John Armstrong, Labour's last cheerleader at the Herald delivers a stinging blow to Helen Clark and Labour this morning over the Emissions Trading Scheme backdown - here 'tis: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/466/story.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10509193&pnum=0
"When the latest United Nations-nominated "Champions of the Earth" were honoured at a gala dinner in Singapore three weeks ago, there was one notable absentee.
Despite winning the special prize for making carbon neutrality New Zealand's goal, Helen Clark was not present to rub shoulders with Prince Albert of Monaco and other fellow award winners, including a former Minister of the Environment from Barbados and a climate change scientist from Sudan.
"Diary constraints" was the official reason for Clark's no-show. Just as well, perhaps. The award's organisers praised New Zealand's Prime Minister for "blazing new trails" in the fight against climate change and singled out Labour's emissions trading scheme for special mention.
Clark would subsequently have faced awkward questions about having gone to Singapore to pick up the award at the very time her Government was contemplating delaying the introduction of petrol and diesel into its landmark emissions trading scheme for two years."
He then makes a very pointed distinction between Labour's "rhetoric" and its actual record on climate change. He notes the "illusion" that meaningful change in emissions can be achieved relatively painlessly saying "It is a nonsense, of course. But it is politically appetising nonsense, nonetheless." He goes on to bag Labour for this week's backdown in the face of grim economic indicators saying "Labour cannot expect such a visionary policy to be taken seriously when it has capitulated at the first sign of the policy cutting living standards.".
Lastly, he slams Labour for its attempt to steal the moral high ground through its unilateral approach:
" Labour is now paying the price for hogging all the political kudos on offer from being seen to act on climate change. As it did with the national superannuation fund, Labour unilaterally sought to impose consensus. The difference is the setting up of the state pension followed by years of failure to get a political consensus on retirement policy in advance of the baby-boom generation leaving the workforce.
In that case, Labour was justified in forging ahead alone. With climate change, Labour did not even bother to seek a consensus through multi-party talks. Not surprisingly, other parties are now reluctant to help it out, although the charade whereby voters expect parties to play along with climate change policy means National cannot be aloof."
Now this isn't Fran O'Sullivan or Audrey Young writing - this is John Armstrong, who has been the lone voice supporting the government at the country's largest daily. But it seems as though even he, like all the other Aucklanders referred to in last night's Roy Morgan poll has had enough of Labour. He closes:
"What was going to be a major plank of Labour's re-election campaign is now gathering dust - just like the "Champions of the Earth" award now sitting on some shelf in the Prime Minister's office."