Item on Stuff yesterday interviewing Barry Gustafson, the author of His Way, a biography of Robert Muldoon (Auckland University Press, 2000):
Professor of politics Barry Gustafson said Miss Clark seldom indulged in personal politics and the attack was a bit unfair.
“If anyone has been on the receiving end of some pretty nasty rumours and barbs over the years it’s probably Clark.”
The case reminded him of Sir John Marshall attacking Sir Robert after being replaced by him.
“[Moore] probably still feels a little hurt at the way he was taken out as Labour leader. He did very well to lead them almost back in 1993 and probably thinks he should have been given another chance at the top job.”
Prof Gustafson said comparisons could be made between Miss Clark and Sir Robert in terms of how tightly they controlled their cabinets.
But Prof Gustafson said Miss Clark was more like Keith Holyoake than any other politician.
“Quite apart from the longevity. . . I think she has tried to be more of a compromising, pragmatic, consensual politician who seeks to win support for things the Government is doing rather than divide and rule.”
He said Miss Clark had cemented her place in history.
“The only question one can ask now about Helen is about whether she’s Labour’s greatest leader and it would be a choice between I think her, (Peter) Fraser and (Michael) Savage. . . she’s certainly at that level now.”