Murray McCully makes an excellent point regarding John Howard:
A Friend to New Zealand
Helen Clark responded promptly to the Harawira comments, providing a pointed reminder that John Howard has been and remains a good friend to New Zealand. A fact that has been somewhat obscured simply by the length of his tenure.
It has not been uncommon for Australian Prime Ministers to have “issues” with their trans-Tasman neighbours. Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating most certainly did. And Bob Hawke had his moments with everyone. John Howard is an unusual man for a Prime Minister – a calm, considered, understated individual, free it appears, from the traditional politicians’ affliction of needing to demonstrate status. It is that persona that has enabled him to engage with this country in a genuinely warm and constructive manner, regardless of the domestic political currents at large here. He is thus due, even from the most trenchant critics of his domestic policies, a more respectful mode of address than he received from Mr Harawira this week.
McCully makes a point which is worth noting, putting partisan politics to one side. Most of the former Australian PMs have screwed NZ over at some stage. Keating especially. Whether he was working with Bolger, Shipley, or Clark, John Howard has always dealt with NZ PMs in good faith, and treated us well.