However, given the list of those who already hold it includes:
- Ken Douglas, who spent a good part of his career cozying up to the brutal murderous dictatorship of the Soviet Union, before softening up;
- Jonathan Hunt, a man whose Parliamentary career includes NZ$29,000 of taxi expenses, a man whose greatest achievement was being part of the reforms of the 1980s, like well just over half of the Labour caucus then (who aren't there); and
- Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan, whose greatest achievement was winning a Ballroom and Latin American Dancing contest, otherwise she has been thought of by more than one as one of the laziest Cabinet Ministers in recent history;
then you already know it's barely worth using such an award to help hold a door open.
The Key government in granting this to its political enemy speaks volumes of how nothing much has really changed. Clark's record at the UNDP is at best disappointing, at worst appalling. As Prime Minister she was notable for being a control freak, notable for increasing taxes, dramatically increasing the size of the state, widening the role of the state and using personal attacks instead of arguing politics on philosophy, economics and merit. She presided over increasing the range of people dependent on the state on income, she demanded the bureaucracy not give free and frank advice when she didn't like hearing it, but most of all she made no great particularly historic contribution. Jim Bolger at least led a government which for three years, did implement some significant reforms (not all being steps forward, the RMA being the worst).
So that's 2009 ending, with a major international award being rendered meaningless, and New Zealand's highest domestic honour proving that mediocrity remains the standard of achievement lauded by New Zealand politicians. Most of all showing that after one year, the majority might have voted out Helen Clark in 2008, but enough of you voted in her philosophical and spiritual kin at the same time, with a blue tinge. Which is, of course, what National has really always been, except for a three year period when Ruth Richardson gave the Nats a bit of testicular fortitude.