John Key is a very arrogant politician. His first term honeymoon obscured the fact from most, but it’s starting to get more and more obvious. Case in point, Key thinks that the public backlash against many unpopular policies (asset sales, fuelling problem gambling etc) is all a media beat-up:
Public backlash is media ‘rubbish’ – Key
The public backlash over National’s Sky City pokies deal and the Crafar farms sale have failed to register in popularity polls – and been dismissed by the Prime Minister as “rubbish” generated by the media. …
An earlier poll showed nearly three quarters (72 percent) of New Zealanders were opposed to a pending deal for Sky City to get about 500 more pokie machines in exchange for building a $350 million convention centre.
Sky City currently has about 1600 pokie machines, and the deal for more will require a law change. Just 23 per cent of respondents supported the idea, while five per cent did not know.
Prime Minister John Key brushed off those results, saying Labour and the media had just latched on to an old issue. “The print media can jump up and down if they want to, the truth is we’re doing the logical things, making sure that we create jobs for New Zealanders.”
Brushing off clear evidence of public opposition as media rubbish is not a good look. And Key shouldn’t take too much solace from political support polls – some have the Nats holding but others have them down. Furthermore, journos in “the print media” are starting to get a bit testy with the PM’s attitude, if today’s piece by John Armstrong is anything to go by:
With his claim that the media is guilty of “wild conspiracy theories”, Key is starting to exhibit some of the antagonism towards the Fourth Estate he displayed during the last election’s teapot tape fiasco.
The Prime Minister was unusually sarcastic at his post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, staring down one journalist by telling him that in spite of his best efforts to kindle one there was no conspiracy.
Key then declared to the rest of the media pack that it might “come as a shock” to them that Finance Minister Bill English did not have a spare $350 million to allocate to building a national convention centre.
It was pretty mild stuff. But it is an indication of how frustrated Key is by the public and media backlash over the SkyCity proposal. …
What is happening is that Key is finding himself swimming more and more against the prevailing tides.
Ignoring public opposition, attacking the media, “advising himself” to do whatever he wants, it adds up to a picture of an arrogant PM far more concerned with getting what he wants than with what is good for the country.