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Guyon tires of Key’s empty grin

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, February 17th, 2010 - 32 comments
Categories: brand key, Media - Tags: , ,

Guyon Espiner isn’t exactly what you would call a critic of John Key’s government, so when he has a blog post titled “John Key’s sloppiness as costly as it is charming” you know things are bad. The post starts with an example of how That Nice Man Mr Key works over journalists:

“In his speech opening Parliament a week ago John Key argued the case for more mining, claiming just 40 square kilometres of New Zealand’s land mass is subject to mining operations.

So at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference the question was inevitable. It came from the back row and it was blunt: “Where did the 40 kilometre figure come from,” a radio journalist asked. “From my speech writer,” the Prime Minister replied.

Accompanied by the usual carefree grin the response went down well”

Why did it “go down well”? I thought journos wanted to uncover and relate information – speak truth to power and all that. I thought they were affronted by attempts to distract them and had a keen nose for when someone is hiding something. Just refuse to be taken in and it will stop working.

“He doesn’t have all the answers and doesn’t pretend to. He isn’t a show off and he can laugh at himself.

At his best those qualities are deceptively powerful. It plays beautifully to the Kiwi psyche and wrong foots his opponents in the media and in politics, deflating egos, arrogance and pomposity.”

Don’t get me wrong, I like someone to make me laugh as much as the next person but I don’t want a PM who spends his time being a clown any more than I want Ricky Gervais to be Prime Minister (who am I kidding? I’d vote Ricky in a heart-beat)

“there’s a difference between being relaxed and being sloppy and the government has crossed that line several times already this year.

Take the GST rise . A resourceful and prepared government would have been aware of comments from both John Key and Bill English prior to the 2008 election, when they effectively ruled out raising GST.

A better prepared Prime Minister could have said in his speech last week that despite reservations prior to the election, raising GST was now being considered.

Had he done that the emergence of pre-election footage of National saying it wouldn’t raise GST would have been much less embarrassing.”

Rather than giving the PM spin tips, perhaps we should consider why the government was so unprepared on GST. Could it be that the decision was taken at the last moment, for instance?

“After his difficulty with Tranzrail shares in 2008 it wasn’t particularly smart to hold on to shares in an Australian mining company when he is arguing the case for opening up more of the DOC estate for domestic and international companies to extract minerals. The fact that the company, after a merger he was unaware of, now has substantial interests in uranium mining, is just plain embarrassing for the leader of an aggressively nuclear free country.”

No but he did it because he honestly thinks that he won’t get caught and there won’t be any consequences if he is caught.

“Perhaps more significantly, sloppiness is creeping into National’s management of its relationship with the Maori Party.

Backbench Maori Party MP Rahui Katene claims the party is considering walking out of the coalition over a rise in GST. Hone Harawira puts a bill into the ballot calling for entrenchment of the Maori seats and then withdraws it realising it is in breach of the confidence and supply agreement between National and the Maori Party. Neither Key nor Tariana Turia appear to remember what is in the five page document.

Turia and Key also appear at odds over the Whanau Ora policy – a revolutionary new approach to delivering social services.”

What is that approach? Someone – anyone – give me a concrete definition of Whanau Ora. I’m surprised any journalist will listen to a minister spin on the subject while there is no definition on the table.

“Such sloppiness mattered less in National’s first year. In 2010, when it’s making the hard decisions unnecessarily burning political capital is foolhardy. National needs to sharpen up.”

The sharpening up won’t happen because this government doesn’t have the capacity to be a real government. Key reflexively resorts to humour when he doesn’t have anything else – no facts, no argument. And you’ll have noticed he’s resorting to humour more and more these days.

As the troubles mount, you’ll see more smart arse cracks and goofy PR stunts. What you won’t see is a serious PM dedicated to resolving the serious issues that face New Zealand and its 276,000 jobless workers.

32 comments on “Guyon tires of Key’s empty grin ”

  1. lprent 1

    Government is serious work. Why did we get a clown elected?

    • Tiger Mountain 1.1

      Well someone who should know-Helen Clark,-who I came across by chance last year outside the Mt Albert electorate caravan parked near Valley Rd shops said to me during conversation that “Key lied his way into office and he’s still at it…’ And he is, abetted by the msm.

    • Gosman 1.2

      He’s hardly a clown. He’s just not a humourless dour matron like person who talked down to you every time a policy pronouncement is made. You may like your political leaders like that but I prefer them to be a bit more human like.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Someone who appears to not be on top of his own portfolios, let alone those of his ministers. I’d prefer a matron that is competent, in fact anyone who is competent running the government.. Not someone who is clueless.

  2. Tigger 2

    Since when is privitisation ‘a revolutionary new approach’?

  3. vto 3

    Good points you make. One of the things which pisses the public off about politicians is when they do not answer the questions..

    Q: “Where did the 40km2 number come from My Key?”

    A: “From my speechwriter”.

    What a fucking smart arse. I would be very interested to know the answer to that question. Particularly as, having experience and an interest in the entire mining debate currently going on, I know that 40km2 IS A LOAD OF BULLSHIT. Ffs one miner in a place I know on the coast currently affects I would guess 3-4 km2. And that is just one tiny operator. How many km2 does Solid Energy use? The operators around Waihi? Southland?

    Key is a fucking smart arse and a liar.

    That shit goes down like a cup of cold sick.

    • Tigger 3.1

      Agreed vto. This cutesy, cutesy approach was boring to start with but now it stinks of farce. Look at this answer. If another leader had given it they would be pilloried. But Key is Mr Teflon and everything slides off him. So far…

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      Q: “Where did the 40km2 number come from My Key?’

      A: “From my speechwriter’.

      Q. “Are you saying they made it up?”
      Q “Let’s hope your speechwriter doesn’t decide to declare war then eh?”
      Q “Can we speak to organ-grinder please?”

  4. Forgivable rant 01 – When I said to my friends I kept warm er last winter through chortling constantly at the shoddiness of this gov I feel some guilt now. Melissa Flea, R.Worthless, Double Dipton Blinglish, Frothing Sideshow Nicked Smith and Pin the policy on the JonKey himself….. this winter is hardyards for the folk thrown on the pyre of this bankrolled coalition of speech-written monkeys with naked ambitions.
    It will be a cold winter in this unameliorated anthropologically manipulated marketplace of little choice and lesser freedoms – humans in crates? Humans as ‘consumers’. The planet as a sandpit for the ‘big ticket boys.

    captcha – current – swim against? In serious training…

  5. Sandip 5

    this article raises a very serious prospect. the prospect alone shows why the standard has a mandate to exist. The prospect on Ricky “the man” Gervais being PM of NZ is the best thing ever said online throughout the history of the internet. Hopefully the meeeeedja pick up on it. Keep MMP and we could get him in

  6. jason rika 6

    Ricky Gervais for prime minister

    • A Nonny Moose 6.1

      No thanks. He’s proven himself as a rape-joke making, passive agressive woman hating douchebag.

      I’d prefer Eddie Izzard.

      • cal 6.1.1

        I’d prefer Billy Connolly. Out of the three of them, Billy is the most likley one to do it and all

  7. Bill 7

    Reading Guyons piece, I got the impression he was merely and mildly concerned over some managerial matters. Those aside, he was defensive of and positive towards the government and Key; more concerned with pre-empting and silencing any ‘foolish’ critics than being critical himself.

    That you (Eddie) have tired of ‘Keys empty grin’ and that you may wish others did too just doesn’t make it so. And to claim or suggest that your analysis and conclusions of Guyon’s piece are somehow his too is to miss the mark by a long shot and terribly misleading to a casual reader.

  8. So how does this neutered mainstream media thing work ?

    Is there a directive from on high within respective media organisations to go soft on Key at the risk of losing your job or is it because as a ‘made man’ working for the MSM and in the higher tax bracket that will benefit from tax cuts that you not bite the hand that feeds ?

    What stops MSM journos form asking the hard questions in a hard manner and not ramming the bullshit right back at em when they know they’re getting fed it?…Fear of missing out on the free lunch and drinks and the inside scoop if there ever is one ?

    Maybe this is a question more suited for Russell Brown over at Public Address and media 7 but it seems like Hard News has gone a bit soft in its middle age.

    • Bill 8.1

      The answer is that any budding journalist deluded enough to believe in and pursue any notion of journalism as commonly understood by the likes of you or me, would have been weeded out and rendered unemployable either during or immediately following journalism school.

      Alternatively, they would have learned to play the game; dance to the pipers tune and taken their nice wee salary and middle class lifestyle in lieu of exercising their conscience or extending their analytical capabilities.

      • pollywog 8.1.1

        Damn…i better tell my daughter that, cos she was thinking of being a reporter and i said you’re better off being behind the camera, figuring you still get the perks without having to eatarse to get em. She’s like me and doesnt know her left from her right…

        …cheers Bill

    • BLiP 8.2

      Its a phenomenon known as “journalistic capture” whereby the so-called guardians of the Fourth Estate eventually become the instruments of those they seek to protect the rest of us from.

      • Bill 8.2.1

        Where does the ‘eventually’ come in to the scheme of things BLiP?

        There are not and never have been any ‘guardians’ of any ‘Fourth Estate’. That stuff is just so much romantic clap trap.

        The mainstream press or whatever mainstream medium of reportage has only ever reflected the views of power.

  9. tc 9

    so how come Guyon suddenly falls out of love with the nats, it’s not like there’s been any change as they’ve been lying / bullying / no plans etc from day 1……methinks they’ve woken up to a relected Clown and his circus means sell off of such items as…..TVNZ, before it worth even less than it is now with free to air TV being a dead industry and all that.

    Not so much journalism but self interest as any buyer of TVNZ would end Guyon’s and others gravy train.

    • Bill 9.1

      “so how come Guyon suddenly falls out of love with the nats..”

      He hasn’t!..and you asking that question coincides with part of the criticism I made of this post.( via link)

  10. Roger 10

    Before the election there was a lack of detail in the policy programme. Since the 2008 election there have been several policy initiatives where the details appear not to have been well thought through. Climate change, on again – off again tax changes, and foreshore & seabed changes. This veil of rhetoric and vague generalisation is getting thinner by the day. The question – as always – is who benefits? Surely that is the meta-narrative.

  11. greenfly 11

    Gosman – ‘human like’.

    You got it.

  12. tc 12

    Yup good advice from Bill pollywog……..journalism as we knew it had a use by date placed on it with media ownership concentration, the most insightful material is on blog sites such as this one.

  13. Chris 13

    Guyon is in love with himself. Not with anybody or anything else. Johnkey doesn’t figure except as some sort of Pavlovian button that Guyon presses to get his weekly pay packet.

    Guyon is vacous and empty, inured to the sound and work of hard questioning, as he preens and prances before Johnkey so that he can get a smile from him.

  14. Still, that fawning, bottle blonded dimwit, Pippa Wetzel gets my goat up more than that Guyon guy 🙂

  15. Chris 15

    Guyon is the male equivalent of Wetzel.

  16. aj 16

    Can’t you all see the similarity between Key and the most recent Bush? Scary.
    Well meaning jokey buffoon.

  17. expat 17

    Hanging on the opinion of Te kwality political commentators is a bit desperate.

  18. Roger 18

    Key reminds me of Will Ferrel’s character off Anchorman.

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