Posts tagged: Helen Clark

Helen Clark and me

Helen Clark on the David Letterman Show

A colleague told me to look at this photo tribute to Helen Clark on Stuff.

We were all laughing at an unlikely Prime Minister being introduced on The David Letterman show – a woman bearing absolutely no resemblance to helen Clark – at about 0:56 seconds.

But even more surprising (unspotted by my colleague) was the photo of Helen Clark at the Smokefree RockQuest 20th Anniversary (0:28 secs).

Who is that man lurking top left?

New Zealand Election Results 2008

The election result is panning out as the media has been predicting – a victory for National.

Winston Peters is delivering his concession speech – beaten resoundingly by the young Simon Bridges (majority of 10,862 to national with 89.5% of the vote counted). Winston delivered a gracious speech congratulating Tauranga for voting in a young and vibrant politician. It seems that Winston and NZ First are now out of politics. It remains to be seen if they can maintain momentum as a party without any representation in Parliament. Peters has been there for 30 years – he left the stage saying that was his last word.

Darren Hughes (Labour) has lost Otaki to National’s Nathan Guy by a margin of 1422. Josie Pagani of Jim Anderton’s Progressive polled 206 votes. Keep an eye out for her in 2011.

Wellington Central is proving to be a closer fight – Grant Robertson is winning by a margin of 1,384 over National’s Stephen Franks.

John Campbell is interviewing Roger Douglas who finds himself back in Parliament. What sort of influence is he likely to have in John Key’s government? He’ll likely be hard to keep in line, and poor old Rodney is going to have a hard job keeping control over the man who started the party.

Grant Robertson wins Wellington Central with majority of 1,511.

Praise the lord – Peter Dunne has only himself for company – and he thinks that he is going to make a difference. Except that if National has the majority it currently has then it can afford to ignore Dunne entirely. Dunne’s majority reduced from 7,500 to 1,171.

John Key is currently on a 17,666 majority in Helensville.

National win Auckland Central meaning that Judith Tizard is likely to be tossed out of Parliament because she’s a long way down on the party list.

Jeanette Fitzsimons is delivering her speech at the Hopetoun Alpha in Auckland. With 6.5% of the party vote the Greens have added two extra MP’s into the house. While they were expecting to get 8% or more this is a good outcome. Jeanette says this gives the Greens a stronger voice in Parliament, but will John Key need to listen to them?

West Coast Tasman has been won by National with a majority of 975.

Parekura Horomia wins Ikaroa Rรคwhiti against Derek Fox, who the Maori Party was convinced had a good chance of winning. Horomia’s majority is 1,609.

Annette King wins Rongotai with majority of 7,845.

Helen Clark’s parents leave her house. It is expected that Clark will give her concession speech to Key in five minutes or so. The swing to National is 5.7%, to ACT 2.2%, away from Labour 6.9%. Overall a swing to the right.

10,666 people voted for the Bill and Ben Party – firm proof that there are 10,666 very stupid people.

99% of the vote is counted and projected seats are:

  • National 59 seats
  • Labour 43 seats
  • Green 8 seats
  • ACT 5 seats
  • Maori 5 seats
  • Jim Anderton Progressive 1 seat
  • United Future 1 seat

John Key has the current biggest majority of any candidate leading Helensville by 18,404.

Helen Clark leaves her house to go to Labour Party HQ. No doubt she has already called Key.

Helen Clark arrives at Labour HQ. The party faithful whistel and cheer as she walks into the building. A sea of red on the stage. There’s only one man on stage – Helen Clark’s father.

She knows her people – she greets them all in their native tongue.

She congratulates John Key. There are tears in the audience as she declares that Labour will not be going away. She takes responsibility for the loss. She acknowledges the Labour Party achievements over the last nine years.

This is a time for re-building. There will be around 12 new Labour members of parliament. She thanks departing members and hopes that all Labour’s achievemnts don’t go up in smoke under a right-wing government.

Helen Clark declares her intention to stand down as leader and hopes that Labour can appoint a new leader before Christmas (please please let it not be David Cunliffe). She leaves the building.

A gracious speech, she looked like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. And to stand down shows great maturity in politics.

John Key leaves his $6.8 million mansion in Parnell to drive to Sky City as the newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand. The man who always wanted to be Prime Minister has realised his boyhood ambition.

Matthew Hooton on TV3 made a good point in that Helen Clark has chnaged the face of the National Party. Helen Clark reveals it was always her intention to step down if National won. She reveals the polling was different to their own internal polls and that they had expected a different result (but perhaps still not a win). She wouldn’t reveal what Key had said to her.

John Key arrives at Sky City. He looks as pleased as punch – like a grinning school boy. He is completely surrounded by security detail who lock arms to escort him into the auditorium.

John Key is on stage. He hugs his children.

“Today NZ has spoken…they have voted for change…and I can tell you there will be a new National led government in NZ…thankyou for your support and thankyou for your trust…they voted for hope, they voted for action, they voted for results…this is not as good as it gets…yes, we face challenges and we will rise to them…we must make the most of our advantages…the road ahead may well be a rocky one…what will determine success will be a unity of purpose…and the success of individuals…now is the time for working together…if we work hard…we will make NZ prosperous as we all know NZ can be…tonight you have my pledge…it will be a government that values individual achievement…a government we can all be part of…tonight I want to thank Helen Clark…she was most gracious with her comments…we share a love of this country…as PM of NZ she has always ensured our small voice was loudly heard…for that I say thankyou…I sopke to ACT leader Rodney Hide…and Peter Dunne…and while future details are yet to be resolved they will lend their support to establishing a new government in NZ…”

Seems to be this is the speech of the campaign…if he had done speeches like this for the last 5 weeks more might have voted for him.

So we have a new government. We shouldn’t expect any miracles. Roger Douglas will be a problem. Rodney is going to have his hands full managing that problem, and so will John Key by association.

John Campbell interviews John Key. “We’re going to deliver on all our promises…”

“There’ll be a rocky road ahead…we can get through this together…moderate pragmatic government…that’s exactly what we’re going to do…it’s a close run thing…there’s a majority there but it’s not huge…great feeling but a nerve wracking night as well…”

Given the mood of the nation and the mood of the National supporters in the Sky City hotel it’s quite obvious that the pundits who believed John Key would be rolled by Bill English in his first term are wrong. This is John Key’s night – it’s John Key’s party – it’s John Key’s success that got National the win. Having Bill English take the leadership just can’t and shouldn’t happen.

As I prepare to finish this the NY Times sends me an update with news that unemployment is at a 14 year high in the US.

John Key has become Prime Minister at a terrible time, or a great time if he really, really likes a challenge.

Good luck.

Jenni McManus wins the Leaders Debate

Bloody hell – what a bore watching John Key and Helen Clark talk about nothing.

But, how fantastic listening to the commentators afterwards discuss the debate. Jenni McManus in particular stood out. Here are a few choice quotes from her.

On Trust:

I think particularly after last Friday night with his redundancy package I don’t think there’s a single policy or principle that he wouldn’t trade to become Prime Minister.

On the Economy:

I think what we do need is change. We don’t need the safe pair of hands that Helen Clark is talking about – we need a change agent. Now I’m not sure that John Key is that change agent. Their policies are so similar in the only area that matters, which is the economy.

On Leadership:

Well, we’re not getting any particularly (leadership). I mean, we’ve got a woman there haranguing everybody in sight and we’ve got a very timid leader of the National Party who’s afraid to open his trap – so I mean, you know – spot the difference.

Clark knew all along

It was revealed today the Prime Minister knew that Owen Glenn had donated money to Winston Peters right back in February.

Surely this is the most damning information of this sorry saga. As John Armstrong says:

She will thus be accused of withholding the information in order to both protect Peters and protect her administration.

It smells like a bucket of six day old scampi.

Helen needs to stop kidding us that she hasn’t been keeping Winston on deck until the ETS is signed and delivered – cos that’s what it looks like despite her assertions to the contrary.

The ‘secret agenda’ of the National Party has paled into insignificance in the midst of this debacle.

Even though the recent Herald-DigiPoll survey showed the gap closing between National and Labour this can only be good for National. Clark’s every word since February will be scrutinised to see that she has been consistent in her defense (or otherwise) of Winston.

And just as Winston says he didn’t attend the Karaka sales in 2006 there is likely to be evidence to the contrary on Clark. [View the picture of Winston Peters at the Karaka 2006 Sales here]

My god – I sound like a Tory sympathiser!

Helen Clark’s “American family”

What a day. Helen Clark called it a ‘storm in a teacup‘.

How could I have ever imagined a small thing like the acquisition of an American stock photo by a Labour Party designer could get the whole country so riled? My humble blog post today alone had 1909 hits (as of 11.20pm) – that’s up from the normal 50-60 per day by quite a large margin. The news media, rightly or wrongly, went wild.

I make no apologies for having brought notice to ‘that photo’. Like I said, I’m an ex-photographer. I know that there are cheap ways of getting good quality images that don’t include sourcing images from offshore. Anyone with a digital camera and a half decent eye for composition, could have taken a pic of a willing and happy Labour Party supporting family. And I’m sure with a minimum of effort they could have found a family willing to do it – really.

The point for me is that the brochure is selling New Zealand policy from the Labour Party, and to that end it needed to be completely authentic. I shouldn’t need to excuse the fact that I respond to visual cues more than the Prime Minister or Michael Cullen does – I can rightly be offended that an American family is used to ‘sell’ their policy – from my visually skewed perspective it simply isn’t right.

My revelation of this design cock-up should in no way support the notion that I am a staunch supporter of the National Party. You will see from recent posts that I am more of a critic of National than I am of Labour. Both parties have made embarrassing mistakes – take John Key’s Cold Play copy for instance. It seems that whoever is advising either party on design is not doing a particularly fine job on crossing t’s and dotting i’s.

In two days time this will all be forgotten. My blog traffic will slip back into a more regular pattern. The government will not topple because of ‘Skinnygate’ – they will topple of their own volition, and without my help.

The political week in review

It’s been more than a week since I last posted…that sounds like a Catholic confession…and a lot has happened.

Labour made a great and probably successful effort at losing the election via one small innocent act – four women MPs and a bad song to the tune of Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”. This has provided the main TV networks with perfect fodder – I have seen this clip countless times. Ruth Dyson is tuneless and out of time, Maryann Street is half hearted in her rendition, and I don’t know who the others are, although I suspect one is Steve Chadwick.

The link is here if you want to see it in it’s entirety. The Long Playing version is worse than the 45…

YouTube - The Labour Party and The Gambler

The same person who posted The Gambler video (a young Nat perhaps) had the time to edit and upload the “DON’T VOTE LABOUR” video shown below.

YouTube - Mike Williams telling fibs

Mike Williams protestation to Guyon Espiner that he didn’t say “That’s a bloody good idea” flies in the incontrovertible truth that he DID say “That’s a bloody good idea”. It’s unfortunate that this blunder happened at the same conference that The Gambler headlined at.

The public, despite these shenanigans, are confused about who they like.

Sunday night TVNZ released a poll showing Labour had dropped support, and National had gained, despite the FTA with China.

National – 54%
Labour – 35%

and preferred Prime Minister:

John Key – 35%
Helen Clark – 29%

TV3 on the other hand, and on the other channel, showed the gap had closed between Labour and National

Labour – 38% (up 3)
National – 48% (down 3)

and preferred Prime Minister:

John Key – 29% (down 6)
Helen Clark – 32% (up 4)

Of course each of these polls were conducted around and during that fateful Labour Party Congress. If the behaviour and policy of parties takes a couple of weeks to resonate with the public it’ll be interesting to see the results next time.

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