Derek Cheng in the NZ Herald has a profile of Grant Robertson. It includes some quotes from me. Worth noting those quotes were given a few weeks ago, before Goff’s stuffing up the Darren Hughes affair. So the context wasn’t around Grant challenging Goff (which he won’t), but over his promotion to the front bench.
Kiwiblogger and right-wing commentator David Farrar believes Robertson will be at the forefront of a leadership challenge within the next two terms, but there will be a transitional leader – maybe David Cunliffe, he speculates – before then.
“Robertson has very good political judgement, can work with opponents, is smart, and makes very few mistakes and certainly doesn’t make the same ones twice.
He is very careful with what he says about things that may come back to bite him one day. He’s already developed that instinct that you need to become a leader one day, thinking four or five steps ahead. “I do certainly see him as a potential Prime Minister.”
It’s those strategic smarts which I rate Grant for. It’s not that he is making headway against National Ministers in the House. Tony Ryall looks as unbothered by Grant, as he was by Ruth Dyson at this stage. But Grant generally is careful not to position himself somewhere that will bite him in the future.
He feels equally strongly about adequate state assistance for the vulnerable and the excluded, which aligns with his view that the Government should actively provide a level playing field, especially through health and education, so that every person has the chance to reach their full potential.
“That will mean redistributing wealth in some instances …It’s a complete no-brainer. If you have people in poverty and on the fringes of society, if you bring them in, give them education, keep them healthy and get them a quality house, they will be a good functioning member of society and the economy. Why would you want to exclude them from society?
I don’t have a problem with redistributing wealth to help people in poverty. But Grant’s party has gone well beyond that. They all too often appear to want to redistribute wealth to punish people for being wealthy, and to buy middle class votes. Labour didn’t spend one extra cent increasing benefits for those in poverty beyond the inflation rate, but spent billions on middle class welfare so more families have ipods etc.
And unlike many lefties, he supports free trade with China in spite of the human rights issues and lower wages that price New Zealand workers out of the global market. …
When pressed, he says he would draw the line at a bi-lateral FTA with Burma. (He is relaxed about the ASEAN-Australia-NZ FTA, which includes Burma, and does not prevent New Zealand from imposing sanctions on Burma).
Good to see a Robertson led Labour will be sane on trade policy.
Farrar notes Georgina Beyer’s success in Wairarapa as the world’s first transsexual MP, and believes most New Zealanders wouldn’t care. “I don’t think his sexuality would be at all a factor in stopping him from becoming Prime Minister.
“He’s gay. Some MPs make a massive issue of it, like Chris Carter. Grant doesn’t try to have it define him, but will talk when appropriate on gay and lesbian issues and show his support.”
Farrar also says writing a lot about sports – whether a deliberate tactic or not – has shown Robertson to be well-rounded, breaking the gay mould.
This is the only part where the comments as reported don’t quite reflect my intent. My reference to Grant writing about sports breaking the mould, wasn’t referring to a “gay” mould. Gay and sporty are not opposites in my mind. The mould I was meaning was the perception (arguably unfairly) that many Labour MPs live and breathe politics and it is their entire life. Mike Moore wrote about this once. By bloggins about sports, Grant shows that he is someone who cares about more than just politics and power. I’m not suggesting that Grant doesn’t genuinely love sports (he is well known to be a sports fan), just that his decision to blog about them on Red Alert was a considered one.Tags: Grant Robertson