Matthew Hooton writes in the NBR about the evil of Helen Clark. Why his clumns aren’t online is beyond me and the weekly traipse up to the Howick Stationers is a bore. However todays column made the fee for the whole NBR worth it.
Everyone should read at least the summary of this week’s Foreshore and Seabed report, for a timely reminder of the true nature of the regime defeated last November.
From 1999, Helen Clark set about controlling all sources of public discourse in New Zealand.
Clark ultras were progressively appointed throughout the public service, including even the upper echelons of the police, or moved into influential roles in state broadcasting.
Actors, artists and screenwriters, who normally play an important subversive role in society, were purchased with taxpayer indulgences and prime ministerial patronage.
This march through the institutions created a left-wing fog so thick that, even today, the public still perceives a mostly positive picture of Ms Clark’s nine grisly years in power.
That fog is lifting and historians will eventually assess Ms Clark to have been a political monster in the mould of Nixon or Muldoon.
Perhaps Matthew is prone to some hysterics but in the cold light of the truth that has emerged from the dark days of Helengrad we can see that there is some accuracy in his opening gambit.
From the outset, Clark’s regime had a bloodlust for the politics of personal destruction. Whether Peter Doone, Roger Kerr, Kit Richards or “hater and wreckers” Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, anyone who opposed its agenda was viciously smeared.
Her government stole money, passed retrospective legislation to cover up its crimes, defended criminal wrongdoing by its ministers, outlawed effective criticism of the regime in election year, lied shamelessly even on trivial matters and brazenly removed basic legal rights even from its allies.
Thus, while most intelligent people didn’t care whether there was GE corn in New Zealand, the Clark Government said it did care, and insisted there wasn’t when it knew there was.
Government PR budgets were brought under the control of party activists like Clare Curran, and taxpayers’ money used for pledge cards and other propaganda as if it were party funds.
Whenever caught, Ms Clark would smear anyone from the auditor-general to the charity to which she sent a fake painting. Where necessary, she’d change the law to declare what she had done to be legal.
Again a little theatrical, yet somehow very accurate. We can see a picture of true evil starting to appear.
Against such competition, it’s difficult to identify the most evil act of the Clark years, but the Foreshore & Seabed Act probably takes the title.
This was legislation introduced to Parliament by attorney-general and Clark puppet Margaret Wilson to overturn a unanimous Court of Appeal decision in which she herself was the losing party.
The decision did not award ownership of anything to anyone, being merely jurisdictional.
Nor did it invoke potentially-contentious Treaty law, instead resting entirely on the ancient common-law doctrine of aboriginal title.
If Ms Clark and Ms Wilson disagreed with the decision, they could have appealed to the Privy Council, but they decided not to because they were then trying to abolish that right for everyone else.
Instead, immediately – just four days after the Court of Appeal decision – they announced legislation to blatantly deny a group of New Zealanders the right to explore their common-law property rights in court.
It was a despicable attack on the rule of law and due process, strongly opposed on principle by the business community and a wide cross section of the community, including me.
Inded it was a despicable act, robbing a whole section of our population from recourse before the courts purely on the basis of race. A more racist act in the history of New Zealand would be hard to find. What can Goff do to undo the damage.? All indications thus far on Goff though are that he is contuniing at least with the politics of persaonal destruction, not the least for himself by running dirty little sting and pimping operations. However Matthew Hooton disagrees.
Today, Labour still struggles with these truths, absurdly claiming its hand was forced by Bill English and Don Brash.
In fact, when Ms Clark and Ms Wilson decided to legislate, Bill English’s National Party was dying in the polls and Dr Brash was merely his disloyal finance spokesman.
The Orewa speech was more than six months away; the Iwi/Kiwi billboards two years.
Before it can be redeemed, Labour needs first to be honest about its past. It must admit that it alone was responsible for the outrage, and that it knew what it was doing was wrong, but that it did it anyway.
After the excesses of Muldoon, Jim McClay became National’s leader. Mr McClay proved to have no hope of ever becoming prime minister but he valiantly began the process of eliminating the Muldoon legacy from his party. History judges him kindly.
Like Mr McClay, Phil Goff will never be prime minister but history too will judge him kindly if he uses his time as leader to distance his party from the disgrace of the Clark years.
If Goff is Labour’s McClay then that makes it highly likely that David Shearer is Labour’s John Key.