Friday, July 30, 2010


A humdinger of a frost this morning. A day’s full sunshine failed to warm the atmosphere that much. But the native pigeon spent much of the day in the kowhai.

I was amazed yesterday to learn by the internet of Chris Carter’s outburst. It smacked of pettiness and stupidity. A political death-wish of the highest order. Labour’s ability to erupt into factional fighting whether in power or in opposition must be a despair to its devotees. Everyone knew Goff was almost certainly heading for defeat next election. There was a parallel with Bill English in 2002 - a new government enjoying its honeymoon. But in politics, you hang in there, the tide will turn. Whether it will be in your time or not only the future will reveal.

Watching Carter’s performance on TV last night I thought what a spoilt brat approach. There was an incredible sense of entitlement as he scrambled to occupy the moral high ground. He said he did it for Labour. I couldn’t imagine anything more damaging to its cause. I find it difficult to conceive that he did not understand that. I was left with the feeling that personality conflict had overridden common sense and political judgement.

John Key couldn’t have been delivered a better present than infighting in a weakened opposition. For months he'll greet criticism by diverting attention to leadership strife on the other side of the house.

I thought Goff on TV handled himself with dignity. What more is there to say. Carter did not. That is his tragedy. There are ways of challenging leadership. Anonymous letters to the press gallery is not a good approach. Skulking is not the way to win support. I’ve always said it didn’t matter so much who was in power – what was essential was a vibrant opposition. Carter has done his utmost to ensure we don’t have one for the next several months. His actions will not only disable the Labour Party but enhance the Government's freedom to act.

And I had intended to write about New Zealand Poetry Day and National Maori Language Week.

P.S. I suppose I should be grateful for one thing. I can see it is all too easy to become repetitve in a blog. This eruption is something new and unexpected, adds a bit of spice to the humdrum of politics.

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