Curse of the celebrity politician

Written By: - Date published: 1:55 am, June 7th, 2010 - 71 comments
Categories: brand key - Tags:

One of the stories about David Lange that has always stuck with me is how he was informed of the Rainbow Warrior bombing while lining up for the Tuckshop at Waiwera Hot Pools. As a young fella I guess I had a view of a PM as kind of distant, so I thought it was fantastic that Lange actually just stood in line with his gut hanging out like any other joker and, more than that, there no-one seemed to think it was odd to being lining up with the PM and he had no expectation that they would.

So, I was sad to see the story in the Dom the other day about John Key wearing a baseball cap pulled down low to hide his identity when in public on private business. It’s like something we expect from a Hollywood star and I think that he feels the need to do it because his interaction with the public is modeled on that of a star, rather than a politician or national leader.

While any politician has to be aware of their public appearance and behaviour (Tim), no other PM has had to feel that they are constantly needing to perform if seen in public. Helen Clark would pop down to the dairy or go watch the League without trying to remain inconspicuous or feeling the need to. A mate’s dad remembers from his paper-run that Keith Holyoake would come down the drive in his dressing gown to get his morning milk and paper like anyone else.

But Key, far more than any previous PM, is a celebrity first and a leader/decision-maker second. And, as part of that, he has invited the press into his private life more than previous PMs have. This is all part of ‘Brand Key’; his job is to be the likeable, smile and wave face, for a government that is pursuing the same old, unpopular, rightwing agenda.

Indeed, the decision to put this story in the press was part and parcel of that: ‘family man Key feels the pressure of fame, how human, etc’.

‘Brand Key’ is all about being an ‘aw, shucks’ ordinary guy just having a good time. But, almost paradoxically, it has put a distance between him and the public that is out of keeping with New Zealand tradition. When ‘Brand Key’ is on he’s out there high-five-ing kids all day long but the price is that Key the man can’t fit in like anyone else when going about his private business.

I think this is just another reason why, in future, we need to elect Prime Ministers for their actual ability to do the job, not in response to a manufactured ‘star’ factor.

71 comments on “Curse of the celebrity politician”

  1. felix 1

    Excellent post Eddie.

    In fairness to wee Johnny though, he’s probably got a lot to hide.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    does all the jealousy of John Key boil down to the fact that you don’t have any average people who made something awesome of themselves in the real world? or at least made it and then tossed it in and took a massive pay cut to help lead the nation forward?

    captcha: appreciates. as in appreciates there is no one on the left who can match key, intellectually or politically.

    • It is funny really. The left want to and take steps to create a society where average people can make something awesome of themselves in the real world.

      Those on the right who do make it want to celebrate their own talents that in their opinion resulted in their success and then torch the institutions and policies that actually allowed them to succeed thereby preventing the next generation from doing so. They do not realise that their success depended on liberals in the past fighting for improved educational assistance or a safety net for the poor.

      Jealousy is the wrong word. It is annoyance with hypocrisy that causes the left to focus on Key.

      He may have been a good forex trader in a Merryl Lynch type institution. He is an appallingly bad PM for New Zealand society.

      • TightyRighty 2.1.1

        and the minute they make something, they get torn down by the left because they have made something. “class warfare” is the label marty uses. which smacks of jealousy, big green bug eyed jealousy.

        • IrishBill 2.1.1.1

          “Class war” refers to the economic war being waged by a small wealthy elite on every other class.

          Like Warren Buffet told the New York Times: “There’s class warfare, all right,’ Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.’

          • just saying 2.1.1.1.1

            There’s a similar class war between the first/second, and second/third world, and ‘we’re’ winning too, to our shame.

        • Eddie 2.1.1.2

          It’s the label I use. And it’s not about jealously. It’s the dominant political/economic dynamic of capitalism.

          Failing to acknowledge it is one way to protect it.

        • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.3

          ‘cept he hasn’t made anything. He’s just a ticket clipper. He’s a successful speculator in the same sense that Mugabe is a successful politician.
          And FTR I’m not jealous in the least of him. He has almost nothing that I want, and many of the things he has done I am pleased to have not done.

      • travellerev 2.1.2

        I dare say that because he was a good forex and derivatives trader he was bound to be a bad PM of any country because in order to be a good banker you have to be a psychopath. Definitely someone you don’t want as your leading politician.

        Captcha: MISLEADS. Hummm.

        • Wow, what an excellent link, Ev. To save other readers the trouble of looking at it, though they should, coz it’s a very funny site, here are the traits of the psychopath:

          1. Glibness/superficial charm
          2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
          3. Pathological lying
          4. Cunning/manipulative
          5. Lack of remorse or guilt
          6. Emotionally shallow
          7. Callous/lack of empathy
          8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
          9. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
          10. Parasitic lifestyle
          11. Poor behavioral control
          12. Promiscuous sexual behavior
          13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
          14. Impulsiveness
          15. Irresponsibility
          16. Juvenile delinquency
          17. Early behavioral problems
          18. Revocation of conditional release

          So that’s 1-10 without doubt applying to John Boy and probably 13, 14 and 15. Don’t know what 18 means, probably something to do with 3 strikes.

          • logie97 2.1.2.1.1

            When he commented light heartedly at a press conference with the answer that he had had the snip and he added it had been “…highly successful, but we wont go into that either…” what could that have meant? Did the journalists miss a good story?
            I think the “self effacing” (viz Tuhoe moment) one liner quips may drop him into it one day.

            • felix 2.1.2.1.1.1

              I think he was trying to say what a stud he is.

              “Considering the awesome amount of shagging I do, it’s amazing I haven’t knocked anyone up even WITH a vasectomy etc etc”

    • Lazy Susan 2.2

      “Made something awesome of himself in the real world” – come on TR he was a money changer not Einstein. Guess this gives away more about your value system than anything about Key.

      When you’ve got $50m in the bank taking a “massive pay cut” to be on 10 x the average wage must be a huge sacrifice!

      As for ‘leading the nation forward’ surely you don’t think he’s a Messiah? Best check out the Bible to see what happened to the money changers.

      • TightyRighty 2.2.1

        oh, so you only make something of yourself if you are an intellectual then susan? success is success, the left can’t seem to grasp that. it’s ok to be a successful academic, or celebrity, as then you are likely to have left wing views. but if you’re a business person or sports player, you’re just a parasite or a dumb-ox money trader. such condescending twaddle is fairly typical, and displays an aptly lazy view of how people can succeed.

        • Eddie 2.2.1.1

          mate, you’re the one who’s condescending enough to label any comment (this isn’t even criticism) on Key as ‘jealousy’ over his wealth. This post doesn’t even mention his wealth or his previous career. It was your mind that went there, not anyone else’s

          Do you think its his wealth that makes him unable to fit in with ordinary kiwis and that’s why he hides his identity when he’s not doing the rodeo clown act?

          • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1.1

            i’m not your mate, even though i know you say it with your upper lip curled. i’m condescending enough? this post just smacks of jealousy, and the condescending comments about being a money-trader? it’s not just the wealth factor, it’s his common touch, which you don’t like, so have set out to denigrate. it’s his political acumen, which you don’t like, so have set out to denigrate. yet these attacks aren’t working, that must really grate.

            • Eddie 2.2.1.1.1.1

              “even though i know you say it with your upper lip curled”

              No I don’t. You’re taking this all very emotively. I must be jealous of Key’s wealth if I’m critiquing the political persona and its effects. LS must be condescending when she calls Key a money trader, which is what he was. I must be sneering when I say ‘mate’.

              No-one’s jealous of a man whose ‘common touch’ means he has to disguise his identity in public when not ‘performing’ like one of the sport stars you, oddly, compare him to.

        • Lazy Susan 2.2.1.2

          Have I hit a nerve TR?

          Did I say Key wasn’t a successful money changer?
          Did I say you can only make something of yourself if you are an intellectual?
          Parasite and dumb-ox money trader? All these words are yours not mine.

          My response was to points you made in your post.

          Perhaps you could offer me the courtesy of the same rather than getting UpTightyRighty.

          Captcha: widespread – what Key used to make money!

        • uke 2.2.1.3

          The assumption that all forms of success are to be celebrated and praised is simplistic in the extreme. “Money trading” has been a target for many major religions – identified from Biblical times as a source of evil, as unholy. To make money beget money is a moral cancer, a travesty of true productivity.

          To ascribe criticism of money-trading to personal envy is to replace thousands of years of theological and ethical debate with a playground taunt.

      • D14 2.2.2

        >>>When you’ve got $50m in the bank taking a “massive pay cut’ to be on 10 x the average wage must be a huge sacrifice!

        What pay cut. He will still be getting income from the 50mil.

  3. Doug 3

    So in comparison we have Mr 6% Phil Goff with no polices, changes with the wind, tells all sort of porkies, so he does not look like a future leader.

    • Galeandra 3.1

      Phil Goff with no polices, changes with the wind, tells all sort of porkies, ..

      Add some substance Dougtroll, at moment the only wind is yours.
      Goff can be liked or disliked, but he’s rather more real.
      At least he’s not like that Cosby Textor boy doll photo-opped in an intimate barbie scene product placing beer alongside a faded royal, and that rather seems to be the point of the post.

  4. tc 4

    Pay attention Doug rather than swallow the swill dished up by the msm……takes a little extra effort but it’s worth it. WARNING: it may challenge your assumptions so it’s not for everybody.

  5. Eddie 5

    tighty, the last thing I am or anyone I know feels is jealously of Key. If you can’t engage except by accusing us of an emotion we’re not feeling, you’re losing the debate.

    • TightyRighty 5.1

      really? no jealousy whatsoever? ok, fair call if you don’t. everyone knows however that you don’t think key is up to the job. whether he is or isn’t, put it aside for a minute. you’ve banged on about how much you think he is worthless for a while, yet no one is listening. you find increasingly pathetic excuses to attack him about, like the one above. so what if he wants a little bit of privacy for a second? so, following on from that, the only logical reason to keep flogging a dead horse is that you are kind of miffed by his continuing success. if you are miffed by his success, it means you are envious of it, not personally, but you’d like it for your team right? as you feel they are doing a good job, don’t you?

      • Eddie 5.1.1

        the post is not an attack on the man. it’s a look at the effect of brand/celebrity politics on the PM’s ability to behave like an ordinary person.

        Funny, I knew your next line after ‘you’re jealous’ would be ‘who cares, he’s popular’.

        And, no, jealously is simply not an emotion I feel regarding the rich. Who would be jealous of parasites like the Crafars, Reynolds, Hotchins, the money traders….? I don’t want to have what they have. I want them to stop taking the wealth others produce.

  6. kriswgtn 6

    The guy is an embarrassment and he knows he is,, and holds himself in a higher esteem than everybody else

    His missus should hide her Womens day mags hahahhahaha

    The guy is over rated and he dont fool as many as he thinks he does

  7. Tigger 7

    “When ‘Brand Key’ is on he’s out there high-five-ing kids all day long but the price is that Key the man can’t fit in like anyone else when going about his private business.”

    Great post Eddie. The truth in this quote alone is deeper than anything I’ve seen from the MSM in ages.

  8. MikeG 8

    Let’s be fair to the guy – he was probably off to a shareholders meeting of a company that he may or may not be a shareholder in, and he didn’t want the other shareholders to recognise him.

  9. Jenny 9

    Interesting that Tighty tries to make a bridge between sports people and business people.

    By hoping to cast the two groups in the same category. It’s almost an admission that the second group is held in low regard, even by himself, so much so, that he feels that he feels compelled to imbue them with a little reflected glamour, from the sporting community.

    Hey Righty, care to enlarge on your comparison?

    I could do with a good laugh.

  10. Cuts the que to get his morning coffee at the airport too.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    This article is typical of what I see as being typical of the majority of articles on this site.

    It is all about tearing down the other side rather than putting forward something positive as an alternative. I think the left is in quite a lot of trouble if this is what it boils down to. It suggests a vacuum and a paucity of ideas from the left wing at the moment. This is a bit sad, really. However, it seems fairly typical not only from what I see on this site, but what I see from left wing parties generally at the moment. To be honest, it smacks of desperation.

    Why not more articles actually putting forward positive alternatives to what is on offer from the right rather than just knocking what the right is doing all the time?

    • Eddie 11.1

      “It is all about tearing down the other side rather than putting forward something positive as an alternative.”

      The positive alternative is how every other PM has behaved

    • Jenny 11.2

      tsmithfield:

      It is all about tearing down the other side rather than putting forward something positive as an alternative. I think the left is in quite a lot of trouble if this is what it boils down to. It suggests a vacuum and a paucity of ideas from the left wing at the moment. This is a bit sad, really. However, it seems fairly typical not only from what I see on this site, but what I see from left wing parties generally at the moment.

      Maybe you need to look a little deeper, Smithy.
      The left which is a much wider grouping than just the Labour Party, has lots of ideas on positive alternatives.

      For instance, the Alliance in unity with the Socialists is mounting a combined campaign for tax justice.

      Along side this, the Combined Trade Unions (CTU) has launched a debate about adopting a similar sort of programme.

      Maybe these alternatives haven’t broken out into the mainstream yet but as the recession deepens and all indications are that it will, market driven solutions will become more and more ineffectual and discredited. Sooner or later even the Labour Party will have no choice but to look to similar sorts of left positive alternatives.

      Already at the Labour Party’s recent Auckland regional conference they voted unanimously for GST-free food and for a financial transactions tax.

      Meanwhile in a similar vein the Maori Party has sponsored a bill to remove GST from healthy food which will soon get its first reading in Parliament.

      The Greens also are looking more leftwards. Though the Greens have a memorandum of understanding with the National Government they are working with the Labour Party on an inquiry into the aged care sector. And last year the Greens joined with Labour in an enquiry into the banking sector which was opposed by the government.

      And this week the Labour Party The Greens and The Maori Party all joined together in supporting the call from the SFWU for an inquiry into the fishing industry.

      To the consternation of the right, the pattern that is emerging is that due to the severity of crisis, from the minnows to the big players, the Left realise they no longer have the luxury of indulging in sectarian attacks on each other, but are increasinly having to engage in debate, share ideas and even work together.

      • just saying 11.2.1

        Thanks,
        It’s good to be reminded of the good news out there. Hopefully the left turn will come sooner rather than later. The left doesn’t need to be of one mind to work together.

      • Bunji 11.2.2

        To defend Labour slightly, we do need to consider what point of the political cycle we’re at.

        At the moment Labour are consulting widely and working through ideas to bring together a coherent policies in all areas. They’ll put their policies out there next year.

        Given National didn’t release any policy (beyond “we’re thinking of some sort of ‘Labour Lite…'”) until just before the last election so it couldn’t be scrutinised properly, I don’t think the right can complain about Labour not releasing their manifesto just yet…

        That said, the Greens are putting out some great stuff at the moment, and the left generally has some pretty clear ideas on what they are working towards. The problem’s not generally the lack of ideas, it’s the wealth of them and working out which to prioritise…

  12. felix 12

    Just think of all the lies he’s told and the contradictory promises he’s made depending on who he’s talking to at the time. It’s all catching up to him.

    He wouldn’t be able to go anywhere these days without running headfirst into someone he’s blatantly deceived. And without his script he has no answers for them. No wonder he wants to hide his face in shame.

    Don’t worry wee Johnny, it’ll all be over soon and you can fuck off back to where you came from and never have to see any of us again.

  13. SHG 13

    Yes, we need to judge our leaders according to the IMPORTANT CRITERIA. We need to focus on the BIG ISSUES.

    Like HOW THEY WEAR THEIR HATS.

    • Eddie 13.1

      it was the dom that published the story about how he wears his hat after Key’s office gave it to them – it’s all part of Brand Key.

      and don’t yell.

  14. Adrian 14

    The defining characteristic of Key’s career so far seems to be the ability to grab the umbrella and bugger off just as the shit hits the fan. Don’t expect him to be around for long. And why did he take the paycut, because you can make a lot of money with 50 mil and an ability to skew the market if you run it, like, oh..stealing Canterbury water to feed your dairy interests. He’s making more money now than he’s ever done.

  15. Just musing on the opening lines of the post, Eddie. It’s pretty unlikely that Lange was cueing for anything at the time he was informed of the bombing. It was close to midnight when the bombs went off, so I’m guessing he was asleep. Of course, given his girth, he may have been dreaming that he was lined up in front of a tuck shop!

    • Eddie 15.1

      maybe the news didn’t get to him immediately. I mean, it would have just been a police issue until they realised it was a bomb.

      • I heard it first on the radio news when the alarm went off at 6.30 am, Eddie, so I presume Lange was told at 1am or thereabouts. I remember the bulletin distinctly because I finished the opening sentence in my head before the announcer had finished reading it, kinda like you do when you hear things like ‘veteran hollywood actor …’ and you know it’s going to end in ‘died today’.

        The bombing was a hell of a shock, but it was no surprise. What is it with authoritarian Governments, state terrorism and boats, eh? No rubber duckies in the bath as a kid?

        To get back to the post proper, I have bumped in to Muldoon on two occasions, HC plenty of times, as I was Mt Eden neighbour, Bolger once while he was PM and none of those times was the relevant PM hiding their identity.

        Bumping into Muldoon was interesting. First time, he was walking into a Lampton Quay coffee shop as I was walking out. He said g’day or something similar as we passed, no problems, no pretence. No DPS, either.

        The second time was when his LTD was stuck at the lights in Hataitai on the way to Welly airport (meeting newly married parasites Charles and Diana Windsor). I was cycling there, too, though to join the republican protest. Piggy was apparently pissed at the slow drive and started to get out of the car, saying ‘I could bloody walk faster’, till Thelma told him to get back in the car. Which he did, laughing. I, and a group of people outside the dairy on the corner of the intersection all laughed too. Despite his politics, he was human and convinced that he was just one of us and didn’t fear unscripted moments with the voting public, despite being the most divisive and often hated politician in the last 50 years.

        Compare and contrast with John Key, who couldn’t do spontaneous unless Farrar told him a focus group and two seperate polls had ok’d it.

  16. the poster formerley known as millsy 16

    Mr TightyRighty,

    Please provide a detailed explanation as to why we should bow and scrape and doff our hat to people who have more money than us.

    Even Muldoon holidayed at his bach at Orewa, hosting barbecues with ordinary people, and not prviviliged types.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      True enough. At one time my father worked for the accounting firm Muldoon was a partner in. About the age of 10 or 11 I can recall my family renting the Muldoon’s Hadfield Beach bach for a few weeks at Christmas.

      Muldoon’s bach was indeed a very modest affair, and certainly nothing like the bloated McMansion the current PM seems to need.

      I vividly recall listening to Helen Clark’s farewell speech to the House, and at one point she mentioned how much she loathed ‘snobbery and pretension’, sentiment that nowadays seems more like a quaint echo from a lost era …and at that point I remember thinking “What have we done?”.

      • Zorr 16.1.1

        What did “we” do? I know I didn’t vote for Jonkey and despise the smarmy git along with his cadre of equally useless RWNJ pollies. However, it comes down to (once again) “he who lives by the sword, dies by it” and by living in a democratic nation we have to accept the outcome of an election even if we personally disagree with the result.

        I will once again state a preference for a political system that means my personal will determines the future of any nation I live in… ^_~

  17. Olwyn 17

    There is a difference between someone who is a celebrity by public acclaim or affection, and the manufactured celebrity of the “star” variety. Those who claim that the detractors against the latter sort of celebrity are merely jealous should note that it would sound ridiculous to say that people were “just jealous” of Edmund Hillary – a man who retained a listed phone number and regularly answered questions from kids about their school projects. Similarly, people do not seem to begrudge Peter Jackson or the Mad Butcher their wealth, neither being men who demand love in return for contempt. The people who maintain John Key as a political star should note that the difference between the two is analogous to the difference between true love and a crush – the latter dies very quickly once the illusion starts to wear thin.

  18. Alexandra 18

    Good post Eddie and fair analysis, lost on some unfortunately. This isnt about about an expectation that Key loses his right to privacy, but about the bullshit persona he and his advisors have created to hide the real man and the real agenda. This strategy will continue to polarise public opinion. Either you believe the bullshit and love him, or you see through his lies and dont. Key will increasingly need to hide and his security will intensify as the public become more aware of his dishonestly and become less adoring of him.

  19. Sarge 19

    The post is accurate in what it states, but I dare say it misses the point. Yes, Key is just an actor. Yes, Key has a very carefully manufactured public image. And yes, it’s working. Can the Left not accept that these days, image (not policy or track record) wins elections. And once we’ve accepted this, can we change our behaviour to suit??

    • just saying 19.1

      I thought you were being ironic at first.
      Apart from all the obvious objections, do you really think the left will ever benefit from trying to dance to the tune dictated by NACT? Where’s that ever got us?

      • Sarge 19.1.1

        “…dance to the tune dictated by NACT?…”

        I didn’t mean we had to copy their policies, just their methods. Learn to boil things down to 10 second sound bytes. Use common themes over and over (ie. Nanny state, political correctness etc etc). Learn how to properly pull off smears.

        Unprincipled?? Maybe. But you achieve little sitting in the opposition benches…….

    • Marty G 19.2

      we can’t be manufactured and artificial because we’re actually trying to make positive change, not just protect a corrupt and failing status quo.

      • Sarge 19.2.1

        Tell me, how much change do you acheive in the opposition benches??

        Look, I’m not saying the Left needs to start worshipping Douglas. I’m just saying the left leaning political parties (which I realise you guys aren’t) just need to learn how to present their side more effectively.

  20. Rex Widerstrom 20

    Like TVoR above, I’ve run into a number of PMs in my time, in a variety of situations, and none felt the need to act like Tom Cruise.

    But then none were fully fledged members of a strange cult either. I’m talking “celebrity”, in the NZ context. We’re a small country with a small population such that we have to resort to knighting a purveyor of pork chops (nothing against the guy, but seriously… we’ve used up the entire list of slightly-better-than-mediocre sportspeople and a-bit-richer-than-the-others businesspeople?!)

    Anyway, the celebritisation of politics began with Winston and has been getting progressively worse. I don’t want to single out Paul Holmes as he’s far from alone in his fawning, but who could fail to remember his inviting Jim Bolger to his wedding? And Bolger accepting.

    And then those appalling, embarrassing “Wow, I had actual dinner with Helen and Peter” pieces? Then there’s all the “The agonising story of my Celebrity Treasure Island hives” stories on Lhaws in the Wimminz Daze. And so on and so forth.

    Each successive generation of politicians — to varying degrees depending on the size of their egos — has allowed themselves to be increasingly celebritised in this way. Yes, even Helen.

    Key is just an extension of the trend. If we want it to stop (and god knows, I certainly do) then it’s the superficial media we need to be critiquing, not the easily flattered, superficial subjects it targets.

    • comedy 20.1

      Um Rex

      Perhaps you should read up on what Peter Leach has actually done from a philanthropic perspective rather than dismissing him as a purveyor of pork chops

      • Zorr 20.1.1

        Also, to be complaining about the “celebritisation” of politics at this point is quite ridiculous. It has, is and will always be a popularity contest, ever since the inception of democracy as part of Athenian politics – and if being a celebrity gets you the result you want quicker then that is a route to be exploited.

        • Rex Widerstrom 20.1.1.1

          It has, is and will always be a popularity contest

          I realise that… Churchill and Disraeli are two that spring immediately to mind, along with more than a few in the Roman senate. But they were all men (in those days they were inevitably men) of substance, and weren’t celebrities in today’s terms, where a Prime Minister is almost interchangeable with a football player.

          What I’m referring to is the tendency to make celebrities out of people in all walks of life who don’t deserve the admiration (and thus votes) which such status seems to confer.

          if being a celebrity gets you the result you want quicker then that is a route to be exploited

          Shall I pass your name on to Lisa Lewis when she’s looking to build her campaign team? 😛

      • Adders 20.1.2

        Bit harsh on Tom Cruise there too, Rex, though I daresay unintentionally. A few years ago, when he was filming in Taranaki, Cruise would go for fish and chips in Oakura, near where he was staying, no bother. He even stopped to help a family change a tyre on a back road some place. There was nothing staged or contrived about his actions, no trying to hide in public or publicity seeking. (Though he did make a surprise donation [of about 6 grand or so] for a sun shade at the school one of his adopted children went to, and cajoled a local radio station into matching the amount.) Tom Cruise also proved to be a generous and understanding employer, showing plenty of respect for ANZAC Day, for example.

  21. gobsmacked 21

    I can feel envious (which is not the same as jealous) when people do things I can’t do. Not a nasty envy, rather an admiration: “Wow, I wish I could do that.”

    If I read a fine piece of writing, be it a book or an opinion piece, I might think “I wish I could write like that.’ I might envy a musician with rare talent, a Nobel prize-winning scientist, an athlete, or even just a remarkable human being, famous or not, like Nelson Mandela or my brother-in-law, a dedicated doctor.

    There are many people I envy, or admire, or simply respect.

    But I have never for one moment looked at John Key and thought: “I wish I could do that.”

    Do what?

    • ianmac 21.1

      My thoughts too Gobsmacked. Jealousy suggest envy. Am I envious or jealous of Key or his wealth. Nope. Feel a bit sorry for him actually. I am living in a great country and have a great family, good health, and just enough to live on. I am so lucky!

  22. Cnr Joe 22

    I have a real problem with John Keys 50 million.
    Whose money has he got?
    He didn’t make anything. Did he just join a money go round and clip the tickets?

    Money traders. Currency speculators. Dealers.

    Frankly I believe he and his ilk are frikken criminals.

  23. comedy 23

    ..

  24. Locke 24

    Well, if you were worth NZ$XXmill and had been responsible for the destruction of YYYY* jobs, you might not want to show your face in public either.

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