helen clark

National's decision to stand alongside our allies but not to 'go to war' strengthens our narrative as a small country with its own mind, but beware mission creep

It is any Prime Minister's toughest decision: whether or not to ask young men to fight and perhaps die in foreign fields. While no western country has sent combat troops into battle against Islamic State, military action is underway and the rhetoric from John Key in recent weeks suggested we might be going along for the ride.

In which I reply to Andrew's post in reply to Phil's post about Grant Robertson... I wrote this at the start of the week but have discovered a glitch that mean it never published!

I think I'll start at the end. Andrew ended his recent post like this:

A scandal can be distinguished from a controversy. Immigration policy became controversial in the 90s, the foreshore and seabed in the 2000s. Even though there were bungles, and offensive views and policies were aired, the underlying issue was always sharp disagreement over core values and policies.

In a scandal, the underlying issue is wrong-doing.

Except when it’s a 'Kinsley gaffe', named after the first political botanist to identify this species in the wild. In these cases, the scandal occurs when a politician says something that is true but they shouldn’t have said, rather than does something wrong.

The Greens were getting ahead of themselves with their offer to Labour to campaign as a coalition government in waiting, and Labour was right to reject the offer.

Winston’s right. When a party publicly offers to collaborate with another party and there’s no agreement behind the scenes, that’s not a friendly gesture - that’s an attack.

The three candidates for Labour Party leadership are all strong. A voter explains his choice

Agonising about how I’m going to vote is a novel experience for me.

I grew up a tribal Labour voter, “rusted-on” as they say, thanks to my mum, who suffered as the daughter of a deserted wife in the Great Depression and whose situation was vastly improved by the election of the Savage Labour Government in 1935.