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Nat Civil War: Key backs Boag over Collins

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, April 2nd, 2012 - 54 comments
Categories: john key, Judith Collins, kremlinology - Tags: , , , ,

John Key gave one of his least sure and most defensive interviews in five years on Q+A on the weekend. His goal was clearly to protect his personal brand and close the issue down. He failed. He failed because he refused to criticise Pullar and Boag, and refused to back Collins’ law suits. That puts him at odds with the Collins faction and onside with Boag’s, which shouldn’t be surprising – remember who threw poor old Brian Neeson under a bus so that Key could have a safe seat making him one of only 3 new National MPs in 2002.

Key repeatedly tried to distance himself by saying that the matters raised were for other people. I’ve never known Key to not stick his nose into business that wasn’t his before, so his reticence when it came to a dispute involving senior member of his own party was telling.

Of particular note was his refusal to give any opinion whatsoever on the legal validity of Collins’ law suits and whether they should be paid for by the taxpayer – despite the Cabinet manual requiring that she first discuss the matter with him before it goes to Cabinet. At the very least, Key must see what a political loser it would be for the public to foot Collins’ bill. But all he would say was that Collins was within her rights to sue if she felt defamed. Giving her a long enough rope, perhaps?

Secondly, Key refused to criticise Pullar and Boag in any way. These women gave the biggest leak in ACC history to the Dompost and the matter has been referred to the Police. You would think that might warrant some Prime Ministerial critique, even in couched terms, but no. Key tried to deny any responsibility for what these senior members of his party were up to.

Having just said that, Key then went into bat for Pullar using the demented logic that, as Pullar isn’t completely satisfied with her ACC and private insurance payouts, she clearly hasn’t benefited from any kind of undue influence. Key used this same logic in regard to Nick Smith’s resignation. It’s a bit like saying ‘it’s only insider trading if you end up rich’.

Clearly, any cronyism and corruption is wrong regardless of whether Pullar is actually better off because of it. Moreover, we can’t say whether Pullar is better of or not because of National’s cronyism and corruption than she would have been, all we know is she wants more.

Collins’ faction member, Fran O’Sullivan, who used last weekend’s column for another round of attacks on Boag was on the Panel. She got stuck into Key. She said that Key looked ill at ease. She said that the independent inquiry that Key has refused to launch is necessary. She pointed out that the very length of Pullar’s dispute and the seniority of the people at ACC she was being enabled to take it to were evidence that her powerful friends were helping her. Whereas Key had been very quick to laugh at the suggestion that the underlying story here is about the Joyce and Collins factions vying for the post-Key leadership, O’Sullivan agreed with Mike Williams when he said “this is the factions maneuvering”.

To think that this issue will just close down is wishful thinking on Key’s part. The factions have made their plays now. Whichever one quits first loses (Slater is already trying to proclaim victory for the Collins faction over the Boag faction but it’s the Joyce faction the Collins faction is really worried about). The leaks will keep coming.

54 comments on “Nat Civil War: Key backs Boag over Collins”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Hmmm, James. Quite a lot of speculation there built on a very flimsy factual foundation.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1

      … a lot of speculation there built on a very flimsy factual foundation.

      Sounds like National Party economic policy

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        Key is a dodo, ever since he and English took the deposit guarentee scheme and turned into a billion dollar black hole, then rushed to increase taxes on everyone and low taxes on the wealthiest, and to cap if off selling assets at the bottom on the a market when the world is awash with printed money.

        Sorry but whoever wants the leadership of National is likely to be feeling its time to crash brand Key.

      • yeshe 1.1.2

        thank you …. just wonderful. ( oops .. not to aerobubble but KTH above !)

    • aerobubble 1.2

      Throw the book at Ambrose! Police have time on their hands!

      Sorry, Key has little integrity in my opinion given that he has no problem with using his power against the little guy. And then implying Police should find time, I mean, who holds the purse strings on the police budget.

      Key branding is a wash out.

    • bbfloyd 1.3

      surprised you have a problem with spouting assumption based on your own “unsubstantiated” opinions ts……that is your favorite debating method after all……

      there is a tad more factual connections to your own stabs in the dark, so it still has more validity than the outdated tory song sheet you use as your intellectual basis….

    • felix 1.4

      “Quite a lot of speculation there built on a very flimsy factual foundation.”

      This from the commenter who regularly starts his comments with “If we assume something that I just made up…”

  2. Actually, Key did look ill at ease… http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/key-on-qa-verdict/

    I think he’s realised that the media honeymoon is long gone, and from now on it’s all down hill.

    Enjoy, Dear Leader. The fun is just beginning.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      The world is waking up to the participatory part of Democracy, decades of activity have allowed governments to get sloppy, ease into bad decisions because the tide was high and it did not matter how naked you were, everyone was cheering. Now we are finding that where citizens feel unmet by government they will not just become apathetic consumers, they don’t have money. Instead they will engage in activities that will increase their security, provide them income… …even if criminal. As we are now hearing is happening in the US, either you engage the population in the society, or you create gangs who will. NZ has had a gang culture because its elites have long found it easier to slip bad legislation that aid thems and harms the population as a whole. Unfortunately for the NZ elite such laziness is no longer marketable, think ACT, or SST, or Hollowmen, Teapot and now ACCgate. All framing is distract worked when the tide was high.

      • The Baron 2.1.1

        What? People join the mongrel mob because Key had a bad interview on Q&A? Or was it the tides?

        So LOL-ful. Thanks for cleaning the looking-glass for us there aerobubble, your argument makes perfect sense.

        • aerobubble 2.1.1.1

          Neo-liberal pollution means more gangs. “Let them eat cake” provoke the French to form gangs and revolt against the Monarchy. Key currently represents the face of stupid socio-economic policies.

    • mikesh 2.2

      “Fun” doesn’t seem the appropriate word.

  3. Kaplan 3

    Wow TS. That’s harsh, but true, critique of the Key’s response to this, and most things. Good to see you onside with this one.

  4. infused 4

    “These women gave the biggest leak in ACC history to the Dompost and the matter has been referred to the Police”

    Where is the evidence of this? Did I miss something?

    “Having just said that, Key then went into bat for Pullar using the demented logic that, as Pullar isn’t completely satisfied with her ACC and private insurance payouts,”

    What’s the problem with that?

    This entire post is speculation.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      The problem is Puller kept badgering the National party top brash over the issue for years and years, and precisely because they did not tell her No suggests a culture of influence is accommodated.

      As for the leak, exactly how hard is it to trace a email coming out of the government, you’d have to wonder what the security of government is if they first allow documents like that to get out, but also have no management of tracking when needed.

      Of course there is a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of heat and smoke, and that means there’s a fire some place in Key’s Administration.

      • infused 4.1.1

        Problem is, he is claiming it as truth “These women gave the biggest leak in ACC history to the Dompost”

    • Key, Pullar and Boag have made it clear Key did not in any way go in to bat for Pullar.

      This entire post is speculation.

      Some of it is. Some of it is more questionable than that.

      • logie97 4.2.1

        PG. I have read many comments of yours recently and they all seem to be more and more defending the position of this government on every issue. Has UF surrendered any independent voice now, or are you making a play for the National Party candidacy in the next election … just wondering.

  5. bad12 5

    Our view is that Key cannot be seen to publicly back any of the various factions fighting within the National Party, His whole thrust thus far has been to try and turn the focus off of the politicians and onto Pullar while attempting to have the factional infighting removed from the public gaze behind closed doors,

    The media Monkeys still enamoured of the Slippery leaders brand such as Prime,s Barry Soper are dropping rumour into what is supposed factual news in an effort to have the focus of the ACC debacle dumbed down to something the ”masses” can choke on over their smoko with Soper spreading the rumour that the payout from the private insurer to Pullar was far above the reported 1 million and may have been,(gasp,shock horror),as much as 3 million as if We give a big fat you know what how much Pullar was paid by that private insurer,

    Of course Slippery is ill at ease,despite the ”good news week” slant to the release of TV1,s latest ”poll” result showing National in a healthy position in the ”presidential style” political race given all importance in some quarters Slippery has dropped 4% of His support as Prime Minister,so He knows that as ”leader” He has peaked and started the ugly inexorable slide,

    Whats also got Slippery looking a spot worried(and sweeping His office,snigger),is that in some quarters the belief is that it was from Slippery,s office whence the leak of the Boag email to Collins was leaked and He knows that should one or other of the various factions openly,(in desperation),allege publicly that His office was the source of the leak then from now until He is voted out,(or resigns),He will be wearing a large bulls-eye as attire in the corridors of power…

  6. Cleo 6

    I think its more like saying that ‘it’s only insider trading if you think and feel you have ended up rich’

    She has received a lot of money which for many people would make them rich, however she doesnt think so.

  7. bad12 7

    What we do know is that within some sections of the Tory empire building community there are those who offer their services to aspiring National party candidates to have them win nomination for a particular electoral seat,for money of course what else could we expect from the Party of Naked Self Interest,

    Now We stopped having a belief in fairy tales where they all live happily ever after about the time that Sir(spit)Roger Douglas became a Minister of Finance so We sure as hell dont believe the oft repeated fairy tale that Boag has spent years and political capital by the bucket-load being the helper to Pullar simply on the basis of friendship,

    Call Us cynical if you must,but, the question must be asked of Boag ”has she received any form of recompense for her ”friendly” help offered to Pullar through-out her injury claims both to the private insurer and ACC,

    Influence peddling for cash is rife in soime supposed democracy,s in other far away exotic parts of our world,to blindly believe that it wont or hasnt happened in our wee neck of the woods would in fact only act as an encouragement for it to happen…

  8. Rupert 8

    “remember who threw poor old Brian Neeson under a bus so that Key could have a safe seat making him one of only 3 new National MPs in 2002.”

    Regardless of who replaced him, Parliament is a much better place without the likes of Neeson there. I just wish Auckland local body politics could be rid of him. And his wife for that matter.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      I dont know about ‘under the bus’, the more apt comment would be they ‘held the doors of the bus open’ so the appointed outsiders could find the venue and vote after the time for voting had elapsed

  9. Fran O’sullivan is normally a ‘Pro Key’ person,so whats the change in the thinking?
    I also noticed that Key when pushed about whether he would see out the term,he
    laughed,but that laugh is not convincing as many people laugh in the face of being
    found to be holding the real truth close to their chests,a sort of scoff,if you like.
    It was put out in the media before the last election that key might not see out the
    present term.
    When he looks ahead at the many mountains he will have to climb,maybe he
    will opt for the serentiy of a calm,quiet,relaxing valley in hawaii,who wants
    the agro when you dont have to have it.
    This is more than likely what ‘insiders’ know and are battling for positions.
    For key to refuse a full enquiry into acc is fool hardy and negligent as a PM
    because there is many reasons to have one and tax payers should demand
    one.
    ACC will never have any credibility again unless there is one.

    • felix 9.1

      Dunno about Fran being “Pro Key”.

      As one of those who wants National to pick up the revolution where Richardson left off, she’s been pretty critical of him from a right-wing perspective ever since he was elected for not doing enough in that direction.

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    Mallard has posted an apology on Red Alert:

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/2012/04/02/apology-to-minister/

    • deuto 10.1

      Well, well, well……………

      The suggestions regarding Lusk’s ambitions to head the National Party in the quoted email in Mallard’s post could possibly tie in with the post on WO today (Pretentious Tosser) attacking Peter Goodfellow.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 10.2

      lol Mallard’s enjoying himself :)

      • Pascal's bookie 10.2.1

        Indeed, that post is, I assume, a direct repsonse to Collins saying that taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for her case if them she accused, apologise

        Which was yet another stupid move on her part.

  11. bad12 11

    Of course lets not forget what can only be seen as abhorent behaviour from Crusher Collins as the new ACC Minister,to first give an impression that the details of the Boag email were only shared by Her with the heads of ACC thus by implication insinuating that the leak of the Boag email to Her ”must” have come from within ACC and then as Minister refusing publicly to express confidence in the head of ACC could be seen by some as a deep ”character flaw” from a Minister of the Crown,

    Some tho might just consider such to be the inevitability of the politiical process whereby such a scandal can only be met by the devolution of resposibility down to the lowest common denominator,in other words put those considered most expendable in the direct line of fire,

    Hence the attempts by the 9th floor and various acolytes to drag both Pullar and ACC into the frame as far as the leak of the Boag email to Collins goes,the perception being that behind the smug smiles and denials full knowledge of just who leaked that particular email is being concealed…

  12. tracey 12

    Key needs his knighthood before a change of govt in case the next govt cans them (as they should). My guess is a press conference where he will back colins or collins will call the pc and say how important her reputation is but she cant in good conscience put this on the tax payerduring hard times, so she will not pursue what she knows is a strong case.and she will conveniently not spend her own money on an action either

  13. tsmithfield 13

    After reviewing replies to my opening comment, it looks like no-one really disagrees with me. Rather they have tended to attack me rather than respond to the post.

    Applying the sort of speculative logic James uses in parts of his article, should I assume that this lack of rebuttal means that even lefties here agree with me?

    • Pascal's bookie 13.1

      Of course there’s speculation in the post ts.

      Do you want a biscuit, or is there some profound point you going to reveal…

  14. tsmithfield 14

    I realise there is speculation. But that was not the complete point I was making which was:
    “Quite a lot of speculation there built on a very flimsy factual foundation.

    The problem with a flimsy factual foundation for speculation is that if something factual relied on in the speculation turns out to be slightly askew, then the whole theory can collapse like a house of cards. The more robust the factual foundation, the more robust any speculation based on the facts.

    In the article above, James refers to the “civil war” within National as if it was fact. Yet I suspect that if we drilled down, we would find the “civil war” meme was itself based mainly on speculation. Some of these types of article can be very much like this where speculative theories are built on speculative theories until the facts that actually support them are almost forgotten.

    Using what was not said as a basis for speculation is dangerous because what was not said is an absence of evidence rather than evidence itself. So, this type of speculation has no foundation on evidence at all. Drawing speculation on actual comments is fine as far as it goes. Except, there are probably as many speculative theories that could be drawn on this as there are points of view.

    So, I am not against speculation. Just speculation that is based on fairly flimsy evidence shouldn’t be lapped up as if it were more solid than what it actually is.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      A lot of flimsy factual foundation in your speculating there ts.

      I know you swim in that shit, so it can be hard to recognise for you sometimes.

      But I’m glad that you’ve at least recognised some of the concepts, after lo, these many years.

      Your time here has not been a complete waste of everyone’s time then.

  15. tsmithfield 15

    And here we have it: Collins is to fund her own defamation proceedings.

    So, if James is to be believed, Key has now ensconced himself firmly in the Boag/Fuller camp. Or maybe, Key perceives it to be politically unsustainable for tax-payers to be asked to fund a what is perceived as a spat between politicians. (in case the Herald poll disappears, 81% of respondents think Collins should fund the action herself).

    Notice, that the latter speculation is based on a poll that probably replicates sentiments picked up by National’s own research, and doesn’t require lots of abstract theories to justify it. Occams razor would tend to favour the latter theory IMO.

  16. Bored 16

    Rule number one….
    One: Qui bono (aka follow the money……)

    Quick question…does Boagie perchance get the cash for Nats from ACT types and dispense it?

  17. felix 17

    I see tv3 have figured out, two days after posting the video, that Boag is no longer the Pres of the Nats.

    Funny she didn’t correct them, eh?

  18. Te Reo Putake 18

    Heard Key on National Radio. Said, amongst the waffle, that the claims from Mallard and Little about Collins were ‘not backed up with evidence’. There’s a short delay, then he continues the sentence to say ‘and not true’.

    You don’t have to be a fan of CSI or Lie to Me to spot that Key got that the wrong way round if he genuinely thought Collins was innocent.

  19. Jackal 19

    Crusher’s defamation sideshow

    The cabinet ministers meeting would have taken into account public opinion, which is resoundingly against the taxpayer funding the defamation side show…

  20. Anita 20

    James,

    It sounds an awful lot like you’re criticising – or even attacking – Pullar. Although I’m not quite sure what for, is it:

    1) For receiving a massive privacy breach?
    2) For going to the media to raise the issue of privacy breach by ACC?
    3) Receiving ACC and insurance compensation for her injury?
    4) Feeling her injuries have not been adequately compensated?
    5) Being treated badly by ACC?
    6) Doing her best to get the compensation she feels she should have, and stop ACC’s mistreated of her?

    Somehow it sounds like you’re tipping over into victim-blaming, usually a National trick.

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