Helen Clark

Hey Helen, how’s that “benign strategic environment” looking now?

Remember this?

Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday dismissed former United States Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun as a pecan farmer from Alabama.

The terse remark was reminiscent of the sneering reference in 1977 by former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, who described US President Jimmy Carter as just a peanut farmer from Georgia.

And it was a far cry from the fond farewell between the women at a farewell party for the ex-ambassador this year.

Jimmy Carter’s apparent crime was that he was a Democrat.

Carol Moseley Braun’s was that she has been challenging Helen Clark’s assessment that New Zealand exists in a “benign strategic environment”.

That was the line the PM used to justify scrapping the combat wing of the Air Force – in May this year.

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Woman politicians without children don’t make the grade

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You can tell how worried Labour are that they will lose Hutt South, by how nasty Trevor Mallard is getting on Twitter about Chris Bishop. But his latest tweet was a step too far, and saw him delete it and apologise for it.

…Trevor is saying that you are privileged if you don’t have kids. As one tweeter responded, that means he is accusing Helen Clark of having been privileged for not having kids. Read more »

Traffic lights on a motorway?

Surely, this is a joke?

Apparently, it isn’t.

Until a week ago I was looking forward to Waterview motorway connection like a kid waiting for Christmas. Correction: Like a kid who has been waiting 40 years for Christmas.

That’s as long as I’ve lived in Auckland and for all that time I have resented our ridiculous route to the airport.

Having to leave the motorway at Gillies Ave or Market Rd and wind through suburban streets has been a disgrace to a decent city. No wonder foreigners taking a taxi from the airport to the CBD start to wonder if they are being hijacked in Pah Rd. Ever since we were promised the Waterview connection would provide motorway all the way from the North Shore and central city, I have been counting the years and months until its scheduled opening, just a month away now.

Then last weekend, we heard it will have traffic lights.   Read more »

Helen seeking new trough to swill in

One thing about ex-politicians is that they know how to sniff out a nice new trough:

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is in the running for another high-profile aid job based in Geneva, according to reports.

The New York Times has reported that Clark is on a three-person shortlist for director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.    Read more »

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Little really doesn’t want Helen back here, does he?

With the news that Helen Clark is jacking it in at the end of her term at the UNDP the media have started all sorts of speculation.

The most ridiculous is that John Key ran and hid when he found out Helen was quitting because he lost so badly to her in 2008…oh wait.

But Andrew Little isn’t exactly welcoming her back with open arms either.

Little, who last spoke with Clark shortly before the final ballot in the secretary-general race, said she had “a lot more to contribute” when she left the UN.

“She will carve out a role for herself in her next phase, whatever that is.”

Just so long as it isn’t here, eh Andy?   Read more »

Helen Clark is coming back. What work will the Devil make for idle hands?

Audrey Young: Helen Clark will leave post knowing she made a difference, with UNDP in better shape than when she started

Helen Clark may not have fulfilled all her ambitions in her eight years at the United Nations Development Programme.

But when she leaves her post in April it will be with the satisfaction of knowing she made a difference and that she leaves it a better place than when she started.

It was not unexpected. She will have completed two four-year terms in April by the time she goes.

She dragged the UNDP into the 21st century.

The old tuskers in the media are responding like Pavlov’s dogs at the thought of Her Majesty returning to our shores.

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Trotter explains why Labour has problems next year

Chris Trotter, the ever observant student of modern political history points out why Bill English may be boring but why he may also squeak into power again despite the ear to ear grins of the Labour party.

“WITH FIFTY-ONE PERCENT SUPPORT in the latest CM Research poll, the Labour Party is cruising towards the Year’s end on an enormous wave of public support. What is the secret behind Labour’s winning political formula – a formula which has so far eluded all of its competitors? To hear Helen Clark, or Michael Cullen, or Steve Maharey tell it, the story of Labour’s success is a simple one: “Under-promise and over-deliver”.

According to this theory, New Zealanders no longer believe in big promises – so don’t make any. Nor do they expect “the gummint” to do very much of anything to help them out. So, keeping those small promises, and, even more astonishing, actually doing a little bit more than you promised, leaves the voters feeling pathetically grateful.

More cynical observers point to Labour’s utter infatuation with opinion polling and focus groups. Its apparatus for taking the public pulse is state-of-the-art, and provides the political leadership with more-or-less instant feedback. Knowing how the electorate is responding to Government policy allows Clark and her ministers to remain in lock-step with public opinion. As the French revolutionary, Danton, is supposed to have remarked, seeing a throng of Parisians passing below his host’s window: “Excuse me, I am their leader – I must follow them.”   Read more »

Trotter on Bill English and Paula Bennett…it’s not what you think

Chris Trotter has an interest piece on The Daily Bog about Bill English and Paula Bennett…and it is brilliant:

Those high-drama, high-risk moments in a nation’s history, when the political adrenalin is coursing through the body politic, are precisely the moments when rushing to any sort of judgement – let alone action – is the worst possible thing politicians, journalists and political activists can do.

John Key’s resignation, for example, was just such a moment of high political drama and risk. People got excited. Adrenalin flowed. Our collective judgement was shot. All sorts of stupid mistakes – and statements – were made, and all sorts of silly stories were published and posted. What the country needed was someone to drive it around for a while and give it a chance to decompress.

Because Bill English is not some sort of Jesuit torturer just aching to draw blood with his newly acquired political instruments. Nor is Paula Bennet a whip-wielding Westie dominatrix in spiked heels and a leopard-skin corset. These two human-beings are nothing more, nor less, than National Party politicians – and by no means the worst of their breed.   Read more »

The Nasty Party is back

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It must be coming up to election time again because the Nasty party is out in force.

Annette King seems to be leading it this year.

David Farrar writes:

And Labour wonder why they keep losing elections and their vote share is at a 90 year low.  Read more »

Key’s cunning in backing Clark

It was left unsaid by the left-wing as Helen Clark forlornly tried to head up the UN, supported by John Key. The left-wing would have been cringing but wondering what to say about the support of the devil incarnate for Saint Helen of Mt Albert.

Danyl McLauchlan has discovered the cunning of John Key.

Domestically the big winner in all this is Key, who got to demonstrate to a couple hundred thousand female swing-voters what a progressive, balanced women-leader-supporting, generally great guy he is. It’s conventional wisdom on the left that Key et al are morons, and the left is morally and intellectually superior, and I’m not sure how this squares with Key and his party constantly doing very smart things, and the left’s parties and leaders mostly, consistently being pretty dumb. But we have all those withering take-downs of neoliberalism and books on Gramsci! It’s almost as if we congratulate ourselves on metrics that have nothing to do with success in modern democratic contests.

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