In even the best relationships it can be a bit difficult when the ex comes for a visit.
It’s hard for the new partner not to feel second-best and that the ex is more articulate, more respected, more popular.
Labour leader David Shearer would be forgiven for feeling a bit like this when Helen Clark, the woman he succeeded, returns to New Zealand and is fêted by the media.
This week he has even more reason to feel that way because in the interview on Q & A she undermined the opposition to the GCSB Bill.
. . . Helen Clark told Corin Dann that there is a need for a GCSB and she’s urging dialogue across the political divide.
“The answer is yes, you do, because you need that foreign intelligence, and not least for safety and security reasons. I think the real issue is, is there a gap in the law, which the Kitteridge Inquiry apparently found that there was, and if so, how do you deal with that and do you take the opportunity at the same time to write in more controls to protect the privacy of the individual? That, as I see it, is the debate raging at the moment.”
Ms Clark says when her government brought in the 2003 GCSB legislation ”that actually took GCSB out of the shadows and made it a government department with its own Act, which was good. But, you know, in retrospect, as Miss Kitteridge has found, perhaps there was a gap in the law. So that has to be dealt with, but I think it’s really important to try to reach across the political divide when you’re dealing with these issues.”
Ms Clark says, “Try and take the politics out of it and look at what do we as Kiwis need to protect our interests and how do we protect the privacy of individual Kiwis who should never be caught up in a giant trawling exercise across their communications.”
Shearer and Labour had the opportunity to be the grown-ups in opposition by acting like a government in waiting on this issue.
Instead they’ve just been playing political catch-up to the Green Party and Winston Peters who know they’ll never have to lead a government.
They’ve missed their opportunity to get better legislation and because of that have been wasting their time and our money filibustering on the Bill which will eventually pass anyway.