Most Kiwis prefer their past Prime Ministers to either be dead or silent, but since Helen Clark shuffled off in ignominy in 2008 after being trounced in the election by John Key, neither she nor Key have managed to put a cork in it. Bill English thankfully has barely uttered a squeak, but don’t even get me started on Jim Bolger and Jacinda Ardern.

Helen Clark is sticking her oar into foreign policy debates of late, piping up to tut-tut over the new Government’s tilt towards our more traditional allies like the USA, Australia, the UK and Canada. Both she and Key would prefer to see us continually sucking up to China.

Now Clark is railing against AUKUS, and in particular wailing about something we can neither afford nor are involved in, new nuclear submarines…but what it is really about is trying to hobble us with our traditional allies.

Political figures from Australia and the Pacific have given stark warnings against joining Aukus, suggesting the security pact will have serious consequences for New Zealand’s independent foreign policy and potentially leave nuclear waste in the region.

The Labour Party on Thursday convened a symposium where political leaders – including former Prime Minister Helen Clark and Australia’s former foreign minister Bob Carr, and Tuvalu’s former prime minister Enele Sopoaga – cautioned against joining as an associate of the Aukus security pact, an agreement between the US and Britain to give Australia nuclear-powered submarines and share technology.

The trilateral agreement is widely perceived as a way to counterbalance China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific, a vast biographic region stretching from the Pacific coastline to the Indian Ocean and comprising nearly half the world’s people.


Helen Clark’s knowledge of foreign affairs was exposed when she infamously declared in 2001 that we live in an “incredibly benign strategic environment”. Of course, she then went on to involve us in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with Timor Leste, as well as being bellicose towards Fiji for the duration of her prime ministership.

Clark has never recanted that view. For her, looking at the world through her commie red-tinted glasses, the great evils in the world are not an expansionist Russia, the exported evil of Iran and its numerous terror proxies, or the rise of Chinese hegemony through economic and military expansion. No, for Helen Clark the biggest enemy she sees is in the form of our closest allies, those with a shared history as liberal democracies. Thus she reveals that she is a fan of totalitarianism; theocracies pushing a violent, murderous and horrific ideology and a distinct lack of democracy.

Of course, Helen Clark neglects to mention her role in cabinet under the Lange/Palmer/Moore Labour Government who purchased two ANZAC class frigates. Those frigates are now clapped out and in port more often than they are at sea. Those frigates need replacing, and it won’t be Chinese frigates that we will be looking for. Our best bet is to avail ourselves of the new British Inspiration class frigate on favourable terms.

She loftily complains about our reputation of having an “independent foreign policy” which is a linguistic construct that only truly came into use during her prime ministership. What she is protecting is not our “independent foreign policy”; rather, she is seeking to protect her own self-written legacy.

Winston Peters will likely be bristling at Clark’s rather rude claims and is likely preparing to smack her soundly on the nose with a metaphorical rolled-up newspaper (if he can still find one) like the naughty puppy she really is.

Winston Peters also knows the value of closely aligning our defence policy with our foreign policy, and how defence can and does support our foreign policy. He will be sure to point that out to people like Helen Clark, who is the person most responsible for the degradation of our armed forces.

As for the rest of us, we just wish she’d be as silent as Muldoon is right now.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...