Carnage is Gruesome – Armstrong

John Armstrong: Donor’s big-noting a runaway disaster – 23 Feb 2008 – Politics: New Zealand Political News, Analysis and Comment including 2008 election coverage – NZ Herald

At week’s end, the carnage is truly gruesome; the casualties truly staggering.

Like Mr Magoo suddenly handed the reins to Boadicea’s chariot, expat billionaire and philanthropist Owen Glenn scythed his way through the political landscape seemingly oblivious to the havoc.

Those left to lick their wounds include no lesser figures than the Prime Minister and Labour Party president Mike Williams, while questions about whether NZ First was also on the receiving end of Glenn’s generosity have infuriated Winston Peters, who has directed his anger at his party president for even speculating on the possibility that NZ First might have taken such a donation.

Yes, indeed the carnage is gruesome and is likely to have fatally doomed Helen Clark as leader and Mike Williams as President, meanwhile Oggi is laughing at them. Boy he must have been real pissed at them for something to exact this kind of revenge.

Anyone who thinks this was some media beat-up intensified by the early onset of election fever must ask why Trevor Mallard was acting as Helen Clark’s minder on Thursday night, blocking Glenn’s path to the Prime Minister at the opening of Auckland University’s new business school and why she refused requests to be photographed with the school’s benefactor.

The public brush-off said it all. With a few gauche remarks, Glenn unintentionally reminded people of Labour’s twisting and turning on the party’s finances dating back to the pledge card rort of the last election.

Be it a Cabinet post or appointment as an honorary consul, here was the biggest donor by far to Labour’s campaign coffers at the last election big-noting about what the Government would be doing for him only weeks after being the recipient of a New Year’s honour.

But Glenn cannot take sole blame. He was a ticking time bomb who went off at the most inappropriate moment. The explosive was the New Year’s honour – membership of the New Zealand Order of the Merit. The detonator was the previously unknown $100,000 interest-free loan he gave Labour after the last election which he revealed last week.

The cluster-bomb went off all right, right in the face of those who launched it in the first place. John Armstrong though is the first MSM journalist to utter the words “corruption” and “sleaze” though he did finesse it a little, he still wrote those words as a description of Clark’s government.

Just as Labour targeted Shipley, National’s prime objective this week was to ensnare Clark and force her to do the explaining, rather than keep a distance. National shunned words like “sleaze” and “corruption”, the latter being only uttered once in Parliament. Rather than lay it on with a trowel, National judged it better to let voters reach their own conclusion.

From the two latest polls it is clear that the voter have indeed reached their own conclusion.