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Guest post: The clever dealer?

Written By: - Date published: 5:58 am, October 18th, 2008 - 48 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, maori party, slippery - Tags:

Many people laud John Key’s experience in the business world, and say that the smiling assassin’s ability to play hard-ball when required means he will be an excellent prime minister.

So why, during talks with the Maori Party, did Key drop a National ‘bottom line’ that would be a strong card to play? As evidenced by his admission yesterday, Key repeatedly conceded that dissolution of Maori seats was not a National Party bottom line in talks with Pita Sharples. Sharples made this public, and suddenly Key, the Hard-Nosed Operator from the business world was trumped.

In making the admission public, Sharples forced Key – with everything to lose – to decide between antagonising Sharples (and, by extension, the Maori Party) or admitting he’d given away one of National’s strongest bargaining chips before National made it to the table. Key, in increasingly typical fashion, chose the former until it became an untenable position, and conceded the latter.

This raises two questions regarding Key’s experience from the business world:

I – Why did he make a policy concession in such a weak position? There’s no evidence National extracted a similar concession. It is possible, but in the eyes of the public Key has been well and truly sharked; it looks like their position post-election, whatever that may be, has been greatly weakened.

II – Why did he choose a course of action that would lead to the worst of both worlds – antagonising the Maori Party by accusing Sharples of lying, before conceding he’s been deceiving the public all along? So much for making important decisions on the spot and getting the call right.

Not what you’d expect from the supposed paragon of business acumen.

48 comments on “Guest post: The clever dealer? ”

  1. 08wire 1

    This is a really well argued post. The myth around John Key is that he is a strategic mastermind. Multiple events of the past month suggest otherwise.

  2. tony norriss 2

    Lame bolg:

    You would be better to focus on your party’s attempt to front-foot the breaking immigration scandal:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10538152

    [lprent: After looking at your recent comments – you’re banned for 4 weeks.. You have been actively promoting this in almost every comment recently in a way that I can only describe as advertising. This is a non-advertising site and I have no intentions of letting it descend into the hands of spammers of any kind.]

    [lprent: You have to consider the source – a story by Ian Wishart. The guy is in love with his ego. Usually he does this massive self-promotion using dwerbs on the net, and it has a great title. But when you look closely at it, it winds up as being a few unrelated facts and a whole lot of poorly thought out speculation.

    My standard operating practice is to look at it a week after release, by which time it has descended into a nothing story after people do some fact checking. If it lasts that long in the minds of people outside of the sycophants then I might get interested..

    Anyway I’m getting tired of the promotion on here. If I don’t see anything new in the comments about it I’ll start regarding it as an advertising troll.]

  3. randal 3

    you would be better off telling us why national wants to sell ACC and Kiwibank?

  4. appleboy 4

    My take on this is Key is simply trying to keep National voters on side with a swipe at Maori and privately saying whatever they need to top get into power. He just got caught out.

    Tony – sorry but your bubble needs to be burst love, this is a non story. In your little world it may be but sorry to shake your tree but to rational people it’s a story by Ian Wishart, say no more.If you think any issue that ever happens in the public service should bring down a minister or the PM then you are in la la land. View the 12 Key Flops video and make a balanced comment? Too hard I know.

  5. sean 5

    If you guys new the answer to these questions then you’d be successful in the business world too. Clearly you do not understand how JK works (evidenced by your poor YouTube question), so keep searching, and maybe one day you can be succesful businessmen too.

  6. Bill D 6

    No-one can accuse John Key of not being able to make hard decisions. In 1998/9, 97 Merrill Lynch executives put up 16.6 million dollars for a fraudulent Enron scam that provided a 30% profit after a few weeks investment.
    http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=fxWOLU2ZNOAC&pg=PA200&lpg=PA200&dq=Merrill+Lynch+history+corruption&source=web&ots=dC7nAiEXb0&sig=NKD0uJLtVGJKDX2W2WgtAA4imFI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result

    Imagine the dilemma.

    Merrill Exec: “Hey JK, Enron’s giving us 30% profit for parking a few worthless assets for a month while they get their balance sheet out. Are you in?”

    Key: “Shit! Is it legal?”

    Merrill Exec: “Everyone’s getting in – nudge nudge wink wink.”

    Key: (thinks) ” mmmmmm. Couple of deals like that and I can afford that small South Pacific Country I’ve always wanted. That’d show Ashcroft and his penny-ante Belize I’m a BSD*”
    “Any chance of it going pear-shaped?”

    Merrill Lynch Exec: “No way. We’d be out long before the SEC caught on. That’s the beauty of it!”

    Key: “It might bring the Company down if it gets out.”

    Merrill Lynch Exec: “Jesus John. Whaddaya think’s gonna happen when all those dodgy mortgages you’ve been packaging up down there in Debt Markets hit bottom? Company’s gonna be fucked anyway!”

    Key: “Decisions decisions!!”

    Now I don’t know what he decided but either way, it must’ve been tough.

    *BSD. Big Swinging Dick.

  7. Paul 7

    Of course exactly the same argument can be applied when considering his commitment to never form a govt with Winnie …

  8. Gerald 8

    The truth is that Key takes positions of convenience and as time goes by, he’s increasingly exposed in ways that can never happen when you’re in the PM’s job. Is the desire to throw out Labour, no matter what, so strong that dim wits are willing to elect a man with no principles at all?

    I’m waiting for Carson’s ad campaign to turn this into a factor as the campaign hots up.

  9. For most people in New Zealand it must be very confusing watching John Key’s apparent bumbling and the contradictions between public and back room conversations must either be lies or confusing mistakes depending on whether you like him or not.

    But to me they represent a very troubling pattern.

    First let’s do away with the notion that John Key was a businessman. John Key was a banker. He was not the kind of banker who enables businessmen to build factories or real world wealth. He was an investment banker.

    Until the 1999 repeal of the Glass Steagall act the two were not allowed to merge.

    This was because the mixture of the two and their speculative derivatives trade were the cause for the financial collapse of the western financial system in 1929.
    The GS act was realised in 1933 in order to prevent this kind of criminal speculation.

    So John Key was an investment banker and not a business man in the real world creating material wealth requiring a desire to cooperate with real world businesspeople needing a long term working relationship with a commercial bank.

    His main source of income was to create money out of money. For those of you of Christian persuasion this was known as usury. A vile way of parasitical money creation. Forbidden to Christians and Moslem.

    In this world everybody is only in it to make as much money in as short as possible time and with what ever means, legal and illegal, at their disposal.

    In that world everybody is in it for themselves and everybody has reasons not to bring their wheeling and dealing outside of that seedy world.

    To the Wall street scheisters the general public are mugs for the taking and it does not matter what you tell them just so ling as you keep your deals with your co-conspirators until such times as your interest does not coincide with theirs of course and than you dump them again (Hence JK saying to Bill English he’s vote for him while in the end voting for himself, classical bankster deceit)

    In that light it is not so surprising that John Key offers Dr Pita Sharples a cosy deal when it suits him and since he knows that most Maori do not support a cooperation with National he assumes that Dr Pita Sharples like him a political insider (insider being “we politicians against the punters”) has his own private agenda.

    And this is were JK shows his arrogance rather than stupidity (And believe me this is not a stupid man but someone with a huge amount of hubris and disdain for his fellow man).

    I’m sure Pita Sharples has his own political agenda but he can only get there with the help of his Maori backers and contrary to John Key whose backers are the same shadowy parasites he has been working with his whole career and not the punters he needs to vote for him Pita gets his power from his voters. So while John Key can’t rely on his voters to stand by him when he gets honest with them Sharples can provided he keeps them informed.

    It’s called politics in a democracy.

    John Key’s attempt at back room wheeling and dealing as he is used to goes wrong when dealing with other political leaders because they can influence the political status quo by being honest with the NZ public while John Key can’t.

    This is the difference between the National party and all of the others including Labour. Every other party derives their influence from their supporters and voters but National under the likes of Banker Don Brash and John Key represents the parasitical outsider even though their voters think that they represent them.

    This is why every time the National party says something in private and they say something different to the mugs that vote for them and that every time national gets voted in the mugs as well as the entire population gets ripped of left right and centre.

    And since the whole financial world is going to hell in a hand basket this election will make the difference between some (fairly serious) form of moderation under Labour or total financial and economical devastation under National and the international investment banking cartel.

    Bill,
    BSD, hilarious

  10. milo 10

    Yes, it seems bizarre. And that’s because it is bizarre. It’s not what happened; rather it’s the weirdo StandardLand interpretation. That fact that you get to such weird outcomes just highlights what gross misinterpretations (or more charitably, naive misunderstandings) you have been peddling all along.

    In logic, it’s called a reductio ad absurdum, and it is used as the classic proof that your premises are wrong.

  11. Ianmac 11

    There must be serious concerns within the Nat ranks about how these things are handled by Key. I keep on remembering hearing firstly John then Bill saying “We will do whatever it takes.”
    Just been reading the comments on Gordon Campbell’s page. Especially by Dave Brown near the bottom:
    http://election08.scoop.co.nz/is-keys-super-fund-idea-so-super/#comment-9250
    #
    Dave says:”This is rogernomics mark 2 or privatisation by trickleup.” Maybe John is more ruthless than he looks hence the “distraction” of Maori seats by apparently bumbling. Takes the attention away from the significance of the erosion of the Super Fund?

  12. randal 12

    If he was a business man then it would be possible to buy something maufactured by john keys and co ltd. all he has ever sold has been blue sky!

  13. milo 13

    randal, most of the is services now, rather than manufacturing.

  14. milo 14

    gah! most the economy is in services now

  15. milo, “it’s called a reductio ad absurdum, and it is used as the classic proof that your premises are wrong.”

    In the logic of classic proof puh-leease explain how your comment is relevant.

    Sean, you have – perhaps inadvertantly – expressed an interesting pov, That one must search for the attributes that make JK a “succesful(sic) businessman”. Is this meant in the present or past? If the past, then surely disclosure by your good self or some other source known to you, would be of no harm to the said JK and of useful learning to folks here. If the present then admission to it would border on the new – ‘change for the better’ – sense of duty that any politician would advance (albeit out of self-interest and advantage) for his constituency’s benefit.

  16. Felix 16

    As far as I’m aware he’s never had his own business at all – service based or otherwise.

    Key has been very successful at collecting a big pile of money for himself. Well done, but that doesn’t make him a businessman.

    It makes him a very successful and wealthy corporate employee.

    Why is this relevant? It’s not, except that Key is trying to sell himself as an experienced businessman when in reality he has very little experience in the type of business that most kiwi businesses are engaged in.

  17. Ianmac 17

    In the debate John described himself as a “successful businessman”. In my opinion a businessman is one who develops a business; providing goods and services. Is buying and selling money fit this? Whilst you would have to work alongside others who do the same thing, it does not seem to me to be the same as learning to mix it in the “real world.”
    Not far from those “money-lenders” in the temple 🙂 As someone else said neither the Koran nor the Bible approves of ursary 🙂

  18. Milo,

    Services are what people can afford if they have excess money. Whether we elect to have group of people collect that money and use it to create a catch net for all of us when we need it like ACC or we elect to the to each their own system in a healthy system it is paid for by the people for the people with the wealth they generate.

    In America only 12% of the population had a production (wealth generating) job, 33% generates fictitious wealth with magical “financial instruments” i.e. bonds and derivatives which is purely speculative and fraudulent and 55% of the population offers services i.e. non wealth producing jobs.

    Like here more and more people got into Mortgage debt and credit card debt and that is now collapsing.

    A service society is unsustainable.
    If NZ is a service society and as of last year there were more service jobs than production jobs than prepare for the inevitable collapse of NZ too.

  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    milo, was it you that was saying the other day the affirming the antecedent (modus ponens) was invalid?

    I was unsure if that was supposed to be some sort of subtle joke, given that the comment you were responding to wasn’t doing that, it was denying the consequent (tonens). BTW both forms are absolutely valid. They are quite literally the first and most simple tools in propositional logic.

    If P then Q. P, therefore Q. Affirming the antecedent.

    If P then Q Not Q, therefore not P. Denying the consequent.

  20. IanMac, mind if I make that “usury”. 🙂

    travellerev,

    Something of note for your obvious interest is:—

    Anything is possible in an opaque 70 trillion dollar shadow market for insurance contracts with no reserves and no transparency. Ask yourself this, why was this unregulated, off exchange market created in the first place? There is no legitimate reason for the CDS market to exist. If it is a legitimate hedge market it should be exchange traded with margin requirements and no counter party risk. So when a 70 trillion dollar market is essentially a Ponzi scheme created to boost IB earnings and allow accounting shenanigans, ya get what we got. Zero Confidence!

    This being a guest’s comment to one very significant debate with impending peril for too many possible come October 21+. In the USA. Not least.

    First though, lets revise, simplify, explain. Corrected figures are $52 tn(both cases). CDS = credit default swaps; IB = investment banks. Ponzi = a continuing scheme reliant entirely on buyers into it. The business is largely between corporate players. A trader/dealer(third party) intermediates this.

    CDS example might be someone wagers a bet on Lehman Bros(the IB which Paulson allowed fail) and approaches a derivatives dealer who agrees take it for $100,000. The dealer/trader asap gets another party to take it on for $90,000. Dealer/trader makes $10,000. viz payment upfront and no risk to dealer/trader whatsoever. S/he is, as Felix I think pointed out, not a capitalist business person but more a servicer/employee/contractor

    We can see this in so very many ways. Opportunists and money hungry would be admiring, I’d suppose. Others might say well, what kind of work is this.. bookie? Parasitic..? Servicing—sure—though nothing remotely like fixing a blown tire or fitting a spare to get you going again. Others.. take your pick.. Let’s have allcomers say what they reckon..

    On behalf the trader/dealer I’d add that folks with money go to them to make more money. Use their talents. Their capacity to take risks, earn what they and others call rewards. The richer ones – BSD in the parlance – have, as you might reasonably expect, taken ‘extra’-ordinary risks; else exercised opportunity and/or luck in ‘making out’..

    At issue of course, and on the face of things, is the relevance and significance of dealer/trader attributes in as much as New Zealanders require their PM to be so skilled. Or not. As the case may be. And yes, as the now drastically changed financial climate around the world renders money-makers much more than tomatoes and/or risky-takers.

  21. Jo Zinny,

    Interesting quote, do you have a link for that?

    I don’t quite get the point your trying to make.
    Do you feel that John Key has the skills to lead this country in these volatile times or do you see him as too much of a risk taker.

    I don’t see him as being on his own and just cruising for the PM job for his own satisfaction and the benefit of the NZ population.

    I think he is still part of the international Money Masters and is trying to bring NZ in a dire financial situation so we will be forced to privatise our assets and sell them for cents to the dollar to foreign interests.

  22. travellerev, try http://www.rgemonitor.com – specific guest remark in commentary on post relating impending peril re Lehman Bros’ derivatives(CDS)..

    my point is who needs risk, risky, riskier naything/s in financially volatile times. Very much to the point was PM Rudd(Australia) yesterday going after execs highly paid to “take greater risks” when those activities are busting/have busted the system.

    can’t be sure about solo.. JK has alluded to others ‘around the world’ in the NZH bio (July..?) given the changed, stressed and strained global circumstabces this past wee while I’d be circumspect to say the least regarding such associates.. Nothing personal.. more a matter of well if these guys can be counted as today’s problem-makers then they should be dealt to not encouraged.. whereas onshore others(suggested.?) will have their own motivations.. also misplaced by now I’d suspect..

    the IMM – do you have a transcripted link – I’ll need catch up on..

    there are other bodies seeking ‘access spoils’.. perhaps also later..

  23. Ianmac 23

    (By the way. Just thought of another time when it is said that John Key said one thing to Bill English in private then went out the next day and voted for Don.)
    Was John a risk taker? Would a trader being taking risks when trading on inside sure things. Is he a risk-taker in the physical emotional sense?
    I appreciate the dialog above as far as I can follow it. Learning bit by bit though the jargon is hard to keep track of.

  24. Jo Zinny,

    Of course it would be from the Roubini blog you quoted, bloody good site even if I’m not a subscriber (cancelled credit card after I realised what was going to happen.

    Yep I agree with you.

    Cheers

    Ianmac,

    The links to the video’s will really help, they are video’s made for people like you and me who don’t know shit about the banking system but want to learn.

    I was like you two years ago and I would have a strange glazed over look if you had tried to talk to me about this shit then.
    So thank you for wanting to learn.

  25. randal 25

    ev..dont forget the golden rule. he who has the gold makes the rules.

  26. Chris 26

    Anyone who gets dough by launching speculative raids on our economy and was part of the banking system that spurred on the global financial crisis is not someone I want running NZ. Not to mention he comes from a background of business where failing in business ventures and taking gambles is commonplace, that is simply not an acceptable mindset to be using with regard to a Nations economy, particularly my NZ!

  27. randal 27

    its a matter of trust. and that does not mean bankers trust! nor enron.

  28. Trust is a powerful word randal. This recent saga will test trust.

  29. gobsmacked 29

    Well, since the right-wing trolls have been hi-jacking the other thread, let’s help them out, with a new twist – the part of the story they somehow forgot to mention:

    NZPA, today:

    National Party leader John Key said today he had met Auckland businessman Yang Liu, the subject of questions about his residency and citizenship.

    He also said Mr Liu had made an unsolicited donation of $5000 to National before the last election.

    Mr Key said he remembered meeting Mr Liu three times, twice at lunches before the 2005 election, and once when they were both at the same event after the election in late 2005 or early 2006. MP Pansy Wong also attended both lunches.

    “I have not met him since becoming leader,” Mr Key said. …

    Mr Key said when he met Mr Liu at the lunches, National Party policies, and politics generally, were discussed. At no time were his residency or citizenship issues discussed.

    “Before the last election Mr Liu made an unsolicited donation of $5000 which was passed on by my electorate officials to the National Party headquarters.

    “I did not discuss donations with Mr Liu at any of the three encounters,” Mr Key said.

    (ENDS)

    (and if Mr Liu did send him an e-mail, John Key didn’t open it, etc …)

  30. gobsmacked has Sticky Nicky Hager got the stolen John Key email?

  31. randal 31

    why dont you ask him? write him a letter

  32. bill brown 32

    I’m surprised Key said he’d met the guy…

    Maybe he’s learning.

  33. randal 33

    trust means trust right up to the point you find out that they have made YOUR money disappear.

  34. Yes the immigration Minister knows about the value of money and trust – eh randal?

  35. randal 35

    well I suppose he does. Do you? speak for yourself.

  36. I will buy a passport rundal, thank you mate.

  37. randal 37

    dont hurry back

  38. i will just use one of my many aliases as the minister has my alibi. ooops.

  39. randal 39

    hohohoho…youse is a bundal of larfs. chortle chortle

  40. Hey Dad what do you think of National’s welfare policy?

  41. Did a pussycat just pass wind?

  42. JoshRV 42

    Yeah. Its name is Peter.

  43. appleboy 43

    Can we also lose this idiot dad4justice. he’s tony norris’s rent boy me thinks. Update on the immigration story the guy donated to labour and national, he met with John Key in person, and Pansy Wong wrote to immigration in support. , so you rightwhinging nut bars can move on and go back to fairyland again..

  44. Aargh,

    d4j is back,and it seems he hasn’t learned a thing. Still the same old troll. Seen him on a couple of threads. Same old, same old.

    Randal,

    So true

  45. Cha,

    Sure looks like Andy Lahde.. yes? Any idea where he’s settling..?

  46. cha 47

    Jo Zinny,

    Lahde is looking after his reputation by bailing now with a view to returning with none of the ‘crash of 08’ shit sticking. And with returns like this his clients will want him back.

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