Personal politics

Written By: - Date published: 1:59 pm, September 17th, 2007 - 8 comments
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Colin Espiner writes in the Press that “Prime Minister Helen Clark has become a polarising figure in New Zealand politics, but voters have yet to make up their minds about John Key, a new poll shows”. Hardly a surprise. As far as I can tell he’s keen to say as little as possible. Steve Braunias came to the same conclusion in the Sunday Star Times:

“As I listened to [Key] and looked at him during our interview… it wasn’t as simple as thinking that the lights were on but no one was home. It was more the case that he was in there, somewhere, but there were no lights on…. The Prime Minister Helen Clark’s scornful assessment of that National Party leader – “Insubstantial” – might actually count as high praise. At least it acknowledged his presence…. [T]he notion that this man could be our next Prime Minister struck me as ludicrous.”

Compare that frank assessment with his opinion of the PM last week as she was preparing to head off to Apec for a solid 30 hours of climate change and trade talk with other world leaders. Can you imagine the hollow man there? “It depends what you mean by climate change”. “It depends how you define trade”. Spare us.

And after returning from Apec she was off to Queenstown to open their airport extension and take a helicopter ride with 10 year old competition-winner, Toby, to discuss his ideas on saving the planet too.

8 comments on “Personal politics”

  1. Also check out the extensive weekend article by Colin Espiner entitled The prime of Helen Clark at:

    A quick browse of this will show that Espiner correctly points out:
    * Clark has met her match with John Key (The Hollow Woman Vs the Hollow Man?)
    * Clark prefers to ally herself with those to her Rightwing than to the Left
    * ‘Clark has become an ardent supporter of the military’
    * Clark is incredibly politically expedient – as seen in ‘Clark’s willingness to apply the handbrake to Labour’s Maori policy and execute a 180-degree turn in the name of political expediency’
    * Clark doesn’t see her govt as leftwing, but centrist: ‘If you can command the centre ground, there’s no reason why & if you are continually responding, innovating, governing well, giving good leadership & why you shouldn’t be there for the longer term.’
    * Clark is responsible for only ‘blunting, rather than rolling back, the rough edges of New Zealand’s ’90s market economy’
    * Clark is a political manipulator rather than a politician of principle: ‘She would be remembered as one of the country’s best political spin-doctors’
    * Clark is the ultimately poll-driven fruitcake: ‘She has constantly altered her government’s course to stay in step with public opinion’


  2. all_your_base 2

    A prime example of why you shouldn’t believe everything you read Bryce.

  3. all_your_base – yes, obviously much of political editor Colin Espiner’s analysis is based on his own opinion, but it’s quite strongly based on an interview with Clark, which you can also listen to at the URL.

    But I’d be interested to know which of the above points you are referring to when you suggest I shouldn’t believe them.


  4. TomS 4

    YAY! Just what we need. A bitter left winger who would rather be pure in oppostion than compromising in Government. How many seats have the Alliance got, Bryce?

  5. John 5

    The last point is the true one:

    ‘She has constantly altered her government’s course to stay in step with public opinion’

    I don’t understand why that is a problem though as Espiner’s choice of words on the lead in suggest. I mean aren’t politicians there to serve the people and if you believe they are then they should listen to the people and deliver. If that means altering course so be it.

    I don’t think, altering course when you are risking being out of step with the people is a bad thing. Thank god, Helen Clark is no George Bush. My fear is that John Key is a George Bush – tell them what they want to hear to get elected and then do what you like!

  6. Robert Owen 6

    Well Mr key might genuinely be a centrist but as we know
    Nat Mp’ didn’t join that party because of their moderate leanings.
    I think he is doing a pretty amazing job of keeping them all in tow. But its only a matter of time!

  7. all_your_base 7

    I don’t think he’s genuinely a centrist Robert. I think he knows that’s how he has to position himself though. And you’re right about it only being a matter of time. Apparently, word around the Beehive is that Bill’s just biding his…

  8. Weather Eye Of The North 8

    That Espiner character is known as “Nappies” around these parts. He of the facile pen. A mischievous little “watcher” however.

    How many of you have heard/seen TV One promos for a following news item to find that the consummation frequently fails to match the anticipation ? Typical TV One !

    It offends me to be told “what to think” by such a funny, lispy wee guy.

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