Chris Trotter has a bad case of the conniptions and has lashed out at Helen Clark for her stance over the TPPA:
THE MOMENT THE WORDS were out of her mouth the political wreckage began to pile up. On Radio Live, Sean Plunket positively whooped with delight. It took only a nanosecond for the right-wing shock-jock to register the implications of Helen Clark’s public endorsement of John Key’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Now that the “Darling of the Left” had come out in its favour, Plunket reassured his talk-back audience, the TPP Debate is surely over. Someone, he said, should tell the “tin-foil hat wearers”.
Those who cherish Clark’s memory as Labour’s most successful leader since Peter Fraser, have offered numerous excuses for her actions. She was misquoted, they insist. She didn’t understand how her words would be distorted, others say. Living in New York, she must have been unaware of the way the TPP debate had evolved in New Zealand. Helen Clark would never have knowingly delivered such a brutal blow to her own party.
Seven years after her defeat by John Key’s National Party, Clark’s interest in Labour remains undiminished. Kept informed of its every move by a coterie of loyal supporters, she cannot credibly claim to have been ignorant of the impact her little encomium on the importance of international trade would have.
“What always haunts a Prime Minister”, said Clark, “is: ‘Will there be a series of trade blocs develop that you are not part of?’ Because that is unthinkable for New Zealand as an export-oriented, small trading nation. So of course New Zealand has to be in on the action with the TPP and go for the very best deal it can as the agreement expands beyond the original four economies to a wider regional agreement.”
John Key and his Trade Minister, Tim Groser, have yet to set out the argument for signing the TPP as succinctly as Clark did in New York – or with more force. There is absolutely no way that such a well-considered statement could’ve just slipped out – by mistake.
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