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I despair

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, July 27th, 2008 - 67 comments
Categories: john key, Media - Tags:

Our national political debate is in a sad sad state. Agenda is meant to be our premier political interview and analysis TV show. Today, they had John Key on for the main interview. In twenty-odd minutes he was not asked a single question about the policies his party has released over the last three weeks. No question ‘why should Kiwis vote for less secure employment’ no ‘why should our ACC levies become a source of profits for foreign insurance companies’ not even ‘why are your policies only bullet points and why are you releasing them only as press releases, why no press conferences?’

Instead it was all the same old same speculation about Peters – Key slipping around trying to avoid (as he must) ruling Peters out of a ministerial spot on a Key-led Government while trying to say Clark should be threatening Peters with the sack from her government.

There were some reasonable questions about foreign policy and Key was shown as the lightweight we know he is. His answers literally sounded like his knowledge of foreign policy is limited to a cursory reading of the Herald World section. He couldn’t pronounce leaders’ names, he didn’t know the terms for various types of diplomatic actionsthat are being considered around Iran, he didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on the issues, or the countries and organisations involved in Iran, the Pacific, and the US/NZ relationship. His answers were a grab-bag of foreign policy-sounding terms thrown together in illogical ways. Why couldn’t we have some questions about his domestic policies though?

Getting all orgasmic over Condi Rice referring to us as allies, rather than friends is equally pathetic. I’ve worked in foreign affairs and I know that, yes, the word was chosen on purpose. I also know that the American embassy will be finding it hilarious how excited our media is about a minor change in wording by an outgoing Secretary of State. Rice calling us an ally does not mean we’re about to get an FTA, and we look like excitable children when we speculate that it might.

This is why more and more people are turning to blogs like The Standard for their political news – all they want is some debate and analysis on substantive issues that matter to people’s actual lives.

67 comments on “I despair ”

  1. Joker 1

    We are such small town hicks getting excited about a huge stride forward in our relationship with the worlds biggest economic super power.

    I feel so foolish maybe I should just stick to shagging sheep.

  2. T-rex 2

    “This is why more and more people are turning to blogs like The Standard”

    I’d argue that the problem is that they should be, but are not.

    Just imagine how cool it would be if, rather than watching the evening news, people skim read the stuff headlines for two minutes then actually went and read up on a major issue of the day in detail. That’ll be a cold day in hell.

    I’m embarrassed by our media, but I’m equally embarrassed and ashamed of the majority of our populace. We have a country with fantastic potential, yet people can’t be bothered actually investing any time in sustaining it.

    As usual, National Radio and Scoop are the sole repositories of competent professional journalism in NZ. Sadly, the majority of NZ seems too lazy to actually invest some effort in guiding its future. The media should be helping to draw attention – sure. But aren’t they just giving people what they want? We’re a nation of reality TV addicts, yet the one reality that really matters is largely ignored.

    Matt – are you still starting that island? You SURE I can’t convince you to have it in a slightly nicer spot?

    If we wanted the media to actually do their f*cking jobs then the answer would be to just stop buying, say, the Herald until they published a detailed policy analysis of Labour and National. Then they’d be all over National to actually release details, and correctly crucify them if they didn’t.

    Maybe one a week. Rather than a john key hagiography on saturday morning, maybe a “ACC schemes throughout the world and how NZ’s stacks up” analysis one week.

    If our country does go to the dogs, it won’t be Labours fault or Nationals – it’ll be every day NZ’ers who just didn’t make the f*cking effort.

    Caveat Emptor. We’re not doing due diligence.

  3. T-rex 3

    Oh yeah, and I’d take no pride in being an ‘Ally’ of the Bush administration. I’d love to know how they came to that conclusion – some generic “global intent” categorisation?

    Considering we hold different views to them on climate change, energy, immigration (although we’re about to screw that), criminal justice, welfare, healthcare, weapons proliferation, Iraq, torture, ‘the war on terror’, Antarctica, endangered species preservation, logging, environmental controls…
    What are we in agreement on again? We both think ‘prosperity and peace’ are good?

    A potential ally of Obama? Gladly.

  4. Rob 4

    I thought he did really well on Agenda again showed him as a good guy People will trust. Not standoffish and aloof.

    I can remember back to how stiff Helen Clark was when she first got in comparatively he is way ahead of her but The Standard probably doesn’t want to recognise that for obvious reasons.

    Also another great article in the Saturday Herald will all help with his popularity money cant buy you articles like that. Obviously the Herald want to back a winner.

  5. Rob. The Herald just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars printing puff pieces on John Key – why? because it’s a tory rag and always has been.

  6. T-rex 6

    God you’re a tool Rob.

    It’s easy to do well when you’re fielding patsy questions, that’s why they’re usually asked by friends. The fact that our ‘leading political interview’ is doing the same thing is just an embarassment for anyone with an ounce of pride.

    “Money can’t buy your articles like that”.

    Yeah. Except for how it totally can. The herald is not ‘backing’ a winner, they’re trying to make a winner – and you think there’s not a shadow of self interest guiding their actions? You’re a little naive.

    Joker – that’s probably a good idea. Considering you’ve just done exactly what Steve is decrying.

  7. Felix 7

    Rob. It’s nice that you think he’s a good guy.

    Do you think he has any good ideas for running the frigging country?

    If so what are they (and where did you hear about them)?

    Or is the election just a season of “Political Idol” to you?

  8. KK 8

    Rob – Key “a good guy People will trust.” – what? flip-flopping on his Iraq stance. The war that has caused the death of around 100,000 (conservative estimate) innocents – you call that trust mate?

    Joker – The US is not “the worlds biggest economic superpower” You’ll find that the EU has that status and I’d rather be on board with them, so don’t get all hysteric about the US’s “great” status

  9. Joker. If you think a one-off use of a word by a Secretary of State in a lame-duck US administration is a huge stride forward, you know nothing of how diplomacy works.

  10. Bill 10

    In the real world, the corporate media are not meant to inform!

    That would be disastrous for them and and not very smart given that they seek to perpetuate a state of affairs that serves them (the corporates) very nicely at our expense.

    Keeping us dumb and confused with an overwhelming sense of powerlessness is the name of the game…if we become cynical of them in the process, so what?

    The result is that they get left alone to proceed promoting their our own best interests at our expense and narrowing the parameters of debate to tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum ‘choices’.

    It’s crap, but what can you do? If political news was even given the same modest in-depth coverage as (say) sports news we wouldn’t be living in the NZ that we inhabit today.

    But that ‘other’ NZ wouldn’t be such a nice environment for the corporations we all love and adore would it? Corporations are not going to relinquish their power due to any philanthropic revelation.

    I reckon it’s summed up in this quote from Rafael Ramirez (Venezuela’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy)

    “Capitalists are capitalists, if they see that there is global speculation over food, they are capable of taking away milk from a (…) child in order to speculate with that milk, or taking away corn in order to sell to produce biofuels.”

    I guess it is possible to take heart from the fact that the levels of suppression of information have to be so high for business to carry on as normal.

  11. polaris 11

    Clint being a [names one of the roles I have held in the foreign affairs arena. It’s no-one’s business, so deleted]

    [It’s interesting to see that the National party research unit it stalking me enough to identify one of my past first roles in the diplomacy arena. I guess making me aware that you’re spending time delving into my history is meant to scare or intimidate me somehow. SP]

    [lprent: Now that makes me pissed, especially as it seems to be a repeated trait. Go away and stay away permanently.]

  12. Smokie 12

    To be fair SP, Agenda today was purely about foreign affairs. It’s not that surprising no questions were asked of Mr Key about lack of policy.

    I think Barry Soper and Guyon Espiner asked some decent questions, and they got nicely stuck in. It’s good to see some journos have realised, hold on a sec, this guy could be PM in 3 months, let’s hold him to account.

    Today a couple of journalists have shown they’re not going to let John Key get away with his platitudes and evasiveness, and that’s a good thing for the upcoming election.

  13. Yeah, there were some good questions about foreign affairs. I just don’t see why you won’t have some good question about the 90 Day fire at will policy instead of more daning around the Peters stuff.

  14. randal 14

    ashly its my prerogive to shag a sheep whenever oi feel like it…you right sp. we have given ourselves over to central door locking, txt plans, embryos in a bottle, jermey clarkson and anything that doesnt matter like papuans waiting for the next load of cargo to arrive and kissing the yanks bum in the first instance and berating them in the second like scizophrenic children waitng for another turn on the t*t.

  15. Smokie 15

    I think it’s rather interesting that John Key won’t say what he’d do about the Peters’ affair. He won’t say outright whether he’d sack Peters, or whether he would want him as part of a Key government.

    I think there are two reasons for Key’s evasiveness here:

    First, he doesn’t want to piss Peters off too much (a strategy which he’s already fucked by calling Peters a hypocrite with dented credibility).

    Second, he doesn’t want to answer the same questions about National. I wonder whether Mr Key was told to donate substantial sums to the Waitemata Trust (and how many millions?), or whether he himself sent people off in that direction…

  16. I sent Key a letter weeks ago about Iran. His office said they forwarded it to Murray McCully. Based on past performance, McCully is very unlikely to provide a meaningful response.

    Slippery….and on life and death matters.

    If the Agenda program revealed Key as poorly informed and slippery, then the questions asked almost don’t matter.

    On policy matters, most kiwis will know less than Key, so best steer clear of wasting time on detail there. Only insiders and the tiny proportion who pay attention will be any the wiser. This is how Bush in the US can say exactly what silly things he plans to do….and almost no one cares. They know less than even he does.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Key has a problem here, and he isn’t dealing with it well. He was asked half a dozen times on Agenda about working with Peters and he’ll be asked a lot more over the coming weeks/months.

    Even if Peters is sacked (or resigns), he doesn’t disappear. He’s going to be in the election campaign, and even if he doesn’t get 5% or win Tauranga, we won’t know that until after the election. That’s the crucial point.

    So from now until polling day, Key is going to be asked if he’ll rule out Peters. And he’s already ruled out Roger Douglas, which makes his position on Peters harder to defend.

    Saying “the voters decide” is not going to stop the questioning. This isn’t going away, John. You need a better line.

  18. Anita 18

    Has anyone asked Key whether he would sack Peters if Key was PM, and on what grounds he would be sacking him?

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Anita

    He was asked that, and similar questions, on Agenda today (repeatedly). Here’s the transcript:

    http://www.agendatv.co.nz/Site/agenda/transcripts/2008/July-27.aspx

  20. Anita 20

    gobsmacked,

    So from now until polling day, Key is going to be asked if he’ll rule out Peters. And he’s already ruled out Roger Douglas, which makes his position on Peters harder to defend.

    Actually he’s only ruled out Douglas as a Cabinet Minister. Peters is a Minister outside Cabinet; Key could give the same status to Douglas and claim to not be breaking his word.

  21. Felix 21

    Has anyone asked Key whether he would sack Peters if Key was PM,

    Good question.

    It’s like they’re so sold on the idea that he will be PM that they forget they’re dealing with hypotheticals and ignore all other hypotheticals.

  22. gobsmacked 22

    Anita – Well, he could do anything *after* the election, and try and justify it. But he’d be ill-advised to start making those fine distinctions before the election – that would just reinforce the two strongest negatives … a) “slippery” b) ACT.

    BTW, I provided the link to Agenda transcript above, but it’s stuck in the control-freak moderation.

    Anyway, Key’s interview is now on the Agenda website.

  23. Anita 23

    gobsmacked,

    I think my point was that he hasn’t actually ruled out giving Douglas exactly the same position as Peters.

    Which might just be because no-one’s asked him yet, or it might be positioning.

  24. dave 24

    This is why more and more people are turning to blogs like The Standard for their political news
    Name one.

  25. outofbed 25

    I despair when Barry Soper asked Dr Russel Norman about Morris Dancing on Agenda Fuck me, the Greens the most democratic principled party in NZ, their policies come from grass roots level A lot of people may not like them but they are directly accountable to there members.
    Contrast that with John Key and National, policy on the hoof, no principles pwer at any cost.
    And do journalists give that slippery bastard Key such shit ? do they fuck

    This constant crap about the Greens being Morris dancing dope smoking hippies drives me to fucking despair.
    Journalists know that is a caricature, they go to the same Green conferences as me. Why do they do it ?
    Is it because underneath it all they know that the Greens are actually right ? That that the worlds resources are finite and unless we rapidly change our our of doing things we are fucked ? and they “can’t handle the truth”
    Your right to despair Steve

  26. toms 26

    I have been amazed at the blatant personalising of this whole Winston Peter’s donation thing, especially by Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner. They are clearly gunning for Winston Peters as some sort of personal settling of a grudge. Now, I now Peters’s isn’t the best friend of the media, but the sight of journalists making their ego the centre of the story sickens me.

  27. burt 27

    Getting all orgasmic over Condi Rice referring to us as allies, rather than friends is equally pathetic.

    I don’t think it’s the MSM getting all orgasmic, it’s the pathetic Labour-led govt trying to salvage some good news from Winston’s mockery of transparency in political party funding. Pathetic that the press releases need to scrape so hard for good news.

    Imagine, the poodle wanting the big amounts donated to a trust so he could slip them through to the party in chunks small enough to not need declaring. Shame on him and shame on all who accept it from him, and that includes the power at any price Labour-led govt that can’t afford to stand up to him incase it upsets their fragile hold on power.

  28. outofbed 28

    power at any price Labour-led govt that can’t afford to stand up to him incase it upsets their fragile hold on power.
    Interestingly a lot of ill informed commentators just after the 2005 election thought the same, namely the Government would only last 6 months at the most.
    However the truth is there is only one conscience vote left this term.
    It would need the either the MP or the Greens to vote against the Gov.
    Are they that ready for an election ?
    Consequently I thick HC can and should cut him (Peters) loose asap I hope she does. Then we shall see what Key is made of
    I hope there will be a lots of Nats who are principled enough not to have a bar of him. However I will not hold my breath

  29. burt 29

    outofbed

    I think the MP would be ready for it, not sure if the Green’s and Labour are ready. Lets face it, if Labour are not ready the Green’s will just do as they are told and abstain, so much for Green party principles.

  30. Does the green party have principles?

  31. randal 31

    I despair when I see Gerry (who ate all the pies) brownlee on teevee saying that lack of hydropower cost us $3,000,000,000 in lost gdp this year. what a fibber

  32. At least Gerry eats the pies randal, unlike Parekura Horomia who gobbles down entire factories at one sitting !

    The Parekura burger will soon be able in two tonne units dear randal.

  33. Felix 33

    so much for Green party principles.

    ?????????

    What a strange man you can be at times.

  34. burt 34

    Felix

    Perhaps you could explain how abstaining on votes of confidence and supply is a principled stand for a poodle political party to take?

  35. Anita 35

    I just read the Agenda transcript (oh my bleeding eyes!!)

    1) Key doesn’t say Clark should fire Peters, he says she should demand Peters clean (clear?) it up.

    2) Key doesn’t say he would fire Peters if he was PM, he says he would demand answers.

    3) Key doesn’t even say he believes Peters has done anything wrong, he says Peters need to clear up what happened.

    4) Key doesn’t say Peters should resign, he says Peters should clear it up.

    5) The only unequivocally negative thing Key says about Peters is “his reputation has been dented and damaged”.

  36. Felix 36

    burt.

    I haven’t said anything of the sort.

    You concocted a hypothetical scenario and bagged the greens for how they behaved in your scenario.

    Nothing for me to explain mate, get back to smoking with dad.

  37. randal 37

    felix that is something similar to a national party policy…all style and no substance

  38. Paul Robeson 38

    This is probably very much the wrong place for this, but isn’t it time Bill Ralston’s collumns included the disclosure about his media training company’s role with JK?

    try this fantastic line: “Its ACC strategy talks of perhaps opening the system to competition from other providers.

    Labour portrays this as “privatisation” but not many people seem to have bought that argument.”

    So parties seeking to win mandate can have ‘strategies’ not policies, that talk about maybe doing something, or not as the case may be, and this is seen as a laudable thing by honest Bill.

    I used to like backch@t! what happen to this mild mannered reporter?

  39. Anita 39

    Oooo – I am so up for some conflict disclosure guidelines for journalists!

    The list of opinion, political and senior journos financially (or otherwise) entangled with political parties and candidates is huge.

  40. Rex Widerstrom 40

    Key slipping around trying to avoid (as he must) ruling Peters out of a ministerial spot on a Key-led Government

    Must, Steve? Actually there’s no earthly reason for Key or Clark to continue to court this party (yes, I include the wethers that sit behind him) other than that their lust for power far outweighs their belief in political propriety.

    I still maintain first one to the microphone to say “even we won’t countenance a deal” would gain enough support to outweigh the potential need to have NZF on board after the next election.

    But that would require guts – a characteristic which is as prevalent in politics today as is integrity.

  41. Felix 41

    Absolutely agree Rex.

    While it would be foolish to ever write Winston off for good, it would be fair to say he’ll probably poll very low this election day.

    Personally I think the sooner he gets his own tv show the better.

  42. Quoth the Raven 42

    Just having a skim over that transcript. Key’s evasiveness is hilarious when Soper is asking him if he would work with Peter’s
    Key:
    Well it would depend on a certain number of circumstances…
    Asked again:
    Well that would depend on a number of factors, whether we can get satisfaction .
    And again:
    Well we might work with him but it would depend on a number of factors…

  43. Felix 43

    Factors is his favourite word. Very Brent-esque.

  44. NX 44

    More Key bashing…

    Most of us are excited about the prospect of a new Prime Minister.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=1502247&objectid=10523317

  45. r0b 45

    Most of us are excited about the prospect of a new Prime Minister.

    All the shiny little trinkets of temptation
    Something new instead of something old
    But all you gotta do is scratch beneath the surface
    And it’s fool’s gold
    Fool’s gold

    http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/i/indigo_girls/power_of_two.html

  46. coge 46

    First they blamed the media. Then they turned on each other.

  47. outofbed 47

    well i clicked on the link from NX
    First I thought it was a piss take
    The only thing they didn’t do was compare Key with Jesus
    I guess they didn’t cos Jesus wasn’t up to it
    Fuck me all that was missing was an authorisation statement and a free sick bag

  48. ape08 48

    You guys still don’t get it! Policy means nothing once the general populace passes a certain trigger point and becomes so incensed and disgusted with the shambles of incompetence and corruption they see interfering in most aspects of their existance… that their one overiding objective is to hose this metaphorical manure out of their lives and replace it with someone (Key in this case) to whom they can actually relate.

    The Labour party will continue to whinge about a lack of policy and it won’t make a blind bit of difference… people have had enough of this BS as will be demonstrated sometime in the next three months.

  49. A new Prime Minister and bring back Buck.
    Due time to obliterate PC wimps!
    Lets lift our kiwi self esteem.

  50. outofbed 50

    Ape? what an incredibly apt name

  51. 5leggeddog 51

    “This is why more and more people are turning to blogs like The Standard.’

    In the case of drunk4justice, it’s only because the poor sap’s banned from Kiwiblog.

  52. mike 52

    “This is why more and more people are turning to blogs like The Standard for their political news ”

    Since when has anti Key ranting qualified for “news”

  53. Anita. Key doesn’t say ‘Clark must threaten Peters with the sack’ but that is clearly what she would have to do if she were to pursue the kind of investigation he wants and put pressure on Peters.

  54. Vanilla Eis 55

    infused: Seems to me that Lynn has been pretty open about his past and his afiliation with the Labour Party – and good on him. That doesn’t mean that he has to be happy about posters here having their former jobs listed publically.

    Does it bother you that polaris works for a political party and has the time to dig into the past for a blogger? Or is (s)he sitting next to you in the office right now?

    Of course, this is all just speculation and he could jsut be an asshole with too much time on his hands. And you wonder why the posters wanted to be anonymous?

    [lprent: Polaris looked far too much like a stalker. The delivery technique for their little nuggets of info was a style commonly adopted by a sociopath intent on intimidation. My personal bet was that it was either a very disreputable PI, or from a report from one in the hands of sociopath. In any case it has no place on this site. ]

  55. ape08 56

    “Ape? what an incredibly apt name”

    Good isn’t it! You my friend are going to be one incredibly disappointed camper come November time… it may take you some time to get over yourself and a result you will find hard to come to terms with by the sounds of things.

  56. infused 57

    Yep, delete my comments as usual. This place is great.

    [lprent: I was a bit puzzled by that. After I saw the comment by Vanilla referring to it, I went back to find your comment – but could only see a empty comment. So I noted on Vanilla’s instead. ]

  57. Matthew Pilott 58

    Corner.

  58. outofbed 59

    You my friend are going to be one incredibly disappointed camper come November time
    Ape shall I run it through slowly for you
    The TV3 poll was the most accurate in 2005
    The last TV3 poll had the Nats on 48%
    The Nats need over 46% to Govern without the MP
    The Nats have stated that they are doing away with the Maori seats
    Historically when the heat goes on in an election campaign the gap closes in favour of incumbents
    Key is not good under pressure and we know that there is quite a contentious issue sitting there with time being bided
    There are a hell a lot of undecided voters
    So on balance its a very very close race and I think you are just as much likely to be incredibly disapointed as moi

    Here is a link to the MMP seat calculator. have a play see for yourself http://www.elections.org.nz/calculator/
    and get back to me

  59. ape08 60

    Buddy, I’ll talk to you after the election… but I would cast your eye over to the UK… Gordon Brown is suffering exactly the same symptoms… the tipping point has been passed!

  60. Felix 61

    Funny thing about tipping points, they tip both ways.

    The public will see through the charade, they’re not as stupid as you think. Most of them are just waking up now and realising there’s an election coming.

  61. outofbed 62

    Ape 08 I cast my eye over to the UK see that thay have an FPP system I then cast it back over here and see that we have MMP I then refer you again to the calculator http://www.elections.org.nz/calculator/
    So is it close or not monkey boy ?

  62. ape08 64

    “The public will see through the charade, they’re not as stupid as you think. Most of them are just waking up now and realising there’s an election coming.”

    They are not stupid at all… that’s why several of you here are going to be very, very upset for a while after election day by the sounds of things!

  63. outofbed 65

    and coincidently
    Can Labour win?

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