The one major achievement in Grant’s political career was Labour’s halfwitted opposition to the Voluntary Student Union Membership bill. Grant tied up Parliamentary time for so long that few other private members bills got through in the last term, all over an issue that may matter a lot to Labour but mattered little to anyone else.
When the VSM bill was getting fought tooth and nail the vast right wing conspiracy were laughing to themselves. Why were Labour wasting so much time, energy and political capital on something that mattered so little? Why would swing voters care about VSM? How does compulsory student union membership make New Zealand a better place? How do Labour’s voters who largely do not go to university benefit from years of fighting for compulsory student union membership?
The answers to these questions weren’t the point. The point was Grant Robertson seemed to be willing to engage in a battle that he would inevitably lose, over something that mattered so little, making a name for himself on an issue that middle New Zealand can’t be bothered with. Why he did this has never been explained. While the VRWC reveled in his stupidity, we were also disappointed that a man trained up by Helen Clark could be so inept.
As a crowning achievement VSM was such a disappointing issue. It is hard to imagine David Lange or Helen Clark being so captivated by such a trivial and peripheral issue.