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So, that’s what Nats mean by creating jobs

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, January 15th, 2013 - 111 comments
Categories: jobs, making shit up - Tags:

We all know, because that Nice Man Mr Key told us, the government can’t create jobs. That is, unless it has given away $67m to international bully boys and wants to show a return on investment. Then, it can create 3,000 jobs out of thin air. It turns out, that’s where the claim that the Hobbit films created 3,000 Kiwi jobs came from. But it gets worse.

The 3,000 jobs claimed was a figure pulled out of Key’s arse and confirmed only as a “good number” by Wingnut films – it seems $67m of taxpayer money brought a lot of goodwill and cooperation for National from Jackson. Nice to know that favours cut both ways.

Even if we pretend that 3,000  is the right number, $67m for 3,000 jobs is $22,000 per job. That’s more than the income tax revenue that the government gets in two years from the average full-time job. And that’s the kicker. These jobs didn’t last two years – not most of them. Most of the work on the Hobbit was short-term. The entire production was done in a little over a year. The extras and minor parts played by Kiwis were a few days or weeks. There’s a huge bloody difference between a 3,000 jobs that last a couple of weeks on average and creating real, lasting work.

You’ll note that National has produced no figure on how much Kiwi workers earned as a result of the Hobbit. I don’t reckon it’ll be $67m, not when you consider how much of the budget would have been eaten up by the foreign stars’ pay-checks and the overseas made gear, all the admin work done stateside, and all foreign contractors that Jackson got in to work at Wingnut (incidentally, sending Miramar out of the affordable suburb range for locals looking to buy). The total cost of paying extras in major movies appears to often be less than a million or in the low millions.

But, whatever the truth of how many Kiwi jobs were created, for how long, and how much they were paid, always remember that the truth is these films were always going to be made here any way. All that happened was a failing movie company that was having financial difficulties decided to see if they could squeeze a little yokel government for some more money and cheaper production costs by removing workers’ rights. And, in finest tradition, when international capital said ‘jump’, National said ‘how high?’

111 comments on “So, that’s what Nats mean by creating jobs”

  1. framu 1

    A question for the politics and economics/business junkies –

    Is it normal for a private company to so openly assist the government of the day with arguing its claims?

    Its not like the emails were just a “can you please give us the figures” – by the media accounts so far they were of the “we want to stick it to our detractors – wanna back us up?” variety

    PS: just heard Ol’ Joycee claiming that making a distinction between total jobs, pre existing jobs and new jobs is just playing semantics

  2. Winston Peters is doing a good job on the issue. The 3,000 jobs figure really has the impression of having been plucked out of someone’s arse.

    He also asks a very good question. Since the movie has already grossed over a billion dollars isn’t it time that the NZ subsidy was paid back?

    Steven Joyce was on Radio NZ this morning defending the subsidy.

    Joyce is very good. Without the slightest hint of embarrassment he will regurgitate the Government’s spin lines in that arrogant know all manner that the best tory Ministers have perfected.

    He said that if the movie was not made in NZ then those jobs would not exist. Of course this presumes that the movie would not have otherwise have been made without the subsidy and it also presumes that Wingnut Films would have folded without trace if the Hobbit was not made here. The subsidy did not create the jobs. It may (and this is debatable) have given Wingnut an extra year’s work.

    He also did not think that the number of jobs should be investigated. Of course not. The Government should not need worry about the granting of millions of dollars to an overseas corporation so that it may create an unknown number of jobs.

    • tc 2.1

      Peters will not let the Nat’s off the hook after the way they went all out to bury him in the 08 election.
      A long memory, very experienced at taking down big players and an ample supply of material combined with a burning desire to bury this gov’t.
      He deserves another term if he keeps this up, go Winston.

      Also on this Hobbit issue nobody seems to ask what the likelihood of it not being filmed in Hobbiton was, I think you’ll find there was no chance.
      This shows people the gov’t is all about giving money away to mates as the film was always having key scenes shot in/around matamata with or without the handout, sets were built, farms and access were sorted etc

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Also on this Hobbit issue nobody seems to ask what the likelihood of it not being filmed in Hobbiton was, I think you’ll find there was no chance.

        I’m sure Jackson was desperate to go live and film on location in Khazakstan or Eastonia for 3 years.

        • Populuxe1

          Estonia is actually very nice

          • Murray Olsen

            Estonia is dark half the year, a quarter of it is swamp, the highest mountain is 318m and the population doesn’t speak English. It might be a lovely place, but the continuity people on the film would have had a hell of a problem.

            • Frank Macskasy

              @ Murray: “…and the population doesn’t speak English. ”


              Any film maker considering shifting to a non-english-speaking country for “cheaper labour” might find it a false economy. Any savings would quickly be spent on Interpreters.

              Just imagine wanting to hire a dozen horses to replace the ones killed duiring filming. Flicking through the local Yellow Pages in say, Poland or Hungary, would be like trying to read Klingon.

      • Rodel 2.1.2

        just had a thought….it would be interesting if Winston was leader of the Labour party..
        (I’m joking…I think)

        • Frank Macskasy

          There was a plan for Peters to take on the leadership of the Alliance in the mid-1990s.

          Anderton was set to stand aside for Peters, except that the activists would have none of it (I spoke against it as well), and it all turned to custard when it was revealed that Peters was going to conduct negotiations through LAWYERS.

          Thank the gods that crazy proposal went nowhere.

    • Fortran 2.2

      Did not realise that Peters was still alive !

    • Mike 2.3

      “He said that if the movie was not made in NZ then those jobs would not exist.”

      He should also have added that they now no longer exist. Essentially the film added some short term contracted out positions which then disappeared once most of the production was completed.

  3. weka 3

    And even if the Hobbit wasn’t made here, how many of those jobs would have existed anyway, just on different projects? It’s not like Weta workshops etc was just going to pack up and go home if the Hobbit didn’t get made here.

  4. Erentz 4

    But when it came to Hillside there was no subsidy to keep jobs in NZ. I just read it was sold actually, state asset sale barely got a mention.

    • Bill 4.1

      My understanding is that they tried to sell the manufacturing facilities within the workshops – failed – and so shut them down. (Only the foundary part of the workshop was sold)

    • tc 4.2

      Yeah but look at the great value for money high quality chinese rolling stock we get…/sarc/

    • Fortran 4.3

      Should have made the Hobitt at Hillside – yea.

      • mike e vipe e 4.3.1

        Fartrain how visionary you could train them all to become idiots like your self !

  5. Bill 5

    Throw fantastic amounts of money at a fantasy generating workshop and create phantom jobs.

    Take a real workshop, deny it bidding opportunities and create a phantom workplace.

    Is there a defining logic in there somewhere? Money gets wastefully and willfully sent overseas in both instances and all for no advantage to anyone here. But what else?

    • weka 5.1

      Ideological? If your main motivations are around money generation for its own sake, then it makes sense.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        I don’t think it’s about money or money generation. I guess I’m looking at the fact that a private business entity asks for a handout and the government falls over itself to oblige. And the government also falls over itself to pull the rug out from beneath a state owned enterprise.

        So I might conclude, bearing an ideological perspective in mind – the government intervenes in the market in a negative fashion – from the viewpoint of ‘social good and well being’ – in both instances. (ie, waste of public money as a handout and poorer work rights on the Hobbit and unemployment with regards Hillside)And also positively in both cases- from the viewpoint of private business interests (ie, respectively, cash subsidy and opportunity to purchase plant ).

        • karol

          A good example Bill that exposes the “neoliberal” myth of “hands off”, non-interventionist government.

          • Colonial Viper


            Exactly. Like Tony Blair, UK PM, helping BAE win a mega arms deal to Saudi Arabia.

            The neoliberal agenda is full of corporate self serving shit.

            • aerobubble

              Its all about ignoring how society has aided the rich to get rich, and making unsubstantial claims that only the super business people that are making profits can make the profits in the future (nobody was born luck delusion aand can’t be replaced), and now add the
              financial crisis that shows the ruling business elite who were handed over free rein of
              the global economy have right royally screwed us all into unprecedented debts levels, climate and pollution crisis’s, and resource limits in energy, rare earth metals, etc.

              Its the dumb calling the dumb (themselves) the winners.

  6. end o times viper shorts 6

    I wouldn’t be surprised that there wasn’t 3000 jobs or short term positions (might be a better term) created (or maintained) via the filming of the hobbit – the thing that gets me is the first course of action is to spin numbers, not quantify them – which suggests the govt a) does care and b) will throw any old number out there for good PR

    What should have been a no brainer feel good story National success for the non questioning masses has now bitten them on the bum due to complete ineptitude, thanks to Winston

  7. Rosie 8

    At the time there was so much hype around how much income a person could earn “if they went and worked on the Hobbit”. It became its own meme. In Wellington there was this whole BS status thing going on with anyone invloved in any aspect of the film production: part of it was to do with the association of the world of Peter Jackson and part of it was to do with a perception that everyone was paid fabulously. My mate working in the art department making props was on $18 per hour. Not bad but not all its cracked up to be either. You can get $18ph in retail if you’re lucky.

    So whats the big deal with the temporary jobs Shonkey? Just a desparate attempt at justifying a totally uncalled for subsidy to Hollywood really isn’t it.

    In the meantime folks this book is on order at the library:

    The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis: How Warner Brothers and the Kiwi Government Crushed an Attempt to Unionise the Hobbit.


    Should be an interesting read……

    • yeshe 8.1

      Thx for the heads-up on the book,Rosie. Just bought it for US$4.99 on amazon kindle .. you can get free download kindle app to your computer from amazon .. marvelous way to save money and trees for some excellent books ! Not the same as having it in my hands, but hey, I have the Hobbit book here to read already with coffee !! ( I used the links from the bottom of the page you linked to on scoop.co.nz .. takes you right there.)

      • Rosie 8.1.1

        Happy reading yeshe.

        Alas, I don’t have an e-reader or even a laptop, just a clunky old desktop, so not so comfortable sitting here reading.

        I do use the library alot however, (especially after an abrupt and dramatic change to my $$$ circumstances and had to give up my book collecting) and thought it would be good to request they order in the Jonathan Handel book. I get to read it but so do lots of others. Hopefully other library users will see it in the non fiction new books display and their curiosity will be sparked.

        In the meantime, maybe if you read anything that strikes you as particularly interesting you can let us all know about it:-)

        • yeshe

          Hi Rosie .. marvelous idea to encourage others reading of it by ordering at the library. But for now, I have just started reading the intro which suggests most of it is immediately available to you by searching The Hollywood Reporter archives for the dates given ..


          “What follows are ( with one noted exception) the original stories from The Hollywood Reporter edited for style and continuity, but preserving the ‘ripped from the headlines’ feeling that pervaded the events of Sept and Oct 2010 when the fate of The Hobbit– and New Zealand’s film industry — seemingly hung in the balance.”

          I’ll get back to you when I find the ‘one noted exception’ !

          Thanks again for the tip off to find the book.

          • Rosie

            And Thank YOU yeshe for that point:-) Have made a note to check out the Hollywood Reporter archives……….I hope this whole fiasco just doesn’t go away and that the Nat govt will have to one day face up to their actions.

            oh, I just realised how hopelessly naive and impossible that sounded, you know, that bit about the Nat Govt facing up to……….oh well.

  8. Leopold the Viper 9

    any chance Mr shearer could subcontract his parliamentary leader of the opposition job out to Winston?

  9. Don't worry be happy 10

    What the NZ Opposition Party looks like…the Green Party, Winston Peters, Kim Dotcom and John Campbell.

  10. tracey 11

    Msavage, joyce doesnt regurgitate the spin, he writes it.

    Two questions,

    How many of the 3000 were casual, short term etc…. 98%?
    How many were for kiwis
    Percentage of total wage bill tgat went offshore

    That was three.

    • McFlock 12.1

      cheers :)

    • David H 12.2

      “A Weta Digital spokeswoman said the company was not issuing a response to Ms Fenton’s statements.”

      Now what? Or is that the extent of the Labour response??

      • Darien Fenton 12.2.1

        david h: The link from back in May lady year was intended to show this isn’t a new story. If you care to do some digging you will see Labours response has been extensive. In fact, the 3000 jobs answer was given to Key as a response to Labours policy to reverse the Hobbit law.

        • higherstandard

          Long lunch at Bellamy’s ?

        • Bob Murphy


        • David H

          Sorry but you can understand the question, when all we hear from Labour for weeks on end, (whilst the Nacts are sticking both their feet, and those of Dunne, and Banks, down their throat.) Is the deafening sound of silence!

      • Darien Fenton 12.2.2

        david h: The link from back in May last year was intended to show this isn’t a new story. If you care to do some digging you will see Labours response has been extensive. In fact, the 3000 jobs answer was given to Key as a response to Labours policy to reverse the Hobbit law.

  11. Darien Fenton 13

    Bugger. IPad madness. I was trying to provide some answers to questions about the type of jobs. I have been monitoring this all year. Don’t know if it’s worth the effort with comments like those above.

    Moderator : please remove duplicate comment. Thanks.

    • higherstandard 13.1

      Which one ?

      The one where you appear to be an illiterate git or the first one where you appear to be drunk ?

      [lprent: Don’t be a complete idiot. You realize this will just make every syntax crazy put you on their hit list* right?

      And it isn’t exactly that hard to find comments where you look like a complete pillock. I could go and find some for you?

      But if this degenerates into some kind of silly session, then I’ll blame you for starting it.

      * Not to mention all of the iPad typists here like myself. ]

      • Darien Fenton 13.1.1

        @higherstandard: that’s offensive.

        • higherstandard

          Oh come on you must be used to it sitting in parliament ?

          Look on the bright side at least you’re still troughing off the taxpayer while wasting your time replying to me.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Actually talking with and listening to the voters is an MPs job and it’s good to see one of them actually doing it but it is nice of you to tell everybody that talking to you is a waste of time.

      • higherstandard 13.1.2

        Oh fuck off Lynn, Darien’s a big girl and can look after herself.

        • Colonial Viper

          While in contrast you’re clearly just a 4 year old who has learnt some rude grown-up words.

        • The Al1en

          Darien is one of the few Labour mps I’d happily share a conversation with.
          Sure she doesn’t need anyone to fight her battles, but from what I’ve seen and read on Red Alert (rip), she’s well earned the right to not be insulted in such a cowardly and spiteful way.

          • LynWiper


          • higherstandard

            Really ?

            And here’s me thinking that she was a good mate of Clare Curran who most on here have charged with censure of free speech I also recall she was very quick to put the boot into Peter Leitch a couple of years back.

            From where I sit no NZ politician has earned the right not to be insulted and on a side note mine were very very mild compared to much of the bile at this site and other political blogs.

            • The Al1en

              CC has nothing to do with this and a clear diversionary tactic, but since you mention it, I don’t recall seeing anybody post she was a drunk on the tax payers expense posting on blogs.

              “and on a side note mine were very very mild compared to much of the bile at this site and other political blogs.”

              No doubting you, bruv, but a gentleman would apologise and withdraw.

            • Frank Macskasy

              Criticising is one thing. Insults is another. There is a difference, HS, and any message you’re making is lost in a meaningless torrent of insults.

    • felixviper 13.2

      Hi Darien, please ignore “higherstandard.” He’s just a dull old anti-labour tr0ll.

      I’m sure many other readers appreciate you popping in.

      • McFlock 13.2.1

        yes indeed.

        In many other ways, Darien, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t engage with commenters here, but HS is just a dickhead who obviously wants to be so much of a jerk that you don’t come back. They’re also a reactionary tory who likes to comment on a broad-left blogsite.

        I humbly request that you ignore the jerk, except to wander over here and comment just to piss him off :)

        • higherstandard

          Not at all the more politicians that come here the better, I’d love Brownlee, English, Joyce and Key to pop on in so everyone could communally shite on them from a great height

          [lprent: Or I could just practice on you? See my note above. ]

      • higherstandard 13.2.2

        “Hi Darien, please ignore “higherstandard.” He’s just a dull old anti-politician tr0ll.

        I’m sure all the sycophants appreciate you popping in while on the taxpayers tit.


        • McFlock

          At least it’s related to political representation, which is actually a politician’s job.

          Are you paid to comment here, HS?

        • AmaKiwi

          @ Darien Fenton

          I, too, appreciate your sharing on The Standard.

          The opposite of “love” is not “hate.” The opposite of love is being ignored. Whether you and I agree or disagree on a particular question, it is important that we respect each other enough to carry on a conversation.

          We need each other. I need you and the Labour MP’s to represent me. You need us to get you back into Parliament. Unfortunately, this relationship is strained at the moment.

      • Rosie 13.2.3

        “I’m sure many other readers appreciate you popping in”.

        Yes, I do for one. As a regular Standard reader and occasional commentor, I would welcome communication from our MP’s. I hope they aren’t put off by the rudeness of a few.

        Thanks to Darien for contributing.

    • rosy 13.3

      Of course it’s worth the effort, Darien. Communicating with voters is always worth the effort, and when you have a platform to correct a misconception it’s a win for you to use it, despite some idiot comments. With practise it’s easier to ignore them 😉

      What I’d like is some kind of follow-up on those jobs. E.g. we’re still just guessing on the numbers of full-time, part-time and casual jobs that were created. And, did any NZers develop a more highly-skilled workforce and do those people still have jobs here? How does that work out in terms of subsidy cost per job?

      Key & Co seem to always have a supporting or deflecting statement on the tip of the tongue – it’s usually bull, but the public sees them saying something and that appears good enough. Labour doesn’t seem to be able to create the impression that it has background data to support statements made or to make various links like between the Hobbit and Hillside employment situations.

      Hobbit job data needed to be out as soon as Winston got the publicity from his OIA, otherwise 3,000 full-time jobs cements itself in the public mind.

      • Mike 13.3.1

        As far as the actual on set shooting side of things goes, they’re not creating long term full time jobs obviously, they’re just contracting out some temporary work. They have a need for an assistant director for example. An existing assistant director in NZ is contracted to work on the Hobbit and then goes and finds work on some other production at the end of the contract period.They don’t hire any employees, they just contract out work.

        Would be interesting to see what was included in the 3000 in regards to sub contracting also. For example, they would have contracted a Key Grip (essentially the company the Key Grip owns). This company would then contract the staff it needs to fulfill the contract. Often, the majority of the grips will be already working for the key grip. So they might be claiming say creating 30 grip jobs when in reality they’ve just contracted 1 company who already has 30 grips working for it.

        A large percentage of the crew who worked on Hobbit would have somehow found work on other productions had Hobbit not been made here. Did the unemployment benefit figures have a sudden jump on the day that principle filming on Hobbit finished? I doubt it. At the same time, did the unemployment benefit figures have a sudden dip on the day shooting started? I doubt it.

        I feel I haven’t explained my point very well at all here

        Anyway, I know what I’m trying to say…..

  12. AmaKiwi 14

    The best proposal I have heard for jobs and the economy is for the government to confer with industry, labour, city planners, environmentalists, local bodies, universities, . . . everyone to target what kind of industries the country should focus on. Which industries can produce long term wealth (competitive advantage) while at the same time protecting people, communities, and the environment.

    The next step is to determine what needs to be done to make it happen: changes to infrastructure, regulations, education, training, etc.

    I cannot mention who proposed this in a speech a year ago because he is persona non grata and has gone to ground. Hint: his initials are DC and he is a Labour MP.

    • MrV 14.1

      Go live in a communist country – see how much you like it, for that is what you have just described, central planning..
      Who are these people with such divine knowledge of the future, certainly not ” city planners, environmentalists, local bodies, universities”.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        We need to plan for the future man. There is of course no 100% certainty to the future (that’s why it’s called the future, genius) but we still need to be ready for it and to plan for it.

        Not your blind for the money rush over the edge of the capitalist cliff.

        Go live in a communist country – see how much you like it, for that is what you have just described, central planning..

        You know that NASA reaching the moon was a centrally planned venture in a democratic country, right? You sorta need to wake up.

      • Mike 14.1.2

        Every country in the developed world has central planning to some degree or other. Are we a communist country? We do after all have a central bank and public policies which are planned by central government. twat.

        In saying that, I am personally of the opinion that evolution = decentralization

        You can’t compare communism and capitalism. Communism is a political system whereas capitalism is an economic system.

        • AmaKiwi


          1. “evolution = decentralization.” Are multi-nationals an example of decentralization because everywhere I look small businesses are being taken over or driven out of business by giant multi-nationals. Mike, you are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts.

          2. If capitalism is not a political system, why are people on The Standard always ranting about the main stream media and how it is controlled by big business interests? If capitalism is not a political system, why do we allow corporations to contribute even one cent to politicians?

          • Mike


            1. No, in my opinion multi-nationals are an example of centralization. They are a tighter and tighter concentration of power and influence in many different countries into smaller and smaller sets of hands

            2. Capitalism is not a political system, that doesn’t mean that capitalists won’t try and influence (buy) policy direction. We shouldn’t allow corporations to contribute money to politics. We allow it because the politicians we vote into governments are generally self serving c***s.

      • AmaKiwi 14.1.3


        I didn’t realize Japan is a communist country.

        The Japanese government does not OWN the industries. A Japanese government agency helped everyone arrive at plans to decide which industries the country should develop.

        Now please don’t go on a Japan bashing binge. Japan arose from ashes and in less than 50 years was second only to the USA in GDP (with less than half the US population).

        Who are these people who did the planning? Obviously not people like MrV because they believed coordinated planning is more productive than rabid individualism.

        • McFlock

          nah, the only consultation that needs to be done is to ask BusinessNZ and Fonterra which environmental and safety regulations they want erased today /sarc

      • tracey 14.1.4

        Certainly not economists and faux farmers and currency traders

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.5

        Go live in a communist country – see how much you like it, for that is what you have just described, central planning..

        You mean like Canterbury under Gerry Brownlee and its commissioners?

  13. Darien Fenton 15

    @felixviper, McFlock and Amakiwi : Thanks.

    • Craig Glen viper 15.1

      Welcome to the Dark room Darien, just remember as a blogger you and your opinions dont count according to Mr Shearer. Oh and no crying foul when people tell you what they think either please.

  14. bad12 16

    Another Labour politician, round of applause, no seriously, good to see the willingness to engage, best advice as stated above is to ignore the snide illiterates, answering them simply emboldens their sense of self…

  15. BLiP 17


    Another one for the list. Keep it up, John, I’m lovin’ it.

    – I didn’t know about The Bretheren election tactics

    – I’m Jewish/Christian/Agnostic

    – “If they came to us now with that proposal [re trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime], we will sign it.”

    – 1981

    – Tranzrail shares

    – Lord Ashcroft

    – National Ltd™ would have sent troops into Iraq

    – Standard & Poors credit downgrade

    – “I didn’t say I want wages to drop”

    – the real figure of inflation is 3.3 percent.

    – the tourism sector has not lost 7,000 jobs

    – “I won’t raise GST:

    – the purchase of farmland, by overseas buyers will be restricted to ten farms per purchase

    – Capping, not cutting the public service,

    – “North of $50 a week”

    – Privatisation won’t significantly help the economy

    – Wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones

    – “I never offered Brash a diplomatic job in London”

    – Kiwisaver

    – National Ltd™ is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector

    – Tax cuts won’t require additional borrowing

    – “Our amendments to the ETS ensure we will continue to do our fair share internationally”

    – We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations

    – “we [NZ} have grown for eight of the last nine quarters”

    – National Ltd™ will tender out the government banking contract

    – “…we will be back in surplus by 2014-15…”

    – “…unemployment is starting to fall…”

    – “…we have created 45,000 jobs…”

    – “…we are likely to create 170,000 jobs in the next 4 years…”

    – I don’t know if I own a vineyard

    – The Isreali spy killed in the Christchurch quake had “only one” passport

    – The Police will not need to make savings by losing jobs

    – GCSB x 3 (that we know about)

    – “I voted to keep the drinking age at 20″

    – New Zealand is 100% Pure

    – “I’ve been prime minister for four years, and it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year”

    – Baseball in New Zealand is attracting more government support

    – the public demanded that we change the labour laws for The Hobbit

    – we have delivered 1000 extra doctors in the public service

    – “The Hobbit” created 3000 new jobs

    • McFlock 17.1

      I like the list, but the religion question makes me wince. It’s probably been raised before, though.

      I’m really not sure it is on the same level of public interest as everything else, and depending on context of each question really isn’t misleading – they can all be true-ish, especially at different times. And I think it detracts from the list by loading it with historical baggage far in excess of any contribution about integrity (or lack thereof) that it might make.

      Other than that, it’s a good list and important in holding key to account for his pulled-from-the-arse lies.

      Speaking of which, my blurry work eyes don’t see “whatever it takes” on the list :)

      • Mike 17.1.1

        There’s no such thing as true-ish. There’s the truth and there’s everything which is not the truth.

        If someone is a Christian, then they definitely are not agnostic, etc,etc,etc.

        • McFlock

          Not really.

          I was born into Christianity, so still have some cultural biases and ethical beliefs from that, even though I don’t particularly believe in god. At one time I did believe. Maybe I will again tomorrow. Maybe I don’t know which brand of christianity is right, but think one or all of them must be. And throw a combined religious/cultural heritage into the mix, so maybe I don’t eat shellfish but nor do I observe various rituals or gatherings, and who the fuck knows what label would be a categorical truth. An answer that is not misleading in one context might be in another. Is the dude who only does Mass on Christmas a Christian? What about the dude who goes weekly, but is a fucking banker?

          But my main point is that I don’t see it as important to the role, and an issue personal enough that he’s perfectly entitled to call himself whatever he wants without being corrected by anyone else.

          Heh. Usually I’m the binary thinker in the group. Maybe that’s why – in staff meetings if people are debating minutae that I consider arbitrarily unimportant (e.g. shade of branding style, or formatting alignments) I’ll just tune out until someone tells me exactly what to do. :)

          • Mike

            In my opinion a Christian (or any other person who follows any particular organised religion) is someone who lives their life entirely based upon Christian beliefs. For example to be a true Christian, you must believe without a doubt that the bible is the word of God. If you don’t, then you might be trying to become a Christian but you aren’t a Christian. Just my opinion of course but where organised religion is concerned I don’t like blurred boundaries, it leads to mental disorders and conflict.

            I disagree with your main point. His religion obviously is not important or relevant to me as long as it doesn’t affect his ability to do the job. However, if he chops and changes in belief, that to me speaks alot about the type of mindset he has. If a person can change their spiritual belief easily, then I doubt they will present as a stable, secure, trusted leader. I for one do not trust John Key. In saying that, I believe all organised religion is a crock.

            Totally get you on the binary thinker thing, although I don’t tune out, I tell them that the things they’re debating are unimportant! (to my downfall at times)

            • McFlock

              to a certain extent, this is similar to the “where does ‘left’ become ‘neoliberal’?” debate that’s surfaced here just a bit :)

              You might argue that he’s not a “true” Christian, but he never claimed to be. Just to live his life along “Christian values”: considering what his audience was like, he probably is.

              At worst, he spoke vaguely enough about his beliefs that anyone reading it can take whatever they want, and his wording each time (while not inaccurate) was chosen to imply significant commonality with his audience.

              It’s slippery, but it isn’t lying or indicative of inconsistent beliefs.

              • Mike

                Fair enough. But it’s still just politics, trying to appeal to both sides. I doubt he has a religious bone in his body. He;s all about the money. (Then again, so are many religions)

                Slippery is a perfect description.

        • AmaKiwi


          Wrong again. There are Christian agnostics. I know some of them who are clergy in mainstream Christian denominations.

          • tracey

            really? How do you believe in jesus christ as the son of god as an agnostic?

            Great list though, very sobering…

          • Mike

            Again?? Where was I wrong previously??

            Agnostic Christian? hahaha

            If a clergyman doesn’t know if there is or isn’t a God, then why the fuck does he eat the “body” of God’s son and drink the “blood” of God’s son? For someone to describe themselves as a Christian Agnostic, in my opinion, is someone who is having a bob each way. They lack the conviction of their beliefs. If I was a newcomer to church, looking for salvation and a priest told me that he didn’t know if there is a God or not, I would think to myself what the fuck is he a priest for then?! After all, priests are supposedly the conduit between worshippers and God, who teach the word of God. Would you trust a teacher who doesn’t believe what they are teaching?

            Anyway, each to their own, but I will never be convinced that an agnostic can call themselves a Christian. I am agnostic I guess if you were to label me. I believe in God, but I cannot prove there is a God and my God (if that’s what you want to call it) certainly doesn’t behave like the God written about in the Christian bible and can’t be attributed with human characteristics. I was brought up not as a Christian as such but as a typical westerner, my religious experience is as a Christian. I am not an agnostic Christian, I am agnostic. I do however think there are good messages in religion. But I don’t need religion to teach me to be kind to other people or not to kill other people and so on.

            Back to priests, I still don’t get it. If you are a true believer, why would you need a priest? Just have a chat to God yourself, that way there’s no chance of the message being distorted.

            • McFlock

              You do realise that a lot of Anglicans and Protestants don’t believe in the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation?

              Lol – I recall an old Yes Prime Minister episode where he’s given a choice of two bishops to nominate for Archbishop of Canterbury: one was a marxist, the other just an atheist. A bishop that believed in god wasn’t on the table :)

              • Mike

                The real problem I have with the Catholic doctrine is that you aren’t allowed to masturbate.

      • BLiP 17.1.2


        Thanks for your feedback and, fair nuff about the religion angle.

        Some background: Key’s statements on his religion were noted here at The Standard in March 2008. (I wonder if the author got it from Finlay McDonald’s “The Audacity of Hype” speech to the Centre of Science Communication several days earler?? Findlay presented Key’s willingness to lie about religion as one of a number of examples of his mendacious approach to politics.) From the link, you will see that John Key told: Victoria University’s Salient “I’m not deeply religious, and I don’t believe in life after death.’, the conservative Christian magazine Investigate “I have lived my life by Christian principles.”, and the Jewish Chronicle “I will be the third Jewish prime minister in New Zealand”. Finlay’s point was that John Key will say whatever he thinks his immediate audience wants to hear, or at least he did when starting out.

        I suppose one can live their life by Christian values and not be a Christian, which, I guess, could also mean that they are not “deeply religious”, but is that consistent with describing oneself as “Jewish” and similtaneously living by Christian values? So, are they “lies”; individually, probably not but collectively . . . ??? I dunno. I’ll ask around. I can understand a squeamish reaction when it comes to the area of personal beliefs and that item in my list might detract from its wider usefulness.

        Hmmm . . .

        • BLiP


          EDIT: Actually, Finlay’s point was that John Key will lie but, more importantly, the media will let him get away with it. Not so much these days but certainly in the run up to the 2008 election when “hype” became more important than fact-checking. Deliberately? You decide.

        • McFlock

          I don’t think those things are at all exclusive, given the sociocultural mutts most of us are.

          Especially “living by Christian values” – conservative Christians tend to miss most of the New Testament (except Revelations and the few bits where JC opened the can of holy whoop-ass). But they fucking love Leviticus and Deuteronomy. So he could be practising Orthodox and still be “living by [those] Christian[s’] values”. But then combo it with Salient and we’re probably just back to bending the Ten Commandments every so often with the “covet” thing like most of us (especially MY neighbour’s ass – hothothot), and not liking shrimp.

          I mean, I get that he was obviously tailoring his answers to what he thought the audiences wanted to hear, but none of them are demonstrably false (we-ell maybe the “Christian principles” thing, but there’s a load of churchy folk way ahead of him in the queue for that one. Starting with “I forget helicopters” Banks on down). I just think it’s so minor as to detract from the list.

          Edit: just saw your edit. It probably was more worthwhile at the time, back before Key gave us such a wealth of evidence at his having multiple faces that rotate like a Rubiks Cube.

          • BLiP


            Edit: just saw your edit. It probably was more worthwhile at the time, back before Key gave us such a wealth of evidence at his having multiple faces that rotate like a Rubiks Cube.

            Well . . . the media, when caught up in hype, is still prone to letting John Key get away with telling lies. Listen here at 08:35 as John Key tells a journalist New Zealanders protested the government to change the law to strip Kiwi workers of their rights – actually, that whole story is worth listening to in regard to The Hobbit hype. Long live MediaWatch.

            As for the religious “thing”, as a person “of faith” myself, deeply irked I am by tricksy Key, but point taken.

        • karol

          “Jewish” can refer to ethnicity.

          The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation.

  16. AmaKiwi 18

    Anyone want to get back to the issue of jobs?

    If we lose jobs at the rate of Greece and Spain we will end up with riots in the streets and then a violent revolution.

    That is NOT a future I want.

    Note: The French Revolution started when one third of the people in Paris were homeless (destitute). Joblessness is serious shit!

    • Murray Olsen 18.1

      If Australia loses jobs at half the rate of Greece or Spain, Aotearoa will end up with rioting in the streets. Australian environmental rape and maltreatment of their indigenous people is saving New Zealand capitalism for now.

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