But seriously. Can you imagine it?
Clark and Key are chalk and cheese & and hardly anywhere more so than on their grasp of foreign policy. While Clark has spent the last week or so furthering our country’s interests abroad, Key’s had his foot firmly in his mouth. I only hope that the international media spares us the collective embarrassment of broadcasting his latest gaffe around the globe.
Even Clark’s most strident critics will generally admit she’s a phenomenal performer on the world stage. Foreign affairs have been a passion her whole life and she relishes the chance to represent and promote us abroad. She commands respect in virtue of both her intellect and now, seniority.
Key’s tried to compete, positioning himself as a prime-ministerial contender with “international” experience, having worked offshore for much of his professional money-trading career. A fat lot of good it seems to have done his understanding of international issues, though I suspect he’d be a dab hand at currency conversions.
Key’s most recent gaffe – his atrociously dismissive claim that “the war in Iraq is over” & is the last in a long line of events that paint National as foreign policy lightweights. It ranks right up there with Brash’s “gone by lunchtime”.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming. When Key originally won the National Party leadership he spoke openly about setting up a foreign affairs “think tank” & an early signal that his was empty. The Nats’ latest effort is a foreign affairs policy document that naively conflates foreign affairs and trade.
As if any further admission were needed that the Nats just don’t have the intellectual horsepower, Key suggested that Peters might keep his job as Minister of Foreign Affairs under a National Government. Murray McCully, their current spokesperson, isn’t even on their front bench.
Graham Hunt mused yesterday on the Sunrise show that elections in NZ aren’t won on foreign policy. I suspect that in the current international climate they very well could be. New Zealanders value our current independent stance on international issues and they’re proud of Helen Clark’s international leadership.
On foreign affairs, between Key and Clark it’s just no contest.