Friday, 29 August 2008

lesson in leadership

i know it's going to sound terribly partisan, but i still have to say it. the way helen clark has dealt with winston peters, her ability to negotiate the "standing aside" and the fact that she has treated him with dignity and respect even though she must be totally pissed off - all shows her very strong leadership skills. compare this with john key rubbing bill english's nose in the dirt a few weeks ago, and mr english then doing the same to maurice williamson re the toll roads. these guys don't have a clue about leadership and one has to wonder how they can possibly work constructively together in cabinet.

despite the stand-aside tonight, there will still be fallout from this whole thing. for a start, it has let national off the hook for a few days and may slow the momentum that labour has been building up for the past month or so. of course, alot now depends on the outcome of the two inquiries (SFO & privileges committee). dr cullen said in the house on thursday that labour really want mr glenn to front up to the PC, & it looks like he's going to do so.

an interesting point has been raised by colin espiner on his blog:

Incidentally, there is an intriguing side angle to all of this. The SFO, by launching an inquiry into Peters, has effectively saved its own life. A bill that was due to be passed under urgency by Parliament next week would have effectively abolished the SFO, reduced its powers, and folded staff into the police.

The SFO was vehemently opposed to this move, as you can imagine. So is the National Party. The bill has now been placed on hold while the investigation takes place. With only two weeks of Parliament remaining, it will almost certainly now not be passed. If National wins the election, it will never be passed.

I’m not for a moment suggesting the SFO launched the inquiry into Peters to save its own skin, just pointing out that Peters could justifiably claim a slight conflict of interest on the part of the SFO, given the benefit to itself of holding the inquiry.

the one thing you can say about mr peters (and believe me, i'm no fan of his) is that he has been providing plenty of entertainment. i don't think people have been this interested in politics for a long while.


Deborah said...

Fantastic post, as usual, Anjum.

Umm... I possibly bent the rules a little, but so what - some linky-love from our shared blog, for you, becuase I admire your work so much.

stargazer said...

thank you so much deborah, you just made my day (a rather nervous one, i'll let everyone know why tomorrow!)

must say i really enjoy your blog & your writing too, though i rarely comment.

Craig Ranapia said...


Sorry for starting off my debut comment with a b.s. call on a journalist and blogger I've a lot of time for but I had to chortle at Colin Epsiner's "I’m not for a moment suggesting the SFO launched the inquiry into Peters to save its own skin..."

Testicles, Colin, that's exactly what you're doing. And Mr. Espiner has certainly taken severe exception to any insinuation that he slants his coverage to curry favour with any political party -- and so he should. That's a far from trivial charge to lay against any journalist. Like implying (however carefully wrapped in passive-voiced weasel constructions) that a statutory body is initiating an investigation to harass its critics, or curry political favour.

As for Peters' "entertainment" value. There are still people in this world who think watching starving, tortured dogs fight to the death is jolly good fun. If it takes a quarter century of character assassination, whipping up hate and division and outright deception to interest people in politics, our democracy is in serious trouble.

stargazer said...

hi craig, and thanx for dropping by. as i say, i'm no fan of mr peters, but somehow i suspect he'll survive this latest round of attacks too.

Craig Ranapia said...


I think we both hope you're wrong on that one, and I just hope Winston Peters is past his use-by date. You might disagree with me on this, but his usual dog-whistle immigrant-bashing (his keynote speech at this year's Winston First conference was predictably vile) isn't the poll-fluffing magic it used to be.

I think it would take a Jane Austen (whose novels are full of outright bastards who beguile even the smartest woman, for a while), to explain why so many journalists and commentators lose their critical minds where Winston Peters is concerned. But, in the end, I guess we're just going to have to see whether 5% of the electorate can be convinced Winston's bullshit is chocolate mousse, one more time... I'm cautiously optimistic that his hubris (and the willing enabling of people who should know better) has finally run up against its Nemesis.