The Press had an editorial on Maharey’s “fuck you” moment, and how it is a symptom of greater problems. The last few paras are worth highlighting:
Maharey is not the only senior Labour minister to be showing the strains of office. David Benson-Pope, Mark Burton, Pete Hodgson and Trevor Mallard are all contributing to a jaded, stale and clumsy image of this Labour-led government.
There are still some solid performers within ministerial ranks. Annette King is showing the same safe pair of hands in her transport and police portfolios as she previously did in health. Phil Goff remains a respected and able Cabinet minister on trade and defence issues. Michael Cullen has his grumpy moments but he is still the shrewdest of political managers and finance ministers, although his future in politics must be limited. And Clark’s leadership continues to be her party’s greatest asset.
But overall Labour, now halfway into its third term and facing its most challenging MMP political environment to date, has a tired look. The party must now be regretting its failure in previous elections to bring forward the fresh and talented newcomers and pension off the time-servers. After all, if someone like Maharey, whose propensity to crack under pressure has been cruelly exposed, can be touted as leadership material, the case for political renewal really speaks for itself.