John Armstrong writes in the NZ Herald:
So Power opted for an oblique, but potentially hugely effective means of undermining a political opponent in the eyes of colleagues. Having made obligatory remarks about the plight of Cantabrians, he launched into a vigorous promotion of Mallard’s leadership credentials.
Power’s lampooning of the long-serving Labour stalwart was the funnier for everyone knowing that while there is precious little chance of Mallard becoming Labour leader, it is not wholly impossible in an unforeseen emergency.
Such was Power’s blitzkrieg-like precision and timing that it was obvious he had devoted considerable effort to writing and rehearsing yesterday’s speech, delivered during the Wednesday afternoon free-for-all general debate in the House.
Power began by naming potential aspirants lining up to take over from Phil Goff. That list included Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, who was being compared to David Lange – “mainly by himself”.
Power then pondered the “mystery” of why Mallard had been leapfrogged over more highly ranked colleagues and given the tricky task of fronting for the party at last week’s press conference on the police decision not to charge Darren Hughes.
“‘Dare I say it, he [Mallard] looked authoritative and authentic. I have to say he is starting to look just a little bit like a future Leader of the Opposition.”
Power speculated that Mallard’s serious cycling accident earlier in the year had “liberated” the MP from “the important business of pushbikes so he could focus on his hobby of politics”.
I think Trevor’s priorities in order are cycling, blogging and then Parliament.
“He is looking in control, energetic … not doing too much too soon, playing the long game. A very long game,” Power added to the amusement of surrounding colleagues.
The lampooning continued without mercy. “This man knows if he can just wait Phil Goff out, the opportunities to take the reins are there for him … I think Trevor Mallard has found his mojo in recent weeks. I think Trevor Mallard knows it is only a matter of time before that long ambition he has held comes to realisation.”
The victim was well and truly skewered by now. Mallard’s only defence was an increasingly broad smile which suggested that as someone who can dish it out, he can also take it when it comes flying back. Even so, he was nervously jiggling up and down in his seat like a fish out of water.
The video is very funny, which is of course embedded above.