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An arrogant PM

Written By: - Date published: 2:36 pm, April 26th, 2012 - 41 comments
Categories: john key, Media - Tags: ,

John Key is a very arrogant politician. His first term honeymoon obscured the fact from most, but it’s starting to get more and more obvious. Case in point, Key thinks that the public backlash against many unpopular policies (asset sales, fuelling problem gambling etc) is all a media beat-up:

Public backlash is media ‘rubbish’ – Key

The public backlash over National’s Sky City pokies deal and the Crafar farms sale have failed to register in popularity polls – and been dismissed by the Prime Minister as “rubbish” generated by the media. …

An earlier poll showed nearly three quarters (72 percent) of New Zealanders were opposed to a pending deal for Sky City to get about 500 more pokie machines in exchange for building a $350 million convention centre.

Sky City currently has about 1600 pokie machines, and the deal for more will require a law change. Just 23 per cent of respondents supported the idea, while five per cent did not know.

Prime Minister John Key brushed off those results, saying Labour and the media had just latched on to an old issue. “The print media can jump up and down if they want to, the truth is we’re doing the logical things, making sure that we create jobs for New Zealanders.”

Brushing off clear evidence of public opposition as media rubbish is not a good look. And Key shouldn’t take too much solace from political support polls – some have the Nats holding but others have them down. Furthermore, journos in “the print media” are starting to get a bit testy with the PM’s attitude, if today’s piece by John Armstrong is anything to go by:

With his claim that the media is guilty of “wild conspiracy theories”, Key is starting to exhibit some of the antagonism towards the Fourth Estate he displayed during the last election’s teapot tape fiasco.

The Prime Minister was unusually sarcastic at his post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, staring down one journalist by telling him that in spite of his best efforts to kindle one there was no conspiracy.

Key then declared to the rest of the media pack that it might “come as a shock” to them that Finance Minister Bill English did not have a spare $350 million to allocate to building a national convention centre.

It was pretty mild stuff. But it is an indication of how frustrated Key is by the public and media backlash over the SkyCity proposal. …

What is happening is that Key is finding himself swimming more and more against the prevailing tides.

Ignoring public opposition, attacking the media, “advising himself” to do whatever he wants, it adds up to a picture of an arrogant PM far more concerned with getting what he wants than with what is good for the country.

41 comments on “An arrogant PM”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    The more evidence amasses to support the thesis that right-wingers are delusional rather than dishonest, the more it may be necessary to re-address the approach we take to their arguments and policies.

    Where I perceive John Key as corrupt it may prove that he is merely suffering from a cognitive bias.

    • Bored 1.1

      Sort of like a Rob Muldoon Mk2 after Gok had straightened out the clothes and haircut.

      • freedom 1.1.1

        Muldoon at least had a passing regard for the democratic process and was aware of the need for a Nation to be able to look after itself.

        Standing up and defending Rob Muldoon ??? guess i dislike John Key more than i thought

    • Ee 1.2

      John Key is corrupt, his supporters are mislead.

      At first glance it always seems like the corrupt politicians are the real problem… but the real problem is the people who vote for them out of ignorance. Attack that ignorance with education and the con-artists won’t be able to pull their crap, because the only people voting for them will be other con-artist politicians, bankers and businessmen… who really don’t have the numbers to even cross the 5% threshold.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.2.1

        “John Key is corrupt” – I agree that’s what it looks like, but there is an increasing body of evidence that right-wingers are simply delusional, handicapped by confirmation bias. We should at least consider the possibility that Key is so afflicted.

        • Carol 1.2.1.1

          It has seemed to me that JK, as I have observed him on TV since becoming PM, does not accept criticism. I’m not sure why, but it always seems like it does not compute that he could be wrong.

        • muzza 1.2.1.2

          “Simply delusional”

          —Corruption, or having been corrupted, is what causes the policies, deals and antics of pure sleeze in front of our eyes, which leads to having to lie in order to provide cover for the corruption. Delusional is the symptom, not the cause!

          Key is a meglomaniac, and comes across as psychotic also, this is most of the reason why he can’t take criticism!

      • Gosman 1.2.2

        If the general level of debate on The Standard is anything to go by I doubt very much you are going to have much success at educating the ‘ignorant’ masses about the error of their ways.

        I do so enjoy the intellectual arrogance of the left though.

        • Bored 1.2.2.1

          Brave words Gos, I dont like the intellectual arrogance of the left or right when the basis of argument is materialism and rationalism. Sort of forgets the human spirit dont you think?

          • Gosman 1.2.2.1.1

            If you want to appeal to people’s emotive side to win the argument go ahead. Many politician’s already do something similar. Generally the result isn’t pretty.

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.2.2.1.1.1

              A classic example of delusional thinking. Are you going to argue that the National Party has relied on appeals to logic and reason? And then you woke up.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.2.2.2

          “The intellectual arrogance of the left”, Gosman? That’s easy to say, but can you back it up with evidence? An interesting example: “As members of the “egalitarian communitarian” group in the study—people with more liberal values–knew more science and math, they did not become more worried, overall, about the risks of nuclear power. Rather, they moved in the opposite direction from where these initial impulses would have taken them. They become less worried—and, I might add, closer to the opinion of the scientific community on the matter.”

          Sorry to undermine your thesis, Gossie. Perhaps you have something to support your assertions, if so don’t hold back.

          • Gosman 1.2.2.2.1

            Ummmmm. you do realise there is a difference between consevative and right wing don’t you?

            Do you really want me to start comparing you to Castro and Mugabe?

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.2.2.2.1.1

              You do realise that the research quoted wasn’t conducted in Cuba or Zimbabwe don’t you? And to support your assertions about “the intellectual arrogance of the left”? *crickets*

              Sorry to be the bearer of bad new Gosman, but you must have noticed that the academic debate isn’t that “right wingers are racist and stupid”, that’s simply taken as fact. The debate has moved on, as science does, to what strategies can be used to address the problem.

  2. bad12 2

    It must really be getting to the Slippery little prick that He can’t con us all into believing that something that is patently NOT in our best interests is,

    Slippery can take comfort that the polling organizations are reading National’s poll results from the high side of the margin of error while reading Labour and NZFirst’s from the low side of the margin of error for now,

    Read the other way round tho theres no comfort in sight for the carpetbagger from New York, just a quick and unglamorous dispatch without honor at the end of 2014,

    That is of course if Maurice and His little cabal of backbench plotters dont finally decide to dispense with the whispering behind closed doors, grow a pair and dispatch the little prick sooner rather than later…

    • Gosman 2.1

      Nice little fantasy you have there. Must help you sleep at night at least. Still 2014 is less than three years away so you don’t have to wait that long.

  3. captain hook 3

    spiro t. agnew blamed the press too.

  4. John H 4

    Geez there’s some rubbish on this site. Especially the comments.

    Is there anyone here who isn’t a student, school teacher, university lecturer, union official, beneficiary or some other “occupation” with no real world experience?

    Honestly, you give the left a bad name.

    • Carol 4.1

      Gee….. funny the view righties have of “the real world”!

      Most of those people(teachers, students working 2 jobs to get through uni, union officials etc) have a very close-up view of the everyday struggles that ordinary folk deal with…. unlike for instance some director or CEO of a business that spends their time, sitting in their air-conditioned office, wining and dining with others who work in such offices, and trying to get people to sell nicknacks that no one really needs.

      • David H 4.1.1

        “unlike for instance some director or CEO of a business that spends their time, sitting in their air-conditioned office, wining and dining with others who work in such offices,”

        Sorry carol but should it not be Whining and dining. as well as lying and crying about lack of profits??

    • vto 4.2

      Yes, me, among countless others from what I can tell. Nothing but pure business mi amigo, at times on a scale to make your eyes water.

      You shouldn’t jump to such conclusions.

      So what you got to say? Anything worth looking at?

    • Colonial Viper 4.3

      I lounge around living off my partner’s parents immense wealth. Is that Ok by you?

    • Tazirev 4.4

      Another numpty arrives to replace a departing one

    • Mel 4.5

      @John H

      “Geez there’s some rubbish on this site. Especially the comments.”

      Yes indeed, comments like yours are rubbish.

      … lack of any argument at all….lack of any evidence….putting down other New Zealanders ……..

      You can help clean up the comments by saving such ‘gems’ for another blog.

    • Rosie 4.6

      Hey John H, sorry to dissapoint you but my usual job is in sales – and oh, yes, there was that spell as working as a Union organiser, so I guess I can fit into your stereotype to some degree.
      I am however been unemployed for one year now – but don’t worry I am not receiving any form of benefit from you, the blessed taxpayer. I just struggle along without any govt assistance at all. I guess you are a taxpayer unless you’re a financier and then you dodge tax. So what it is John H? What lofty heights do you reign down from?

      • Rosie 4.6.1

        Oh, and what else, yes, have I been a student. So yes, I do make it into two sterotype categories you have of the left. My educational background is psychology. Want me to psycho analyse you? I’ve got lots of time!

  5. captain hook 5

    gosh how profound, erudite, succint and boring.
    fuck off.

  6. just saying 6

    I really think we need to stop assuming that what Key says bears any relation to what he actually thinks. Key speaks to achive a result. Very occasionally the truth might have the effect he is looking for, or may be unavoidable. Law of averages and all that.
    Usually though it’s just lies, distortions and all other manner of misrepresentation.

    That’s not to say he’s not arrogant of course. But in his case, isn’t ‘arrogant’ a bit of an understatement?

    • bad12 6.1

      I pick Him, Slippery that is, as a compulsive,forensic psychologists will tell us that the compulsive liar learns from a early age that He or She must lie the majority of the time when attempting to make a statement of fact and thus mask any physical signs of a lie having been told,

      Slippery tho loses it as most compulsives do when they question the veracity of His statements as the media have been doing over the selling of the law to the Auckland Casino, the angry response is just bluster to cover the fact of having been caught out with the lies,(again)…

  7. I think that one of the few things we can say for certain about John Key is that he is extraordinarily focused on achieving his own goals. That quality is quoted – in his favour – by his supporters, so I think most people can agree on that.

    Yet it’s that quality that makes it difficult simply to accept that, for example, his actions involve considering the ‘best interests of New Zealand’. Maybe John Key genuinely believes that what [is] good for the country [is] good for [John Key] and vice versa”, but life being what it is, those two sets of interests inevitably part company at some point. Some might say they part company quite regularly.

    If/When push comes to shove, which choice would such an ‘extraordinarily focused’ person make? Would they be likely to sacrifice their personal goals for the good of the country? Would they continue not to perceive that there might be a conflict between the country’s interests and their own?

    Putting aside the possibility of outright, deliberate lying, the problem – even for the ‘extraordinarily focused’ person themselves – is to work out whether or not they are doing something for the stated purposes (e.g., to make New Zealand a better, more prosperous, more ‘aspirational’ society) or, instead, primarily to forward ‘personal goals’?

    The kind of goal-directed focus Key clearly has involves both an extreme, habitual attentional narrowing (that’s what ‘focus’ is) and an interpretive framework that causes events and situations to be seen, primarily, for the opportunity they provide to achieve the personal goals.

    We’re all partial in the way we see and interpret the world but very ambitious people – no matter how intelligent – are more partial in their approach to issues.

    ‘Common sense’, really. 

  8. Chris 8

    Saw P Bennett on Close up tonight. The new mantra appears to be asking the question and then answering it yourself. As well as flashing your new set of pearly whites. Also a word of warning to Con Key in the words of Harry Belafonte “don’t turn your back on the masses man”This Johnny Come Lately(I’m not meaning in the Biblical sense) is soon to realise that the average New
    Zealander will only take so much before realising that what he is doing to our beautiful Kiwi country(brand) call it what you will will not be tolerated by forward thinking New Zealanders who have a dream of their own as to what they will be leaving to their grandchildren.I do not think it will be casinos for the Asian circuit or power companies owned off shore who will charge what they can to support their new oversea shareholders, beautiful rare countryside blasted by mining companies etc.We want our country to stay as beautiful as it is so our grandchildren can experience the wonder of NZ as we did .If Key wants to be a player in the big business world he should go out and find somewhere else.NZ is not a company and we cannot be sold!.

    • Hami Shearlie 8.1

      Yep that oh-so-white smile of Auntie Paula’s was very overdone on Close Up. She looked slightly unhinged at the end!

    • gnomic 8.2

      Agree that Bennett was particularly gruesome on TV this evening – and back to her trick of disclosing details about beneficiaries who dare to cross her. Fancy failing to attend one of the utterly futile and useless ‘seminars’ from WINZ.

      “NZ is not a company and we cannot be sold!” Sorry old chap, we were sold out long ago, long before the smirking weasel came on the scene to nail down the coffin lid.

  9. xtasy 9

    What Key says is: “The media are not doing their job”, that is the message he sends. He is a business focussed, investment banking experienced gambler and deal maker, who considers the “media” more as either some irrelevant, trivial, entertaining or not so entertaining idiot circle (court jesters), or otherwise, if they are supposed to do what he thinks they should do, they are more like an available “marketing branch” of government.

    Hence Key is getting irritated by some media players now, they are to his idea “not playing their roles”. They are from his point of view betraying “the good of government and the country” by not supporting “good, rewarding deals”.

    Marketing to be mixed up with the media is one mistake Mr Key makes. He is not sufficiently familiar with the Westminster System, still struggles to appreciate democracy and freedom of speech, and for him it is highly frustrating to have people throw a spanner into the works. That is to him irresponsible and must be punished.

    So in this Key exposes his own mindset, that of the selfish, success and business focused negotiator and deal maker, rather than a democratically elected leader of a nation (where negotiation, consent and debate are normal).

    It seems he will never learn this, and hence he must go a.s.a.p. because he is a threat to democracy!

    • Tom 9.1

      Key’s business experience is limited to currency trading .. with known investments in wine, milk solids, and at least one NZ gold mine since leaving Merrill. He has never had to research, develop, raise funds, and manage the growth phase of a start-up, as shown by the strange combination of functions he has given Joyce. Is it meant to fail, discrediting a political rival ?

      In short, his business experience is limited, and his affection for feudal honors retrograde.

      This is where I part company with R0bins. Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments and fostered education, science, literature and the arts. In his own words

      “I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I found it. I abolished feudalism and restored equality to all regardless of religion and before the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime because the alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the Revolution.”

      http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/95aug/napoleon.html

      R0bins needs a new avatar ..

  10. fatty 10

    I think most people have missed the ‘genius’ behind Key’s pokies deal.
    John Key might be sleazy and unethical, but this is not a mistake from Key…he has misjudged nothing. From what I can see the pokies deal is a strategic move from Key and it leaves him in a win-win position.
    Even if Key loses election votes in 2014 on this deal it could strengthen his position in a few years.
    Looking back prior to the 2011 election Phil Goff partially fell on his sword by bringing in the policy of raising the retirement age. The fact that this policy had been needed for ten years (and that retirement should be even higher) is irrelevant. Goff brought in that policy at that time to ‘donate’ votes to NZ First to strengthen the opposition coalition…and it worked.
    Key is doing the same now…we should stop thinking of Key as an idiot, or inept, or misguided, or out of touch…he is so smooth its scary.
    Key has placed his name all over this unethical deal for a good reason, it is because he has eaten up his coalition the same way that Helen Clarke did…he has learned from her mistake. ACT are gone, United Future and the Maori Party are going….his only option for the next election is to increase The Conservatives. Therefore, Key’s actions over the next three years will involve a few unethical policies that will still satisfy the greedy capitalists that vote for him (they won’t change their vote)…but the Brethrens, the conservative voters and some Christians etc (who for some reason still see the blue team as conservative in nature)…its those conservative voters that may move on from Key and end up voting for the conservatives.
    Key wants to lose 5-10% to the conservatives…he knows he needs to do that if he has any chance at the next election. If he doesn’t ‘donate’ some votes to them, then National will fall into the hole that Labour have been stuck in for the past 4 years.
    This pokies deal has Key’s name on it for a reason, they are trying to offload some voters. Key would obviously rather have ACT to do their dirty work, but he now realises that having a Conservative coalition in his third term is the best he can hope for.
    Key will not lose many votes to the opposition coalition…and this leaves the opposition in a very difficult position. When we point out the fact that its crony capitalism, are we shifting his votes and strengthening his coalition?
    That is why this is genius and it leaves Key in a win-win position. Key gets his convention centre, Key satisfies big business, Key satisfies his greedy capitalist voters, Key loses few voters to the opposition and Key strengthen his (possibly only) next coalition partner.
    We’ll probably see another couple of high profile unethical policies over the next couple of years as support for the Conservatives grows. Key will pin his name to them for as long as he can afford to donate votes to them. If we critique him for being unethical, (we shouldn’t even consider the idea that Key is stupid) then we might be strengthening his coalition.

    • Carol 10.1

      An interesting line of reasoning, fatty. It just reminded me that last night on Citizen A, Matthew Hooton reckoned that National will be turning to NZ First for a future coalition partner.

      Although NZ First seems to be coming out strongly against the SkyCity cronyism:

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/gambling/news/article.cfm?c_id=215&objectid=10799757

      Which does leave the Nats with possibly only the Conservative Party behind this deal…. unless Winston changes his mind further down the track – after all he is supportive of the racing industry version of gambling.

  11. fatty 11

    “Matthew Hooton reckoned that National will be turning to NZ First for a future coalition partner.”

    I see Key wanting to avoid Winston at all costs…but everything that Key does is considered against the risk to his re-election. If the conservatives are not polling well by late 2013, then Key will have to reposition himself…or he may jump ship.
    Key’s biggest threat is Winston, Key needs him gone and if he can’t do that then he may decide to ‘keep his enemy close’. This would surely be his very last option and I think he may call it a day before teaming up with Winston.
    I think Key will be economically unethical this term, and even socially unethical (from a conservative standpoint). Key will probably make noises about gay marriage late in this term to strengthen the conservatives.
    If Key can pull off a third term then I fear for NZ. Although the loss of an ACT influence (really an excuse for austerity) would be welcome, I think the damage has been done there for the time being…the return of a socially conservative voice will result in a resurgence of neo-conservatism. To make that even worse, it won’t replace neo-liberalism, it will strengthen it…*shudder*

    • bad12 11.1

      Hooten(as usual) is hooting in the dark, while Winston Peters leads NZFirst there is absolutly zero chance of any such coalition partnership with National,

      Hooten’s public ‘talking up’ of such a possibilty is simply more of the pre -election rubbish talk circulated by the ‘right’ which at that time concentrated upon the NZFirst is stuck on 3% and is a wasted vote,

      Such trash talk was accompanied by the polling organizations blatantly putting forward the polled NZFirst % of the vote as seen from the bottom point of the margin of error,

      National also know that they are only publicly ahead in such polling by dint of the same ‘tactic’ being deployed by the polling agency’s with ongoing opinion polling,

      The problem with allowing such dishonesty to occur in or anywhere near the political realm is that should it become entrenched the next step in the downward spiral for Western Democracy will be organized ballot interference on actual voting days…

  12. Kiwi 12

    John Key is corrupt. No doubt about it. He came from no where like Obama, he’s borrowing far more than nz wil be able to pay back, and in a few years nz will default on it’s debt interest payment
    s, but by then he will will retired and living hawaii. Mark my words he didn’t get 50 mill from just being a good trader.

    nz is never going to recover from his legacy.

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