It says a lot about the Labour government that it has spent such an extraordinary amount of political capital defending and shepherding Trevor Mallard through the last five years – not to mention earlier in his career.
On what other single issue has the government taken so much flack but battled doggedly on nonetheless?
Child poverty? No. Building state houses? No. Tacking climate change? No. Making farmers pay for polluting waterways and trashing the environment? No.
Three waters? Perhaps – but not the decades long history of taking hit after hit defending Mallard’s awful, adolescent behaviour.
Labour has burned up huge amounts political credibility with misplaced loyalty towards one of its long-standing MPs who never grew up or matured into anything. Tribal loyalty trumps loyalty to party principles.
As Minister of Education in the previous Labour government he made a name for himself by closing small country schools – gutting rural communities from one end of the country to the other. What else will he be remembered for? Nasty, venal behaviour.
He has been a career politician of the Labour tribe. That’s all. He has served his time and Labour is putting him out to pasture as the Ambassador for Wine and Cheese in a European capital.
Another example of the abuse of power by successive Labour and National governments who use lucrative overseas appointments to solve their internal party problems.
One way of helping break the crippling tribal politics of the big parties could be bringing in genuine proportional representation by scrapping the 4% threshold for a party to enter parliament.
It is precisely because Labour and National vehemently oppose such a policy that it should be enacted. These cosy Political Veterans Clubs need to be forced to work much harder for the privilege of political leadership of the country.