Key’s three defences on the share scandal are ‘no-one asked how many shares I had’, ‘it didn’t matter how many shares I had’, and ‘Labour is spending all their time researching me’. It’s classic distraction stuff. Let’s break it down.
‘No-one asked me how many shares I had’ – Yes, Fran Mold did on Monday and Key lied to her. It was only when she showed that she knew he had owned more shares that he admitted the truth. He lied when he thought he could get away with it. The ins and outs of what happened five years ago are not a huge deal; lying to the New Zealand people two days ago is.
‘it didn’t matter how many shares I had’ – In one sense, no it doesn’t because Key was in breach of standing orders by not admitting the conflict of interest no matter how many shares he owned. But it does matter that he bought a second parcel of shares while he was using his position as an MP to ask questions about the company and meet with prospective buyers, that he sold that second bundle to double his money, and that he attempted to hide the existence of that second bundle from the New Zealand people.
‘Labour is spending all their time researching me’ – That’s obviously false and Key has no evidence that it’s true; researching some share transactions is hardly going to require a huge devotion of resources. He’s trying to blame the Labour research unit for uncovering his misdeeds but researching opponents’ misdeeds is a large part of what research units do – it’s Key’s fault there was something to find. Remember Key himself said “I, for one, will not be hiding my assets . If a few people run through my balance sheet and take delight in it, I say ‘Good on them!’. I am not going to back away from it. I am proud of it, and I am going to stand up and defend it.”
These are the same old distraction techniques that National has used every time they’ve been caught out. I don’t think people are falling for it anymore.