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Key loses plot under election pressure

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 am, November 18th, 2011 - 64 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, election 2011, john key, leadership, Media, national, newspapers, radio, tv - Tags: ,

The problem with a presidential campaign strategy is that when you put all your bets on one pony, there’s not a lot of room for error. If that pony goes lame, or if it’s a one trick pony and the trick stops working, you’re in the crap.

John Key has a history of choking under pressure, but this time, calling on the police to raid the premises of our national broadcasters TVNZ and RNZ, and our major privately owned newspapers – he’s cracked under the pressure of the campaign and the spectre of losing it all. There’ll be no knighthood if Key becomes the first National PM to lose after just one term.

How can it be considered prudent to declare war on the media barely a week out from a general election when you’re in the lead? How can it be considered prudent to one minute say you’re relaxed about the content of a conversation an you have nothing to hide, then the next minute have police raid media offices to sieze all evidence of that conversation?

It seems to me that the PM is going to pieces. Let’s hope he has a nice peaceful weekend to get a bit of much needed rest.

hattip: William Joyce

64 comments on “Key loses plot under election pressure”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    John Key’s persona was always just a media construct and now that the media have been shat on they look stupid, the media publishing every little photo op will stop and the real Mr Donkey is exposed, it was always going to happen. But I have to admit it took way longer than I thought it would.

    • Fermionic Interference 1.1

      The question is:
      Is it to late for our media to give the country a fair and unbiased opportunity to judge upon whom they vote in this upcoming election?

    • ron 1.2

      Very well put. “journalists” like garner and espiner look pretty f*#king stupid, now.

      • Jim Nald 1.2.1

        After our assets are sold, voters especially the 99% will look and feel pretty f*#king stupid.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Interesting to see the real John Key roadshow on TV last night, Campbell Live I think? Never before have I seen the truth of the famous ‘Key charm’ honestly displayed, where ordinary people had nothing to say to him, and long awkward silences as he struggled to find something to say to them, and only the Tory glee club clapping and cheering? For the last 4 years, all we have seen is what has now been revealed to be carefully managed and edited staged celebrity publicity. No wonder the guy is on 50 plus percent? Brand Key is a totally artificial construct. As is he by the looks?

    • vto 2.1

      Yep, how telling was it that the factory workers had nothing to say to him. In fact you could almost see them thinking “here’s that prick that has driven down our employment situation”. When people like that don’t get up to greet a person or even say gidday and have looks on their faces like that then you know you are unwelcome.

      It is not surprising Key is starting to appear as not one of us – he holidays at Omaha and Hawaii, lives in Parnell, spent most of his working life outside of NZ, and hob-nobs with the highest flying corporate capitalists who do nothing but push capital around. Has he ever actually particiapated in a part of the economy which contributes to the daily machinations of life?

      He lives on a different planet…

    • Carol 2.2

      Thanks for the tip. It’s here:


      It’s all about the superficial construction of Brand Key, the smile wearing thin, the orchestration of rent-a-young-Nat, repeating carefully prepared lines to journos, and the almost invisible nodding man.

      OK, then Mr BranKey, what do you actually want to tell us about policy? And doesn’t Noddy have anything to say about about health?

      • ianmac 2.2.1

        Don’t you love the little people dressed in Blue Key t-shirts, racing from venue to venue to be ready to welcome Key as though they were meeting for the first time. Expect that at any moment they would produce pompoms and dance dainty ra ra ra cheers. A sure vote winner.

      • freedom 2.2.2

        don’t you just want to grab those kids in the blue t-shirts and ask each of them two simple questions. . .

        1. How did John Key make his money, and
        2. How did he become Leader of the National Party?

        i would bet good money they could not answer either one.

        It breaks my heart to see kids used like that, even when it is such a pathetically small number

        • Mutante

          Rise of the Blueshirts. Is there anything about this guy that doesn’t make any right thinking person a bit queasy?

          And what’s with the level of support still? I think a great deal of people out there have very little understanding of democracy and are falling into mindless leader worship, which is scary shit.

        • Draco T Bastard

          don’t you just want to grab those kids in the blue t-shirts and ask each of them two simple questions. . .

          Didn’t you just love their expressions when it was pointed out that their wasn’t any policy on their shirts?

      • Uturn 2.2.3

        That’s some of the most amusing TV I’ve seen for years. From the point John Campbell discovers a bus has 3 sides (?) it just gets better.

        And we found out National’s Health policy at last: “Health is generally the second most important policy.”

        Ah grand. It’s as easy as listing them in a heirarchy. Excellent. Stable informed leadership, that man.

      • the sprout 2.2.4

        great clip

        “the PM is exhausted”

        yeah, that’s an understatement and a half

  3. freedom 3

    dedicated to our great Leader and all who want to support him

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    but this time, calling on the police to raid the premises of our national broadcasters TVNZ and RNZ, and our major privately owned newspapers

    Where did he do this Sprout?

    • where has he not, queenstreet?

      i wonder if i complained to the police about being recorded by a journalist while i’m having a conversation i’m ‘relaxed about’ when i’m having a press conference, if they’d then dutifully issue search warrants on all of our major media outlets.

      yeah sure mate

      • queenstfarmer 4.1.1

        where has he not, queenstreet?

        So you can’t point to any fact backing up your statement. Very credible, Sprout.

        • Kaplan

          Hey QSF.
          That garden out the back of your place, I’m pretty sure it could be used for cannabis production, and I’m pretty sure it would be illegal if you were growing cannabis so I’m going to ring up and make a complaint just to be sure you aren’t growing cannabis.
          Oh, btw, if the cops come round to your place it’s not my fault OK.

          • McFlock

            What, Key thought the cops would just do nothing for a fortnight? Bugging conversations carries a nice prison term.

      • Gosman 4.1.2

        I agree that it is not good to have the Police involved in this. However it is a big stretch from getting the Police involved to ordering them to raid media premises. If you have evidence of this then you will have my support to roll the PM. Heck I might even vote Labour. However I suspect this is just more hot air.

    • The Voice of Reason 4.2

      When he laid the complaint, Queenie. It’s a natural consequence of ordering them to investigate the taping. It’s what Police do when they are trying to establish the facts; interview, question, subpoena and raid.

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.1

        When he laid the complaint, Queenie.

        Yes, he laid a complaint. What I was asking for was where John Key “[called] on the police to raid the premises of our national broadcasters TVNZ and RNZ, and our major privately owned newspapers”.

        Sprout’s answer confirms that he has no evidence to back this up, and nor, it is now clear, do you. So it is just speculation by Sprout (and now you as well). I just wanted to check that, because I certainly wasn’t aware of the PM demanding that “raids” be carried out.

        • the sprout

          i see you’ve selectively ignored this part of my response

          i wonder if i complained to the police about being recorded by a journalist while i’m having a conversation i’m ‘relaxed about’ when i’m having a press conference, if they’d then dutifully issue search warrants on all of our major media outlets.


          • queenstfarmer

            I ignored your “I wonder” comment, because I was askinng for facts. With all due respect, your “wonderings” are not facts.

        • The Voice of Reason

          As Flava Flav said ‘can’t do nothing for ya, man’. If you are that ignorant of police procedure, then there is nothing anybody can say that will help you comprehend, Queenie. But I’ll try anyway:
          When you lay a complaint with the police you are asking them to use all the tools at their disposal to establish the facts.

          • queenstfarmer

            I get it already – your comment was not based on evidence or fact, just speculation. Each to their own.

            • The Voice of Reason

              No, my comment was based on fact. You just seem too dim to recognise the truth when it bites you on the arse.

            • the sprout

              fair enough. let me re-state my point then:

              it is a fact that if i complained to the police about being recorded by a journalist while i’m having a conversation i’m ‘relaxed about’ when i’m having a press conference, they would never then issue search warrants on all of our major media outlets. never.

              yet when the PM complained to the police about being recorded by a journalist while he was having a conversation he said was bland and ‘relaxed about’ during a staged press conference, police then issued search warrants on all of our major media outlets.

              it beggars belief that the complaint coming from Key had no affect on the police descision to take such drastic action over such a trivial matter. if the same complaint came from an ordinary member of the public police would, understandably enough, laugh them out of the station.

              • queenstfarmer

                it is a fact that if i complained to the police

                That is a hypothetical (the “if” is a bit of a giveaway). Once again, you have conflated your speculation with fact.

                • 😆 angels and pinheads

                • Carol

                  No need to speculate. Here’s what the police spokesperson said: i.e “It’s political”.


                  The police investigation into the recording of the prime minister’s conversation is a “lose-lose” for the organisation, but it was left with little choice, Police Association president Greg O’Connor says.
                  “The police are between the proverbial rock and a hard place on this one. If they don’t do anything, they’ll be accused of being political; if they do anything, they’ll be accused of being political.”

                  The investigation had to be completed properly and this meant gathering evidence, hence the search warrants for the media. “It’s pure politics, the whole thing is pure politics.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    All I asked for was where John Key had called on police to carry out raids of media outlets. That article does not answer this question at all.

                    • McFlock

                      When he complained that recordings were illegally made, after it was public knowledge that multiple media outlets were in possession of said recordings.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      ^ McFlock: I am not sure if you were trying to answer my question, but if so then you haven’t. I repeat: where did John Key call on police to carry out raids of media outlets, as alleged by the authors and others.

                    • McFlock

                      “I repeat: where did John Key call on police to carry out raids of media outlets, as alleged by the authors and others.”

                      In the bit where he made a statement to police that they were in possession of illegal recordings. In exactly the same way that if I told them you had bootleg tapes under your bed, the cops will come a-knocking. 
                      Actually, no – if only one normal citizen made the claim, they’d probably hold off until more evidence was presented before getting a warrant. But Key makes a complaint and it happens.

                    • Mutante

                      I think it’s high time to stop feeding the troll myself. You may as well argue with a spambot.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Once again, you have conflated your speculation with fact.

                  If Key wanted to release the facts, he could allow the release of the recording.

                  But, he’s not interested in the facts becoming known.

                • Alethios

                  What exactly is the problem? We’re all on the same page that he’s made a complaint to the police surely. You’re complaining that there is no direct evidence that Key specifically called on the police to raid the premises? I think what the others are saying is that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence, but if you’re not willing to accept it, that’s your right.

                  Personally though, I find the idea that the police are raiding all of our major new organisations on the mere nod and wink from our illustrious PM to be even more worrying.

    • mik e 4.3

      Crusher collins
      Shipley and buses helped her loose in 99 by stymieing freedom of protest

  5. kriswgtn 5

    haha The Police association have hit back at his

    The Police have spare time comment::::

    Tell that to the people who have been burgled and their cars ripped Key and the cops just dont have time to respond to these matters

    We had our letterbox vandalized 6 weeks ago.

    The cops were following these little hooligans and watched 1 of them smash 4 letterboxes

    It was only when he did the 5th (OURS!) that they arrested the twerp

    Fucking clown

    • rosy 5.1

      hmm it’s a pity those crime stats aren’t down, over the last 3 years, for things like ‘act intended to cause injury’, ‘sexual assault’, ‘endangering people’ and ‘abduction and harassment’. And that the murder rate is not trending down.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    The post here a couple of days back was spot on about how in a given setting a psychopath’s manipulation and lack of empathy will be transparent to half the group. While the other half will likely see the person as charming and beyond reproach. The difference? The psychopath needs something i.e.-votes, approval, resources, from the second group. (sociopath is as far as you could reasonably go with ShonKey imo after reading various definitions). But there may be other posters who say don’t be a wuss, go the whole hog!

    The prime mincer has lost control of the narrative and it is most interesting to observe. Staunch tory voters are doing a good ‘three monkeys’ act but it will be interesting to see what the ‘first time caller’ softer ’08 tory vote does next week.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1


      If the election was in 48 hours, I’d say Key has enough momentum to still carry through and clean up. But a week is a long time in politics, and there is still more than one week to go.

      Key’s strategists were morons for not going for a July or Aug election while seas were still smooth and there was not a single cloud on the horizon.

  7. In order to understand John Key’s actions you have to know something about his past and in his past there are more leaked tapes. He should have known better but there you go the hubris of the man is truly epic!

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      v. interesting ev.

    • Tom Gould 7.2

      Hubris ( /ˈhjuːbrɪs/), also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

      Yes, that pretty much nails him.

  8. Audacious sums up Key this week and last week and next week.

  9. Yep – seems that the reliance on all the eggs in one basket (Nats relying on the SHONKY ‘Brand Key’) is now turning turning into one BIG FAT egg custard?

    Although I’m effectively being censored by mainstream media, and not being told about all Epsom candidates meetings (like the one last night – which I would have attended – had I known about it) – the word is still getting out…………………

    One week to go!

    Penny Bright
    Independent Candidate for Epsom
    Campaigning against ‘white collar’ CRIME, CORRUPTION (and its root cause – PRIVATISATION) and ‘CORPORATE WELFARE’.
    [email deleted]

  10. Jan 10

    I still think that think there is an important aspect of Key’s shenanigans that have worked for him. It’s kept all policy comparisons off the media agenda very effectively for a week. This has effectively trumped Labour’s and the Green’s intention to have policy focussed campaigns. If not for Key’s focus grouped lines in response to this story surely by now a few journalists would have asked the Nat leader four or five times in succession whether asset sales would actually raise $5bn for example or whether a country where the top 1% have more than the bottom 50% is really a place with a brighter future. Much more meaningful lines of questioning.

    If there’s one article that you should point wavering friends to it’s this one http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2011/11/17/gordon-campbell-on-epsom-and-dodgy-aspects-of-asset-sales/ – in particular the second part on the likely value from asset sales.

    This one interesting too – including the responses.

  11. Althios? i thoroughly agree with your last comment but when I went to endorse it i somehow deleted it. please re-post if you can. sorry

    [lprent: It was in the trash. Pulled it out again. It is really hard to permanently delete comments unless you do it in the spam queue or in the trash.

    I wipe the trash periodically when it gets too large. ]

    [sprout: thanks lynn]

  12. To Lose under one term? Your kidding me right????

    Boy you guys are hopeful.

    • freedom 12.1

      Yes Brett we are hopeful. Hopeful that enough New Zealand voters realise in time that they can avoid the hate and despair that will flood this land if National get a second term. It may not matter to long-standing flypapers like yourself but many many New Zealand families are going to fall even lower than they already are and finally lose what little hold they have on your tissue paper ladders of aspiration. That will actually affect the entire country. With rising crime, growing hardship and good old fashioned desperation becoming a sinkhole that your mates will throw all and sundry into just to gather the next dollar they don’t really need.

      in short, if National get re-elected this country will not have a self-determined future, The people who own it will certainly thankyou, untill your salary/Industry/business is next on their shopping list.
      but that’s ok, i am sure you are relaxed about it.

  13. Interesting how before the 2008 election, when I made a formal complaint to the Police and Serious Fraud Office about John Key’s attempt to flush out commercially sensistive information whilst, as an MP he had an undisclosed pecuniary interest in Tranz Rail, nothing was done by either the Police or the SFO.

    I then took a private prosecution against John Key under s.228 of the Crimes Act 1981:

    There was not ONE sentence in the NZ Herald about ANY of the above.

    Want to see an historic 8 minute You Tube clip which briefly explains these matters?


    Have a squiz!


    Penny Bright
    Independent Candidate for Epsom
    Campaigning against ‘white collar’ CRIME, CORRUPTION (including its root cause – PRIVATISATION) and ‘CORPORATE WELFARE’.

    [email deleted]

  14. (A bit more history that some of you may find to be of interest?)

    “16 February 2009

    If you want evidence which confirms how under our ‘democracy’ we tend to get the government that the majority of big business want us to have – try going to the NZ Herald website.

    Search for – ‘Owen Glenn donation/NZ First’.

    You will come up with about 30 pages of articles – approx 10 articles per page.

    Then search for – ‘John Key /Tranz Rail’.
    You will come with about 6 pages – approx 10 articles per page.

    BUT NOT ONE SENTENCE about the fact that I made a complaint to both the Police and SFO about John Key’s failure to disclose his Tranz Rail shares, and his attempt to flush out commercially sensitive information about Tranz Rail through an OIA to Michael Cullen as then Minister of Finance, then a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsmen when Cullen (on the advice of Treasury) declined to release that information.

    NOT ONE SENTENCE about my lodging a private prosecution with the Auckland District Court for the alleged offence of :
    ‘dishonestly and without claim of right, attempting to use documents with intent to obtain pecuniary advantage, being an indictable offence under section 228 of the Crimes Act 1961, ‘Dishonestly taking or using a document’.

    Compare that to the continual bombardment of NZ Herald ‘MAN ON THE MOON’ headlines about Winston Peters and NZ First – although those complaints to the Police and SFO came to nought.
    In my honestly-held and considered opinion – this was the most openly biased media election campaign that I have ever seen.
    How can the public cast an ‘informed’ vote – when the information they are getting is so blatantly one-sided?

    Had NZ First got another 0.8% of the party vote – it would have been quite a different election result.

    That is why there was such a corporate media onslaught to discredit and undermine Winston Peters.

    As reported in the NZ Herald by Fran O’Sullivan, on 5 November 2008, in her article

    “Meurant allegations require scrutiny ..

    All the chief executives I subsequently canvassed in a mini-survey last week told me they didn’t want either Clark or Key to have Peters in their governments.”

    that the majority of CEOs did not want NZ First or Winston Peters to be a coalition partner of either National or Labour.

    To blame Winston Peter’s behaviour for how he was treated by the media (although there was obviously quite some personal animosity on both sides), is a little unrealistic, in my view, to say the least.

    ‘Misuse of public office for private gain’ is the classic definition of corruption. Winston Peters was never accused of that. However – essentially that is my allegation against Prime Minister John Key, now the leader of what is supposed to be the least corrupt country in the world (along with Denmark and Sweden, according to Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’).

    (For an article explaining why Transparency International NZ is so transparent it is basically invisible – check out http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz.)

    However, my Court proceedings against John Key are not yet over.

    My appeal against Auckland District Court Judge Bouchier’s decision to dismiss my private prosecution will be heard in the Auckland High Court on 4 May 2009.

    In the meantime, I and others have been asked by senior Ministry of Justice Officials to prepare a ‘business plan’ – setting out the need for a New Zealand Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    My court case over disputing and refusing to pay Auckland City Council rates, (mainly because the CEO David Rankin is refusing to tell us where exactly over $855 MILLION of our rates monies are going to private sector providers of ‘goods, services and people’), is effectively a battle to win the war of legislative change. That being to make it a mandatory requirement under the Local Government Act 2002, that all ‘contracts issued’ be published in Council Annual Reports so that they’re available for public scrutiny.

    The Local Government Select Committee is considering Petition 2008/002, which is calling for just that, at their next meeting.

    Equally – my court case against John Key should help to focus on legislative change to help establish a NZ body tasked with helping to PREVENT corruption and corrupt practices arising from ‘conflicts of interest’. Currently we have none – the Police, SFO, Ombudsman and Office of the Auditor-General are all ‘complaints-driven’.

    As my complaint against John Key proves – what happens when you make a complaint about an allegedly corrupt practice’ and nothing is done?

    Prosecutions against corruption are apparently one of the indicator statistics upon which Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’ is based.

    I guess if nobody is really looking for corruption – nobody is finding any. Finding corrupt practices is then left to chance and random ‘whistle-blowers’.
    (Like the Otago District Health Board $17 million fraud?)

    Clean, green ‘corruption free’ NZ.
    yeah right.

    Penny Bright
    [email deleted]

    Penny Bright
    Independent Candidate for Epsom
    Campaigning against ‘white collar’ CRIME, CORRUPTION (including its root cause – PRIVATISATION) and ‘CORPORATE WELFARE’.

  15. newsense 15

    Can’t believe I’d ever have a reason to recall Prebble other than Sandra Lee,

    but the candidate from central casting fluffs his lines…

  16. freedom 16


    The Herald have published a photo that must close the Public or Private argument once and for all.
    There can be no expectation of privacy in the context of the environment occupied by John Banks and John Key as represented in this photograph.


    • Carol 16.1

      So I wonder if the woman behind Key heard every word?

      • ianmac 16.1.1

        Yes. Good point Carol. So were Key/Banks able to have a reasonable expectation of Privacy? Not bluddy likely!

    • ianmac 16.2

      Note that the glass panels end on the right and the space is therefore open by less than 2 paces from Key in the second photo.
      And who took that second photo given that all, ALL the media had been shooed out? Not all eh?

  17. freedom 17

    to any lawyers out there who can help . . .
    Is there a stipulated difference between a photograph and an audio recording in regards to privacy?

    If so, Why is there an expectation of privacy in regards to audio only?

    • McFlock 17.1

      Not a lawyer, but it’s part9A of the crimes act 1961.
      The legal issue is interception of the communication, not the actual medium. However, given that they knew the cameras were there but that they claim recording devices were instructed to be excluded, the communication of the visual information does not have an expectation of privacy, but the communication of the audio might be (according to their perspective – I think it’s a long shot)

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