Helen Clark abandoning voters

As I predicted the day after the election last year, Helen Clark is abandoning all the people who wanted her as their MP for Mt Albert, because she didn’t win the election.

When on the campaign trail last year I met many Labour voters who voted that way specifically because they liked Helen Clark. She is a very popular politician, although I may disagree with her policies. I personally feel that abandoning the voters who have stood by her in this way is poor form.

A former Prime Minister retiring after losing the position, forcing a by-election, is nothing new of course. Jim Bolger did the same thing.

On the other hand, Jenny Shipley retired eventually, but stuck round long enough to not force a by-election. In the National government at the moment there are Bill English and Don Brash, both former leaders of the opposition, and Bill English and Roger Douglas, former finance ministers, all of whom have stayed in parliament after being ousted from their high positions, unlike Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

By contrast, Helen Clark:

  • Retired from the leadership voluntarily, unlike Bolger and Shipley, before choosing to retire from parliament.
  • Announced her retirement from the leadership (setting the stage for her leaving parliament) on the election night, completely different to Shipley.

Rather than thanking her voters for electing her, she set the stage to abandon them as soon as she learnt the election result. Furthermore she chose to do this herself rather than being toppled in a coup.

And now she moves to the UN, where she can continue to promote her views to yet more people but without having to be as accountable to voters.

Helen Clark is a well-respected NZ politician. Her views on many issues, although not my own, are supported by many New Zealanders, who elected her because of them.

I feel that by leaving like this she will damage Labour’s reputation with many voters, making Labour look like they are about power rather than policies. Although not a National voter myself, were I Joe Bloggs average swinging voter, usually choosing between Labour and National (the voters that ultimately decide every election result) I would be far more likely to pick a party whose MPs tended to stay to promote their policy regardless of what position they held, rather than retiring as soon as they lose the top job.

Although I disagree with her policies, I feel it is a shame to see her go, and can only harm Labour and upset her many supporters.

She has however done very well managing to become the head of the UNDP, so I must congratulate her on that.

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Why do the left support Hamas?

The liberal lefties march in support of Hamas. Yet Hamas would kill them for their beliefs, especially if they are gay, and it is only in Israel that they would have freedom of speech. They march to protect civilians, yet it is Israel who protects civilians and Hamas who deliberately puts them in harms way. The facts are clear. Why are they ignored?

I highly recommend you read “Marching for Hamas” in the Jerusalem Post. Whale Oil has written an excellent commentary on it. A few quotes from Marching for Hamas:

Hamas is a bully aided by a bigger bully, Iran. And, just as strident and threatening human bullies get away with their aggression so long as no one calls their bluff, so Hamas has been getting away with murder and torture because the UN and many states won’t call its two-faced self-portrayal as the victim in the piece. In the struggle to take over Gaza from Fatah, it went on a rampage that killed hundreds of Palestinians. Even during this most recent assault, in early January, it executed Fatah members for violating their house arrest. …

Even if the Palestinians want peace, Hamas won’t let them have it, because Hamas knows best, and jihad “is the only solution.” Don’t believe me, read the Covenant. It likes nothing better than killing Jews, and the bigger bully in Teheran thinks that’s a damn fine thing too. No one says a word, because the UN is dominated by the Islamic states, and the Western governments know where the oil comes from, and nobody likes the Jews much anyway. …

For all its bluster, Hamas, like all bullies, is a coward at heart. Watch those films of Hamas gunmen dragging screaming children along with them to act as human shields, watch how they fire from behind the little ones, knowing no Israeli soldier will fire back. And even as they put their own children’s lives at risk, they shout to high heaven that the Israelis are Nazis and the Jews are child-killers. This blatant pornography spreads through the Western media, and people never once ask “what does this look like from the other side,”

Anyone who would march in support of such evil needs their heads examined. Or better yet, needs to spend a few years under Hamas rule. If they survive that long.

Hamas opposing aid in Gaza

Israel is putting a lot of effort into getting aid into Gaza, but Hamas is making it difficult. The Jerusalem Post explains what is happening now with aid.

The IDF plans to open more crossing points into Gaza starting on Wednesday, in an effort to vastly increase aid to the civilian population. …

The IDF now hopes to open the grain chute at the Karni crossing, a major passage way for goods …

On Monday, the IDF opened the chute at Karni for a test run during which 23 truckloads of grain were sent into Gaza, according to Lerner.

It was shut on Tuesday, however, after the army found a tunnel on the Gaza side, meant to be used for a mine attack.

On Wednesday the IDF hopes to open the chute for the passage of 60 truckloads of grain.

That’s not quite what you hear in the media over here. Aren’t the Palestinians crying out for aid and the naughty Israeli’s letting them starve? Yet according to the J-post, it is Hamas standing in the way. Read on, and you’ll find out about Kerem Shalom, where much aid is sent through:

Nor is this a risk free operation, he said. Hamas has been known to shoot mortars over the wall.

Should there be an attack, he suggested that it would be wise to seek safety in the white concrete room at the edge of the lot.

“On one hand, we want to let the aid in, but it is a difficult situation when they start lobbing mortars at us,” he said.

Hamas also:

  • Steals trucks of food aid and sells it to the highest bidders.
  • Fires rockets from a school during a humanitarian cease-fire (intended to allow aid to be distributed).
  • Probably directly attacks UN aid convoys, killing some workers. The mainstream media initially blamed Israel for this incident but I haven’t seen any corrections published now more facts have emerged (who attacked them is still disputed but it certainly wasn’t an Israeli tank), so most of the world still thinks Israel has attacked the aid convoys.
  • Uses mosques and schools to attack Israel, and meets in a hospital, directly endangering their fellow Palestinians by requiring Israel to attack these sites if they are to attack Hamas.

I’ll stop the list there, but it would be easy to go on. Please, local media, some balance would be great.

UN says eat less meat

The UN is calling for people to eat less meat, to combat global warming. This is because animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogramme of food produced than plants, as a rough rule.

This has major problems however:

  • This is only a rough rule. Rice causes high methane emissions. Greenhouses (especially in cold climates) cause high emissions (oil consumption to heat them, construction of the greenhouse in the first place etc.). Some vegetables may be transported by plane to get them to markets fresh (high emissions), while meat is frozen and transported by ship (lower emissions). You cannot assume vegetables are low-emission simply because they are vegetables.
  • It completely ignores the fact that large areas of land, such as the New Zealand high country, are completely unsuitable for cropping. If you were to crop them (assuming you could get a tractor on the slopes), you would have massive problems with soil erosion and water pollution. However this same land can be grazed extensively by sheep and cattle with far fewer environmental problems. So for much of NZ it is more environmentally friendly to produce meat than vegetables.
  • It ignores the relative importance of different kinds of pollution. Are carbon emissions worse than water pollution and soil erosion, or are they less important?
  • It could have serious implications for our export sector, if people actually listen and buy less of our meat.

It is unfortunate that the UN, a body which we should be able to trust, can make such flippant recommendations which would have little benefit but a large potential to cause harm.