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Above all that kind of thing

Written By: - Date published: 10:11 am, December 9th, 2009 - 23 comments
Categories: john key, leadership, Parliament - Tags:

RNZ, Nov 6:

Sean Plunket “Most commentators say you’re leadership style has been one that has sought to avoid personal attacks and name calling”
John Key “Well, I don’t think that [personal attacks and name calling] get you anywhere”

Parliament yesterday (just examples from one day)

Key “I guess the difference between me and the Minister of Finance and Phil Goff and the Labour Party is that I agree with the Minister of Finance and the Labour Party does not agree with Phil Goff.”

Key “If anyone needs a public relations consultant it is Phil Goff, but we will come back to that in a moment.”

Key “I find it a bit amusing that the only people who seem to be pleased when unemployment goes up are Labour members. I know that one or two of them are very focused on their employment at the moment”

Key is allowed to do this every time while other MPs, especially Labour MPs and ministers Lockwood Smith doesn’t like are pulled up. Perhaps its because he sucks up to Smith:

“Mr Speaker, or possibly I should say ‘Mr 9.25 Percent’, yes—[Interruption ] Maybe it should have been 10 percent.” [Key is refering to Smith’s 9.25 out of 10 rating by the Trans-Tasman, a little concerning that he thinks 9.25 out of 10 is “9.25%”].

In some ways, it’s no big deal. The fact that Key has to resort to these petty personal attacks shows he has no real answers to serious questions. But it does make a lie of the claim that Key is above this stuff.

Just while I’m on Key’s answers to questions yesterday, this one is worth noting:

Goff “Is the 2025 Taskforce public relations consultant, Matthew Hooton, correct when he states that John Key’s office had leaked the report to Television New Zealand (TVNZ) before it was released, so that it could be dismissed before anybody had the chance to read it; if so, does he make it his regular practice to leak embarrassing documents about Rodney Hide?”
Key “… I can utterly refute those accusations. I was in Trinidad. The question was asked of me by the media who were there. No information was passed by my office to any media outlet.”
Goff “If he categorically denies the truth of the Matthew Hooton statement that his office had leaked the report to TVNZ, will he also categorically deny that his office leaked information to the media about Rodney Hide’s trip with his girlfriend to Hawaii?”
Key “Yes, I categorically deny that.”

Labour must have something up their sleeves.

23 comments on “Above all that kind of thing ”

  1. lukas 1

    Marty G- Tinkerbell… need I say more?

    • snoozer 1.1

      clearly the post is not claiming that others don’t engage in personal attacks. It is pointing out that Key does it too, despite claiming that he doesn’t

  2. Tim Ellis 2

    Those aren’t personal attacks Marty. A personal attack is of the order of calling somebody “cancerous and corrosive”, a “rich prick”, or calling a senior Minister “Tinkerbell”. Calling out across the House to MPs who have suffered depression to “take their pills” is a personal attack as well.

    • snoozer 2.1

      no argument from me that those Labour quotes are personal attacks, Tim. And so is what Key said.

      Don’t be a hypocrite, Tim. Admit that, despite saying he is above personal attacks, Key does it too.

    • Scribe 2.2

      Spot on, Tim

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.3

      I guess “personal attack” is in the eye of the beholder.

      But I’d have to agree with the line Tim’s drawn. I’ve fought a few political battles and if an opponent had said I needed a PR consultant, I’d have laughed. They did say I disagreed with my leader, and it made national headlines during the 1993 campaign and got me in a bucket of s**t (they also happened to be correct). But that’s politics.

      If, however, they’d resorted to mocking any mental illness I might have had, or my sexuality, or any other aspect of my personal life rather than my public one, or just calling me “cancerous and corrosive” simply because of the political views I held I’d have been grossly offended.

      Which is not to say National is squeaky clean, but so far it seems, in this respect at least, Key himself is.

  3. gingercrush 3

    What a stupid post. Those aren’t personal attacks. If you’re going to make a point about something. You should consider finding something that actually is a personal attack.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    John Key, in the House:

    “When National was in Opposition, we still cared about abused children and we did not spend our time playing political games. All those members care about is politics; they do not care about the abused kids of New Zealand.”

    “I am more focused on the kids than on political point-scoring … Members on this side of the House care about abused kids, but members on that side do not.”


    Could he get much lower?

    • Tim Ellis 4.1

      Oh I think Mr Mallard might just have managed to get lower by claiming on his blog “So what if workers die” gs.

      Or how about Mr Twyford saying on the same site, claiming that Mr McCully doesn’t care about women dying in Papua New Guinea.

      Or how about Ms Moroney titling a post: “What does National have against kids?”

      • gobsmacked 4.1.1

        The contention is, that John Key is “above all that kind of thing.”

        I have demonstrated, with evidence, that he is not.

        Nobody has attempted to defend John Key’s comments. Even you, Tim. Nobody can. They are clearly personal attacks.

        So we are all agreed. Politicians make personal attacks. John Key is no different, and to pretend otherwise is a lie.

        • Tim Ellis

          No I don’t approve of Mr Key saying that sort of thing, GS. In the heat of the moment politicians sometimes slip up. To be fair though the attack you have highlighted was a general one against the Labour Party, just as the attacks I highlighted on Red Alert were general attacks against the National Party rather than individual personal attacks of the kind I highlighted initially against individual MPs.

          But the examples that Marty has presented are not personal attacks at all. Attacking somebody’s politics or making fun of their political position is not attacking them as a person. Which is the difference between describing somebody as “Tinkerbell” and poking fun at their low poll ratings, or the difference between calling somebody a “rich prick” and stating their leadership is at risk.

          • Pascal's bookie

            But if you are only mentioning the leadership issue to distract from some other point, then it is surely a personal attack. It is attacking the person of your opponent to avoid the substance of that person’s question/argument.

            It is what ad hom means.

            • Tim Ellis

              I agree PB that mentioning the leadership issue is just a distraction but it’s not a personal attack. It’s not personally abusive or demeaning to the person.

  5. lukas 5

    It would seem even Labour’s ally on the left thought they were bad when in power!


    • gobsmacked 5.1

      Lukas doesn’t care about abused kids. Just political point-scoring.

      • lukas 5.1.1

        wow, you saw right through me.


        • gobsmacked

          Ooh, another personal attack. It’s not going well, is it?

          Lukas, do you defend John Key’s comments I quoted above, or not?

          If you’re having trouble working out your answer, just pretend Helen Clark said it. That should make it easier for you.

  6. Jim McDonald 6

    And some that smile…have in their hearts…millions of mischiefs

    O, then by day where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
    To mask thy monstrous visage?
    Seek none conspiracy;
    Hide it in smiles and affability

    Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

  7. Lanthanide 7

    I’d have to say I don’t find these comments particularly to be “personal attacks”, although I could label them “name calling” quite happily.

  8. mike 8

    “Well, I don’t think that [personal attacks and name calling] get you anywhere’

    Which is true and exactly why Key has refused to engage in them?. What a stupid post…

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