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Polity: Key – “Meh. Maybe I lied to Parliament.”

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, May 14th, 2014 - 39 comments
Categories: election 2014, grant robertson, john key, Judith Collins, national, Parliament, public services, same old national - Tags: ,

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Rob Salmond at Polity points out the extraordinary way that the speaker let John Key get away with lying to parliament

Last week, struggling to defend Judith Collins’ meddling in an official trip to get private gain for Oravida,John Key told Parliament:

The [MFAT] paperwork shows right through this that not only did the Minister have a very busy programme, which the member wants to gloss over, all on judicial and justice issues, but, secondly, all the way through it talks about a private dinner.

I added the underlining. As I showed at the time, this statement is a lie. The MFAT documents he was referring to contradict this account on three separate occasions.

So yesterday Labour’s Grant Robertson called him on it:

Grant Robertson: In light of his statement to the House last Wednesday in reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade papers released about Judith Collins’ trip to China that “all the way through it talks about a private dinner.”, how does he explain the email exchanges as late as 16 October where the Minister’s office is asking why the dinner is not included in the official visit programme?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It was a generalisation. Maybe I should have said “most of the way through”.

Grant Robertson: Are all of his answers about Judith Collins generalisations or does he actually have to answer the facts—that this was until 16 October an official dinner, not a private dinner, and that, actually, he misled Parliament last week?

Mr SPEAKER: The Prime Minister can answer any of those questions.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is quite wrong. In my opinion it has been a private dinner the whole way through.

This exchange is extraordinary for two reasons:

  1. Misleading parliament is serious. If it happens, MPs are supposed to make a stand-alone statement to the House about what they said, why it was wrong, and what they should have said instead. Key didn’t do that at all. He just inserted a pathetic “meh” concession into an answer to a question;
  2. Even more inexplicable is Key’s answer to the second question. Apparently all those official documents – containing Collins’ demands to put the dinner on her official programme – don’t shake Key’s opinion that the dinner was private all the way along. This is the “see no evil, hear no evil” school of Ministerial management in full effect. I guess Key would rather be a guy who can’t read than be a liar.

39 comments on “Polity: Key – “Meh. Maybe I lied to Parliament.””

  1. Will@Welly 1

    I have said it so many times, “Key is a liar.” Goff said it publicly. Key did not sue him for liable.
    You can’t argue with the truth.

    • David H 1.1

      So why don’t Cunliffe and Robertson call points of order and pull him up on it?

      • adam 1.1.1

        Have you seen the speaker lately – he’s lost the ability to control key in any way. He barely in control of the house.

  2. Philj 2

    xox
    He’s not called ‘Slippery John’ for nothing. Is it common, or standard practice, for the Chinese, or any, government to pay expenses for our Ministers? Does our Government pay for other countries ministerial visits when visiting NZ?

    • freedom 2.1

      it’s called being a good host Philj, and is as practical as it is obvious and is why every item of these trips should be publicly declared.

      How else can we identify who paid for what when ‘guests’ are found face down in the gutter with a pocket full of casino chips and a rabid albino meerkat leashed to their ankle?

    • Tracey 2.2

      just look at the pecuniary register. its plain to see. cabinet colleagues of the minister for primary industries, sorry justice, have declared trips paid for by the chinese govt and other govts, and ms collins declared contribution from aust govt in 2012.she just decided in the last month or so to NOT declare the chinese govt recent contribution.

      so,key t mislead parliament and then excuses himself because the documents which make him a liar dont square with his version of reality?

      mr key clearly considers the standing orders and cabinet manual an annoying decoration, not even a guide.

  3. captain hook 3

    key thinks he is some sort of potentate just because boag and hooton told him he wuz one. complete with a compliant and complacent media he is getting away with being a little jumped up jerk.
    time for his pink slip.
    would you buy a used car from him?

  4. Like water wearing away at rock, Key has gradually eroded the standard that says ‘lying is unacceptable”. Little by little, he’s softened the publics acceptance of lies to the point where he can deliver one and have it accepted as ‘the way things are now’. It’s not an accidental development, in my opinion, but a managed strategy to ‘disable’ a mechanism that might otherwise have brought his activities to an end. Gradually, he’s succeeded in lessening the importance we attach to telling the truth. Who’s going to do something about this? If he can “meh” anything at all from this point on, exposing lies will not be effective in countering the method.
    Think, gentlemen and women, think!

    • Tracey 4.1

      agree.

      his dismissal of the cabinet manual recently.

      my answer is to vote for a party that behaves a different way, that wont play the “game”, and pointing to all such behaviour as unacceptable, whichever politician does it.

      it starts with individuals cos we accept the behaviour cos we think it serves us.

      bah. i havent voted for a party based on my own financial position ever.

      • robertguyton 4.1.1

        Tracey, your answer, with respect, is confined to a single person, that’s you, and while that is admirable and right, doesn’t much affect the process of erosion that’s being employed here. What can you do that’s bigger than voting ethically? The erosion of a standard requires more than just an individuals response come polling day. With respect.

        • Tracey 4.1.1.1

          no offence taken on my part.

          i am 47. i marched against nuclear ships coming here, i marched and petitioned for homosexual law reform, i marched again recently on gcsb and tpp.

          i got wayne mapp and jane kelsey to agree to debate each other. subsequent debate got no media coverage.

          i do pamphlet drops.

          i recently terminated a contract because the other party was, imo, lying to clients and ripping them off and by staying i felt i enabled and aquiesced that behaviour.

          as i have aged i realise the importance of macro and micro displays but that even macro displays require individual people to step up.

          self interest rules, call it survival or whatever. minimum wage earners and low income earners spend most time earning, worrying about how to pay the bills and not letting either impact their children. wrking their way through tge political advertising and marketing xampaigns masquerading as discourse would be hard..

          im not sure what, if anything, you are driving atbut i shudder at the idea that to defeat the behaviour you outline you have to employ similar techniques.

          so, my answer is to talk to those within my shere of influence but i do believe everything comes baci dont know what the bigger answer is.k to how each individual chooses to behave and to conduct themselves.

          the josephson institute has a great paper about rationalisation.

          • robertguyton 4.1.1.1.1

            Tracey – I admire what you have done and accept that you “don’t know what the bigger answer is”. I certainly don’t advocate “employing similar techniques” to defeat the behaviour, though “similar” allows for ethical and strategic approaches and is not the same as “same”. I wonder, did you read the link supplied above? It’s chilling, amongst other things, but gives immediacy to the issue we are discussing.
            http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2005/pinter-lecture-e.html
            I’m not asking you to save the world, just wondering aloud if there is someone out there who has a plan to counter the plan being realised by the liars.

            • Tracey 4.1.1.1.1.1

              i do get thats what you are asking. my diatribe was more to indicate the things i have tried to do just that.

              i asked unliffe a quextion on his online session yesterday which he was really unable to answer well. it concerned me cos it goes to the heart of the lying and misinformation spread by key. his answer seemed to suggest no prior thought had been given.

              no link was given above. i will read it now though.

            • Tracey 4.1.1.1.1.2

              language is actually employed to keep thought at bay…. h pinter

              and he too offers no antidote… except arguably in the last two paragraphs.

              do we always need a leader, someone to galvanise us robert, or is it in fact about individuaks putting up a real or metaphoric hand and saying ” no more”…

              are you asking how to dissemble the lies so those indivuals say ” no more”?

            • greywarbler 4.1.1.1.1.3

              Robert Guyton
              Think about what to do and come up with a list of 3 possible ways that don’t involve war and little violence if any thanks.

              I hate these stories that don’t have endings and the author leaves you to work it out for yourself. Particularly when it’s life as we know it they are writing about. So seeing you have brought up this idea, take it further in your pragmatic imagination and give us some ideas to buoy us.

              • greywarbler

                Although – This quote from Ennui in Open Mike which I think fits here and follows RG’s thoughts in a very definite statement that is rather chilling, again.

                Some insight from Cluborlov.com under Moneybag Logic
                A Princeton University study by Gilens and Page performed a regression analysis on over a thousand public policy decisions, and determined that the effect of public opinion on public policy is nil. That’s right, nil. It doesn’t matter how you vote, it doesn’t affect the outcome in any measurable way. By extension, that also goes for protesting, organizing, dousing yourself with gasoline and setting yourself on fire on the steps of the US Senate, or whatever else you may get up to. It won’t influence those in power worth a damn.

                Yet for the sake of our potential transcending the mundaneness of our power and advantage seeking, some people have to attempt to keep the world so as to be able to save it, before they leave saying ‘bye and thanks for all the fish.

              • grey warbler and (perhaps) Tracey.
                You hate stories that don’t supply solutions?
                Hmmmm…
                How to protect people from the effects of a programme to destabilise their view that lying is wrong?
                Firstly, call it each time, as is happening here at The Standard. That is good. The effect however, is far too localised. ‘People’ aren’t hearing it. Constant ‘calling-out’ of the lies from Government Ministers through every available broadcast is vital. Underpinning that though, is the need for an ‘agency’ (cluster of intelligent people etc) who can look at the process being employed (the blurring of the importance of truthfulness in the public mind) and the most effective way to undo the effects and progress of that process. Those who are applying the method have thought it through and decided how to go about making it real. Who will think it through and go about negating the effects of their programme. I see the need for the advisors to the Opposition leaders to address this issue and arm themselves with whatever’s needed to staunch the effects of it’s application. And fast. Key and his orcs are deploying it daily and is not being immediately and effectively pulled up.
                How hard can it be?

                • The propensity for humans to not be able to see the wood for the trees is a boon to those who seek to befuddle. Finding the core of the issue and repeatedly presenting that frees you from the distraction of arguing each ‘tree’. Where is this happening? Are our papers running Guides to Sifting Truth from Lies?
                  Should be.

                • Richard Christie

                  ffs somebody do something

  5. greywarbler 5

    Open Mike has been swallowed by discussion on the Budget et al,
    I would like to put a comment about something positive happening for NZ people and this might offset the information about the monster with the blue tongue who is so pervasive.

    Something good – a warm little bright flame in the darkness.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon
    10:09 Tommy ‘Kapai’ Wilson wrote the Kapai the Kiwi children’s book series and he is now the Executive Director of Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services in Tauranga – an organisation focusing on the wellness of families and whanau.

  6. North 6

    In short, licensed by the thick as backwoodsman in the Speaker’s chair, ShonKey Python treats Parliament with contempt more often than not. Inexplicably most of the
    MSM seem content to accord his utterances on all things a professorial status. Cheap yuppie arselicks they are.

  7. geoff 7

    here’s another one for blip’s list….

    “Mr Key says a Labor Government there left the new Coalition Government with heavy debt and ongoing deficits and compares that to the position here.”

    from…

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/budget-2014/244335/power-play-with-brent-edwards

    This from the man who has increased government debt from $10 billion to over $60 billion.

    • BLiP 7.1

      Thank you. That’s not the first time John Key has told that lie. Its actually become something of a ritual chant for National Ltd™ to decry the economic “mess” left behind by the last Labour government as if they firmly believe that if you say something often enough it becomes the truth. Alas, it does seem to work to some extent in that, with the media’s help, such lies become the perception. Its as if the “shadows on the cave wall” are considered reality rather than its reflection. Plato was right!

      . . . Having condemned his predecessor for many years for paying off debt too quickly, English said: “I want to stress that New Zealand starts from a reasonable position in dealing with the uncertainty of our economic outlook.”

      “In New Zealand we have room to respond. This is the rainy day that Government has been saving up for,” he told reporters at the Treasury briefing on the state of the economy and forecasts . . .

      —> http://www.nzherald.co.nz/audrey-young/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501219&objectid=10548753&pnum=1

      . . . truth is, thanks to National Ltd™ giving its rich mates a tax cut, New Zealand is now $50 billion+ worse off, inequality has grown, more people are unemployed, more children are living in poverty, and critical infrastructure has been weakened. At least Brent Edwards pointed to a part of the truth in that article you linked.

      • BLiP 7.1.1

        EDIT: D’oh – after actually reading the article properly, I see Key was referring to Australia. Still, apart from my compliment to Brent Edwrds, my comment stands, IMHO.

        • Tracey 7.1.1.1

          it stands because he was saying the mess abbott is in was left by labour which compares to what labour did to national here.

          i think its more like 60 billion now, kind of like the deficit abbott finds himself in now… oh wait…

  8. Tom Gould 8

    Carter is just an old fashioned privileged Tory who, after a lifetime of inherent arrogance, simply knows no better, sitting there with that silly grin while Gerry turns irrelevant points of order into 5 minute political speeches and Key makes a mockery of the place.

    • yeshe 8.1

      exactly this. but to whom can we complain about the partisanship of the Speaker ? does any mechanism exist .. maybe Graham McCready might have a view ?

    • Mary 8.2

      What does a Speaker have to do to get shunted out? Problem is he knows he’s only got a few weeks left so not only is he not going to improve but will go all out to help the government look as good as he can before September. Guess he doesn’t care that his legacy will be known as the most biased speaker in NZ political history.

  9. Tracey 9

    What are the 10 myths of ethics?

    It’s ethical if it’s legal and permissible. Loopholes, lax enforcement, and/or personal moral judgment do not outweigh what’s right or lawful.
    It’s ethical if it’s part of the job. Separating personal ethics from work ethics can cause decent people to justify actions at work that they would never do at home. Everyone’s first job is to be a good person.
    It’s ethical if it’s for a good cause. People can be vulnerable to rationalizations when advancing a noble aim. This can lead to deception, concealment, conflicts of interest, favoritism, or other departmental violations.
    It’s ethical if no one’s hurt. Ethical values are not factors to be considered in decision-making; they are ground rules.
    It’s ethical if everyone does it. Treating questionable behaviors as ethical norms under the guise of “safety in numbers” is a false rationale.
    It’s ethical if I don’t gain personally. Improper conduct done for others or for institutional purposes is wrong. Personal gain is not the only test of impropriety.
    It’s ethical if I’ve got it coming. Being overworked or underpaid doesn’t justify accepting favors, discounts, or gratuities. Nor is abusing sick time, insurance claims, or personal use of office equipment fair compensation for one’s services or underappreciated efforts.
    It’s ethical if I’m objective. By definition, if you’ve lost your objectivity, you don’t know you’ve lost it. Gratitude, friendship, or anticipation of future favors can subtly affect one’s judgment.
    It’s ethical if I fight fire with fire. Promise-breaking, lying, or other misconduct is unacceptable even if others routinely engage in them.
    It’s ethical if I do it for you. Committing white lies or withholding information in professional relationships (such as performance reviews) disregards the fact that most people would rather know unpleasant information than soothing falsehoods.

  10. hoom 10

    So who is laying the complaint to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      The opposition doesnt have a majority so it wont change anything.
      Plus the Speaker gets to decide if its taken up by the committee.

      Guess how that will turn out ?

  11. ghostwhowalksnz 11

    This is hilarious.
    Judith Collins address to Chinese leadership Academy on October 13 2013.

    The topic: Government Corruption !!

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/address-china-executive-leadership-academy-pudong-celap-china

    “Fighting corruption is not easy, it is a complex offence that is difficult to detect.
    Three tools are needed to fight corruption: Prevention, detection, and prosecution.
    The New Zealand model provides an excellent example of international best practice in using these tools.”

    Im not making this up . Collins was lecturing the Chinese on how pure and clean we are.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      The Opposition should have made more of a play of this. The stench of hypocrisy and hubris from this one rivals the pack of dead fish rotting in my rubbish bin right now.

  12. RedLogix 12

    Have a quick read of this:

    On the eve of the 2013 federal election Tony Abbott promised no cuts to education, health, or the ABC and SBS, and no changes to pensions. Fairfax Media looks at how those promises fared in the Abbott government’s first budget.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/then-and-now-the-abbott-governments-broken-promises-20140514-zrcfr.html#ixzz31gXm0y7l

    Two fascinating things here, one is that this is a FairFax publication taking on Abbott on very, very direct terms.

    Secondly Abbott is being unconditionally branded a liar. Nothing the man every says again can be taken on trust. Nothing.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Now, just imagine what would happen if our media weren’t so busy kissing Key’s arse and actually held this government to the same standard.

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    The Auckland Transport Board is meeting today and as usual I’ve had a look through the papers to see if there is anything interesting. Below is the collection of items or comments that caught my eye. The rest of this...
    Transport Blog | 29-07
  • Powerful and Cold-hearted
    click here to read this compelling article ...
    Closing the Gap | 29-07
  • Wilkinson and Picket Lectures in New Zealand
    Click here to get these lectures. Folks who missed the Douglas Robb lectures last month can view them here l...
    Closing the Gap | 29-07
  • The Changing Priorities Of Protest
    The Changing Face Of Protest: In marked contrast to the theologically- and ideologically-driven protest movements of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, contemporary protest, like this demonstration against the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, tends to be led by those whose stake in...
    Bowalley Road | 29-07
  • Why Voters Aren’t Angrier About Economic Inequality
    This is the USA but there are strong parallels here in New zealand ...
    Closing the Gap | 28-07
  • Goodbye Nick Smith
    On the back of recently trying to silence DOC over their concerns about the impact of the Ruataniwha irrigation project on water quality in central Hawke's Bay, Nick Smith is once again bullying a statuary body with threats that clearly...
    The Jackal | 28-07
  • Minister for Conservation of What?