Did Key “stage” the teapot tape tantrum?

Written By: - Date published: 3:32 pm, November 16th, 2011 - 114 comments
Categories: brand key, john key - Tags: ,

There’s a theory going round that Key deliberately “staged” his walkout from questioning over the teapot tape fiasco (video). 3 News has a version, and Tracy Watkins really goes to town with it:

Key ups the stakes over tea tape

Prime Minister John Key has tried standing on principle over the so-called teapot tape and the issue has refused to die. Which is why he upped the stakes today by deliberately walking out on a press conference rather than answer questions over the contents of the tape.

It was clearly a calculated move to drive a wedge between the media and the public over the issue.

Presumably National’s focus groups are telling them that there is a high level of public distaste at the way the conversation between John Banks and Key was picked up.

From Key’s actions today, it is clear that he believes his stance puts him on the right side of public opinion.

Nice try Tracy!  Complete with your guess about focus groups as an appeal to “authority”.

But it doesn’t wash.  First, staging a walkout is far too dangerous, as it is likely to be portrayed by the media as what it is, a panicked reaction from a PM trapped by his own hubris. Second, if the event was staged, they’d have staged it much better than that (e.g. a quotable exit line from Key).  And third, if it was staged, there was no need to cancel other media events later that day – once again that looks like what it is, time for Key to cool off and work out what to do with this mess.

So sorry, no, this one looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.  Brand Key is coming apart at the seams.  Releasing the tape is now probably the path of least damage.

114 comments on “Did Key “stage” the teapot tape tantrum?”

  1. i wonder that too but it’s a very high risk strategy is it was staged.
    ten days before an election is not the time for high risk strategies

    • Tigger 1.1

      Agreed, very risky and unnecessary. This isn’t the media beating up something they initiated. Key has created this situation. He keeps making it worse, likening himself to dead girls and phone hacking…

      Even if it was staged it will only speak to his core, committed vote. The soft vote and the undecideds see a man who doesn’t want us to know what he said to John Banks.

    • Extraordinarily high risk if the tape or transcript is leaked or published and vindicates the allegations.

      • Carol 1.2.1

        Winston calls for the media with the tapes to publish

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/election-2011/91160/peters-calls-for-media-to-publish-recording

        Mr Peters told a rally in Whangarei on Wednesday that National Party leader John Key had dumped on old people and on ACT Party leader Don Brash in his conversation with ACT’s Epsom candidate John Banks.

        Mr Peters said if anyone other than John Key had been involved, the recording would have been made public by now.

        “Is there one rule for National and John Key and another rule for all the rest of us?

        “If that tape recording had been of Winston Peters and some other political party leader …it’d be published wouldn’t it, before lunchtime.”

        • Sunny 1.2.1.1

          If only the cameraman who caught John Key and Banks telling the truth had given the proof to Fred Tulett, of the Southland Times. Fred’s not scared of Key, the NZ Police, the SIS or Mossad

  2. Willie Maley 2

    Tracy Watkins works for an organisation who are not in receipt of the recording? Thought so.

    • Hami Shearlie 2.1

      A bit like Guyon Espiner! Talking it down when you haven’t seen the transcript is ludicrous! Better to say little till they’ve seen it, I would have thought – saves looking like idiots when it’s all revealed!

  3. Tom Gould 3

    Didn’t I read somewhere that Tracy is pitching for a Tory press sec job after the election? Or did I imagine it? Sorry if I did.

    • swordfish 3.1

      Wouldn’t surprise me. Watkins specialises in Nact PR. She’s there to hose down any potential fires.

      Oh well, at least Fairfax has one or two decent journalists (Vernon Small – to some extent, Danya Levy – to a great extent).

      • Ari 3.1.1

        Yeah, Tracy Watkins really isn’t even a pundit anymore, she’s just media interference for National and (maybe) Act.

  4. current front page stuff feature
    “Top 10 Dummy Spits” with pics of Key, Muldoon, Peters
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/

  5. ianmac 5

    Wouldn’t the walkout be the same as giving the fingers to the Media? Always thought that in itself was a bit risky.

  6. Nick C 6

    Interesting that he says at the begining that he will take other questions at the end, but then refuses to (presumably at the end). Perhaps backs up the theory that it was staged. Theres simply no way he would have gone into the press conference without some sort of plan to deal with the questions, not as if he didnt know they were coming.

    High risk but I think it will pay off. I almost threw up watching 3 News’ coverage of the issue last night, Garner is going completely mental over this tape, not unlike the 2008 election when Kees Kieser leaked secret tapes to Garner. I dont think anyone but the most loyal Labour hack relishes the prospect of this election turning on a conversation in a cafe, but that seems to be what Garner is determined to do.

    I suppose this destroys the talking point about National buying off Mediaworks though eh?

    • garner is leaving tv3 after the election, he probably wants to salvage some rep before looking for a new job

      • Nick C 6.1.1

        Nonsense Garner is doing what he has done his entire career: Hyping up whatever scandel he can find.

        Even then your argument is contradictory because it presumes that Garner has complete editorial control over the political stories 3 News runs. If that were true then the bailout wouldnt have effected the news coverage; Garner wasn’t personally bailed out.

        • the sprout 6.1.1.1

          i have a feeling garner is going off-script just now

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            Garner’s found himself some big kahunas

          • Nick C 6.1.1.1.2

            The far more plausable alternative is that both Garner and Mediaworks want to hype up a scandel to boost ratings, and they never had a political bias either way in the first place.

            Of course any story which doesnt paint Key/National in a bad light wont be acceptable to you.

            • Ari 6.1.1.1.2.1

              If the tape is completely innocuous, I’ll accept that, and then admit that the media hyped it up and it shouldn’t have been released.

              But I don’t expect that to be what we eventually get to hear. I imagine it’s going to contain something substantive that National do not want the public to hear, and that it’s in the national (small n) interest to publish it.

    • insider 6.2

      Walking away from repetitive media questions on a subject you don’t want to discuss is an old strategy. You just say thanks for that I have other appointments to move on to and gently glide off. I thought his responses today were pretty staged and stilted. He didn’t effortlessly shift the subject.

      In hindsight he shoudl never have entered the discussion about the content of his conversation. Saying he can’t recall some of it means he can recall other bits, which opens the door to a discussion about a discussion. Right from day 1 he should have just said he wasn’t discussing a private conversation. Nothing more.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.3

      National has attempted to buy off media works, but has succeeded in general rather than absolutist terms.

  7. chris73 7

    Does this mean you lefties will stop bitching and moaning about the MSM favouring John Key?

  8. ultra-left sectarian 8

    Is Key beginning to bring back some bad memories?
    http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-teagate-is-anything-but-trivial.html

    • Daveo 8.1

      Bah. It’s not an election without someone complaining about it becoming a circus. Newsflash Bryce Edwards: an election campaign is a circus almost by definition.

      • Several times I have heard Bryce Edwards and I’m not impressed with his inability to rationally grasp situations. And correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that just the sort of skill one requires of a political commentator.
        So he has been relegated to the wrong side of the ledger in my Big Book of Plonkers – just under that Claire Robinson (she seriously needs to go back to doing her graphic design stuff and leave politics to grown ups).

    • Hami Shearlie 9.1

      Delboy would be proud of your language Sprouty! Me too! My name for Key would now be “dozy little twonk”!

  9. RJL 10

    Certainly, I can see Key and his media handlers resolving early this morning that they would not answer questions about the tea-tape. And Key does look like he is “showing strength and leadership” by firmly sticking to his lines.

    So, perhaps you could say that Key’s response was “planned” to the same extent that the tea-party with Banks was planned.

    But you could also say that, like the tea-party itself, if today’s press conference was planned, it was a plan that went wrong.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      And Key does look like he is “showing strength and leadership”

      IMO Key looks like he is showing “being out of options”.

      • Roy 10.1.1

        Agree, it’s not ‘strength and leadership’ to throw a hissy fit worthy of a kindergarten child, complete with expression (see still photo).

        • RJL 10.1.1.1

          I don’t mean he really was “showing strength and leadership”. Yes, he actually looks like a prat out of depth.

          However, he does look like he is going through the motions of what might have seemed like a good way to show “strength and leadership” when he was planning with his media handlers.

          So, I think it was a planned response. Just a badly planned response that didn’t really turn out as intended.

  10. Having watched  the clip on stuff, several times now, I think that the analysis here is should not be so unfair of Tracy Watkins’ analysis.
    It is obvious to me that that his intention was to shut down the issue by stone walling and taking no questions on the matter.
    When that didn’t work (i.e. he was not going to be able to progress his agenda) he left. Fair enough.
    I perhaps would have looked at some other journalist and asked them if they had a question about trade and if they didn’t then I would have left. This what AR points out “a quotable exit line from Key” was needed.
    He said that he knows that people are more interested in the economy (a la focus group feed back?) He is right, people on the street think this is a side show (but one I am enjoying because I smell blood in the water) and he is trying to make himself look the serious policy guy – thereby drive a wedge between those vile journalists and poor Mr Nice, Serious Policy Guy.
     
    I agree with both Tracy & AR. It was planned and deliberate (Tracy’s position) but poorly executed (AR’s position).
    What I don’t agree with is the Stuff headline that Key spat the dummy in some emotional door slamming tantrum.
    He tried to stonewall to get the media back on message and he found that it didn’t work – exit stage right.
     
    However, I do imagine that back on the bus he crawled into a foetal position (because he’s in a  faecal position) with Steven Joyce comforting him with his blanky, his politically incorrect Golliwog comforter that looks like one of those impoverished pacifica people he sees when his bus speeds through that part of town (oh for the days when he could just fly over them in an  air force helicopter!), while someone reads out the good news on how well his mirror trust is doing.

    • queenstfarmer 11.1

      with Steven Joyce comforting him with his blanky

      I can only imagine Joyce must be having a fit over this. Key has lost the plot over this one. I don’t think it’s quite clusterfuck territory yet, but it’s on its way there.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      He tried to stonewall to get the media back on message and he found that it didn’t work – exit stage right.

      This is what it looks like to me. He tried to set the theme, that didn’t work and then he walked out in a huff. The only bit that was part of the script was his prepared and memorised lines. Him walking out the way he did wasn’t.

    • lprent 11.3

      Problem is that National don’t appear to have public policies. Everything I have seen from them looks like hashed over soundbites from the past, many of them from Labour or even the Greens.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.4

      Wrong

      The trade questions preceded the meltdown for about 8 mins. So he got to say his prepared lines to the media – and they have disappeared into a great hole they deserved.

      Thats why the media were so agressive, they had to endure the mangled syntax for 8 mins of somthing no one was interested and they going to get answers not spin

    • dave brown 11.5

      William do you have a blog to go with your artwork?
      I think those of us with the best sense of humour will win in the end.

      • William Joyce 11.5.1

        Unfortunately no. I did make a start with a blogspot but discontinued it.
        “….sense of humour will win in the end” I agree. I so missed any satire in NZ in the early 90s when that humourless crowd were in and taking themselves so seriously all the while people were hurting and being told that it was all their fault. That crowd even developed a common patronising tone whenever one of them was interviewed. (A bit like Steven Joyce and Chris Finlayson have today).
        It was so refreshing to get Labour in because they just didn’t have it and would even give answers to questions.
         
        WE should never allow politicians to take themselves so seriously.
        They live in bubble of privilege, power and attention that can lead to delusions of grandeur and that should be countered by holding them accountable (before and after office – keeping a long list of their past sins and comments) and mocking them at every opportunity.

        You just have to find ways to do it. For some reason they ignore me when I yell at them when they’re on TV.

    • Hami Shearlie 11.6

      I think he’s battling with the “Faecal Finger of Fate” this time! The brown stuff is all over him big time and the stench is getting mighty strong!

  11. Richard Down South 12

    On a related note… do the police have the right to ‘usher’ the press out of a cafe, without a request to do so by the business owner… what if they wanted a coffee and a muffin?

  12. infused 13

    Tv3 has threatened to release the tapes.

    My theory on it is this: There is nothing on the tapes. JK is taking the morel high ground and making the media look bad, defending privacy etc.

    Tapes released, makes everyone look like an idiot, JK wins.

    • scradge 13.1

      Right now, only one looking like an idiot is JK – he can’t remember what they spoke about, using police to block release of what he claims is harmless

    • Ianupnorth 13.2

      Nah, he isn’t that clever; next thing everyone will be saying it’s a creation of Team Key (the tape)

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      JK is taking the morel high ground and making the media look bad, defending privacy etc.

      No he’s not, the MSM are making themselves look bad by not releasing the tapes, there was no privacy involved.

    • Colonial Viper 13.4

      Sorry infused, Garner knows exactly what is on the tapes, and isn’t going to be positioning himself to take the fall as the fool without a chair when the music stops. Key is in trouble.

      • infused 13.4.2

        Yes, but from the questions, the tapes not about key is it?

        I think you’re all being duped. I also think the tape is going to come out in the next day or so.

        • Colonial Viper 13.4.2.1

          Yes, but from the questions, the tapes not about key is it?

          Ah, the thing is, regardless of who was being talked about the common denominator is that it was Key doing the talking.

          This is all about Key.

          • infused 13.4.2.1.1

            Well have a listen to the talk back shows over the next few days. No one gives a shit. Everyones blaming the media.

            If it was Key dissing Brash, trying to get John as a replacement, who cares? I seriously doubt many people will.

      • marxbrother 13.4.3

        agreed

  13. vto 14

    Who’s watching tv3 nes in 12 minutes?

  14. Infused 15

    In any case it dosent matter. No one cares

  15. hoom 16

    Maybe he can get the police to break into TV3/Herald offices & remove the offending tapes/transcripts?
    Apparently they are willing to break into & move cars if it helps his campaign so why not a spot of Watergate while he’s at it?

  16. so…
    tv3 news at 6 says tapes more damaging for Banks than Key
    involves discrepancies between public Banks and private Banks
    interview with Banks shows him looking uncommonly tired, harried and worried

    • ianmac 17.1

      Yes Sprout. I think that Garner gave a warning to we the public, that it is not so much that Key who is in the gun but Banks, if anyone is.
      Consider Key’s smugness when it is revealed that he, Key, said nothing very much. (After al he has a history of ambiguous commentary.)
      So we had better be careful to avoid getting too far entrenched in condemning Key.

      • Carol 17.1.1

        Except that Key is supporting Banks – that was the whole idea of the cafe tea party.

        • Tigger 17.1.1.1

          Exactly Carol, no matter whether this is better for Key than Banks it is (a) still not good for Key (he clearly said something he doesn’t want others to hear) and (b) where goes Banks so does Key and (c) what’s on the tape is only part of the problem – Key is running away when the going gets tough – if it only dents his polling a few points it will still dent him (and dent him now and later – remember, National may get the most votes, they still have to form a government and hold onto power…

        • tsmithfield 17.1.1.2

          Yawn. This is getting sooooo boring. So all this bleating about Key has been completely mistargeted? And what if Banks has been mouthing off about restructuring Brash out of the party? That would probably give Act a slight boost in the polls wouldn’t it? Act without Brash would be preferable to potential voters than Act with Brash.

          • lprent 17.1.1.2.1

            It also calls into question why any self respecting Act voter would want to vote for a party of tools. By the sounds of it Banks wants to make Act mere sock puppets of National as a marketing exercise to harvest the votes of the ACToids.

            Talking of which, I haven’t seen any genuine ACToids around for months. I would have thought that they’d be all over this. But what I am seeing is merely national supporters like TS supporting the shell of Act.

            • tsmithfield 17.1.1.2.1.1

              1prent, don’t you think that Key is going to get a jump in the polls when the recording actually comes out, after all the hassle that Key has taken from the media, that it was actually Banks that should have been the target? I think there will be a lot of sympathy for Key as a result, not that there isn’t a lot of sympathy for him already given a lot of the comments I am seeing. In this context, the stance he has taken may have been a brilliant no-lose strategy.

              • lprent

                Well you can believe what you like. Polls seeing anything will come after the election with the usual lags of people making up their own minds and polling time. Only 9 days to the election.

                The election is the poll of interest. But what is interesting is that I suspect he has annoyed the people from the media with his legal bullshit about the legality of using the tape and done it for no apparent reason. That will hurt Act and National because the medias usual response to crap like that is to simply keep it alive. Not exposing it has allowed them to spin out the story.

              • Key is going to get a jump in the polls when the recording actually comes out, after all the hassle that Key has taken from the media…. a brilliant no-lose strategy

                😆
                hope springs eternal ts

              • felix

                ts,

                Key and Banks are joined at the hip now. Their hopes are pinned on each other.

                That’s what the cup of tea was all about. Remember? That was Key endorsing Banks.

                Banks is Key’s man now.

      • Puddleglum 17.1.2

        So we had better be careful to avoid getting too far entrenched in condemning Key.

        My condemnation of Key remains.

        What is on the recording is chicken feed (so far as his personal integrity is concerned) when compared to his claim that he is busy protecting some notional, high profile parents’ from having their suicidal son kill himself as the result of ‘News of the World’ type journalism. That claim was not only completely far-fetched as a defence for his response to the taping, but it was also a serious exploitation of the anxieties of far too many parents in this country. And it was used by Key in an attempt to get himself out of a political hole.

        It was also just about as deranged in its voicing (what on earth possessed him to go there??!!) as it was thoroughly distasteful in its reckless lack of consideration of others’ painful emotions. 

        I will continue to condemn it. 

  17. John 18

    John K has just scored an own goal and it’s gonna eat him up. Publish the conversation now , media do your job. Politics can’t be run soviet/corporate style behind glass walls. Please just do the right thing, this is a man who wanted to hear all our plots, yet his plots are sacred.

  18. John 19

    key wants polarisation.

  19. Horizon is conducting a new Poll on this issue… http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/latest-horizon-poll-now-being-conducted/

    Evidently it’s got reactionaries all in a fluster, judging by certain comments on certain blogs and messageboards.

  20. ghostwhowalksnz 21

    Gower just tears apart Banks tonight after a ‘walk in the Park’

    Banks says both he ‘cant recall’ and ‘knows what he said’- and everything in between

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Banks-stonewalls-on-teapot-tapes/tabid/419/articleID/232979/Default.aspx

  21. BLiP 22

    Clueless on the taped conversation:

    Day One : There was nothing controversial

    Day Two: The matter is subject to a police complaint, I can’t talk about it

    Day Three: I can’t remember

    Day Four: I’ve moved on

    . . . slippery, or what?

    • Alwyn 22.1

      My goodness BLiP
      We’ve gone into a time lapse.
      That’s so like a previous Prime Minister that’s it’s scary.
      “Time to move on”. We’ve gone back five years.

      • BLiP 22.1.1

        Ahhh – yes! Five years ago, eh? Just feels like yesterday John Key was telling us:

        – tax cuts “North of $50” for *everyone

        – no GST increase

        – Working For Families was “communism by stealth”

        – New Zealand should be part of the illegal invasion and on-going occupation of Iraq

        – he didn’t know about his TranzRail shares

        . . . etc, etc, etc, etc. Slippery as a freshly landed snot-eel on rocks.

        • BLiP 22.1.1.1

          Moderation? FFS!! It was “communism”, right?

          [lprent: Yep. One of the most misused words on the site. And usually a pretty good indicator of someone to look at for troll behaviors. ]

          • fmacskasy 22.1.1.1.1

            BLiP – “communism”? Hmmm, I had to look it up on Wikipedia. Haven’t really heard that word used much. Well, not since the 1980s, anyway. How quaint of you to bring it up…

          • fmacskasy 22.1.1.1.2

            Hmmm, that post doesn’t quite look right…

            (Not intended as derisory, in case it comes across that way.)

  22. ak 23

    There’ll be a lot of stroking going on tonight.

    Joyce will know that the election could just depend on how many of the public see the “walkout” tape.

    Swinging voters know stress. It’s the reason they avoid it.

    Every little tic, squint, squeak, squirm and slur in that excruciating aborted attempt to summon the old folky Joky charm would have been instantly recognised with horrific fascination.

    The nightmare of the Right. NACT’s sole asset, stripped in public on primetime and the blogs.

    He didn’t walk. Or storm. He ran in a paroxysm of guilt and shame – because he knew he’d failed. Paralysed by fear and rage. And worst of all: he knew that they knew.

    All that expensive, grovelling “relationship building” lost in a single instant of ignominy. They’ll keep.

    “Come here mate, it wasn’t that bad, drink this. Let’s do it again. They still love me. Say it. Say it. SAY IT!”

    • Lanthanide 23.2

      Actually if you look at most of the comments on stuff, most people commended Key for it and think it’s a big media beatup. Apparently the talkback taliban are the same.

    • rosy 23.3

      For as long as the clip on stuff becomes the defining narrative by starting from the moment Garner asks questions about the recording – Key wins. As the TV3 news item states, the reporters spent 8 minutes talking about policy and Key agreed to take questions about the recording after that. This full picture needs to be hammered, otherwise the media looks unreasonable and Key quite within bounds to refuse to discuss it.

      That line about the public wanting to know about trade and the economy was made over and over again with the soundbite, not the full story of the event, in mind. Key just doesn’t usually repeat that sort of line – he’s adept at batting away difficult questions he doesn’t want to answer with a one-liner.

      It was stage managed.

    • Hami Shearlie 23.4

      Just like he ran from Parliament after a man threatened to jump from the public gallery. A craven and cowardly JK all concerned for himself! That’s the real man!

  23. tsmithfield 24

    Here is a very sage post by “kiwi in america” on Kiwiblog. Quite lengthly, but very good.

    kiwi in america (1,569) Says:
    November 16th, 2011 at 8:01 pm
    In situations like this, it is very easy to overreact to the media throwing a tanty over not getting their way. This has become a power struggle primarily between Key and TV3/HOS. It is escalating probably a whole lot more than Key and his team would like but there was something quite calculated in Key going to the police and the way he walked away from pressers today. He will know that the transcript (and indeed copies of the tape itself) have ended up in the hands of most media and the law will be honoured in the breach by a whispering campaign. Everything remotely juicy about the cuppa tea chat is out in the public arena judging by the fevered responses of Goff and Peters. National’s inner campaign team will be polling the public’s reaction to two things: first the two ‘game changing’ comments (NZ1st voters dying off slowly which is true and Brash performing so poorly maybe he should be rolled – also true) and second – concerning Key’s refusal to waive privacy considerations clearing the way for the transcript to be published. Key’s team will be weighing the electoral benefits and risks of standing firm.

    They’ll watch what happens in the minor leader’s debate on TV 1 tonight and they’ll see how intense the issue will still be by midday tomorrow. That will give them some time to see if a trend emerges in the overnight polling on this issue over the last 3 days. If their soft centre vote (that comprises the gap between the 2008 vote and the current poll average) is holding firm or shedding around 1% or less Key will weather the media storm safe in the knowledge that middle NZ really do see this teacup storm as a storm in a teacup (couldn’t resist that pun). If the Nat’s are taking a 2%+ hit, Key will bite the bullet and cauterize the wound by lunchtime.

    Stuff’s online article “Key Storms Out of Media” has attracted a staggering 580 odd comments. I sampled the first 100 in chronological order and they run about 5:1 either in favour of Key sticking to his guns/exasperation about the media’s obsession vs those demanding the tapes be released/faux outrage at the substance of what was alleged to have been said. If this is common across the various media that allow comments and the preponderance of talk back radio favours Key to tough it out, its highly unlikely Key will back down because he knows he not only has majority opinion on his side and that his centre vote is not eroding. He is carefully repeating very similar talking points and you can bet your bottom dollar most were poll tested as being in tune with majority opinion.

    Sometimes the inside the Wellington beltway echo chamber that these guys live in, coupled with their shameless bias in favour of Labour and the Greens, becomes all too apparent to swing voters and this is unlikely to give Labour much traction at all. The Greens re mired in a more serious scandal so the big question is – can or how much will Peters gain votes from this. If there was anything more sensational than whats already been hinted at you can bet your bottom dollar the Herald on Sunday would’ve published it.

    • Well TS 

      Firstly I understand Labour’s tracking polling has shown a 4% lift in the party’s support in the past couple of days.  And I would not under estimate the corrosive effect of the publicity.

      Weird really, you guys always argue how the intricate policy debates did not matter but Key was so popular.  And suddenly the blowtorch is applied and he fails and you think that people will be more interested on issues.

      Getting people to post in Stuff will not remove the rather unfortunate feeling that Key has jumped the shark.

      He has strode the country like a political colossus for the past couple of years.  But suddenly everything that I and others have been saying for the past three years is shown to be true.  He has no policy, no soul, no understanding for ordinary kiwis, just an insatiable thirst for power.  And he resembles Muldoon in that it is a thirst for power for power’s sake, and not backed by the ability to do anything to improve the plight of ordinary kiwis.

      The sooner we are shot of him the better.  And if this is so through a media firestorm over an isolated issue rather than a deliberative policy discussion then so be it.

      • Lanthanide 24.1.1

        “The sooner we are shot of him the better. And if this is so through a media firestorm over an isolated issue rather than a deliberative policy discussion then so be it.”

        The ends justifies the means. Agreed.

        • William Joyce 24.1.1.1

          From the first Labour ad at he start of the campaign which harked back to old Labour (and ending with passionate candidates) I have been impressed with Labour having a go with strong and brave policy.
          The trouble I suspect is that the masses are not listening to policy (if any of the vox pops I have seen on TV are representative). Style is the new substance and it is shaped by medium.
          (Look at all the young girls/women who were hold pro-Key placards at the launch of the bus!)
           
          You develop and release the policy. But Key doesn’t want to play on that battlefield – and he’s not equipped if their 120 policy points are anything to go by.
          National chose phrases like “John Key led Government”, “John Key and National” and then hid all their candidates. You attack Key and his and his ability to fight with style then he has no reserves. They have rolled the dice and have no plan B.

          • Lanthanide 24.1.1.1.1

            I’m pretty sure one of my previous flat mates (23 year old woman) voted National in 2008. She works in early childhood education. I don’t think she’s voting National again.

      • ianmac 24.1.2

        My son in Auckland said that the message has been posted from National Head office for the activists to saturate the blogs/Stuff etc with the angle “anti-media + Privacy.”
        Seems to be working at Stuff?

        • lprent 24.1.2.1

          Yeah, no real restrictions on trolls and astroturfers there. You can be as repetitive as you like. Which is why it is so turgidly boring and witless

          Around here we (the moderators) get bored when we see plastering – especially me. If the commentators don’t constrain it as they usually do, then I will.

          And my project shipped at the weekend, I’m on “holiday” for the election and I have time to moderate.

        • Lanthanide 24.1.2.2

          Why would your “son in Auckland” know this?

          • Colonial Viper 24.1.2.2.1

            Ahem. I happen to know key people involved in National’s Epsom campaign.

            Just the way it is, being a small country.

    • Lanthanide 24.2

      Although if we look at the stuff poll:

      What do you think of Key’s response to the tea tape saga?

      Good 26.6%
      Bad 41.4%
      Won’t change my vote 32.1%
      Total: 14,149 votes

      That’s hardly overwhelming support for Key. Given National’s polling we can assume that the majority of the “won’t change my vote” crowd are National voters, as leftwards voters are more likely to have picked Bad than the average population simply out of partisanship.

      If you throw in the perennially-assumed but unproven idea that stuff polls lean to the right due to demographics of readers in well-paid desk jobs where they can access the internet, this is an even worse showing for Key.

      It’s quite at odds with the very shrill comments sections though, which as noted by the author are largely backing Key.

      • tsmithfield 24.2.1

        So, how many times did you vote in that poll, Lanth?

        • William Joyce 24.2.1.1

          I got in some Young Nats and told them they could prove they were part of the master race if they could click on a certain response more times than others in the room.
          It was like working with pigeons in second year psych.
          peck peck peck all day long!

        • Lanthanide 24.2.1.2

          Once.

        • lprent 24.2.1.3

          If he is like me, then never. I did note that one of the commentators said something about the proceeds going to charity. But since I don’t know which charity or what the collection cut is, then the same thing applies.

          I’m a real pain about wanting to know where I’m actually spending money, glib explanations tend to just irritate me, and so does having to expend cash to vote. As far as I’m concerned it merely leaves the ‘vote’ to those willing to lose the most. Just look at Act’s abnormally high rates in the gambling of iPredict (I don’t gamble either – never understood the attraction).

  24. Blue 25

    There is definitely that cult-like feeling about Key supporters. They’ve moved out of fanboy territory and into the zombie wastelands.

    This from the Herald:
    “Audrey Stuart, from Silverstream, told Mr Key she was “disgusted” that the conversation was recorded.

    “I say to my husband every night ‘That man, it’s not fair the way they’re treating him’,” she told him.

    Mrs Stuart later told media she was not interested in what was on the tape, and that it was a private conversation. She said Mr Key had been fair and up front about the recording, and she would be voting for him.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10766492

    I suppose Key-fever will make someone an interesting case study in years to come.

    • A good argument for Gerry to come north and bulldoze parts of Silverstream – he does love his bulldozers does that Gerry.
      I suppose it’s too late to stop Audrey from breeding?

  25. mike 26

    He doesn’t think a loss in Epsom is likely, though; when 3 News reminded him he could lose, Mr Banks reminded us “the world could stop turning”.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Banks-stonewalls-on-teapot-tapes/tabid/419/articleID/232979/Default.aspx

    A wee bit arrogant? Come on Epsom, he’s telling you there is zero chance that you won’t do what you’re told and vote one of the nastiest people in the country in as your MP.

    So vote for the other guy who er,… doesn’t even want to be elected because he’s a willing patsy… yeah… woo-hoo democracy…

  26. Campbell Larsen 27

    I reckon it’s staged. Though this is one occasion where I would be delighted to be wrong : )
    Repeated lines re: trade and the economy…. remember the TPP currently being negotiated in secret? It will hardly matter what govt we elect once those negotiations have been concluded if certain parties get their way – we will have no sovereignty left to speak of.
    Its a messy and dangerous strategy though – Shonkys media team must have spent long hours consulting the dark tome of mk-ultra and come to the conclusion that having him repeat the same thing over and over again is the best way to befuddle the minds of NZers foolish enough to give him the time of day.
    Truly we have entered a very strange era when bizarre shenanigans like the whole tea farce and today’s sequel can be viewed as politics at all.
    Shonkeys credibility was always an illusion, now dispelled.
    All that is left is the repetitive, empty, soulless slogans.
    A scratched record.
    The poisoned chalice.
    One hundred and fifty spin doctors, and this is their prescription?
    The patient may recover – but not with this medicine.

    • Hanswurst 27.1

      No matter how staged, it doesn’t show Key in a good light. Mixing metaphors and saying “trotie” is one thing. Standing in front of a camera looking mortified and out of your depth, with your voice several notches higher than usual, displaying panicked inflection and constantly fluffing very simple lines – all of this while doing your (very poor) best to seem nonchalant – just makes you look like a loser. Key really did seem like an ineffectual, gutless twunt in his denial and deflection attempts yesterday; all the more tragic for him, since it was such an obvious attempt to appear statesmanlike and above the purportedly petty issue in question.

    • Deuto 27.2

      IMO it was definitely staged – and very badly. I also found it utterly hypocritical for Key to suddenly be repeatedly using the line that people want to know about the issues/policies, when the National campaign strategy to date has been for Key and his Ministers to be MIA in any attempts to get them to debate the issues.

  27. tang9 28

    Show us the money he says and now how about SHOW US THE TAPES? 

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