Chris Trotter's column in The Independent today perfectly captures my disgust at the Labour government at the moment:
Labour's leaders seem tired and empty of ideas. The political initiative has passed, quite decisively, to the Right.
Those with an eye to the future direction of New Zealand politics now look toward National. In spite of losing the election, it is miles ahead of Labour when it comes to political rejuvenation.
In the government ranks there are precious few who inspire much enthusiasm.
Many had pointed to Shane Jones as a possible breaker of moulds, but his chairing of the select committee of inquiry into TVNZ suggests he is just another ambitious Labour politician.
A party with a vision for a better society has no need to play the man instead of the ball.
A party with a hunger to govern fairly and well does not defend the indefensible nor refuse to take on board reasonable criticism.
Labour in its first term had the sharp tang of new fruit and the refreshing coolness of a summer breeze.
Today it has the rancid, decaying smell of something that has been kept for far too long.
Too much arrogance, too many compromises, too many outright betrayals. Oh, I'm under no illusion that a National government would be better - in fact, I think they'd be far, far worse - but "the lesser evil" is hardly inspiring. Hell, to Labour's soft center voters (as opposed to those of us on the left) it's probably not even believable...
If Labour wants to win the next election, it has to do better than this. People will not turn out to vote for a party that does not inspire them. But then, maybe it should just accept that three terms is as good as it gets, give up pandering to the right and the business community in the misguided belief that this will get them a fourth, and go back to delivering real social democratic policies. At least they'd be able to look their supporters in the eye again...