Armstrong also give Clark Politician of the Year

John Armstrong has also (Transtasman did also) made Helen Clark his Politician of the Year.

I understand the rationale for doing so – that she is the only thing keeping the afloat, but I disagree with it.

And not just because she is Labour.  For her first six years as PM I would not quibble with awarding her various titles recognising her political skills. I am quite capable of being dispassionate on these issues and when I do ratings of Ministers (for example) often end up very close to what journalists do.

But I think it is obvious Clark has lost her judgement over the last 18 months.  Time an time again she has made the wrong decision and only backed down under huge pressure.  This started with the refusal to pay back the pledge card, and the attacks on the Auditor-General.  It was compounded with her defence and attempted whitewash of Taito Philip Field.  Then there was the total failure to recognise the unpopularity of the anti-smacking law.  She hung on to Benson-Pope well past his use by date,  and finally the dismissal of the Electoral Finance Bill as a issue.

Yes I agree Clark remains Labour’s best and maybe only chance of success.  But in the all important party vote she has trailed by double digit leads most of the year, and  she has made a series of wrong calls.

I suspect Clark won just because there is really no standout candidate.  No major politician has had an error free year.   Anyway here are John’s overall picks:

  1. Politician of the Year: Helen Clark, then Bill English then Winston Peters
  2. Backbencher of the Year: Sue Bradford, then Te Ururoa Flavell
  3. Honest Toilers: Clayton Cosgrove, Tony Ryall and Chris Finlayson
  4. Brownie Points: Cullen for Kiwisaver, Peters for US relations, Key for smacking compromise
  5. Jury out on: Trevor Mallard, Chris Carter,
  6. Biggest msicalculation: David Benson-Pope
  7. Biggest lapse of judgement: Damien O’Connor taking a suspended prison guard on a rugby trip to France
  8. Biggest blooper: John Key for “The Labour I lead”
  9. Self-sacrifice: Mark Burton for jumping before he was pushed
  10. Missing in action: and Nandor Tanczos
  11. Best stunt: Hone Harawira going walkabout
  12. Kim Jong Il self-importance award: and Charles Chauvel
  13. Fashion Police Award: Lesley Soper for exotic dress sense
  14. Parliamentary etiquette award: Steve “fuck you” Maharey

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