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An empty shell

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, March 5th, 2009 - 28 comments
Categories: john key, Parliament - Tags:

Question Time yesterday was extraordinary. There’s too much to quote it all: ministers attacking ACC, refusing to back the minimum wage for all workers, ministers calling their quotes in the Herald lies. But this topped it off.

Hon Phil Goff: What is the current status of the New Zealand Skills Strategy developed by Business New Zealand, the Council of Trade Unions, and the Industry Training Federation, and how does he intend to progress that strategy in order to assist skills training?
Hon JOHN KEY: My understanding is that the strategy is still in operation.
Hon Phil Goff: In operation? It hasn’t started yet.
Hon JOHN KEY: It is a strategy, like a lot of strategies.
Hon Phil Goff: What is the current status of the New Zealand Skills Strategy?
Hon JOHN KEY: All I can say is that in terms of a skills strategy, we are working on one of those—
Hon Phil Goff: Not ‘a’—the skills strategy.
Hon Phil Goff: I seek leave to table the New Zealand Skills Strategy, so that the Prime Minister can be better informed.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table a document—
Hon Paula Bennett: That is so last year.
Hon Darren Hughes: She’s the employment Minister.

Key’s still got all the smart-aleck lines but he’s clearly out of his depth when it comes to actual government. He claims they’re working on a skills strategy but he must just be making that up as he goes along. He clearly doesn’t know that the Skills Strategy is ready, waiting implementation. He hasn’t been “working on one”, he doesn’t even know there is one, but he tries to fake it.

Here’s a tip John, next time you don’t know anything about the topic being discussed, just admit it. You look hopelessly ill-prepared either way but at least that way you’ll look like less of a pillock.

Soon after this exchange Key fled the House. Bill English was left to fill in for the Prime Minister in subsequent questions, a role he is getting used to.

As for Paula Bennett dissing the skills strategy – ‘skills development is so last year’. Guess it goes to show that all the PR in the world can’t buy you a good minister.

28 comments on “An empty shell ”

  1. vto 1

    While you may be correct in some ways this also reflects the different approach of Key et al. They have clearly taken the blinkers off in how to approach government and are open to change. If some ‘strategy’ of the previous govt gets shoved down the list because it doesn’t warrant the attention then that is what is happenning. Personally I don’t have too much of a problem with this approach – however, if, after a period of time, it is not working then the approach may need to change.

    But at the moment avoiding the previous govts ‘strategies’ etc etc if they appear worthless seems appropriate. I mean, what actually worked from the previous govt in terms of growing the pie? We were meant to be top half OECD. Knowledge wave. Etc. A lot of that stuff was just hot air for PR and political purposes. They didn’t achieve anything. All they did was waste time and money on nebulous concepts and ideas and made sure their arses were covered at every step of each task. They should have been bureacrats instead of govt.

    So, good on them for trying a different approach.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Yeah, Key et al don’t have an approach – they have PR.

      vto, the present incumbents don’t know if the previous government strategies would have worked or not because it hadn’t been implemented. Can’t grow the pie if we’re already at maximum production levels. Really, vto, all you’ve done is buy in to NACTs PR. What we need is facts – something that the present government and previous opposition don’t seem to deal well with.

  2. Felix 2


    If the govt is just ignoring it, then why not say so when specifically asked?

    I don’t think you’ve grasped that this is Key being caught out in a lie. I encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to listen to the audio.

    The relevant section is from about 22min 30sec.

    • vto 2.1

      Felix and Draco, I haven’t bought into anything more than you have. Its just my 2c. It’s called ‘watch this space’. This govts approach is different. People voted for a change. Key has some political nous. See ow it develops …

  3. gobsmacked 3

    John Key’s modus operandi will be familiar to anybody who has spent time with kids in a classroom – or remembers being one.

    Teacher asks question. Cheeky Chappie makes joke. Class laughs. Teacher smiles indulgently, and recognising that Cheeky Chappie clearly doesn’t know the answer, moves on to someone who does.

    It is the oldest trick in the book. Key struggles with details – he even struggles with the English language.

    But, oh, what a sweet smile!

    • One should be very wary of a sweet smile . The greatest conman ever was a chap who callled himself Count Lugart . He so;ld the Eiffell Tower twice.!
      Thw facts are that this shallow man Key is no a patch on the Count and will come unstuck once a few of his mates like Fran O’Sullivan .John Armstong. and the Heald realise the guy is a shame .

  4. Julie 4

    Ye gads. This is very depressing.

  5. Ianmac 5

    VTO: We the people elected the Government on the grounds that their answers to problems were better than the other lot. Are you saying that the new PM is just trying stuff out and if that doesn’t work he will look round for something else to try. Wot???!!! He/they said that they knew what to do!

    • Kevin Welsh 5.1

      And as every day passes it becomes more and more obvious that they have NO answers at all. In fact, they spent $65k of taxpayers money to prove to us they have no answers.

      Ol’ folksy John is going to wear off sooner or later and then what? Bill MkII?

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Jeez vto, your 2c is that Key knows all about the strategy, but has consciously decided not to go with it.

    You’re presuming a hell of a lot, and then saying you like what you see. What’s the word for that, anyone?

    In your 2c, what is it about the strategy don’t you like? Or are you merely parodying Key on the very thread that denigrates him (i.e. you know nothing baout it but are pretending otherwise…by lying)? If so – you pulled it off very well!

  7. vto 7

    sorry folks, sometimes i fire something down quickly and then run out of time to do a proper job of it. As now.

    Put simply and probably too quickly – perhaps the strategy is useless and the govt is spending the few hours in the three years it has on other things that are more important. That’s what Key et al may be doing. After all it fits with their approach to date.

    Yes ianmac, a little bit ‘trying it out’.

    And I do like that approach. It fits imo with how many, including myself, approach life in general.

    gotta fly… wolves are at the door!

    • Ari 7.1

      If he truly deemed the strategy (or a collection of strategies) not worth investigating, he should have said so in response to the question, not lied.

      • Matthew Pilott 7.1.1

        And it’s it’s ‘trying it out’ as vto suggested, then, umm, why have they no idea about it at all? That’s hardly trying it out, quite the opposite! That strikes me as fairly exclusionary, and a little bit short sighted.

        vto, say you took over a job in any industry. Would you automatically ignore what the person who held your position prior did, in every respect, or would you take a bit of advice, and ‘try a few things out’?

        If you decided to ignore everything, and your new boss asked you how some old initiative was going, would you then lie your way out of it? Is that the approach you-re supporting here, lying? I don’t reckon it’s a good one, in truth (so to speak). What is it about lying that makes you think it’s a good way to approach things?

    • Kevin Welsh 7.2

      vto, sometimes it’s better to write nothing and let people think you are an idiot, than ‘write something down quickly’ and remove all doubt.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    So, tell me vto, what’s wrong with trying the strategy that the previous government researched?

    • Kevin Welsh 8.1

      It might work.

      But then they would tell the reporters it was their idea all along and the MSM would report it so.

      When found out to be a pack of lies (yet again) they would just amend their websites and say nothing.

  9. vto 9

    re the lie – dunno. shouldn’t lie if he did. dumb-arse. wasn’t really talking about any lie. was conjecturing on the possible reasons for sidelining this winning strategy of the winners that were the previous govt. Another knowledge wave waste of time perhaps? etc.

    MP, who said anything about ignoring everything the last lot did? They haven’t. And I didn’t. I said ‘perhaps they had a quick look and decided to spend their precious few hours in govt on other more important things’. Perhaps they thought ‘looks like another loopy left waste ot time’? As said the other day you are very good at implying something into someone’s comments which isn’t there.

    Kevin welsh, you idiot. Simple abuse ay – good one.

    Draco, as already said, maybe they looked at it and quickly evaluated it as useless and sidelined it. Why would you waste time trying something that you consider useless on an initial review? Personally I don’t. In fact I work to what I call “ruthless efficiency”. Labour wouldn’t have a clue about that, except when it comes to shafting political opponents.

    Look, I am no wgtn centric pollie freak with an inside line to post on here to boost any party. I’m just a … in the boondox with a curious eye on the antics that go on there. If you check my posts you will note that this is all my conjectured 2c. They say “perhaps this” “maybe that” “it seems…” Nothing more nothing less.

    They have a different approach than Clark and Cullen and Peters govt. Get used to it. If it doesn’t work, let them know. The proof will be in the pudding. Get the blinkers off.

  10. randal 10

    they key skill is the same as it has always been
    taking other peoples money off them
    only there is no where to run this time

  11. Felix 11

    Slightly off topic but Kate Wilkinson has just been embarrassed in the house over Key’s ignorance on this matter.

    Well done Lockwood for insisting, despite the attempts at bullying by English and Brownlee, that she answer questions properly.

    • gobsmacked 11.1

      Felix, that was extraordinary. If that had been Benson-Pope or Tizard or some other minister from the last government, that hapless, hopeless performance by Wilkinson would have been headline news. And she’s not the only one floundering.

      But right now it seems ministers could get up in the House and say “Flubbalubbaflubbapoopypoodoo”, and the infatuated press gallery couldn’t give a toss.

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    vto – Key made a fairly good fist of implying they’re ignoring whatthe last lot did, displayed by his absolute lack of knowledge on teh subject, and subsequent flight from the house.

    I guess my comment was based more around the reality, that your dreamy ‘interpretation’ of events.

    To be honest, Kevin had a point there, if a little harsh. You completely missed the point, made up your own version of what had happened that seems very contrary to the evidence on offer, and then out your interpretation of those (made up) events, and said that’s why people like National.

    You point may very well be correct about why people like National, but it didn’t apply here, which made it look like you were jumping in to defend National and Key no matter what – I don’t reckon you actually think like that at all, from what I’ve read, but you might’ve jumped the gun here.

    I don’t see what it is about their approach, but then the lies and PR distortion approach doesn’t appeal to me.

    • vto 12.1

      well maybe kevin does have a point. often i do just have a glance at something in haste and then apply my own viewings and opinions to it. maybe i did miss the exact point of the point but my own point whether irrelevant or not is still a point.

  13. vto 13

    edit: point noted

  14. vto 14

    sheesh, re-reading now it seems I did quite miss the point of the point. woopsie daisy.. he he (blush)..

  15. the sprout 15

    “Paula Bennett dissing the skills strategy – ‘skills development is so last year'”

    To be fair to the honorable member though, going by her Leader’s performance it appears skills in Government are very last year and not at all what’s ‘in’ these days.

  16. the sprout 16

    true gaylord, the current government does have some skills if you put it that way

  17. Patrick 17

    have another cuppa Paula dearie and a wee lie down. You’ll feel better.

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