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A plea to National

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, November 27th, 2008 - 91 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, International, john key - Tags:

Don’t let Key go abroad representing us again until he has had some diplomacy training.

I can’t believe, I literally can’t believe, the comments he has made in the UK. In addition to the comments yesterday, where he called the new carbon-offset airport departure tax “protectionism” and said it will lead to a “contagion effect”, he is now reported to have told British Prime Minister (and former Chancellor) Gordon Brown that his new tax policy is “not necessarily rational”.

Think about how this looks to the UK. Key has not actually done the job of Prime Minister for one day and yet here he is in the UK, a guest of the British government, criticising the policies of a government that has been in power eleven years, insulting them in the crudest terms. ‘Who does this guy think he is?’ British leaders will be asking themselves, ‘some puffed up newbie presuming to tell us how to run our country’.

This is not how you do diplomacy, and it’s not how you do diplomacy because it doesn’t work. The UK doesn’t have to listen to us, least of all when we want them to change their policy on something as core to sovereignty as tax policy. If we want them to listen, we have to use constructive language (eg. ‘clearly, New Zealand is very concerned about climate change. We are also economically dependent on tourism and every year hundreds of thousands of people from the UK come to experience our beautiful country. We will be working with our British friends closely to see if it is possible to reduce emissions without making tourism from the UK to New Zealand unaffordable). Key’s comments have not been constructive or even nuanced, they have been plain insulting. Leaders are people too, be rude to them, attack their work, especially when you have just met them and have no experience of your own, and they will not look on your cause fondly. 

No, Key won’t a public dressing down from Brown over this, but that’s not how diplomacy works. The consequences will be far more subtle and far more insidious. Key will have helped to deafen the ears of UK leaders to our voice. National should keep him in New Zealand where he can’t do any more harm (to our international relations at least) and get the competent diplomats like Tim Groser out there to repair the damage so far as it can be.

91 comments on “A plea to National”

  1. gingercrush 1

    lol. There is no diplomatic crisis. There is no murmuring from Britain decrying such comments. John Key said nothing wrong and as usual you take a little piece in a newspaper article and see how far you can spin it.

    Of course you were not concerned when Helen Clark and the Labour party would attack the United States. And for what? To score political points in the debating chamber. And no I’m not talking about the War in Iraq.

  2. jonno 2

    I am worried that he told them that”

    “My mate Rodney told me that climate change is not real anyway, so you guys have nothing to worry about.”

  3. the sprout 3

    True SP.

    I can’t help but wonder that while those at APEC and in the UK smiled and nodded politely, as those who have any sense of diplomacy tend to do in such situations, they were also thinking:

    “Who is this jumped-up mumbling little media whore? Been in the business for all of a week and now he’s telling us what we should be doing.”

    Why, it’s almost like money, a skerric of power and vacuous one-liners don’t seem to impress World Leaders.

  4. “There is no diplomatic crisis. There is no murmuring from Britain decrying such comments.”

    you aren’t really to naive as to think that British leaders would respond by publicly decrying Key’s comments, are you? Like I said, that’s not how diplomacy is conducted.

    I can tell you from experience that diplomats have kittens over far more mild comments than these.

    This is appalling bad diplomacy from Key. No, he won’t a public dressing down from Brown over this, but that’s not how diplomacy works. The consequences will be far more subtle and far more insidious

    And ginger, Clark’s comments about there being no Iraq War if Gore had been elected were also very poorly advised. i seem to remember she retracted them.

  5. gingercrush 5

    There is no media here fearing what John Key said and there is none on the British side either. And why should I take your word. Its clear you’re bias. So bias that John Key can never do anything right. I don’t expect you to like John Key. I know this is a blog for left views etc etc. But you take the smallest details in things and spin it so far that it just looks pathetic.

    And its not like Brown will be Prime Minister for too much longer. And lastly there will be no consequences. John Key was merely relating as TOURISM MINISTER that the plan was insipid. Of course you failed him yesterday. You would have failed him had he not said anything.

    Of course you failed him yesterday for

  6. “John Key was merely relating as TOURISM MINISTER that the plan was insipid”

    now, that’s just dumb. He is Prime Minister first and always.

    And if you think going to countries and calling their tax policies’insipid’ is the way to get them to change those policies perhaps you can get a job with Key.

  7. lukas 7

    Anyone willing to take a small wager on SP not saying anything positive about John Key for the next 18 months?

  8. Stephen 8

    “John Key was merely relating as TOURISM MINISTER that the plan was insipid’

    Heh, who’s spinning now – dizzy? Agree that he is ALWAYS Prime Minister. Might be able to get away with the crap with Winston being part-party leader part-foreign minister (and i’m not sure he did get away with it), but NO WAY that can EVER happen with the Prime Minister!

  9. lukas. i’ll take that bet… the wager might be rigged though.

    and Lukas, being negative is not in itself the same as being wrong. Why don’t you tell me why I’m wrong rather than crying that i’m not being nice enough to poor ol’ johnny.

  10. gingercrush 10

    Yes use of phrase was wrong. I was pointing out that John Key is also Tourism Minister. But it would appear I failed miserably.

  11. Stephen 11

    Well, not many people admit they were wrong in the blogosphere – congrats.

  12. Ianmac 12

    It is early days yet but it must be part of an elected person’s role to face scrutiny. Especially from those who didn’t vote for the elected one. It always seems that those who are strong need little “defensiveness” so I wonder why Gingercrush, and lukas, feel the need to defend at all costs?

  13. Daveski 13

    SP

    There is a delicious irony in your statement that “being negative is not in itself the same as being wrong”.

    I’m sure if you go back to pre-election discussions, there was all sorts of moaning about the consistently negative comments coming from the then National opposition. [I don’t recall criticising negativity in and of itself. SP]

    I’m not expecting you to be positive about Key or National. However, those who bagged National for being consistently negative should be the first to bag you for doing likewise.

    Anyone getting the feeling that the Westminster model is the wrong way to run a country? Good on Key and Clark for discussing things before Key went to APEC. It’s a start.

  14. gingercrush 14

    Eh when I see the National Party or thinking on the right doing something wrong I will call them out. So far I haven’t seen National do anything wrong. Though I did rip into it at kiwiblog over advocating water metering. I’m just as partisan as you lot on the left but when the National party does something wrong I’ll call them out. Not saying you lot on the left don’t call out Labour, but I only really arrived the week before the election so I haven’t seen it.

  15. Andrew 15

    The carbon-offset airport departure tax has nothing to do with climate change and offsetting carbon emissions … it’s a departure tax plain and simple. Brown is in such deep shit over here over the mounting fiscal black hole that he has increased the departure tax to help offset the tax cuts he is now dishing out.

    All the papers over here are saying that it’s a stupid idea.

  16. This is what happens when you elect a Prime Minister who has been in politics 6 years, hasnt taken the time to educate himself on NZ history, and whos only qualification for the role is Money Trading.

    I dont buy the “hes learning, give him a go, its his first performance etc.” argument. If you’re in the top job in the country, you take the time to learn the etiquette. Frankly his first two international outtings have been an embaressment.

    God forbid hes going to be let loose at Gallipoli…

  17. the sprout 17

    “Its clear you’re bias. So bias that…”

    gc, i think you’ll find that when used as an adjective, the word is ‘biased’.

    unless you really mean it as a noun, as in SP is somehow the quintessential embodiment of ‘bias’, the quality or state. that would be overstating things just a touch.

  18. I am bias, hear me roar.

  19. the sprout 19

    “God forbid hes going to be let loose at Gallipoli ”

    Give him enough time and we’ll have our own new Gallipoli. (Only you could be sure Key wouldn’t go anywhere near a new site of military disaster until it was a distant memory.)

  20. Kerry 20

    stupid is as stupid does!

  21. Tigger 21

    Key said he was ready to lead. He’s leading. There is no honeymoon period – just get in and do the damn job already! I agree, these comments are woeful – diplomacy called for a far more stealthy approach on this matter – who is advising Key?

  22. gingercrush 22

    So its alright for Helen Clark to have an almost five year honeymoon and not John Key funny that.

    The comments were not woeful they were very applicable. Its just the left spinning words when there isn’t any.

  23. Mr Magoo 23

    Regardless of bickers on who is bias(d) over what…

    “A plea to National”

    Call me a fool, Steve, but somehow I don’t think they will hear this particular plea.

  24. Janet 24

    Bring back Jonathan Hunt. There is a person who understood diplomacy and how governments work at this level. While the NZ media was cruelly rubbishing him as High Commissioner in London, he was actually very astutely working behind the scenes with the right people and the right up and coming people to ensure NZ was regarded in very good light. That is one reason why Helen’s govt was so successful (she herself was obviously another) at turning around various anti-NZ ideas that arose through the UK bureaucracy. Key obviously hasn’t got a clue, and they will be laughing at him.

  25. Mr Magoo. We have a number of ardent readers in National, so they will hear. Whether they listen is another question.

  26. gingercrush 26

    And you have evidence of this how Janet?

  27. Chrisburger 27

    Steve – I think you may have got this whole faux-outrage thing around the wrong way.

    How is it diplomatically acceptable for the UK Governmnet to announce this on the eve of a visit by the Prime Minister (and Minister of Tourism) of a country that will be affected the most by this new tax? The answer is that it isn’t and is a major diplomatic cock-up by the British. Publically kneecapping like this is not a good way to kick off relations with a long-time ally’s new government.

    Yet you don’t seem to be too critical of the British handling of all this at all. Maybe you should step back and consider the bigger picture rather than honing in solely on the Key response, which I regard as being honest and forthright.

  28. Rex Widerstrom 28

    If Jonathan Hunt was foolish enough to get caught using taxpayer-funded taxis with all the reckless abandon that my son uses his skateboard one does wonder how he suddenly became a sage of diplomacy when in London. Pomposity, gluttony and hubris are part of the currency of diplomacy I guess, so maybe Janet is right.

    As for Key’s performance what I think you’re overlooking, Steve, is the potential for how it will play back home. We Kiwis love having our national inferiority complex assuaged by leaders who “tell it like it is”. Think Lange at the Oxford Union. Think the nuclear ships ban. Then think the release of the Rainbow Warrior bombers from their island jail. We like leaders who “stick it to the man”.

    (Note I’m not equating, say, Lange’s performance with that of Key on an oratorical, moral importance or any level other than how it might play to nationalism).

    As it happens I think Key was right on the “protectionism” issue and could probably have got away with it because it’s an issue that does have the potential to affect New Zealand. That at least gives him the right to an opinion.

    Why the hell he then waded into Britain’s internal policy I don’t know, other than his inexperience. But again I have to ask – where (and who) the hell were his advisors?!

    captcha: corrrespondent gate. Could it be telling us this is a media beat-up?! 😉

  29. Tim Ellis 29

    SP, I don’t think you do yourself much justice when you engage in silly hysteria like this. All of the commentators have observed that Key has done a very good job. With all due respect to you, there are many in the media with far more foreign policy observation than you, who have all praised Key’s work abroad.

    It seems to me that you don’t quite understand how foreign policy works, despite your time in the “diplomatic corp” and in “foreign affairs”. Prime Ministers generally don’t just get up and talk off the cuff when overseas. They get full briefings from officials and advisers beforehand. John Key was even briefed by Helen Clark.

    When David Cohen, Richard Harman, Richard Long, David Barber, Tom Scott, Ian Templeton, Fran O’Sullivan (you know, the old hands at foreign affairs commentary), and co start criticising Key’s performance overseas, then I’ll sit up and take notice. As long as it comes from you, SP, it just looks like another chapter in your NZ Sucks campaign.

  30. Chrisburger. The British Government is announcing its Budget, the departure tax is just part of the tax package that was announced that day. You can’t expect a major country to change its budget timetable for a brief stopover by a new PM from a small country.

  31. bill brown 31

    You’re right, Chrisburger. I bet the British government is breathing a collective sigh of relief that their tourist industry, so dependant on visitors from New Zealand, is not going to be hit because of a counter-tax being levied on departing New Zealanders.

    It was good of Key not to capitalise on the British’s diplomatic faux pas and show them up for the naive operators they obviously are by putting that lucrative trade at risk.

  32. Tim. Desperate line you’re running, basically, you’re saying ‘shut up shut up I don’t want to hear it’. you’re not offering any actual critique of my argument.

    Look at Rex, he’s providing a counter-argument, maybe you could learn something (I accept Rex’s point on the look to us back home but that’s not what I’m concerned with, point scoring at home for damage abroad ain’t a good idea, and, yes, I would argue the anti-nuke situation wasn;t like that)

    Key did speak off the cuff, and it doesn’t matter either way, he is stuffing up.

    You don’t have to read, if you think there is better coverage elsewhere, read that.. Actually, I suspect it’s part of your role to read but you don’t have to comment

    hey, yeah, I left the ‘s’ of dip corps, well done, you’ve got me there.

  33. Mr Magoo 33

    “Whether they listen is another question.”

    I meant that the answer to this question is an obvious no. But hey, one has to try.

    When the revolution comes I guess we can say we tried.

  34. Tim. Rule one of diplomacy, behave diplomatically – ie. don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, don’t say things you might regret, don’t use confrontational language if you want a constructive solution.

  35. rjs131 35

    I wonder how Key managed to win in Helensville. I am sure if Darien Fenton was there as a Prime Minister none of this woudl have happened. I simply find it unbelievable that someone as moronic as Key, as shown by these gaffes, defeated her at the election

  36. Tane 36

    rjs – the MP for Helensville doesn’t automatically get to be PM.

  37. Chrisburger 37

    But that just goes to show what a muck up this was by the British. They knew full-well that they were going to have to announce this in their Budget. So why invite the most adversely-impacted country’s Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism for a meet and greet at the same time? I think Key was remarkably restrained in his response. Perhaps not speaking in perfect diplomatic-speak, but representative nonetheless.

    Arguably the British Government even made the Queen look foolish with her visit to the giant rugby ball promoting the World Cup. so whereas Brown wants to discourage long haul travel on environmental grounds, the Queen, head of state for both our coutnries, is quite happy to promote just such activity?

    The contradicitions in this from the British side are almost laughable, while I can just imagine the groans from the Foreign Office of the timing.

  38. insider 38

    Your rules of diplomacy are purely your own construct to support your pathetic beat up. They don’t exist anywhere outside your mind and don’t reflect either history or reality.

    Diplomacy takes many forms in response to situations. There is no set process enshrined in some diplomacy holy book. Only time can tell whether a course was appropriate. Chamberlain behaved ‘diplomatically’ and look at the success he was… Kennedy didn’t and Krushchev blinked. Lucky we had Adlai Stevenson, Robert Macnamara, Dean Rusk et al advising him rather than you.

  39. Lew 39

    insider: Need I point out that comparing the response to an airport departure tax with the response to the Nazis or the Cold War does neither your credibility nor your argument any good?

    L

  40. insider 40

    Sorry Lew, I didn’t invent the ‘rules of diplomacy’. I foolishly assumed as rules they applied regardless of the situation and those were two salient examples of high profile yet radically differnet approaches to diplomacy that came quickly to mind. I could have argued banana access under the Lome convention or fire blight but they just don’t have the same impact. Can you define for me what examples I am and am not allowed to use to argue the case around them, just for future reference.

    Oh and need I point out that making out that Key’s dissing of the departure tax is a major foreign policy faux pas and against all reasonable standards of diplomacy does Steve’s credibility or argument any good. Absurdity trumps absurdity…?

  41. insider. I knew one of you would take the bait and start talking about the cold war or the nazis or something but that’s great power brinksmanship, we’re talking about diplomacy as a small state

  42. Kerry 42

    GC:- Helen/Labours popularity had nothing to do with a “honeymoon”…….i think you are mistaking “honeymoon”for competent leadership…..and we have not seen that in the past week!

  43. Janet 43

    Rex W
    I thought you wouldn’t be taken in by the media’s anti-Jonathan Hunt obsession. He didn’t drive – so he took taxis. His home happened to be quite a long way from the airport. But he didn’t have the self-drive car he was entitled to as an MP, so saved taxpayer money on that.

    However, those who had anything to do with Jonathan over the years know him as extremely loyal, generous and supportive. He consequently has wide international networks. Which he used to good effect as High Commissioner. The mean-minded NZ MSM of course didn’t see nor understood this discrete diplomacy, and never missed the chance to have a cheap shot.

  44. insider 44

    Oh that’s right steve, it was another one of your ‘grand plans’…

    And no you weren’t talking about diplomacy for a small state, so stop trying to redefine the issue post fact. You said: “Rule one of diplomacy, behave diplomatically” – it was an absolute; there were no qualifiers. And you’d be going against some pretty strong schools of thought if you tried to exclude great power brinksmanship from the sphere of ‘diplomacy’.

  45. Felix 45

    insider you do realise that “diplomacy” actually means “being diplomatic” don’t you?

    Your argument is not strong.

  46. gingercrush 46

    Janet where is your proof?

  47. Lew 47

    I concede Steve is perhaps over-egging it a little, but you’re over-egging it a hell of a lot more, and failing to understand the diplomatic principles and conventions to which he refers (which exist whether you realise it or not, and are quite explicitly NOT applicable equally in all cases). Conventionally, small issues should be and usually are treated as small issues, handled calmly and in such a way as to not require players to entrench their positions in order to save face. That’s not what Key did in this case.

    L

  48. insider 48

    Felix

    YOur definition of diplomacy is even weaker, especially in the context of the discussion and the orginal post. I suggest you get a better dictionary.

    Lew

    “Perhaps”….be real! Steve invented has invented some major diplomatic incident based no doubt on his vast foreign policy experience and then dreamt up some rules of diplomacy, which even you say don’t exist or which are flexible at best (which was my original point), to attempt justify his position. And you say I am overegging it for pointing out the flaws in his position.

  49. Tim Ellis 49

    I imagine if John Key had been silent on the issue, SP would have come out and said: “John Key’s next foreign policy test, to articulate to the British how annoyed we are with the departure tax… FAIL!”

  50. Lew 50

    Insider: which even you say don’t exist

    I said no such thing – rules exist, but they vary from case to case. Not that it excuses Steve, but it seems to me you’re taking a convenient reading of his `rules of diplomacy’ which suits your argument, precisely what you accuse him of doing.

    L

  51. Alexandra 51

    I dont see any suggestion that SP is arguing that Key should not have raised the tax issue. Rather the undiplomatic manner that Key applied. Key’s choice of language was either stupid or arrogant. Either way he embarrassed us all.

  52. GC et al,

    luckas said: “not saying anything positive about John Key for the next 18 months?”

    I dunno, what about the positive in he’s the new Prime Tourism Minister..? Though, as Tim Ellis has encouraged us to anticipate we can and do expect yet more from the fellow..

  53. gingercrush 53

    Alexandra – No just the left blogosphere. In fact maybe just The Standard blog viewers minus the righties

    northpaw – Sorry I don’t get your point.

  54. Chrisburger 54

    Alexandra – he didn’t embarass me.

  55. Felix 55

    insider you’re so right.

    Diplomacy has nothing to do with being diplomatic. How could I have missed that before?

    You’re moronic. Which has nothing to do with being a moron, apparently.

  56. insider 56

    Lew

    If they vary from case to case they sound more like guidelines than rules, which I would consider more black am white. Not trying to be pedantic, but if Key is going to be accused of having broken some ‘rule’ it’s helpful to know what that rule is and when it applies. If it is really a guideline or a convention, then those are not immutable and breaching them can be an important diplomatic tool. Not that that even happened in this case I think we agree.

    Alexandra

    You keep being embarassed for all of us, but be warned, on current efforts it will be a lonely job.

    Felix

    But nobody said diplomacy had nothing to do with that, just that it has so many more and richer meanings, just like twat, dick, jerk, arschloch, why limit yourself so?

  57. Hoolian 57

    Oh Clinton, you’re such a drama queen. You’re obviously beating this up – in part due to being inflated with your own sense of importance no doubt. Again. Yeah, yeah, you used to work in MFAT. The operative words being “used to”. The fact that you used to write briefing notes for people who had managed to actually be someone (i.e. the Minister) does not mean you have the authority to assert what the UK PM is thinking.

    “…insulting them in the crudest terms”

    I mean really – what a load of bollocks.

    The tax from the UK will be enormously detrimental to NZ tourism.

    I see all the Lefties (who have no clue when it comes to all things economic) have welcomed the tax when everyone in the industry has bemoaned the loss of the $1 billion that British Tourists bring in to NZ every year.

    But the fact that climate change is about us will do nothing for the Brits who are plannign to come here. Adding 85 pounds onto a flight to NZ will deter anyone – the flight is expensive enough as it is. And NZ’s own ETS or climate change action will do nothing for those people, so its totally unrelated whether Hide believes in climate change or not.

    Talk about wanking on without any purpose.

    This is not a international ordeal, only in your world, Clinton, and we all know how small that is.

    IrishBill: You’re banned for a month. Come back if you manage to learn some manners.

  58. Kerry 58

    He’d be a better PM then Key…..in fact so would my cat!

  59. Janet 59

    GC
    Evidence for the effectiveness of JH’s expertise as a NZ patriot and diplomat?
    One example – that NZ won the hosting rights for the 2011 Rugby world cup.

  60. Felix 60

    insider you’ve been here all day arguing about trivial distinctions and rhetorical devices. Now you say you’re not trying to be pedantic?

    Either you know perfectly well the context in which Steve used the term “1st rule” or you genuinely don’t.

    Either way there’s zero point in anyone engaging with you on the topic as you’re either too cantankerous to discuss it in good faith or you’re too stupid to understand the issues.

    i.e. you’re either a moron or a cock. And with your last comment you effectively negated the possibility of there being any third possibility without reversing your earlier positions.

    Oh well.

  61. gingercrush 61

    That is a long shot argument if ever I’ve seen one.

  62. Ari 62

    While it was a stupid move, I am told it was a quick ideological jaunt at the end of an otherwise productive and warm discussion, and did not dominate Gordon Brown’s perception of Mr. Key. So as long as it’s not widely reported in the UK damage should be minimal. Overall I’m quite glad this was the worst damage John Key did after his poor performance during the campaign.

  63. mike 63

    Your continued smear campaign against Key is getting more and more comical SP

    I log in here now just to see what spin you have created against the man you fear and your obsession appears to be getting worse.

    But don’t cry too much about poor old Gordy’s feeling being hurt as he’ll be out on his arse like helen soon enough when the BCP romp in

  64. Janet 64

    Ari

    NZ is largely invisible to to the rest of the world. I have been watching how the change of government has been covered in the brief and occasional mention in the overseas media.They are along the lines of ‘ in contrast to the rest of the world the new government in NZ is reversing its climate change policies’ or ‘in contrast to the rest of the world the new government in NZ is bringing in tax cuts for the wealthy”. That is usually accompanied by some positive reference to Helen and Labour’s record.

    The rest of the world thinks generally thinks we are quaint and irrelevant. It is up to us to show we are responsible world citizens, as we have been. Those who matter are watching.

  65. mike 65

    “They are along the lines of ‘ in contrast to the rest of the world the new government in NZ is reversing its climate change policies’ or ‘in contrast to the rest of the world the new government in NZ is bringing in tax cuts for the wealthy’. That is usually accompanied by some positive reference to Helen and Labour’s record.”

    Really? are these “overseas media” more left wing blog sites by chance as I have not seen or read any of these so called reports which makes me think you are suffering the same dillusions as poor old SP

  66. Pascal's bookie 66

    mike, That’s funny! I’ve been watching your (and TE’s and others) apparent obsession with SP with ever increasing mirth.

    I thought I was just imagining that there are a lot of righties that only comment now to say that SP is OTT and blahblah, and now you tell me, that for you at least, it’s true!

    At least SP’s blogging obsession is wit’ the PM,

    “Cannot. help. it. – Must. see. what. SP. wrote. – ooh. but. he’s. a. nasty. one. – must. tell. him .so.”

    laffs. 😉

  67. NickC 67

    “In addition to the comments yesterday, where he called the new carbon-offset airport departure tax “protectionism’ and said it will lead to a “contagion effect’, he is now reported to have told British Prime Minister (and former Chancellor) Gordon Brown that his new tax policy is “not necessarily rational’.”

    If he wasnt saying this you guys would be attacking him on the grounds that he wasnt sticking up for New Zealand’s interests enough! Besides he is right, the new departure tax is irrational protectionism.

  68. Quoth the Raven 68

    NickC – Please explain clearly how it is protectionism.

  69. Enid Sharples 69

    Steve,

    Here in the UK no-one gives a fat rats arse what John Key has said about a stupid air travel tax that has no doubt been put in place to a) appease local greenies b) fund Heathrow T5 c) staunch middle class voters ditching labour for the conservatives by sticking it to the ‘rich pricks’ and d) get a climate change presence out as part of a dodgy budget tax package.

    As a comment to Gordon, it was entirely appropriate for John as PM and Tourism Minister to question the tax and its efficacy to combat climate change. Therefore if the tax is not doing what it says on the packet it becomes a barrier to NZ’s tourism industry and protectionism.

    No amount of dillydally talk about diplomacy is going to change that.

  70. Enid. It doesn’t matter whether the British public knows or cares about Key’s comments. This is a diplomatic issue for New Zealand and Key has made a hash of his job in that regard, furthering NZ’s interests.

  71. NickC. I want him to stand up for NZ’s interests, but I want him to do it competently and effectively. By his inept choice of approach he has failed to do that.

  72. Liar 72

    Nice to see a family man with children running the country. So refreshing!

    I am not dad4justice.

  73. Enid Sharples 73

    Steve,

    You might not have read the second part of my earlier comment.

    >>As a comment to Gordon, it was entirely appropriate for John as PM and Tourism Minister to question the tax and its efficacy to combat climate change. Therefore if the tax is not doing what it says on the packet it becomes a barrier to NZ’s tourism industry and protectionism.

  74. Pascal's bookie 74

    Liar, d4j often puts a space before his punctuation, like this !

    He’s also not as obvious as you, and often funny, cryptic and/or brutal. You’re just banal. So I’m not sure why you think anyone would confuse you for him. Perhaps in your heart’s longings. Which is sad more than anything. Don’t try so hard. Do engage with the topic, and let your writing style take care of itself.

  75. Ianmac 75

    Nice to see that Enid Sharples lives again though she used to be called Ena Sharples. A very acid tongued old biddy but memorable!

  76. Enid Sharples 76

    Damn, should have googled it first.

  77. Enid. No, I read the second part but I’ve responded to it both in the post and in comments.

    Liar. You may not be d4j but you’re no more interesting so far. Try harder, say something interesting, thoughtful and on topic.

  78. Felix 78

    Hands up who thinks Enid is actually in the UK?

  79. Quoth the Raven 79

    I dont know why you’d want to live there.

  80. Rodel 80

    Oh how we cringe to see Mr Key being all twittery over actually being with all those famous people, Mr Bush, the Queen.It’s embarrassing to watch.

    If Dubya ( or anyone he fawns over) pats him on the back too often it’ll be like Holyoake when he rolled over like a pet puppy in the Vietnam era.

    Thank God the USA president elect doesn’t want to include the rest of the world in continuing Bush’s war crimes.

    Look back on youtube at Key’s ‘missing in action’ speeches about Iraq and shudder.

  81. Rodel 81

    Oh how we cringe to see the embarrassing social ineptness of our Prime Minister being all twittery over actually being with all those famous people, Mr Bush, the Queen etc.

    If Dubya ( or anyone he fawns over) pats him on the back too often it’ll be like Holyoake when he rolled over like a pet puppy in the Vietnam era.

    Thank God the USA president elect doesn’t want to include the rest of the world in continuing Bush’s war crimes.

    Look back on youtube at Key’s ‘missing in action’ speeches about Iraq and shudder.

  82. Enid Sharples 82

    Thank the dear Lord that Mr Cullen isn’t putting together a tax package with ideas he has nicked from little Alister Darling and that Brown lad. Otherwise we’d likely to have carbon taxes on cows, planes, cars, sheep and carbonated drinks in schools.

    Steve, you didn’t argue the points that I reposted at all, rather you made a blanket assertion. But thats OK.

    Felix and QTR are obviously automatons who spiel vacuous bile on stimulus by non left text. LPrents new moderation module should deal with them.

  83. Paul Robeson 83

    well researched Enid. Mr Cullen is a race horse. Dr Cullen is the former finance minister and former minister in charge of biting sarcasm, which you have yet to master. You might be better able to put your sharp nosed Thatcherism to work here, and rationalise how anything that ACT intends doing is not, in fact, incredibly damaging to New Zealand. (ie 3 strikes, Tabor, public financing for parties that are acronyms only, issuing itself better scientific qualifications than the rest of the world’s scientists etc etc). And also perhaps why John Key has been so eager to give them what they want instead of sticking to the policies he was elected on.

    Sure its absolutely protectionism. Is John Key spluttering ‘that’s protectionism’ going to help? probably not no. But hey is Key’s foreign policy plan to sit back and wait for Cameron and Obama? They’re all the same age and bringing change right?

    It’s the experience of a life time for him. Do you think he’s sick of being PM yet? or will the new toy last for a little bit longer?

  84. Chris G 84

    Best call so far in the comments:

    “”My mate Rodney told me that climate change is not real anyway, so you guys have nothing to worry about.’

    That is Gold.

    Poorest form in the comments:

    Insider, for his/her plain nasty comments with little to contribute to debate. Congrats.

  85. Enid Sharples 85

    Oh dear dear Paul.

    I’m not an ACT supporter and I dont know where you get your Thatcherism angle from but I guess any “evil capitalist running dog” FUD port in a storm while dear dear Labour are on the bench.

    And I was refering to Michael Cullen as Mr Cullen as that is his name.

    The rest of your comments don’t make any sense so I suggest you sharpen up.

  86. RedBack 86

    Mike judging by your comment – ‘But don’t cry too much about poor old Gordy’s feeling being hurt as he’ll be out on his arse like helen soon enough when the BCP romp in’ –
    Your getting a bit far ahead of yourself me thinks. The next general election over here isn’t until 2010. Still quite some way off and looking at the latest opinion polls David Cameron has become the 1st Tory leader since John Major to be the most preferred PM. Christ thats only taken them 12 – 15 years to have someone that makes the British voting public think there is an alternative. Currently Labour are only, at the most, 5 points behind the Tories as opposed to 24 points this time last year. Some sections of the MSM in the UK are slamming the Tories for now being totally out of touch and offering up few alternatives to Darling’s multi billion pound resuce package for the UK economy. There are also mummerings that parts of the Old Tories aren’t happy wth the centerist direction Cameron is taking their party.

    Back to topic – While most people have no problem with John Key putting foward his opinions on the matter there is a way to do it and turning up as a guest of the UK govt and then telling a bloke who has been at the highest echilons of political power for over a decade and telling him his tax policy is a pile of poo just amounts to amatuer hour on John Keys part. Apart from being damaging in terms of trade relations its also smacks of NZ not really being that serious about carbon emissions or even international relations for that matter. I gather the conversation Brown had with his aides once Key left the room would’ve gone along the lines of – ‘Who the hell was that cluless chimp in a suit?’

  87. Enid Sharples 87

    Ahem – Redback “Darling’s multi billion pound resuce package for the UK economy”

    Thats not what the press here are calling it are they? Lets be honest now.

    Most press are calling it a craven vote buying waste of time that isnt going to give the citizen taxpayer bugger all cash back once the stealth increases are factored.

  88. Janet 88

    Mike
    Sky News Australia, the Financial Times, US papers etc. Hardly left wing blogs.

  89. randal 89

    the queen did not look especially pleased to see him either

  90. Chrisburger 90

    RedBack – Then arguably the British inviting a new Prime Minister to visit who also happens to be the Minister of Tourism for the coutnry that will be most affected by a just-announced tax is just as much “amateur hour”.

    How courteous would it be if you were invited to someone’s house for dinner only to be told as you arrived that they’re planning to punch you in the head as you leave? Clumsy comparison, yes, but effectively the same thing. I’d be kinda peeved too. If anything, Key’s repsonse was remarkably restrained.

  91. RedBack 91

    Enid while this is off topic – I agree I don’t think borrowing more to beef up an economy that is based largeley on borrowing to begin with is a great idea. No one does. But the tories alternative of pretty much just sitting there and doing jack all is an even worse idea. It was also the tories that were responsible for VAT rises in the past 25 years anyway. One of which in 1987 was  a whopping 5%. Given a choice most people will take the lesser of the 2 evils.

    Knowning how rabidly partisan (both left & right) the UK MSM can be I’d be interested to hear where you took these opinions from.

    Chrisburger –  you said “Then arguably the British inviting a new Prime Minister to visit who also happens to be the Minister of Tourism for the coutnry that will be most affected by a just-announced tax is just as much “amateur hour’.

    “While John Key has every right as PM and holding the tourism portfolio to raise his concerns with his British counterparts there is a way to do it and a way not to do it.He demonstrated the later quite appallingly. I know what endears Key to alot of Nat voters is his percieved ‘no nonsense’ ‘striaght talking’ ‘shoot from the lip’ style. That may work for him in NZ. But it just doesn’t cut it on the international stage. No offence but I think you maybe over inflating John Keys standing in international politics if you think Gordon Brown made a special point of inviting Key over to ‘talk shop’. The PM’s office organise these pretty much most days for an hour at the most for Brown to shake hands with various invited guests. It was a meet & greet seesion and photo op. Bringing the issue up at this time and the way he did was amatuer hour.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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