    Thankyou!
    Thankyou!
    Thankyou!

  16. Lampie 16

    “Lampie I would think that his family would have been the first he thanked after Helen phoned to concede.

    Unless you think he was too busy shouting them down to thank them ”

    Think any good leader would thank them publicly wouldn’t you? Just called good manners as family would be important to a family man

  17. Dom 17

    I echo lanmacs sentiments and wish the Labour and Green MPs all the best – there are enough of them in Parliament to do some effective opposition work in the next three years.

    As for National and ACT and their allies, we’re going to get a soap opera akin to the 1996 fiasco.

    Anyone want to take bets on how soon we will:
    (a) get a newbie National MP doing something absolutely laughable (I give it 18 days)
    (b) see a breakdown in the ‘relationship’ between National, ACT and UF (a year)
    (c) Turia splits off a faction of the Maori Party to go with National when the others can no longer stomach the ACT fuelled effects of government (fifteen months)
    (d) Have the next election (2 years, three months)

  18. ak 18

    True, Ianmac, and those golden gains are cemented in for at least three years.

    Nothing to grieve about, Janet: Helen Clark’s place in history as one of our greatest ever PMs is assured. She has endured more than most over a stellar career, selflessly given her all, and achieved real and enduring succour and life-improvement for hundreds of thousands of our citizens. Not often I agree with the cretinous Hooton, but his comment that her greatest achievement has been to force National to the left is not far off the mark.

    After a cruel and bruising couple of years at the hands of a misogynistic moronity and our braying gaggle of self-appointed media commentators and “celebrities”, Helen will now enjoy her well-deserved reward and in the process continue to enhance our proud reputation as a world leader in all that matters.

    Meanwhile, the domestic political entertainment will be delicious: when the honeymoon is cut short by the tsunami of economic gloom on the near horizon and our gawping fourth-former is no longer bathed in the adulation which comprises his sole motivation, sparks will fly. And Douglas will be gleefully standing by with a can of benzine. I just hope the Maori Party has the sense to keep a prudent distance.

    Thank you, Standardistas: keep up the good work.

  19. Janet 19

    There was a poll on one of the websites about whether people were happy with their vote or later regretted it. A surprisingly high number regretted theirs. I wonder if they are the people who voted for mild change, or the smiling Mr Key, but didn’t count on the strong Act influence on government. Or those who voted Green in their electorate vote and the Labour candidate lost (there were many seats when the Green vote was bigger than the gap between National and Labour eg Auckland Central).

  20. its the “tinkering with them at the edges” that worries me…

    Did anyone see tv1’s montage/story on Helen last night? The bastards just couldnt let her leave on a high. Disgusting media.

  21. insider 21

    what are we going to talk about now…?

    Janet

    Could be all those NZF and Greens voters that saw their influence evaporate

  22. Daveski 22

    One comment about the list of Labour achievements – we all know I’m no Jim Anderton apostle but it must be frustrating to him that Labour has garnered all the kudos for Kiwibank.

    It is certainly notable that Helen is held in high regard across the spectrum. JK has impressed me with his inclusive approach and the way in which he has also acknowledged her skills and contribution, even allowing for the political divide.

    There was a risk that the Nats in their enthusiasm to get out of opposition would create resentment but perhaps the economic reality has tempered their obvious enthusiasm. Likewise, Key seems intent on building a range of partnerships with a view to 2011.

    Which obviously brings us to the new political landscape. No HC, MC, or Winston First. The MP is trying to position itself as independent of both Labour and National.

    The Greens – while obviously disappointed – still grew their support among the carnage.

    I’ll be fascinated to see the comments about the shape of the Left to come, particularly from SP. While it’s early, there are real issues for Labour to address – not about policy but about carving their place in the new landscape.

    We shall live in interesting times.

  23. forgetaboutthelastone 23

    leftrightout –

    yeah i saw that – i was disgusted and outraged. Some discussion of it here:

    National Spinners

  24. forgetaboutthelastone 24

    whoops!

  25. Dom 25

    The Green voters who double ticked didn’t vote smartly at all. I know several in various electorates who did that and botched their party’s chances to have a larger voice in Parliament.

  26. Daveski 26

    Dom

    I also heard similar comments eg Auckland Central. Likewise, it would seem that Labour votes weren’t engaged in the same way that the centre right was and many stayed at home

    Sorry, don’t have the stats but heard the comment on Nat Radio this am.

  27. Janet 27

    Insider
    What are we going to talk about now?

    So many things to watch.
    Amending the huge and significant 1989 Education Act, to allow for national testing of kids to be rushed through before Xmas. Bringing testing in next year while reducing compliance requirements for schools AND reducing Ministry of Ed so called bureaucracy.

    Trying to do so much contradictory stuff will be something worth watching.

  28. Patrick 28

    Sorry this is off-topic, but any idea when the next Drinking Liberally Wellington will be?

    Lets hope it doesn’t take the left too long to pick up the pieces and form a strong opposition.

  29. Mark M 29

    I note the comments about the negativity of respondents on Kiwiblog which is correct.
    However the comments on this thread are equally bitter and twisted including one by AK which seems to relish the economic disaster looming because it might reflect badly on John Key.

    Sad , very sad

  30. higherstandard 30

    Mark

    Don’t worry about ak – just a very bitter nasty piece of work.

  31. lprent 31

    Patrick: My mailbox is full of stuff related to DL Auckland. So I would expect activity shortly.

  32. r0b 32

    ak – thanks for your kind words in a thread just before the election, and thanks too for your heartfelt and excellent contributions here.

    I’m in complete agreement with you re Helen. A class act from start to finish. Her place in history as one of our great PMs is secure, and the clean break she has made was classic Helen, firm, decisive, no nonsense. We’re going to miss her, and Michael Cullen too. What a team,

    Speaking of fare wells, I’m not going to be about here so much for a few months. I’m shortly off overseas in circumstances that will leave me with infrequent internet access. I might be popping up occasionally, but not as regularly as in the past. I think that The Standard is going to have an important role to play in the years ahead however, and I look forward to participating – I’ll be back.

    Go well friends.

  33. Billy 33

    I’m not going to be about here so much for a few months.

    I’m sorry to hear that. I will miss you, you old commie.

  34. ak 34

    Thanks r0b and all the best, contemplating something similar myself, look forward to your return.
    Zai jian (just guessing)

  35. Chess Player 35

    Cheers r0b, enjoy your trip,

    Presumably you have sufficient carbon credits in the bank to counteract your environmental impact from flying?

  36. s ryan 36

    while i grew up reading lots of stuff about social justice and my forefathers were indeed men of the wig i recently discoverd to my horror that there is thing called double entry book keeping.now unless someone has a model for the transfer of money that does not involve the exchange of good and services then im afraid the impervatives of the market will prevail longer after the regulation of the money system is attempted yet again. if you want goods and services for no money then create the system. even doctor cullen was unable to create a new order and make it work. im afraid the coming deficits are going speak for themselves im afraid.

  37. r0b 37

    Billy: I’m sorry to hear that. I will miss you, you old commie.

    Don’t worry you young fascist, it’s still a while before I leave, and I’ll be back. Wouldn’t want to miss holding this new government to account.

    ak – close. Pottu varan.

    CP – I’ll take a wild guess that I’ve planted more trees than you! But you’re right, I need to look in to that.

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