Of all the comments made in Parliament yesterday about Labour’s softly, softly approach to China on the eve of our much vaunted ‘free’ trade and immigration deal with Beijing, it was Judy Turner from United (I know, I’m as surprised as anyone), who threw knock out punch after knock out punch, as John Armstrong wrote...
Chorus of disapproval from Clark's allies
Turner suggested that pending event was the reason why the Government's initial response to the crackdown by the Chinese was to stall.
"Hopefully it will blow over _ they are thinking _ maybe if the People's Liberation Army can crush the dissension quickly enough we might be able to sneak over to Beijing, sign on the dotted line and still gain the plaudits for being the first country to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with China."
Ouch. But Turner had barely started.
The least she had expected was that the Prime Minister would call in the Chinese Ambassador and give him a formal dressing-down. "Or are we so subservient in this relationship that we cannot even do that?" Ouch, ouch.
But Turner wasn't finished. Earlier, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples had pondered whether it was worth selling New Zealand's soul for a supposedly lucrative trade deal.
Turner had details of the price of that deal. The cost of buying New Zealand's moral conscience was about $2 billion in GDP over 20 years.
"Maybe now we are truly seeing which side of the fence this Labour Government sits on," she declared, adding the Government had abdicated responsibility.
Not even the Greens hit them this hard, it is a reminder of how difficult Helen will have to walk the line of economic growth and human rights, the question becomes at what cost Helen, at what cost?