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See no evil

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, May 30th, 2012 - 27 comments
Categories: john key, leadership - Tags:

There was a time when John Key used to promise solutions to any problem you could name. Or he would act sympathetic and concerned by the consequences of his government’s own policies. But the broken promises and falseness wore thin. Key’s new tactic is simply to pretend that problems don’t exist. Apparently, that’s called leadership in National Party circles.

Key’s been pulling this crap for a while but it has only just become his default position. It really stood out the day before the Budget when David Shearer took him to task on his broken economic promises:

David Shearer: How can he have confidence in his Minister of Finance, when he predicted in Budget 2011 that economic growth would reach 4 percent, and it actually reached only 1.1 percent?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot be absolutely sure about the veracity of that statement

– Now, I don’t buy Key’s dumb act. He’s the numbers man. He knows that growth was projected to hit 4% this year. He knows it was actually 1.1%. But it’s easier to pretend there’s no issue.

It was much, much worse yesterday though. Practically every answer was a glib denial that the issue in question even exists.

In answer to Shearer:

David Shearer: Is he aware that increasing ratios for years 2 to 3 means that some schools may have to cut Reading Recovery programmes for 6 and 7-year-olds?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, I do not accept that proposition at all.

David Shearer: When he said this morning that he would prefer his child in a class of 16 with a quality teacher, rather than 15, was he aware that the median class size in State schools is in fact 28?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The important point here is that schools are funded off a ratio, and the funding ratio for a year 1 class is 15.

– Notice how he won’t deal with the actual facts: schools are funded on ratios but money has to be diverted from them for special teaching like reading recovery. That means class sizes are already well above the ratios and they will either have to get worse or special teaching – which produces extra value by addressing needs that would otherwise severely inhibit learning – will have to be cut.

….

Key’s answers to Russel Norman’s question (which Grant Robertson and David Parker chipped in on) was rife with willful blindness from Key:

Dr Russel Norman: How does his Government’s decision to discourage people from becoming teachers by requiring them to get postgraduate qualifications while simultaneously removing student allowances for postgraduate study help to build a more productive economy?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I reject the proposition from the member.

– right, so requiring teachers to get post-graduate qualifications while making studying post-grad less affordable isn’t a huge mixed signal? Uh huh.

… Grant Robertson: Given that last answer from the Prime Minister, can he tell the House what the difference is between the maximum amount that a student can borrow for living costs under the student loan each week, and the actual student allowance that people can get—what is the difference between those two amounts?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am advised that it is very similar.

Grant Robertson: I seek leave of the House to table a document from StudyLink that outlines the various rates that can be obtained from a student loan weekly …It says that the maximum amount of money that a student can borrow per week for living costs from the student loan scheme is $171.50, and that the maximum amount that they can get from student allowances is over $350 a week.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document…. Is there any objection? There is objection. [from Key]

– oh dear, did Key really think that the allowance and borrowing for living costs are comparable, or was it just easier for him to pretend there was no issue?

… Dr Russel Norman: Given that 2,700 teachers emigrated from New Zealand last year, how does driving away ambitious educators help build a more productive economy, or was the more productive economy he promised to build actually the Australian economy?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot confirm that 2,700 teachers emigrated; they may or may not have.

– A simple check of the Stats website shows 2693 education professionals left New Zealand in the past year. Now, that’s 5% of people leaving despite teachers making up only 2.5% of the workforce. Nothing to worry about, or even acknowledge, in Key’s world.

… Hon David Parker: Why did he say 2 days before the Budget that “under a National Government, exports are rising.” and in his Budget speech last Thursday that “We have got the export sector starting to grow.” when Statistics New Zealand earlier that day reported a 17 percent—$800 million—drop in goods exported from New Zealand in the year to April 2012?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because the member is quoting a 1-month number, and I am looking over a 3 or 4-year period.

Hon David Parker: How can he pretend our export story is a good one when imports are projected to increase at twice the rate of exports, and before he blames Christchurch, is he aware that of the 6.8 percent current account deficit projected for 2016, Treasury has advised that only 1 percent relates to Christchurch?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am advised that it is Christchurch that is a major part of it.

Hon David Parker: Does he agree with commentator Fran O’Sullivan in the New Zealand Herald that the major problem is that there is no clear economic growth agenda?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

– yup. National has been talking up exports because they were the one economic indicator that was looking good. Now they’re not, Key pulls a Fat Tony (‘what’s an export?’).

….

And on more revelations from Winston Peters of corruption in Tariana Turia’s slush fund known as Whanau Ora:

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he possibly retain confidence in the Minister for Whānau Ora when, during these economic times, she gave $60,000 to a rugby and sports club to “undertake whānau development research to develop a range of outcomes, which include resilience, whānau connectedness, and community role models and leadership”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot comment on an individual case

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he possibly, as Prime Minister, retain confidence in the Minister for Whānau Ora when she is granting sums like $60,000 to an established sports club when there are poor Māori children in the far north scrounging for food in pig scrap heaps and buckets as reported in the New Zealand Herald on 12 May this year?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have individual information on the particular programme the member is talking about. He will have to take that up with the Minister directly. In terms of the claims in the New Zealand Herald, I have no reasonable way of ensuring that that is accurate or not.

– so kids are starving and Key’s answer is ‘la la la, I can’t hear you and I won’t see you’. Oh, and attacking the Herald at the same time. Jesus Christ. A leader solves problems, he doesn’t pretend that they don’t exist.

Is this really going to be how Key sees out his last two and a half years? With his hands over his eyes?

27 comments on “See no evil”

  1. Wyndham 1

    You are right Eddie . . . I’ve noticed that the current Key defence, rather than give a straight answer, is to reject or cast doubt on any statement made that puts his government in a bad light. Usually alog the lines of “I reject that proposition”. It’s a tactic that goes back to his Hardtalk drubbing from Stephen Sakur but has recently been resurrected big time. In parliament,when an opposition questioner protests to the Speaker about the evasion of answer, they are told to “use supplementary questions more effectively but that he (the Speaker) cannot intervene”. It’s an odd system to say the least!
    As for Key, the word “slippery” comes back to mind.

    • muzza 1.1

      The entire system is built on lies, run on lies, and hidden by lies..

      At that point in time do people expect that the lie which is the westminster based parliamentary system, might produce some truth which will benefit NZ and its people!

      100% pure theatre!

      Oh, and the answer to the question is NEVER!

  2. Gosman 2

    “- so kids are starving…”

    Evidence please.

    • yeshe 2.1

      are you really so stupid, gosman ? really ?? shame on you.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        I asked for the evidence. Do you happen to have any?

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1

          You really should read the post before commenting Gossie. Google Herald, pig scraps and this article pops up.

        • Jackal 2.1.1.2

          Yesterday, the Waikato Times reported:

          Children living in poverty are taking desperate measures to feed and clothe themselves at Waikato schools as families struggle to provide for their most basic needs.

          In one case, a young boy without a winter jersey was told to steal one from the lost property by his mum because she couldn’t afford to buy one, and another principal caught a child scavenging through rubbish bins for food. Experts warn that, with winter approaching, the problem will only get worse.

          This is not an isolated report either Gosman, which makes me wonder what country you’re living in?

          Great rundown of Keys incompetence there Eddie. National has only two options really… to admit that they’re a complete failure of a government or keep obfuscating around the truth. Let’s hope New Zealander’s aren’t as gullible as they were during the last election.

        • yeshe 2.1.1.3

          gosman .. try searching ” dr o’sullivan northland poverty” and this is what you might discover … but of course he is only a doctor so you might consider he doesn’t know what he is talking about ….

          http://www.google.co.nz/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=osullivan+northland+doctor+poverty

        • prism 2.1.1.4

          You regularly ask for evidence Gosman. It is like the stance of some tyrranical teacher or parent not an informed commentator on public issues. That’s my opinion by the way I’m not going to provide you with evidence of your pathetic efforts at superiority.

        • Lisa 2.1.1.5

          The Unicef report that has just been released rated New Zealand 20th out of 35th developed countries for our rate of children living in poverty. That is between Slovakia and Estonia. 1 in 5 (or 200,000) children are going with out basic necessities. This is not the first report coming to the same conclusion and all of them have been heavily publicised.

          In the words of Yeshe, are you really so stupid gosman? really? shame on you.

      • Dr Terry 2.1.2

        All Gossman has to do is make a tiny effort to look up the evidence, which all the rest of us can see.

        • Gosman 2.1.2.1

          I never argued there wasn’t a potential problem although a few anecdotal stories is hardly very persuasive and it is no wonder people can choose to ignore that level of evidence.

          There is no indication of the actual situation for the kids involved. If a family receives enough money to feed themselves but the father gambles it away every week or spends it on alcohol instead is that the Government’s fault? On top of that someone being hungry is not the same as starving. They may well be malnourished but again the reasons for this aren’t clear.

          Sure look into the problem further but you can’t draw the conclusions you seem think you can just from those anecdotal stories.

          • yeshe 2.1.2.1.1

            Then, dear gosman, supported by your own logic, I assume you would never use a parachute to jump from a plane. Of course, there is anecdotal evidence supporting the hypothesis of use, but there is no evidence provided by rigorous trialling. I refer you to The Lancet, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300808/

            Happy freefall.

          • McFlock 2.1.2.1.2

            Hmmm.
            You asked for evidence that “kids are starving”.
            Multiple cases are mentioned of children exhibiting extreme hunger.
            So now you’re arguing about individual circumstances.        
                  
            A couple of years ago, you fucks were flat denying that kids were starving at all. 
                   
            I guess this is National’s “brighter future”, where you can no longer argue what is, merely why it might be so. 
                     
             

          • Deano 2.1.2.1.3

            So ‘a few’ kids starving isn’t evidence of kids starving for Gosman. He won’t be interested until they’re dying in the streets.

        • bbfloyd 2.1.2.2

          just ignore him(gossamer) guys and girls… he isn’t interested in the answers…. he is simply working through his own personal inadequacies(normal tory mindset)… you are feeding his obsessions by attempting to counter his idiotic rambling ….

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        Gossy is just following his leader and making out that, contrary to the facts, there isn’t a problem.

    • richarquis 2.2

      “I cannot be absolutely sure about the veracity of that statement.”

      You watched the documentary about NZ child poverty, surely? That was ample evidence. And in response to your later comment about fathers gambling away the family income, sure, that happens, but you can’t tar every case with the same brush. There are thousands of families in which the parents work hard, pay their bills as best they can, and do their best to give their kids all they need, but still find themselves having to hit up the soup kitchens or foodbanks just to scrape by. To fall back on the extreme cases as a defense to generalizing an entire sector of the population is lazy, and demeaning to those who do not fall into the stereotype you so happily cast upon them. In doing so, you are merely mirroring JK’s manner of response – Either trivializing, stereotyping, or simply denying the problem.

  3. ianmac 3

    Yes watching Question Time yesterday it is amazing that Key can get away with ignorance being his excuse for evasion.
    Maybe he will get a booster shot from QE11 when he is off again at the end of the week to help Liz sort out her Succession problems and to arrange his Knighthood for saving NZ.

  4. aerobubble 4

    So you know its wrong, it will endanger the children, but it can wait…

    A boy racer was raging his car in his driveway, two children a few metres away looked on.

    Lucky for us noise regulation don’t apply to boy racers, and young 7-8 year olds can call
    noise control when the noise is too loud, and hell kids that age can’t be harmed, noise
    doesn’t impact on them until they intentional harm themselves by pushing the volume high
    on the walkman when their adults.

    When the adults, the parents of our planet, sit around the kitchen table and worry about
    the finances while ignoring their other roles as guardians of children, why should I
    care if some boy racer is destroying the eardrums of his cousin and their sleepover friends?

    When a plastic soup swills around the pacific, who gives a crap that it breaks down and enters
    our kids food chain. As long as we have a zero quality budget, what’s it matter.

    We have science, we have noise laws, not so that egotistical narissitic can prove how capable
    they are at ignoring their responsiblities to themselves, their families, their environment,
    just its their right to use their money to shove it in everyone’s
    faces and ignore the consequences because it makes them feel powerful – like the raging car
    they own.

    As a commentator recently claimed on National Radio, if you don’t pay income tax then you
    are a bludger and dont merit a mention, despite the fact that those making paper capital gains
    profit because its so lucrative to do so in NZ have too much say in keeping it that way.
    While National have shifted the weight of tax capture to the poorest, raising GST and lowering
    the amount of progressive taxes the wealthy must pay for a fair society (which I might add
    did not create growth when the taxes dropped, but just bailed out the most indebted a bit longer
    and accelerated the inequality gap).

    We are entering a period of peak oil which means that much of the valuation and
    estimation of wealth is wrong, and with so many large claims (money) in circulation there
    is always going to be a judgement day, when inflation hiding fails. And the real cost of
    not culling the boy racer mentality that pervades our child endangering ruling elites, media and society, falls due.
    Moro could tomorrow stop letting right wing tweeps talk nonsense, but that would lead to the moron class
    calling him a left wing ideologue, which is absurd since they went extinct in the 80s with the rise
    of Murdoch.

    In the week when parents took their kids to a creche in the Middle East Mall, and didn’t wonder
    or were concerned about the fire exits, fire drills, of their kids creche in the heart of a
    building, why? because it looked well looked after, like our nations fiscal books. Because the
    managers had gone to PR classes to dress up a pig and sell it as an angel? Like so many in
    governments across the world. Its us that are so gullible, and our gullibility is killing the children,
    and Key naffy nats will continue shonkey policies that solely worry about keeping the books looking
    perfect. What’s the olde saying, …while rome burns.

    We have cheap oil for thirty years and all policitians needed to do was be overly simplistic and the holes would pretty quickly be tarmac over. The conservative revolution is over, narcississ need not apply anymore.

  5. joe90 5

    .And on more revelations from Winston Peters of corruption in Tariana Turia’s slush fund known as Whanau Ora:

    Aye.

    Whanau Ora, the supposed magic bullet, will turn out to be just another opportunity for those in the know to fleece the taxpayer..

  6. gobsmacked 6

    Key gets away with it because the opposition (Labour, at least) can’t think on their feet.

    Take the first exchange in Eddie’s post. I listened to that live. When Key said “I cannot be absolutely sure about the veracity of that statement” (and then followed it up later with a comment about not relying on that member’s version), all Shearer needed to do was ask:

    “So, what is the growth rate?” (insert ‘current’, ‘GDP’, whatever – but above all, keep it short and snappy). NO sub-clauses, NO multiple questions.

    Key would have to answer “I don’t know” (a lie, and worse, a lie that makes him look incredibly stupid), or he would have to confirm the number Shearer had just quoted.

    But instead, Labour plod on with the next, pre-scripted question. I’ve said it before (for the last three years!), all the opposition MPs have to do is shut up and LISTEN to what Key says, then throw it back at him. But they’d rather just barrack mindlessly, and score no points.

    It goes back to their core problem, from which everything else stems. Labour (not the Greens or even Winston) really are addicted to the House, and not the world outside the House, which is the only world that matters to the voters. The Greens and Winston know how to get headlines from their performance in Parliament – Labour don’t. Even though they have far more questions available, and resources.

    Key’s a liar. Any forensic interrogator could expose that. Do Labour have one?

    • gobsmacked 6.1

      This is from Eddie’s link, quoted above:

      “Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Prime Minister’s first answer, which included the statement that he—and I quote him—“cannot be sure about the veracity of that statement”, mean he does not know that the growth rate is not 4 percent, as he predicted, but, rather, 1.1 percent?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No. It means that when David Shearer assigns a comment to someone, I cannot be sure it is correct.

      Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Prime Minister know or not know that the current growth rate is 1.1 percent?”

      That is Winston, doing Shearer’s job.

      • tc 6.1.1

        Someone has to as Shearer’s far too inexperienced to get it done himself…..way to go labour caucus, bravo fantastic choice there.

    • Murray Olsen 6.2

      I get the impression that the sound of their own voices is more important to them than getting answers. Short, snappy questions demand concise answers whereas some scripted ramble with three or four different questions hidden in it somewhere just lets people off the hook.

  7. Lanthanide 7

    My personal circumstances I think are somewhat relevant to this point:
    “Is he aware that increasing ratios for years 2 to 3 means that some schools may have to cut Reading Recovery programmes for 6 and 7-year-olds?”

    Turns out when I was in primary school, I was pretty bad at reading/writing but not quite bad enough to meet the official criteria for reading recovery. My teachers felt that really I would benefit from it, so they essentially put me through it anyway. I got a 7.4 GPA at university, I’m 28 and have paid off my student loan and am earning in the top tax bracket.

    How much of that would have happened if I hadn’t had the teachers with the flexibility to put me in that programme?

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