Phil Goff did very well, in the first televised debate, to put Key’s lying front and centre to the electorate. It was a risky tactic (witness Key’s attempt to play the “dignity of office” card), but Goff pulled it off. Most of the headlines following the debate focused on the liar claim. Key tried a different tactic in The Press Debate last night, making light of the issue (“that’s cool”). I wonder if that will work any better for him.
Probably not, because the fact of the matter is that Key has a history of lying that goes a long way back. Almost his first significant act on the NZ political scene was to lie. In 2003 when Brash challenged English for the leadership Key said he supported English but then he went and voted for Brash. After that was the infamous Hollow Men smoking gun email, which Key claimed that he never read. Key described global warming as a “complete and utter hoax”, in 2005 and then in 2006 he said “I firmly believe in climate change and always have”. On one occasion even his usually faithful fan Audrey Young had to tell Key off for lying, and John Campbell was famously driven to describing him as “As slippery as a snake in wet grass”.
Here are some of the major stand-outs (and I’m reminded again how painful some of this video footage is!). Key lied on:
That’s quite a record for a first term PM. In the midst of an election campaign it is entirely appropriate to examine Key’s record (and the performance of his government in general). Now is the right time to be asking, do we really want a second term of this?