I know I've been plugging the Standard a bit recently, but I can't resist this...at present they're running a series of posts that call for readers to put up questions for the leaders of the main parties in this election. This week's victim is none other than Helen herself.
I'm lamenting my current inability to ask a decent question. Helen Clark impresses (and even scares) the shit out of me. On a personal level I've watched with joy the growth of the creative arts and industries since Labour took office this time around, thanks in no small part to Helen being Minister of Culture and Heritage. The fact that she believes in enabling artistic and intellectual expression, that it has a value to offer New Zealand beyond what it can return financially, is such an enormous contrast to the attitude of the previous government. Artists and creatives are still a bit invisible and financially strapped but there are far more actually making a living from their art in New Zealand now than probably at any other time and I reckon that they're taken more seriously. This is a true sign of social and cultural wealth.
I also find it incredible to live in a country where the prime minister is an intellectual woman who's been engaged in politics since university and is obviously doing something she retains a great deal of passion for (and is, frankly, a lot more skilled in than most of her contemporaries). There's a lot to admire in that, even if I recognise that there must have been some interesting compromises along the way.
So - go on - think of something cool to ask Aunty Helen.