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Hey Righty

Written By: - Date published: 3:25 pm, October 30th, 2009 - 172 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

John Key The Rapture Election night 2008

One of our commenters prism asked a good question on Open Mike the other day:

The honeymoon for the Nats stretches on and I’m puzzled as to why? It would be interesting to hear what actual policies and actions are perceived as so good let’s hear the examples from Nat fans, rather than generalisations. Or is it John Key, the new popular TV Idol, rather than the Nats they support?

So if you’re a supporter of this Government:

1. could you please tell us about all the great things they’ve done since gaining office?

2. is the primary reason for your support John Key, his party, or his party’s policies?

Go ahead, knock yourself out.

172 comments on “Hey Righty ”

  1. Pat 1

    A former PM said it is all about trust. If I am pressed to narrow it down to one thing, I think the majority of NZers actually trust John Key (more than the alternative PM options), and actually like having him as PM.

    So in this modern media era, John Key stands as the biggest barrier to the Left getting back into power anytime soon. And look who The Left have put up against him – Goff, Norman and Anderton. Good luck with that.

    • Kevin Welsh 1.1

      Trust: Acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation.

      If this is the kind of trust you are referring to, then I am glad I have no trust in Key.

      • Herodotus 1.1.1

        Should you trust any politician/party I will refrain from examples from the last regime. Just incase I become to imbalanced in a view.
        We have to worry when we are making oaths to a leader !!!

  2. SJ Hawkins 2

    I voted for National (for the first time – always voted Labour previously), but frankly I don’t like their record so far (for very different reasons than I’m sure you have). On current form I have to say my vote will be going to ACT next time round. National so far have not delivered their promised tax cuts, have ignored the public on the S59 referendum, some of the education changes appear wanting, and generally they appear to be a continuation of Labour policy from the previous government.

    As to the continued high level of support for them, it’s as much a mystery to me as it is to you. Perhaps the high support for National is a reflection that voters are still pissed off with Labour? I personally haven’t seen anything positive come from their side of the house, just negative attacks all the time. I’m very unimpressed with the current Labour team, especially King and Mallard. I think a rejuvenation of the party is in order, and whether that can happen in one term remains to be seen.

    • Zorr 2.1

      So you have gone from voting Labour, to National… and then to ACT? In what way is ACT actually offering an improvement over this current government? Sure, they like to slash and burn so you will get your tax cuts but remember that they will burn down everything else in sight too.

      The following quote from Grover Norquist sums up ACT nicely:
      “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

  3. gobsmacked 3

    I’m not a Nat supporter, but I’ll make one point about the polling, often overlooked.

    In NZ the media polls always focus on the zero sum game. In more sophisticated polling environments (USA), the polls give us details.

    For example, Obama gets “approval ratings”, not “preferred President” (Prime Minister). So in NZ parlance, he might score 60% as “preferred” (= better than McCain, Palin, etc), while only registering 50% approval. In theory, you could have a 100% rating as “preferred”, but 0% approval. Like if I was asked about Dubya versus Pol Pot.

    John Key and National score highly, because they are preferred to the previous government. Therefore, Key can ignore the public mood on (e.g.) smacking, and not lose any support in the party vote. That doesn’t mean he made a popular decision. But the media are now so threadbare, they don’t delve any deeper.

    A classic second term re-election scenario, seen in democracies world wide, is: lower turnout, grudging support, least bad option.

    That’s probably where Key is heading.

    PS The “honeymoon” metaphor is wrong. It’s really a “holiday” – from hard choices. But no government can put those off forever.

    PPS And Pat illustrates my point. “Barrier” – John Key defined by who he is not.

    • Pat 3.1

      I’m not sure how strong National looks without Key. English and Brash couldn’t beat Helen Clark. Wouldn’t National have won without Key? No-one could seriously suggest Gerry Brownlee would have led the party to victory.

      • Noko 3.1.1

        Yeah, but how strong does Labour look without Clark?

      • Just One Person 3.1.2

        Who cares Pat, Helen is gone and who can really see her coming back?

        The real question is could English/Brash beat Goff and on current performance I think they probably could.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    They haven’t done anything yet. The only significant budget decisions were to reverse tax cuts that never existed and the super fund delay.

    The rest has been about media stunts (gang patches, boy racers, tough on crime, war on drugs slogans and rhetoric), public service reorganisations, FTA deals which have been in the pipelinefor years, RWC announcements etc..

    The tough decisions are yet to come- Foreshore and Seabed, ETS and tax reviews. I’m sure they would love to put all these off until after 2011.

  5. researcher 5

    Firstly SJ Hawkins, you write about tax cuts, voting ACT, and complaining that National generally appear to be a continuation of Labour policy – that really doesn’t sound like a long-time Labour voter.

    Also, you say “On current form I have to say my vote will be going to ACT next time round”. Right, the two perk-busters Hide and Douglas – what a disappointment they must be to ACT supporters, both caught with their snouts in the trough and justifying it by saying they are “entitled”. These are two people whose platform is less government spending and perk busting. It’s a word beginning with H!

    As for the question, I didn’t vote for National, but my guess is that most people are generally unaware of what Key & Co have been up to (and into) since coming to power. And yes, Labour has been a weak opposition – lucky for National.

    ACT is clearly a joke.

    The Maori party have shot themselves in the foot.

    And the Greens will have their core support and core haters. They need to focus on more sensible green policy to get into double figures, which I believe is entirely possible. But at present I can’t vote for them.

    Captcha – funds

  6. 1. could you please tell us about all the great things they’ve done since gaining office?

    2. is the primary reason for your support John Key, his party, or his party’s policies?

    1. There is no serious alternative.

    2. There is no serious alternative.

    • Adolf Fiinkensein 6.1

      We can’t go on agreeing like this.

    • Lanthanide 6.2

      “1. There is no serious alternative.”
      Perhaps now, but I would say that Helen was a very “serious” alternative in 2008. Much more serious than Key, anyway.

    • SHG 6.3

      The best thing National has done since taking office is preventing the old Labour hacks like Goff, King, Hodgson et al from being in office instead. National does this every day, so I keep feeling positively-inclined towards them.

      Like danylmc said… there is no serious alternative.

      • RedLogix 6.3.1

        The original questioned posed by The Sprout was asking righties why they liked JK so much. Most of the answers so far have been framed in terms of ‘they are not Labour’. Well and good if that cranks your handle, but its a meme can only take you so far.

        Ultimately you are going to face up to NACT hacks like Brownlee, Blinglish, Hide, Smith, Ryall and Joyce et al… and judge them on their merits.

  7. Adolf Fiinkensein 7

    Goodness me.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a National Party member who never has and never will vote for Labour or Labor.

    The answer is so simple. It is twofold.

    First, there is no tenable alternative. Labour currently is a rabble. It’s not the past gummint people don’t like now. It’s the current haplessly inept opposition. They fuck up every little thing they touch. They continue to lie (Goff, Barker and Hughs), they continue to steal (Goff, Barker and Hughes), they continue to cheat (Carter).

    Second. They are in denial. They refuse to carry out the necessary analysis of the real reasons they were booted out and they refuse to admit where they did wrong. In religious terms they all want forgiveness but none of them wants to repent. If you think I’m making this up, you’re wrong. It is a direct quote from a senior Labour Party insider. He is tearing his hair out.

    Ironically, you’ll find the fundamentalist nutbars of the right screaming abuse at National because National refuses to go in and purge the public service, cut taxes, shoot the trade unions and commit all sorts of butchery in the name of fiscal responsibility. In fact, National and its partners are doing exactly what they said they would do during the campaign. Steady as she goes with no major upheaval during a recession. Get that last bit. It’s important.

    National is popular because it is doing what it said it would do.

    Last but not least, John Key is popular because he is up front and optimistic, Clark and Cullen were not and neither is Goff. His disastrous peccadilloes with Madame Chaudray and the stupid woman on benefits, along with his dole for millionaires made him look like a chump.

    You’ve got a few very talented people in the house but they are never seen. You continue to parade your old worn out hacks and hide your young colts. Kelvin Davis is the most striking example.

    Cunliffe, Mallard, Hughes, King, Hodgson, Jones and Parker are all soiled goods.

    I commend you to this post at my blog. It was written with tongue slightly in cheek but it spells out what you need to do.


    • sk 7.1

      By the way, Our PM’s mother would have found your chosen web-name profoundly offensive and disturbing. As you heap praises on our first Jewish Prime Minister since Vogel. has that ever occurred to you?

      And if not, then we are free to dismiss your writings as vacuous drivel

      • RedLogix 7.1.1


        I’ve long understood it’s his real name. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

        And there’s not much point in going on the attack here; it’s not what they are saying that amounts to so much… as what they are not saying. Notice carefully that so far none of them have been able to give much in the way positive constructive reasons for loving JK.

        • sk

          Ok, If so I apologise. But the closest actual name I can find is Finkelstein – which is a predominantly Jewish name, originally from Austria.

          Would love to be corrected on this, as it has troubled me from the first time I saw it.

          • sk

            Thanks Redlogix, it appears you right. In which case, Mr Finkenstein I apologise. The spelling you use lead me down the wrong path.

            In which case, if you used the actual spelling, it would not be mistaken as a play on Finkelstein, which is what I took it to be.

            • Adolf Fiinkensein

              Nowhere could you find a better reflection of why Labour is doomed, than in this preceding exchange. No wonder the world has passed you by.

            • sk

              No Mr Fiinkensein,

              I am not associated with Labour at all. It is a fair question, given the spelling you have used. I am sorry to be direct, but it does matter.
              I did apologise, in case I caused offence, but anywhere else in the world these sorts of questions are accepted.

            • sk

              Mr Fiinkensein,

              I apologise. I was completely wrong.

              I am not associated with Labour at all.

              (please withdraw my previous post which was under moderation)

  8. gobsmacked 8

    “National is popular because it is doing what it said it would do.”

    War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

  9. torydog 9

    I have asked that question to people who say they voted nat….im yet to get an answer that isnt “oh hes got a nice smile”, and “oh we dont want to be told what to do, example shower head etc”.

    So the only conclusion is people are extremely ignorant and have very little understanding of what they were voting for policy wise and believed Nat spin re nanny state……well they say you get the government you deserve!

  10. Anne 10

    @ SJ Hawkens
    “National have not delivered their promised tax cuts”.
    They never were going to SJH. Labour repeatedly warned the voters but few of you bothered to listen. The majority are still not listening because if they were… few would still trust Key and the NACT government!

    ” … they ignored the public on the S59 referendum.” Actually no – they didn’t. 87% of only 49% of eligible voters cast a vote. And you can be assured the other 51% didn’t vote because of the thoroughly dishonest phrasing of the question.

    “generally they appear to be a continuation of Labour policy…”.
    If you believe that then you really don’t have a clue about what is going on.

    I agree with researcher. You don’t sound like a former long-term Labour voter to me.

    • Herodotus 10.1

      Your comments are so disinguous. No wonder Labour and STILL polling a distacnt 2nd. You can play with numbers all you like. can you guantee that ALL the non voters would have gone the way you think. Ask a statistician on the variance of an outcome with 50% otf the population. But no I do not think you would as that would destroy your arguement.
      Re the phrasing, did not the politicial system under labour approve of the wording?
      I will leave my comments at this. Come back for a REAL discussion on the topic, or are you just a headliner as well?

      • rocky 10.1.1

        A statistician wouldn’t even try to calculate the possible variance of a result with self-selection bias. Calculating something that involves human decision making is impossible. If we were talking about a random sample of 50% of the population the story would be different. How’s that for a stats 101 lesson?

        • Herodotus

          But to state that the result is biased one way, by stating that only the Yes vote was understated is a reason why this subject continues. Speaking only from my point of view, the supportors of the current situation will not admit that this is not supportive of the bulk of the public. And it has hit a nerve, and all the spin keeps feeding the topic.
          This may not be a standard sapmle but the size of the population on a bell curve will still min the variantion of what 100% vote would rep.

          • rocky

            I didn’t state that the result was biased one way – I stated that your comment about what a statistician would say was incorrect.

            Further to your ignorance of statistics – sample size will reduce the calculated variation and look great on a bell curve, but no statistician will claim that gets rid of non-sampling errors. In other words you are trying to argue with someone’s claim that the results were biased by saying a whole pile of irrelevant stuff that you don’t understand.

          • mickysavage

            Well if you look at the question posed in the referendum you could very safely say there was bias as well as confusion created by the result.

            There is a strong argument that the current legal position actually matches the desired position as advocated by the referendum question.

            Boy will that guy offering $450k for the big protest be p%$d off when and if he realises this!

            • Herodotus

              The result of the ref was in line with other previous polls. Some will not want to see that this was no in accordance with the general public. Rocky you can make disparaging comments regarding my appreciation on statistics. But as long as you and others attack the fringes of this topic, it reconfirms to me that you and others are just not in touch. And there are many contributors to this and other sites who and almost pleading with the left to get back in touch. How many times are you required to be wacked in the head to get the message?
              THIS S59 WAS AND IS NOT A POPULAR ACTION, I am sure that you and others think that over time this will fade away. It just might, but there will be some of us to bring this up to display how for this site Labour and the system are crapping on us , rubbing our noses in it and almost taking enjoyment on abusing the public !!!!

            • rocky

              Herodotus the point is I wasn’t arguing about section 59 at all. You made a statement about statistics that was incorrect – and I corrected it. What’s your problem?

            • the sprout

              employing substantiated argument perhaps?

            • Herodotus

              Rocky- you asked my problem then cut the thread off ! How am I expected to respond?
              Yet my statements regarding the “sampling” are to be questioned (I cannot argue as my understandimhg is limited to s1 Stats) yet we have comments passed by Anne, and many others making comments attached to the 50% who did not vote and assumptions as to why they did not.
              I am still on the belief that this IS an unpopular law, and that those associated with Lab & Nat just close there eyes in the hope that it will go away, then Lab/Nat make comments as to wanting to listen to the people. Will someone stand up and say that This S59 was a popular move without a smurk on their face or resembling Pinocchio?

            • rocky

              Cut the thread off how? Comments are limited to a certain number of indents – it doesn’t stop you replying as you have just shown you can.

              You are welcome to believe the law is unpopular (I’m not sure either way, but I personally support it), just as others are welcome to believe the referendum results were biased. You can have opinions on the matter, but you can’t claim statistically one way or the other – I simply corrected you when you tried.

              A statistician could argue the validity of the question asked in the referendum, as it is based on a premise that isn’t necessarily true, but a matter of opinion.

              Everything I argued about stats is well covered in stage 1, so I very much doubt your level of knowledge is up to that.

    • SJ Hawkins 10.2

      Anne, that was one of the reasons I got grumpy with Labour. Because they had ample opportunity to lower taxes and didn’t, until they thought there was a real threat of losing in 2008 and they decided to offer tax cuts then to try and undermine National’s tax cut platform. By then I also didn’t trust Labour to carry out their promised tax cuts anyway.

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        So you voted for a National party who had staked it’s credibility on promising tax cuts… and then reneged on most of them anyway. How does that make you feel good?

        Especially now in the light of Treasury’s report this week?

  11. Gus 11

    Well I am not a national voter ,until last year but I would have to say I am sick to the gills of how MY party has become so nasty. I just dont get the nastiness. I talk with friends and we all agree … be more constructive. I am sick of the continual knee capping approach to everything, the mock outrage, the … we are so better. Be constructive and contribute positively. It may not register immediately but it will register. Negative politics is dead and buried. We are sick of it. Until we (the party) get that we will be sitting on those back benches for a very long time. It doesnt need a team of brain surgeons to work this out … kiwis are sick and tired of the negativity. Yes the Tories have their problems and can come across as a bit shady, but their up beat and positive. Labour, well you may as well spell it as “Negative”. There is no graciousness, no compromise. Those days are over.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Negative politics is dead and buried. We are sick of it.

      Funny how it was wonderful when ACT and National wallowed in nothing but for six years.

      • Gus 11.1.1

        It was never funny nor wonderful. Dont kid yourself that because its happened before that it will be tolerated again. I am pretty sure that’s in the polling for Labour. Collectively we are sick of the negativity.

        • RedLogix

          So you saying that it’s double standards then Gus?

          Like it’s ok for ‘perkbuster’ Hide to indulge to the max the very same travel allowances he made very good political capital out of attacking for years?

          Like it’s ok for National to scream ‘overtaxation’ at Cullen for years; then renege on their own ‘tax cuts north of $50pw’ at the very first opportunity?

          Like it’s ok for the Minister of Finance to preach restraint and public sector spending cuts, while arranging his affairs to maximise his own personal benefits?

          Like it’s ok for Key to promise greater accountability and openess, while being ‘relaxed’ and ‘comfortable’ about a string of ethical transgressions that his predecessor would have certainly acted on promptly. Even now the actual reasons for the one sacking he had to undertake (Worth), remain unrevealed.

          The fact is that National played negative politics very effectively for six years, and they understand the power of it. That’s why they are so keen to shut down the left when we use the same methods.

        • mickysavage

          Gus you were sucked in by most of the rest of the population. The tories spent three years throwing rocks and mud and then complained when Labour started to do it back.

          • ThomasCrapper

            Yes Gus everyone was sucked in by National … the voting had nothing to do with the public being sick to the back teeth with the Labour controlled government.

  12. Daveski 12

    A smart post because if one is honest, I doubt you can point (yet) to much constructive policy being implemented. Indeed, I’m on record here as agreeing that the Nats have been woeful in parts in terms of the lack of policy and some has been inconsistent to say the least eg promoting research as a strategic priority but cutting the tax credits.

    I’ve also been disappointed with the performance of some eg Worthless, Double Dipton (I can now see the humour) for not understanding the problem of perception. Rodders is like Winston – a great opposition politician. Melissa Lee for being Melissa Lee.

    The Wira Gardiner decision was a disgrace and in my view a travesty for many reasons and reflects a hidden power struggle within National – they at least are better at keeping it under the mat.

    Which I suppose is sprout’s view – how they hell can they continue to poll they way they do?

    In no particular order:

    1. Agreed Key appears to be the critical difference – he is liked and largely respected which is underlined by the amount of posts here trying to disrespect him.
    2. The “cry wolf” strategy has failed disnally. The Standard and Labour (is there a difference :)) painted such a negative scenario (“Secret Agenda”) that National could still implement *some* of its plans and not look anywhere near as bad as it was predicted.
    3. The economy improving – whether National’s hands-off approach was planned or not, we’re certainly in a better position that most other countries who admittedly were in a worse position initially. At the same time, the fact that it got (at least so far) no where near as bad as predicted has worked in Na’s favour.
    4. I thought DPF’s description of Labour’s effort in opposition was apt – dogs chasing passing cars. The attacks have often failed or rebounded and focused on belt way issues (as does the Standard) which aren’t an issue in the real world.
    5. Goff. I kinda like the guy which shows the problem you’ve got 🙂 He doesn’t inspire (apart from Eddie who would still enthuse if Basil Brush was the Leader of the Opposition). Symbolically, it’s all wrong.
    6. They’re not Labour. I’m not being personal or trolling. The fact is (again outside this domain) the much of the country were sick of Clark and Cullen. It’s hardly inspiring to say that national got elected because they were not Labour but I think there’s more than an element of truth there.

    And big ups to Spout too. Hopefully this and other responses shows some respect for the offer and that any issues can likewise be debated without denigrating into throwing mud.

    Agreed, hardly a ringing endorsement for National but given National’s tepid performance, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of Labour either.

  13. Anne 13

    @ Herodotus
    The word is “disingenuous” dear fellow. I think some English language night classes might be in order for you. Oh, sorry, they’ve gone.

    You are right. Some of the non-voters may not have “gone the way that I think”. But it is compensated for by the fact – and it was recorded by numerous media outlets – that the wording of the referendum question so confused some voters, they voted NO even though they were in favour of the S59 amendment as passed by parliament.

    As for the phrasing of that question: who is being disingenuous now? The wording of a referendum is the prerogative of the petition organisers, provided they have the prerequisite number of signatures. What political party happens to be in power at the time is totally irrelevant!

    • Herodotus 13.1

      No one is perfect- Back in my day spelling & sentence structure were not taught, then it is the same today except they are allowed to use txt lingo.
      The clerk of the house approves the wording as I am led to believe. So there was an independant adjudicator, and I also thought that the original wording had to be changed as the clerk was not happy with it.
      Also a smack is still permitted by parents evan after this S59 was changed. So smacking has not been banned. Like this whole debate the englisg language was brutalized within the debate.

  14. kiwiteen123 14

    1. Not treated us like fools, they have brought us out of the recesion, made a bigger profile for NZ worldwide. (will add more as rebuttal to a reply to this comment!)
    2. Used to support Labour but Labour have lost it and the whole National Party under John Key is a lot better than labour sort-of-near Phil Goff.
    Good to be back…

  15. snoozy 15

    Yep but is he a formidable negotiator?

    waiting to see how the free trade agreements pan out. Better than the Letterman interview you would hope. The Nat caucus seems to be pulling in all directions. but happy to be quiet at the moment, cos the polls are good.

    kiwiteen123= troll.

    • kiwiteen123 15.1

      @snoozy Once again a personal accusation with no evidence made against me.
      I got asked a question: I answered it, how is that trolling? With that crude logic you could be an admin on Red Alert

      [lprent: Ah no. They don’t do play with their prey. I do… ]

  16. SJ Hawkins 16

    I gave you guys my honest opinions. I’d like to add now that I’ve seen the way you all respond that prior to last years elections it was comments on this blog that confirmed for me that Labour wouldn’t be getting my vote.

  17. rocky 17

    I’m astounded reading this comments thread that no one seems to be saying they like National because they like National. Those who seem to be saying they like National say they do so because they hate Labour. I think gobsmacked has a great point about how polling should not just sample the “preferred” option, but also the overall approval.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Polling in NZ does leave all sorts of things to be desired.

      Another regular poll topic in the US is issues based preferences. eg

      “Which party do you feel more confident about WRT the following issues:

      Health, Education, Defence, Foreign policy/Trade, Employment, Taxation”

    • Aye, there’s the rub!

      They say that governments don’t get voted in, they get voted out, and that is what happened. Labour lost because.

      1) They were and are seen as nasty bullies. From Helen Clark calling Don Brash “cancerous and corrosive” to Trevor Mallard writing that if Chris Finlayson ate nails he would pass screws and everything in between. People just got sick of it and still are. As an aside, your blog exemplifies this attitude, look at this post on the Trans-Tasman that a lot of people, nay voters, read and not have all that much trouble with:

      Trans-Tasman picks Power

      “little rag” “anonymous Tory hacks” “odious, mindless” “shrill partisan hackery” “echo chamber” all in a brief posting. Good grief! Both Th Standard and Labour just don’t seem to comprehend that people can disagree with you out of honest conviction and in good faith – this really holds you back.

      2) They could not be trusted. Taito Philip Field, Winsto Peters etc.

      3) They didn’t leave peaceful people alone to live their own lives. Instead there were rules about food in school tuckshops, lightbulbs, shower heads…

      4) The Electoral Finance Act. In a free country people want to be able to use their own resources to promote their own ideas – as the Bill of Rights says. They do not expect to face red tape, have to register with government bodies, or be demanded to put their name and address down the bottom so they can be harassed by nutters. Add to this the Section 59 and Forebed and Seashore laws.

      So far Phil Goff has only kind of apologised for 3 above. And as Danyl said they are just not an alternative.

      I’m sure I had some other things as well – but the Melbourne Cup is coming up 🙂

      • lprent 17.2.1

        Ummm interestingly.

        1. The NACT’s are seen as nasty bullies – try sampling peoples opinions of the super-shitty in Auckland and you’ll get that loud and clear. Paula Bennett for classic bully tactics?

        2. Worth, Double Dipton, Hide (again), etc seem to regard the public purse as being their private band, and their position as a license ‘push’ the rules constraining them. Worth got bumped, it is only a matter of time on the others.

        3. Cellphones in cars, car crushing, 3 strikes for no-one, etc.. The list goes on and one. There was a post here last week detailing the nanny traits of this government.

        4. The electoral law that the Nats are planning on putting in looks pretty damn similar to the EFA on people using their own resources to promote their own ideas. They’ve just left more loopholes for their party to exploit.

        5. S59 – there is no difference between National and Labour.

        6. F&S – that will be interesting…

        Where have you been living? Aussie? You are rather out of touch with NZ and its actual government

  18. Slightly off Key 18

    On Key’s 50 million – I’d have to agree it’s never been very clear but according to Euromoney, that sort of money was flung at whoever was brave enough to step through the revolving door that was Merrill’s global head of forex (it seems Key had the job for 2 1/2 years).

    The various heads were paid well because Merrill wasn’t, in forex-trading terms, that high in the pecking order – for evidence look at the annual Euromoney forex polls were Merrill bobs up and down in the middle order.

    Also where he could have made a large wad of dosh was perhaps when he went to Sydney in 2001. His job then was Australian debt and Asian e-commerce. – bit of a backwater job after London in reality – but at that time about 70 staff were laid off and another 40 took voluntary redundancy. Maybe Key took the redundancy package or was paid well for handling the sackings?

    • sk 18.1

      Whether Key’s net worth is $50m is not really relevant, except that it is always trotted out by supporters to illustrate his competence.

      At the time, I was surprised Labour let the fact that the NBR put John Key on the Rich List 6 months out from an election slide without comment (at a time when they were obsessing on the H fee, which everyone told them was a load of nonsense).

      No-one asked the NBR obvious questions, such as why now? what new evidence did they have (for his stated assets have never justified being on the Rich List)? Was this just a stunt?

      Now he is PM no-one has asked the obvious question as to whether his opposition to a CGT reflects how it would affect his personal income. What has he paid in tax since being back in NZ? (all these questions are asked of US politicians routinely).

      Finally on the move to Sydney, my understanding that was all about tax management, and was never a real job. Again, all this is only relevant because his wealth is put forward as evidence of his ability to be PM.

  19. Slightly off Key 19

    I agreee the $50 million is relevant because of it being sold as showing his competence. The illusion he was a Master of the Universe.

    My beef is that most of these aspects – including the wealth – seem to be, when you look more closely, also slightly off kilter.

    Take for instance his much vaunted membership of the FEC. His parliamentary bio says he was a member from 1999 to 2001. But if you look at the FEC annual reports he was a member in from 2000 until March 2001. There were eight meetings in 2000 (the FEC report says – Of the eight meetings, six were afternoon sessions that included dinners) There were three in 2001 he would have attended.

    While it’s a very prestigious committee he didn’t really hang in there for the full four years he was appointed for.

    • sk 19.1

      And also, the FEC is not the equivalent of the Treasury Borrowing Committee. To tell you the truth, the first time I heard of it was when DPF was trumpeting that Key had been on committee advising the Fed. Again, it is that pattern of manipulating the facts to create an image that is not quite the real McCoy.

      The trouble is that when you raise it, it goes over most people’s head down here. See Pat”s comment below.

      By the way, I hear that on the most recent trip to NY the organising brokers were scrambling to get enough to attend a lunch he had scheduled with market participants, as there was so little interest.

      Yet from John Armstrong today, it is apparent that we live in a parallel universe.

  20. Westminster 20

    Three possible reasons for voting National:

    1. David Cunliffe
    2. David Cunliffe
    3. David Cunliffe

  21. Slightly off Key 21

    Also on Australia, my understanding is that he\\’d left forex while still in London, according to the trade press.

    By Jan 2001 he was European head of e-commerce. Then a few months later in April 2001 he moved to Sydney to head Australian debt and Asian e-commerce.

    Sometime that year, the year there were those redundancies at Merrill in Australia, he heads home.

  22. Pat 22

    Sadly, this thread seems to have been sabotaged by a troll on the right, and some John Key Conspiracy Theorists on the left.

    • kiwiteen123 22.1

      Am i the troll?

      • Pascal's bookie 22.1.1

        Everyone seems to think so kt.

        • kiwiteen123

          It’s great yo hear what everyone else thinks not what you think.
          Which of my comments are trolling?

          • Pascal's bookie

            Most of them kt.

            Trolling is a behaviour, not a individual comment. essentially it comes down to how you use rhetoric. If it seems honest and you respond to actual points and arguments, then fine. If you avoid points in favour of playing the martyr card or trying to play silly rhetorical tricks, then you will be accused of trolling.

            As an example, you made a claim that no one could deny Key got HC the UN job. I challenged that claim to see if you could support it. Instead of supporting it, you tried to make me prove that he did not get her the job.

            This is a classic trolling routine. I am under no obligation to prove what you ask of me, because I was only responding to your initial claim. You however are under an obligation to defend that initial claim of yours. That is, if you are arguing in good faith. It seems however, that your initial claim was just a gambit. A ridiculously over egged claim designed to elicit a response, and one that you had no intention to defend. The point of it (your initial claim, phrased as a challenge) thus at least appears to be have been purely to start a pointless debate with someone where they would be trying to prove a negative (John did not get helen the job), when that position was only ever in response to your initial, ridiculous, claim. A claim that you repeat, but can’t substantiate.

            That is classic trolling behaviour, and when called on it, by several commenters, you start crying about being abused. Another classic trolling tell.

  23. People like National, because they listen and don’t have a a school teacher mentality, when it comes to the public. They want the public to make choices for themselves.

    Unlike what we had for the past nine years under Labour.

    The next election will see Labour slaughtered at the Polls and if the Green still turns to their communist side and are less about their environmental side, they will go down too.

  24. Slightly off Key 24

    Pat, no conspiracy, just facts that anyone can see on the Net if they bother to look.

    I do think the election spin on Key’s work history is relevant to this discussion as it was used to promote him as someone widlly successful, able to run a country. And his ‘honest broker’ image is still promoted now, when a less kind image is that of a City chancer, a barrow boy.

    But happy to take the discussion to another thread when a relevant one starts.

  25. graham 25

    the left spend more time concerning themselfs with corect spelling than makeing money
    thats why i will NEVER vote labour
    and by the way of all the labour govts i have seen this was the most corrupt
    The problem as i see it is that labour believes the ends justify the means so bending a few rules here and their it dosent matter because they think its for our own good
    Torys want to make money and enjoy life thats all not boss people around just make money and enjoy life
    labour wants to own your soul

    • RedLogix 25.1

      There you have it, the yawning gulf of incomprehension… “just make money and enjoy life”.

      See? Justice, equity or even plain old fairness don’t get a mention.

    • RedLogix 25.2


      Your soul graham, would appear to be a meagre asset indeed. Please feel free to keep it.

  26. prism 26

    Quote – People like National, because they listen and don’t have a a school teacher mentality, when it comes to the public. They want the public to make choices for themselves.
    the problem with this is that the prisons end up full of people making choices that suit themselves. Individuals in society end up being in continual defensive mode against the next likely theft or rort or attack by some self-serving individual and his/her gang (from all classes).

  27. felix 27

    Good to see a couple of responses to the questions.

    Unfortunately most of them are along the lines of

    I reckon most kiwis think blah blah…

    prism, above ^^ is a perfect example.

    Come on righties, let’s hear what you think, not your theories on what everyone else is thinking.

    • kiwiteen123 27.1

      Well If you give your honest opinion on this blog, you are hounded and abused. Why would you?

      • the sprout 27.1.1

        kiwiteen123, you’ve had a pretty good go on this thread.

        i’ve been reluctant to moderate it because i would appreciate open discussion around the topic; i foolishly thought it would be opponents of this government that would be the source of hijacking problems.

        if you want to make further contributions please address the question, or address your objectors in a pertinent and substantiated manner.

        failing that measures will be taken. i hope you can understand my position.

      • RedLogix 27.1.2

        Honest opinions, backed by a rational argument will be challenged and debated. If you dig into The Standard’s archive there are any number of threads where opinions have been vigorously debated to and fro with little in the way of abuse. However if you behave like a troll, don’t be too surprised if you get treated like one.

        The fact that you are feeling hounded and abused should be prompting you to pause for reflection.

    • graham 27.2

      look i do know about your political views you refer to the current government as NACT.you have abused anyone who likes john key and you hate john key.
      Now anyone with a brain would workout you are not a member of national and also not part of the 60% of the population that is happy with the current government.
      it doesn’t concern me if you are a watermelon or a corrupt liarbour member its all the same to me

      • felix 27.2.1

        I assume that was a reply to me. Still haven’t figured out how to use the reply button eh?

        What you said, oh learned one, was this:

        “I’ll bet if you were around in Stalin’s time you would be in the cheka shooting the kulaks”

        If you think I’m in any way supportive of authoritarianism in any form then you clearly have no idea about my political views.

        You’d be far closer to that end of the spectrum than I, judging by your own words. Want me to give you some examples? I’ll type slowly if you like.

  28. prism 28

    There is criticism of me because I appear to be not interested in what individuals’ opinions are. This is not so, but opinions without the why of the thinking behind them don’t provide any clear picture. What has Nat done that is so good that they are high in polls? Could it be that Labour people are so much yesterday’s that they fail to inspire? I think so myself. Also I think that Nats give the feeling that they are getting on and doing things and Labour gave the impression of wanting to hold on for the three-term prize and got there with a gasp and a sigh.

    • the sprout 28.1

      prism i think felix meant the quote you provided was a perfect example, the criticism is not meant to be directed at you.

    • felix 28.2


      I completely missed that you were quoting Brett. I thought the first para was yours.

      Take everything I wrote as directed at Brett’s comment and others like it.

      Sincere apologies for offense or confusion.

  29. Blue 29

    Politics is a funny beast. Among ordinary people with no real ideological bent I hear a lot of support for Labour policies such as WFF, 20 hours free childcare and Kiwisaver. But they still don’t support Labour.

    Some vague mutterings about ‘time for a change’ and how they think John Key is ‘doing really well’ later, I’m still none the wiser as to why so many of my fellow Kiwis voted for and continue to support JK and National.

    I don’t think there really is a reason. Righties would have you think that there is, but I’m not so sure. I think Michael Cullen put it well in his valedictory speech when he warned the right that the political wheel will turn again. Sooner or later it always turns on every government, it’s just a matter of when.

    • Ianmac 29.1

      Well said Blue. There don’t seem to be many who even care about the nuts and bolts. I have never voted National but look forward to another turn of the wheel for the left including Labour and Greens. ( Though the Brit Labour under Blair were more right than left.)

      • felix 29.1.1

        There don’t seem to be many who even care about the nuts and bolts.

        I was talking to someone a couple of weeks ago, relatively apolitical as far as I can tell, I think she votes labour or green, and she said that although she didn’t vote for National she was pretty happy with Key and thought he was doing a good job so far.

        Being a naturally curious sort, I asked for specifics – what was he doing that she particularly liked? What policy or program had particularly impressed her?

        And you know what she came up with? Taking ACC off the crims.

        And that was it. The rest of the year’s activity hadn’t seemed to make much impression and even the rest of the changes to ACC – most of which I suspect she wouldn’t be at all happy about but having decided not to ruin a pleasant evening I didn’t find out – hadn’t seemed to register at all.

        But that single, financially insignificant, largely symbolic, relatively uncontroversial PR-driven action by National had.

        I found that interesting.

        • Ianmac

          Yes Felix. Do you think that the Nat strategists know what they are doing? Put through major privatisation stuff and then tack on a bit re crims not getting ACC while committing a crime even though I believe none have for a decade or so, then that is what a casual person can latch onto, identify with, and remember.
          Vision a nasty evil man, (of course), slips while trying to attack sweet young girl, breaks his hairy smelly leg and screams for ACC. The bastard! Good on Nat for putting a stop to that! Privatose? Privit hose? Wot? Na. Too hard mate.

          • felix

            Do you think that the Nat strategists know what they are doing?

            Yep. Or if they don’t, they’re having some very happy accidents.

            Put through major privatisation stuff and then tack on a bit re crims … that is what a casual person can latch onto, identify with, and remember.

            Yep I reckon that sums up their tactic pretty well.

  30. prism 30

    Thanks for above. I had in mind that I have been seeing lots of nutty angry comments and slagging off others and taking a partisan view without any reasoning being provided. It is a shock to start blogging and find out the considerable lack of understanding and venom floating around and realise that these people are going to vote on these lines without self-analysis of their opinions.

    • the sprout 30.1

      yes, if there’s one thing you can credit National or their consultants with having a good understanding of, it’s the irrationality of many voters.

  31. RS 31

    Kiwiteen are you serious about the John Key / Helen / UN thing? Sure, the backup of the Government might have helped, but you make it sound like John Key’s personal influence was so great that they would have given the job to Suzanne Paul if he had given her the nod!

  32. graham 32

    who gives a shit about justice fairness and other crap ?only about 30 percent of the population does
    the rest of uss make money cant you left wing sad sacks get that
    you ask a question why people vote national then abuse people for voteing national
    The joke is that you cant see it every person that you abuse is one more voter for national
    they tell their friends and family about sad sacks like you and we keep geting stronger
    you lost we won get used to it

    • RedLogix 32.1

      who gives a shit about justice fairness and other crap ?

      You will… one day. You’re just not ready for it yet.

    • felix 32.2


      This thread is an invitation to you to talk about why you like National.

      So far you’ve made two comments on it.

      Your first comment was all about why you hate Labour, and the second is all about how no-one lets you talk about National.

      And you wonder why people don’t take you seriously.

      • graham 32.2.1

        I never complained that you abuse torys
        The problem you left wing sad sacks face is that all you sad mates hate national and you sit round moaning that the rest of the country are morons for voteing for john.
        What you dont get is that most non polictal people and lets face it thats 80% of new zealand are turned off by your smart arsed smug attitudes
        So the more you moan the better it is
        Now as a farmer i am happy with the changes made to the RMA
        also now the torys can stack the enviourment court to get rid of the pinkos out of that place
        I would like to see more changes in fiscal policy but also accept that you have to take the people with you and that takes time
        But goff and king are losers but i dont give a sh** if you sad sacks keep them because its a bit like the attacks on don brash it was a own goal of labour in driveing him out

        • felix

          I never complained that you abuse torys

          Apart from in the comment I responded to, just above where you’re looking now, where you wrote:

          you ask a question why people vote national then abuse people for voteing national

          So not only are you incapable of writing a coherent sentence, it seems you’re also too thick to read what you’ve written. Or too thick to remember. Either way I can’t be bothered with you for one moment longer.

          Can someone ban this moron? Has he ever contributed anything of value, ever?

          I know it’s cute to keep a couple of the really slow ones alive for a laugh now and then but this guy is just pollution.

          • graham

            typical leftwing view eliminate the opposition.I’ll bet if you were around in Stalin’s time you would be in the cheka shooting the kulaks

            • felix

              I don’t give a damn about your political veiws and you clearly have no idea about mine.

              I’m just tired of wading through the poorly written, poorly thought out rubbish you leave all over the site.

              It is nothing but a waste of time, bandwidth and electricity.

  33. Tim 33

    I find the polls really odd. I catch a train every day to work and over the past month or so, for the first time, I have started to hear negative comments about the National Government. That is why I cannot get my head around the divide between the polling and what I am starting to hear.

    I agree with some on the right, I do not think that Labour has done the best job in opposition and I am lacking some confidence in Goff. Maybe it is time for them start afresh – Shearer? Or at the very least have a severe shake-up in the PR department. When Clark went did her PR staff go aswell? I am genuinely interested to know about this.

    There seems to have been a really poor strategy around this and the way in which issues are resolved. Clark was successful (and there is not doubting this – three terms is not an easy feat) because she managed not only her caucus, but also the stories that were being written about her Government.

    I do not think National has done anything of value, but I also don’t think (well at least the general public don’t) he has done anything that has, at this stage, been seen as seriously ‘harmful’. I think there have been ‘chips’ of the armour – but I really think it won’t be until the flow-on from some of the choices made this year and next year ‘hit home’ that the polls will start to shift.

    Labour needs to focus right now and shutting up and positioning itself as a credible, trustful alternative.

    By the way who wants a Prime Minister that is ‘just an ordinary bloke’? I want the leader of my country to be extraordinary. I think being ordinary will wear off soon – fingers crossed.

  34. graham 34

    It says alot that you catch a train every day torys dont use public transport.You wouldnt catch me sitting next to a poor person

  35. BLiP 35

    It says alot that you catch a train every day torys dont use public transport.You wouldnt catch me sitting next to a poor person

    Thus reveals the festering inner nastiness just skin deep that defines you.

    • graham 35.1

      And your comments about torys are always polite and loving .Yea right

      • RedLogix 35.1.1

        You have me all confused; only yesterday, on this very thread you told us who gives a shit about justice fairness and other crap ?.

        Now you seem to want to be treated all loving and polite-like? That’s a pretty fast turnaround.

        • graham

          you are the sad sack that says that is important to you. I Wouldn’t expect fairness from a pinko
          .You claim these things are important too you but that fact that you cant be polite to me proves my point.
          I care about wealth creation you about so called justice and fairness but you don’t want to be fair too me so values don’t count for jacks***

          • RedLogix

            graham, I’ve been scrupulously polite to you.

            I’ve done plenty of so called ‘wealth creation’ in my life, and it certainly is an important responsibility in life…but I really don’t see it as the only purpose and justification for my existence. That is where our values are different.

            It was you who said that you don’t give a shit about justice fairness and other crap, including presumably, basic social skills such as politeness. So how can you possibly complain that you are getting ‘abused’ and treated ‘impolitely’? These are according to your own words values you don’t give jack shit about… or is it that like most schoolyard bullies, your pretty good at dishing it out, but a bit of wimp when on the receiving end?

          • lprent

            I can guarantee that I’ve created more wealth for this country than you have or have any capability to do. After all everything I create in code is exported.

            So by your daft analogies, we should simply ignore you as being a blowhard rightie because you don’t measure up on the wealth creation front.

            You just look pathetic taking that strange elitist line. But it is the ACToid mantra, so it is more a matter of faith than logic

            • graham

              Again it is you that believes in fairness and all that crap as i have said i don’t. I just think its ironic that you are such a pompous smeghead.
              i am not a act member so such silly actiod comments make you look like a baby
              And by the way i have never know a union member to create wealth.sure they can do what they are told but thats about it

            • lprent

              I think that you’re doing the irrelevant projecting again. I’ve never been a member of a union.

              Perhaps you should take time to examine the real world once in a while rather than consulting your navel fluff all of the time.

  36. Razorlight 36

    This government unlike any other since the 1930’s has had to deal with a severe global recession. The options open to them have been extremley limited as a result of this. So to call them a do nothing government is in my opinion not a fair reflection of what they are doing.

    I like Bill English’s handle on the economy. He has his hands tied behind his back because of decreasing revenue and increased unemployment. Yet everything is still ticking over as it has since the Asian economic crisis.

    We are currently borrowing $250M a week. The governments biggest job is keeping this under control so future generations are not burdened with crippling interest.

    It is very easy to govern during boom times. You can introduce generous new initatives and schemes like WFF and 20 hours free and still balance the books. The previous government never had to make a tough economic decsion because they ruled during a global economic and credit boom. New spending was easy. Hard economic choices did not have to be made. They promised more spending at the same time as giving tax cuts.

    The test of any government is the tough choices they make during a recession. So far National is doing very well at sailing though this storm without having to make huge cuts and unpopular decsisons.

    That is why I like them and why I feel they are so popular

  37. prism 37

    I’m reminded of a great Monty Python sketch with John Cleese providing arguments for a fee:


    Client buys minutes. Cleese disagrees with everything client says. Client says that’s not how a real argument is carried on. Cleese says yes it is. Etc etc Finally Cleese says your time is up. Client says no it isn’t. Cleese says I can’t argue any more unless you pay up. Client says resignedly OK here’s payment for more. Then Cleese doesn’t reply to client’s next statement. Cleese says you didn’t pay me. Client says…. Very funny and so are some of the exchanges on this thread.

    • Pascal's bookie 37.1

      Great sketch.

      Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

      No it isn’t

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