John Key, Minister for Overseas Holidays

Written By: - Date published: 5:41 am, January 11th, 2010 - 83 comments
Categories: john key, Minister for Overseas Holidays - Tags:

Happy new year! If you’re lucky enough to be on a bit of a break overseas say ‘Hi’ to Prime Minister John Key for me, since it’s out of the country where he’s likely to be.

It’s no surprise Rodney Hide thinks John Key doesn’t do anything.  Key has been out of the country for almost a quarter of his Government’s first year.  From the day John Key was sworn in, to the end of the first Parliamentary year under his leadership, Key has been absent from the country for 90 days or 3 months – at least half of that on holiday.

This break our PM and Minister of Tourism been back holidaying in Hawaii after telling everyone on the Edge radio station to enjoy New Zealand.  What an advertisement for the country “It’s a great place, but not good enough for me”.

OK OK, you’re right. Being Prime Minister does require you to be out and about a lot, showcasing the country and all that. But comparing apples to apples, Helen Clark was overseas for just 35 days of her first year 1999/2000  – and as far as I can tell, it was all work-related.

What is it about running New Zealand that scares Mr Key into continuous bouts of overseas holidays? Or is he just lazy?

Top 3 overseas holidays

1) During the last summer holiday period (08/09) Key spent a whopping 19 days in Hawaii. The tan must’ve worked, because he’s back there right now.

2) In October last year Key was back in the US of A for another 12 days. This time enjoying the cosmopolitan surroundings of New York, and re-working that tan in sunny Florida.

3) Trinidad and Tobago was a lovely place for the two day CHOGM conference in December 09. What was even more lovely however was the extra 7 days Mr Key got to work on his tan… Seriously, it was fading.

Total countries visited by Key from taking office in 2008 till end of 2009: Peru, UK, USA, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Thailand, China, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Niue, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Denmark (17 countries)

83 comments on “John Key, Minister for Overseas Holidays”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Envy is an ugly thing Eddie.

    • Eddie 1.1

      Not remotely envious, ts. I just want a prime minister that does his job.

      Tell me. When you voted for John Key, did you expect that he would spend 2 months of his first 14 in office on overseas holidays?

  2. Noo 2

    Do you think Cruisin Chris Carter is envious too?

  3. mike 4

    Get a life you bitter little pinko stalker..

    • Sam 4.1

      Hahahahahahah that’s rich coming from the crowd who bend over for the biggest scumbag stalker of them all – blow hole.

  4. Maybe Key’s misunderstood what being Minister of Tourism means?
    It would explain his enthusiam for the appointment.

  5. Hm. Wingnuts are using argument A, blame someone else, say that the lefties were doing it too.

    This is one piece of evidence pointing to Key’s major weakness. He is not on top of the job. He does not know what his ministers are doing or the implications of their policy decisions. He is not achieving anything himself. He faced the biggest economic crisis in decades ans his response was to hold a day get together, come up with a 9 day fortnight that saved few if any jobs, and talk about a biketrail.

    He is a do nothing Prime Minister and taking extended holidays is obviously one of the reasons for this and a legitimate point of debate.

    Compare him with Helen. She was a machine. She was competent, knew Ministers’ portfolios better than they did and managed difficult multi party governments for 9 years.

    New Zealand was in a far better place back under Helen.

  6. Noo 7

    “Hm. Wingnuts are using argument A, blame someone else, say that the lefties were doing it too.”

    Where? Not this thread buddy boy.

    • Noo

      Where? Not this thread buddy boy.

      Um, here.

      Do you think Cruisin Chris Carter is envious too?

      • Noo 7.1.1

        I was noting that even Eddie & C Carter would be envious of Keys itinerary.

        There was no “Hm. Wingnuts are using argument A, blame someone else, say that the lefties were doing it too.’ as you said

        I previously stated in rebuttal of your comment Mickey – but you or your colleague deleted that.

        Why?

        [lprent: Why? Yes why indeed.

        There were some comments in spam from you. I didn’t pop them there and I couldn’t see why moderator would either.

        That means the wordpress anti-spam engine did. I tend to wipe anything in spam unless I know the commentator. You I don’t know.

        So I’d guess that you’ve made a nuisance of yourself elsewhere and they fed your comments to the anti-spam engine. Looks like you’ve been a bad troll in the past somewhere and have a very bad reputation that has followed you here. Either that or it thinks taht your comments look like spam. In either case it is your problem. ]

        • Noo 7.1.1.1

          No to all counts lprent. The comments were posted and not with-held in a spam cue. The post was removed post-post so to speak. I’m not sure why as I was only explaining my comments that were misconstrued (?on purpose?) by Mickey. Either way I’m not that concerned but it would be nice to be able to respond to erroneous suggestions.

          IrishBill: I banned you for a week while you were posting as “yess” and deleted your later posts. I’ve just made that two weeks.

          [lprent: I just ran back through your aliases and I see that I banned you before xmas for a quite distasteful comment. Now added to auto-moderation. ]

  7. Ignoring the usual pot/kettle stuff developed so far in this thread, I agree that Key has had too many holidays. The impression he gives is of a lazy dilettante PM. Look at the inadequate response NZ has given to the Sea Shepherd issue.

    • DavidW 8.1

      Really, I thought McCully gave them a very pointed and considered response on behalf of the Government.

      Not everyone believes the Sea Shepherd bulldust Galeandra

      • snoozer 8.1.1

        wasn’t his response that if people want to kill Kiwis on the high seas, the New Zealand Government will do nothing about it? http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/srpt/2010/01/08/foreign_minister_defends_antarctica_crash_response

        What a great government.

      • rainman 8.1.2

        The “Sea Shepherd bulldust” is irrelevant – NZ’ers lives were threatened by the Japanese actions (at least it seems so from the evidence to hand; there’s certainly the case for an investigation). It’s basically attempted murder. Do-Even-Less McCully is not doing his job by letting this pass by without protesting to the Japanese about their actions.

        No surprise there.

        • DavidW 8.1.2.1

          All I am saying is that “inadequate” is a measure that is entirely in the mind of the person making that statement. Just as my contention that McCully’s response was “adequate” in the circumstances. If NZ’ers want to go outside our territorial waters and place their own lives knowingly at risk to make a point, it is not our Government’s responsibility to save them from themselves in any way other than to caution them about the risks (which was done many times). Certainly putting more people in harms way would not be acceptable.

          Otherwise our state apparatus will be committed all round the planet trying to save kiwis from the results of their own stupidity. Harmeet Sooden = a case study in idiocy. About the best that can realistically be done is for diplomatic representations to be made which is plainly not an option in the Southern Ocean (Australia’s Territorial waters I believe).

  8. quenchino 9

    Come on Eddie… all these holidays are an essential component of policy development for our PM… how the hell else do you think he gets to be so relaxed about everything?

  9. Sanctuary 10

    But if you are a hard working self-employed plumber in Papakura, six weeks holiday is aspirational!!!!

  10. gitmo 11

    Was this one of the smear strategies discussed at Otaki ?

    Meh I don’t think it’ll be that successful, comes across as a bit silly.

    • Eddie 11.1

      “discussed at Otaki”

      What, do you think I’m having meetings with Nathan Guy?

      I try to avoid Otaki, to be honest.

    • quenchino 11.2

      It’s a smear if it’s a lie… this is a fact.

      When did you last get 2 months holiday in a little over 14? Especially in the first year on the job? Tell us about your reaction if a Labour govt proposed changing the Holidays Act to extend this kind of entitlement to all workers?

      • gitmo 11.2.1

        I think NZ would potentially be a far better place if all our politicians spent more time offshore…… we could also move parliament to somewhere like Kabul.

        • Tigger 11.2.1.1

          The truth of it is the any critique of Key, justified or not, appears to bounce off his spin and be dismissed as smear. Which is a problem, mostly for Key. It’s hard to imagine he can improve in the job if no one, including his own side, can seem to land any constructive comments on him. He must be feeling very teflon at the moment. I think that’s a dangerous situation for a leader.

        • Bored 11.2.1.2

          Im with you here, dont understand why anybody would really want Key or any of his team to be in the country at all. Please somebody keep him away more…..

    • lprent 11.3

      Nope. This post has been sitting on the queue for over a week. The title is pretty damn accurate and I’ve been laughing about it all week when I’ve seen it.

  11. Tigger 12

    Who are you and why are you such a dick?

  12. Gosman 13

    Doesn’t John Key own a Holiday home in Hawaii? If so isn’t it kind of idiotic to querry why he goes back to the place?

    BTW this reads suspiciously like Republican smeer attacks on Obama who is also holidaying in Hawaii. Do you support that sort of tactics generally or just when it involves Right of Center Politicians?

    • Eddie 13.1

      I don’t think that Obama has had 2 months off in 14.

      Tell me, Gosman, do you get 7 weeks paid holiday a year? Are you happy that the PM you employ takes that much?

      • Razorlight 13.1.1

        Can you give us the dates of those holidays so that we can verify this with his office?

    • prism 13.2

      Gosman if you know that both Obama and John Key are in Hawaii, can you advise whether they are in the same place? And hopefully, likely to meet and bring about world peace? Now that would be a holiday worth having.

    • lprent 13.3

      Ummm are you going to ask the same of the wingnuts doing the same kinds of things about Helens marriage to Peter. Basically if the wankers of the right wish to get their jollies slavering over that, then looking at JKs holidays is absolutely civilised by comparison.

      If you weren’t one of the wankers doing it, I’d be very surprised. I can look it up if you wish. But in the end it makes the wankers around the fundie churches and sniggering adolescently in the sewers of the right look like hypocrites to then get upset when the left wants to look at the performance of JK. At least that is relevant to the job.

      Incidentally if I see too much trolling using your line – I will simply start to ban for being a hypocrite.

      • Gosman 13.3.1

        Are you directing this at me lprent?

        If so then go ahead and look up whether I had a problem with anything Helen Clark did in her private life. I don’t think you will find anything I have stated that is negative. What people do outside their official capacity is their own business.

    • richard 13.4

      1. Hawaii is part of the United States, therefore this is a domestic holiday for Obama.
      2. Obama grew up in Hawaii. It is like John Key going back to Bryndwyr for his hols.
      But John Key is just like Obama, so he is probably chuffed by the comparison.
      As a toursim operator, it would be a nice boost if our PM could actually bring himself to suffer a holiday in NZ. I imagine somewhere like Poodlenui would be his cup of tea. Can’t quite imagine him crossing Ball Pass like a previous PM.

  13. tsmithfield 14

    To be fair, MP’s and especially a PM do work extremely long hours. I understand that under the holidays act, holidays accrue on the basis of hours worked. So even on a level playing field with everyone else, the PM may be justified in taking the holidays.

    I expect he probably takes his laptop and government papers with him too, so I wouldn’t say that it would be a work-free holiday.

    Finally, I understand that Key gives back a lot of his salary anyway, so I wouldn’t begrudge him a few holidays extra.

    • Bright Red 14.1

      Yeah, I bet you would be saying that if Clark had taken 2 months holiday as well.

      And I don’t vote for a PM so I can get part of the wages back, I want them doing their bloody job, the wages are incidential.

      This is just the overseas holidays too, has he taken any domestic ones? I think he was on holiday during the Mt Albert byelection?

    • lprent 14.2

      Finally, I understand that Key gives back a lot of his salary anyway, so I wouldn’t begrudge him a few holidays extra.

      That is his choice – it is not part of the terms of employment. I do begrudge him it. If he wants to laze about then he should have gone for a different job.

  14. Gosman 15

    I don’t think you actually know how much time off Obama has had. Certainly the US President has the ability to be away from the center of Politics in Washington D.C. for extended periods so it is entirely conceivable that he has taken a large amount of leave. Regardless if someone is away on official leave it is highly doubtful he won’t be working. I’m sure Obama was actively engaged about the attempted terrorist attack while he was on holiday, (which he has been attacked by Republicans for not coming back to Washington).

    I have two views on this.

    One – John Key is likely still working even on Holday just like Obama and other leaders do.

    Two – I don’t place as much faith as you obviously do in political leaders solving all our problems. I’d like to think that sometimes it is beneficial when they do less and not more.

    • I’m sure Obama was actively engaged about the attempted terrorist attack while he was on holiday

      What about the terrorist attack by the Japanese on a New Zealand boat and on 5 kiwis? Where was Key on this issue?

      One John Key is likely still working even on Holday just like Obama and other leaders do.

      Said without a skerret of proof. Such touching blind loyalty.

      The right are using this to say that the left are obsessed with Key and are engaging in personal attacks. They miss the point. It is becoming more and more obvious that Key is not in control of this Government and it is lurching from stuff up to stuff up. Being on Holiday for 2 months in 14 actually explains a lot.

      And the nats made much of their “action government” in the first 100 days of their reign. This is a very legitimate topic for debate.

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        For a governments supposedly lurching from stuff up to stuff up it is surprising popular still, don’t you think?

        Also for a political leader to be so not in control of the situation John Key is amazingly high in the prefered PM stakes, wouldn’t you agree?

        • Bright Red 15.1.1.1

          Gosman. Is that all you look for in a government and PM? Popularity?

          And if 50% of people jumped off a cliff, would you extoll it as a good idea?

          Honestly, are you sweet with a PM that takes 2 out of 14 months off on overseas holidays?

        • rainman 15.1.1.2

          @Gosman: That’s because NZ voters are idiots! 🙂

          • Gosman 15.1.1.2.1

            Once again the underlying intellectual arrogance of someone on the left comes out in a post here.

            Democracy sucks doesn’t it rainman?

          • mike 15.1.1.2.2

            Thats what Hels thought until she got a good hammering

      • DavidW 15.1.2

        It is “skerrick: mickey. You should realise that integration means more than adopting a pen name that passes you off as a native.

      • jcuknz 15.1.3

        WHAT Terrorist attack? A bunch of clueless kiwis get their boat in front of a japanese boat whose bridge couldn’t see where they were going for the water cannons … Stupid irresponsible so called seamanship in my opinion as a sea going boatie. My impression of the footage was that the japanese boat knew they were somewhere on the starboard bow and were moving to port to avoid them … it could have been just the swell that created that impression but it seemed that way to me. The kiwis were playing chicken and got run over, their bluff was called.

        • mickysavage 15.1.3.1

          You have to be joking. The Ady Gil was virtually stationary and the Japanese Ship changed course to hit it. And the Japanese ships were breaching International Law by hunting an endangered species.

          How much terrorism do you want?

          And as for this:

          Stupid irresponsible so called seamanship in my opinion as a sea going boatie. My impression of the footage was that the japanese boat knew they were somewhere on the starboard bow and were moving to port to avoid them it could have been just the swell that created that impression but it seemed that way to me. The kiwis were playing chicken and got run over, their bluff was called.

          So let me get this right, in your opinion the Japanese may have been moving to the left, but maybe not but the Kiwis were definately moving to the left to get their tiny carbon fibere boat as close to a 8,000 tonne icebreaker as possible?

          WTF?

      • mike 15.1.4

        “What about the terrorist attack by the Japanese on a New Zealand boat and on 5 kiwis? Where was Key on this issue?”

        Hello idiot – the sea shepard was attacking a ship legally (not that I support it) going about its business. If these fools want to kill each other on the high seas then go for it but they shouldn’t come cyring to our Govt when they get smacked..

    • Bright Red 15.2

      actually Gosman, the activities of the President are very open to the public and people do keep records of the leave they take.

      His predecessor, the Vacation President, spent 100 days a year at his ranch, his family holiday home, or the Presidential retreat. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/03/04/BL2008030401392.html

  15. Razorlight 16

    Can you please give us those dates of the ‘holidays’ so that I can verify this with his office. I can then see whether he is lazy or you are telling us bullshit

  16. Jcw 17

    Like others have said I very much doubt that Key abandons work on his holidays. Its simply common sencse, I have never met somebody in a senior position in politics or business who is free of work on holiday.

    Mickysavage, how is it obvious that Key is not in control of his government? He also hardly seems to be lurching from stuff up to stuff.

    • Bright Red 17.1

      In three weeks, Key has made one public statement. I think that counts as not working. Sure, he’ll get a few papers to read now and then, but he’s not acutally doing any prime ministering.

      Mate, if you don’t think they’ve been goign from stuff up to stuff up, you haven’t been paying attention. The guy nearly had to call a snap election last year as his coalition threatened to implode.

  17. DavidW 18

    Not having the PM of the day in my face with continued statements and declarations of meaningless propaganda is proving to be a refreshing and pleasant change. It actually means that we, the people, are actually being trusted to get on with our lives in ways that we see fit without being told what to do, how to do it or to whom it should be done, by someone who considers that they know better than we do. How brilliant is that for all freedom-loving people in a genuine democracy.

    One thing is for sure, John Key is contactable (and I’ll warrant is briefed hourly/daily as necessary)and could be back here in the event of an emergency far, far quicker than the PM who skived off to a remote Finnish (or was it Norwegian?) mountain hut that had no cellphone reception.

    • David W

      She worked prodigious hours and had a good grasp of Government.

      The National Party mouthpiece said of her

      Helen Clark led the country through all but the last year of the decade that passes tonight. The quality of her leadership impressed both friend and foe, as evidenced by this award.

      Her National successor has not hidden his willingness to consult her when possible and his own caution in office appears to have been learned from observing her for nine assured years.

  18. BLiP 19

    You forgot the lovely week The Goober spent with his family in China that was tagged on to the end of his official visit, plus that long weekend at Huka Lodge when Melissa Lee was left swinging in the wind.

  19. Bill 20

    Government doesn’t run on the back of a single individual. So what if JK has fucked of to Hawaii for however long?

    You guys voted for a government to hold sway over umpteen aspects of your lives, not an individual.

    JK is a figurehead…a brand….a soap suds ad. We know that. And JK is on holiday. Good.

    Use his holiday leave as a benchmark in negotiations or whatever…oh, but I forgot. That’s one of those areas that’s all tied up with ‘voted in to do it’ government legislation and so you can’t really negotiate on it. Oh well.

    Enjoy work. And keep on voting ’cause it’s bound to get you…… far?

  20. Anne 21

    @ David W. The Sea Shepherd bulldust? If there is any – and I have seen no reliable evidence of it – then it’s only in response to the Japanese bulldust.

    Example: we want to kill 900 whales in the southern oceans this year for research purposes. Now that’s bulldust!

  21. revisionist 22

    Revisionist editing going on eh boys and girls trying to make it look like your being reasonable.

    Sad sad sad little lives.

  22. Mr Key is an amateur politician, making no long-term career of the job, and, I understand, taking a pretty hands-off approach to his ministerial colleagues. In terms of the performance of rhe job, which is the only important criterion, his absence in Hawaii is of no import – at least, it will not reduce such performance as is identifiable. Government would not have been improved by his presence here!

    Tactically,diversion into personal nit-picking with Mr Key is, for the moment, unproductive for the Left. We have bigger fish to fry. For example, I’m still waiting for the LP to answer their rhetorical question in Otaki: who is Labour for?

    • Who or what?

      The answer is that the Labour continues to stand for what it always has stood for. Rights for the working class, democracy, an independent voice in International Relations, help for the poor and a safety net for those in need. And there is a modern tinge to the core beliefs that includes support for protection of the environment and support for ethnic communities.

      That is the Readers Digest version of Labour’s beliefs, in my humble opinion.

      Good question though and something that the party has been agonising over for the past 12 months.

      BTW what does the national party stand for?

      • gitmo 23.1.1

        And here’s me thinking that Labour stood for much the same as National promis the world prior to the election then proceed with pay rises for themselves, jobs for their mates and as much gorging on the public teat as humanly possible.

        • mickysavage 23.1.1.1

          Nah Gitmo. Remember that Helen said that the country faced an extreme depression and that all promises were off. The only thing they did was promise a stimulus package which would have been better than the nats.

          Just as well Cullen paid off all of that debt, otherwise we would have been in deep doo doo.

  23. TB 24

    I seem to remember Helen Clark having numerous overseas holidays as well.

  24. Jenny 25

    There is a reason Key has his holidays in Hawaii.

    It is a rich man’s paradise. (but hell for everyone else)

    By taking holidays in Hawaii John Key, through the bars of his gated community, gets to witness the neo-liberal miracle that is the Hawaiian economy.

    He will be able to absorb from his rich neighbours the many whacky right wing theories, he will need to justify using the same poisoness medicine on the New Zealand economy when he gets back.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-12-19-hawaii-cuts_N.htm

    Similar proposed attacks on teachers and projected cuts to public services and infrastructure that have occurred in Hawaii, have been muted by the Nats for us for the coming months.

    Modelling the New Zealand economy on the Hawaiian experience, which while protecting the wealth and privilege of the few, will have the same dire results for for the rest of us as in Hawaii.

    In Hawaii things are working out well for the rich and privileged, the effects of mass unemployment matched with gutting of the state sector doesn’t effect them.

    So in some ways by taking in this experience, John Key could said to be working after all.

    (Or as close to working as his knowledge of work is.

    • Bill 25.1

      Here’s one for Johnny Boy from Chris Hedges column. Damned fine read about the corporate cripples…defined as the successful climbers of the corporate ladder. Then some jump to be PM of small S.Pacific nations….

      “Those who advance in these institutions master the art of looking like they are doing more than they are actually doing. It does not matter who does the most. It matters who can take credit for doing the most. And that often means poaching someone else’s work. Friendship becomes a meaningless word. So does compassion. So does honesty. So does truth. By any standard comprehensible within the tradition of Western civilization these people are illiterate. They cannot recognize the vital relationship between power and morality. They have forgotten, or never knew, that moral traditions are the product of civilization. Existence, for them, boils down to one overriding imperative—me, me, me.”

      The whole thing is worth a read.

      http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/wall_street_will_be_back_for_more_20100110/

      • quenchino 25.1.1

        Great link Bill. That Hedges column is absolutely on the nail. I spent 25 years in the corporate world… and somehow I’m not sure I will ever quite heal.

        This is why firms like Goldman Sachs are more dangerous to the nation than al-Qaida.

        For me the final, incontrovertible nail in the coffin was the existence of high speed trading… where a privileged handful of companies like Goldman got to have mega bandwidth pipes into the NYSE playing fully automated trades at millisecond rates, exploiting tiny variations and noise in the prices… to vacuum money out of the system at the expense of ordinary investors who lacked the same insider access.

        That told me that these people had lost all sense of right or wrong and were capable of anything.

      • quenchino 25.1.2

        And Hedge’s CV is impressive too.

    • pollywog 25.2

      …and here was me thinking he might be showing some solidarity with our polynesian bros fighting the white muthafuckas who raped their land

    • Nick 25.3

      Envy will get you nowhere Jenny.

      • snoozer 25.3.1

        No-one’s envious, Nick.

        We just want our employee (who wanted the job so much and knew what it entailed) to show up for work and do a decent job while he’s there.

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