The Helen Clark we see today is a carefully manufactured, airbrushed political brand. She's also New Zealand's most powerful politician, ever. Absolute Power strips away the facade to find what makes the real Helen Clark tick, and explores the track record of a government that boasted it would bring a new age of "frugality and integrity", and an end to "cronyism, sleaze and dishonesty". Absolute Power is not just about what happened publicly and what played out on the news each night. It is much more about what was going on behind the scenes - the power plays, the dirty tricks, the Machiavellian maneuvers. The bits the daily media missed. Lord Acton once wrote that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that the great "are almost always bad".
Is Helen Clark the exception to that rule? First published April 2008.