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Quotation for Today, Sunday 8 February


Waitangi asks a lot of political leaders. They will not be feted there until they have had the courage to front up to whatever might happen. Helen Clark would not, could not.

She claimed she would not risk the dignity of her office but that was not the real reason.

The truth is she could not find it in herself to rise above small indignities and defeat them with humility and generosity of spirit.

I keep coming back to that word. Waitangi is a spiritual event. Helen Clark is not spiritual at all. She simply could not do what Jenny Shipley did, and Jim Anderton, John Key and, yesterday, Phil Goff.

At Waitangi she couldn’t offer a prayer. She couldn’t find the capacity in her soul to say something humble, heartfelt and uplifting in the cradle of the nation’s hopes.

John Roughan writing in the NZ Herald of 7 February on Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

This piece of writing might well be seen as a political obituary.

  1. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    08/02/2009 12:31


    I don’t bother about Waitangi as such, my point was that Roughan was surprisingly negative on Clark and went so far as to suggest she was small minded and lacking in any generosity of spirit


  2. 08/02/2009 12:04

    I wouldn’t read too much into Waitangi.. Maori don’t because although Clark avoided it for years they still voted heavily for her. Even in Rotorua with it’s 40% Maori population the local paper can joke that Anzac Day is the real National day.

    For most of us politics is tribal and Waitangi is unlikely to change allegiances, it’s an historical event of some dispute, and a stylized outing for the Northern tribes where good or bad behavior equally suits the purpose of publicity and national attention. In fact, it’s “behaviour” that we really celebrate at Waitangi every year.

    We’ll see what happens, but I suspect Waitangi was a strength for Clark when she treated it like most of us, and it’ll be a weakness for Key if only because he’s telegraphed a committment to return every year.. the Harawiras are already gleefully arranging next years “spontaneous” demonstrations.



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