In defence of John Key

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, November 18th, 2014 - 158 comments
Categories: democratic participation, john key, Parliament, tax - Tags:

John Key is a well intentioned politician.

As best as I can tell anyway, I don’t actually know the guy.  But certainly most of the blue side of the House will actually be doing their best for the country.

They may be wrong in their ideas and implementations of things, but as lefties we should do our best to keep faith in the system.

In an excellent recent Guardian article recently, Tax Collectors are the Heroes of Democracy, Giles Fraser points out that when we attack MPs and political parties, and attribute poor motives or corruption, people lose faith in government.  And when they lose faith in government, they want it to control as little of their lives as possible.

And as we fight for better education and health and a strong government to fight climate change and inequality, we all know whose side “smaller government” benefits.

So we can’t lower ourselves to National’s Dirty Politics.  The left has to continue to take the high road.  Yes you can’t ignore corruption when it’s there, but we should be careful before attributing poor motives too easily.  And we should also provide an example of good politics – not infighting and back scratching, but showing clear unity of purpose for the common good.

It even means we have to defend tax collectors:

It was refreshing to hear it being said so loud and clear: tax is good. Hooray for tax. Speaker after speaker made the same basic point. Taxation is not something imposed by some external alien “them” on some hard-done-by “us”. Taxation is all about the us: it is the way we organise ourselves as a society, it is the support we owe to each other – a tick in the box for the common good. So we ought to be proud of paying tax rather than being proud of the clever ways we invent of getting round it. But what political party had the guts to say such things? Has the Labour party finally found its bottle? Of course not. It wasn’t politicians at all. It was collection of vicars, NGO-types and an ex-archbishop at the launch of Christian Aid’s new report on taxation and morality.

… tax-dodging is sometimes regarded as less morally shameful that it ought to be. Because we think of it as sticking it to the man, of getting one over on the authorities.

Who cares about the faceless HMRC, right? Going right back to the Bible, tax collectors have long been seen as villains. But this was because tax collectors were seen as Roman stooges, collecting for Caesar (the original “man”, as it were). To think the same way now is twaddle – not least because, these days, the situation is entirely flipped and it is “the man” that is doing the tax avoidance.

It’s going to be tough, but I know I need to attack the ball, not the man…

158 comments on “In defence of John Key”

  1. Barfly 1

    Is this supposed to be satire?

  2. Dont worry. Be happy 2

    “John Key is a well intentioned politican”….Do you live on the same planet as him? As the rest of us? Dear God, please tell me that you are not at all involved with any opposition party or any strategy to get the National Government assigned to oblivion….

    • Ben Clark 2.1

      The most dangerous adversaries are those who are truly sincere.

      Just because I strongly disagree with his actions, doesn’t mean his motives are necessarily bad.
      They may have loyalty to their (big business) mates, but loyalty is usually seen as a good thing, even if in this case it produces bad results.
      They may think that what’s good for business is good for the country, when it’s bad for most people, but that’s not to say that they don’t truly believe it will help.
      (In fact, what’s good for people is good for business – hence higher GDP growth under Labour governments).

      If we make all politics dirty, we lose.

      Please also note the warning on attacks on authors below…

  3. adam 3

    Let me play the man not the ball. Ben I’ve worried over some of your posts, I really have, and I’ve not wanted to comment so you could get your feet. That time is over.

    When you write a spinless posts like this, I despair.

    You do know what an apologist is? And you’d be offended if I called you one? Good, now that is cleared up.

    If I have to see some more weak shit from the milk crying left, I think I’ll spew. Grow a spin, some nads, grow up – do somthing Ben, you’re sounding like a wheat puff on acid.

    It’s politics, not bloody twiddle winks. (Thanks Tana)

    • Ben Clark 3.1

      I’m certainly no apologist – I’m no fan of John Key and his government.

      But it’s all about working out how best to win our way back into power.

      Turning people off government makes them a) not vote, or b) vote for the party that talks about smaller government.
      So we need to talk about hope, empathy with people’s problems and solutions for them (a conversation), and provide a better example of a united governing team that’s for the people.
      We need to attack National’s ideas and implementations and say why they’re wrong and how we could do it better.

      Relentless attacks on John Key & National’s motives won’t get us where we want.

      [please note that personal attacks on authors can result in lengthy bans. However in this case I am being deliberately provocative, and you’re making an argument along with your attack, so I’m not bothered… but a general word of warning…]

      • paddy 3.1.1

        So it comes down to strategy. 1. Don’t be negative about John Key or 2. Tell the unvarnished malevolent truth about John Key.
        Option 1 is essentially roll over and let them tickle your tummy
        Option 2 is the only possible way to overcome the media bias and JK lovefest. The people are not stupid. They simply need a well organized and funded Labour party and to run an effective campaign for the next three years which pins the blame on John Key relentlessly to create a tsunami of disgust.

        • Tracey 3.1.1.1

          the “truth” of any assertion about key has to be evidenced or it will be easily batted away and turned against the asserter. i suspect that is part of arks point. if you attack him for dishonesty do it with firm proof… otherwise find another way to win.

          • adam 3.1.1.1.1

            I think for many of you winning is something electoral, and for me it’s something more concrete. Like having people housed, fed and access to their rights. My problem, is with the win an election type mentality. I despair at this approach to politics, as it just shows up the left as losers they are, at this foul game of thrones.

            If you think it OK to play nice and do back room deals then I think you need to reassess what you’re doing. Seriously, the right wing approach to economics is about destroying lives and creating division, so the elites can stay comfortable. Whose side are you on? If you think that is acceptable politics, then why are you here?

            • Tracey 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh fuck off adam. If you were actually taking your faux rebelliousness to the streets i would accord your statement some credibility. Yeah my posts here indicate i care nothing for housing people, getting people fed and preserving their rights.

              So, tell me, how has railing about john key for the last six years made housing more affordable, fed more peolle and prevented the erosion of rights.

              Perhaps ben was too subtle for you.

              • adam

                Please tracy you’re so good, I forgot, please can I be forgiven.

                I bow down to your superior approach to all things – did you win the election?

                How is your approach helping again?

                Actually tracy I fight most days to get people housed, clothed and feed – but so what ah – lets keep playing games with peoples lives by playing this silly political game.

                This system is in failure, but hey keep on keepin on tracy – crush any dissenting voice – because I forgot, you’re so good.

                • Tracey

                  Saint adam, of the reading comprehension deficit. Storm the barricades brother.

                  “.So, tell me, how has railing about john key for the last six years made housing more affordable, fed more peolle and prevented the erosion of rights. “

                  • adam

                    Demanding a one man revolution – how very quaint Tracy.

                    Any more gems you have to offer?

                    Any more Hubris?

            • Murray Rawshark 3.1.1.1.1.2

              +1
              I’d rather build one community house, or buy school equipment for one kid, than slave away to elect a government that does nothing.

          • Bob 3.1.1.1.2

            “the “truth” of any assertion about key has to be evidenced or it will be easily batted away and turned against the asserter”
            Finally! Thank you Tracey, now apply this to ‘Dirty Politics’ and a number of people here may finally understand why nothing stuck to John Key, no evidence he was directly involved.
            Our legal system is based on the premis “Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat”, or in layman’s terms, innocent until proven guilty. This is drilled into us constantly, yet when it comes to attacking John Key it seems to fly out the window for so many! It is now getting to the point where even when there is proof against him the public doesn’t care because they have heard it all 100 times before and none of it had been proven, hence Teflon John rolls on.

            • Tracey 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Kim DotCom is innocent til proven guilty… You need to tell Key, Collins, Hooton, Farrar and Slater Bob.

            • McFlock 3.1.1.1.2.2

              ah. So he’s too incompetent to know what his cabinet and staffers are up to with his mate the blogger (even though it was fucking obvious to anyone here), rather than actually being involved.

              Great defence there, bob.

              • Bob

                “ah. So he’s too incompetent to know what his cabinet and staffers are up to with his mate the blogger (even though it was fucking obvious to anyone here), rather than actually being involved.”
                Ah, again no evidence so throw out some more innuendo and expect a different result.

                Great defence there, McFlock.

                • framu

                  what does occams razor have to say bob

                  and this isnt a court of law – we the public can actually say that we think someone is neck deep in something

                  • Bob

                    “and this isnt a court of law – we the public can actually say that we think someone is neck deep in something”
                    Correct, but ‘Innocent until proven Guilty’ is also drilled into the public psyche, and when continual accusations come up with no evidence 76% of the public start to turn on you….(82% of statistics are made up on the spot).

                    • framu

                      “82% of statistics are made up on the spot).”

                      i see what you did there 🙂

                    • minarch

                      “but ‘Innocent until proven Guilty’ is also drilled into the public psyche”

                      I prefer the Judge Dred approach personally..

                • Chooky

                  @ Bob….John key is not so innocent as you make out !

                  ….John Key did boast about what he had in his “top drawer” on his adversaries …and said as a threat…dont try and rewrite history !

                  ( John Key’s right hand office man Jason Ede went underground and resurfaced several months later in another job ….and Ede was involved in liaison with dirt PR Cameron Slater and David Farrar , John Key’s friends,

                  …from this Post and the reaction of the Righties here in John Key’s defence… trying to white wash him and rewrite history …and on The Standard (.a left wing blog) …it would seem to me that John Key is finally feeling the examination of his conduct and the heat of the blow torch on his reputation

                  ….so good work the Standard! …and keep it up!…the Righties are running scared…..

                  • Bob

                    “….John Key did boast about what he had in his “top drawer” on his adversaries …and said as a threat…dont try and rewrite history !”
                    I have never disputed this, so how am I trying to re-write history? Do you know what is contained in his top drawer? Or is the “top drawer” a metaphorical schrodinger’s cat?

                    “( John Key’s right hand office man Jason Ede went underground and resurfaced several months later in another job ….and Ede was involved in liaison with dirt PR Cameron Slater and David Farrar , John Key’s friends”
                    Can you even provide evidence Jason Ede was John Key’s right hand man? All you know is that he was an office staffer, Wayne Eagleson is his right hand man. Again you are assuming and making shit up! Nicky Hager had all of those emails, all of that information, and still couldn’t prove that Ede and Key were talking about Ede’s liaisons with Slater at all!

                    “…from this Post and the reaction of the Righties here in John Key’s defence… trying to white wash him and rewrite history …and on The Standard (.a left wing blog) …it would seem to me that John Key is finally feeling the examination of his conduct and the heat of the blow torch on his reputation ”
                    Assume all you like, it seems to be your M.O. by the looks of your comments above, I just want a strong opposition to keep National in line! This post shows so many things Labour could be doing to be heard again and no-one wants to listen!

                    “….so good work the Standard! …and keep it up!…the Righties are running scared…..”
                    I’m scared alright! That the left doesn’t take a good look at the way they are portraying themselves as loony conspiracy theorists that can’t be trusted while National gets to push the country too far to the ‘Right’ and we end up like the US! I don’t think anyone wants that!

                    Give the public a shit sandwhich “I think this legislation has a lot of merit and we will be supporting the first reading (positive), we will be recommending that XYZ are changed so that 123 aren’t disadvantaged further (negative), if we can work with National to add XYZ I believe this could benefit many NZers (positive).
                    Positive, Negative, Positive, AKA shit sandwhich, get you point across, make National look like the bad guys if they don’t conform, and leave a sweet taste in the publics mouth.
                    At the moment we get “We don’t support this legislation (Negative), this legislation will hurt 123 (negative), National are evil mouth pieces of big business, looking after their rich mates and can’t be trusted (negative).
                    Negative, Negative, Negative, AKA a pile of shit, AKA Labour.

                • McFlock

                  I thought you were simply saying that there was no evidence key was involved in any of the practises itemised in the book Dirty Politics?

                  Because the book itself consists of loads of evidence against other individuals who were directly associated with Key, some of whom were even part of his government.

                  So either key was complicit in the actions of those individuals, or he was oblivious to what his own government is doing.

                  That’s not “innuendo”, that’s outright fact. Do you have a third option, where key can plausibly be ignorant of the corrupt activities of members of his own government without being incompetent?

                  • Bob

                    “Because the book itself consists of loads of evidence against other individuals who were directly associated with Key, some of whom were even part of his government”
                    I’m sure there is plenty of evidence that Hone Harawira is directly associated to his nephews too, does that mean he is complicit in their actions? I admit that this is a longer bow to draw than what you are saying, but that is the extent of your evidence!
                    No-one involved in the type of conspiracy you are alluding too can cover their tracks forever, but until there is a DIRECT link to Key it is just that, a conspiracy.
                    You can keep trying to convince me, but I am purely portraying what I am also hearing from friends and family, the ‘left’ are just trying to pin shit that doesn’t exist, or if it does exist, they haven’t found the definitive link. Have you learnt nothing from the Mike Williams dirt digging trip to Aus? You are still pushing the same tenuous links to Key and expecting the public to react differently!
                    Einstein might suggest you are insane.

                    • McFlock

                      I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I just want to see how far you’ll bend over backwards to defend key.

                      We’re not talking about nephews here, or some tenuous theory that’s built on a house of cards.

                      We have the documented activities of one of key’s ministers, a senior nat pr numpty, and a blogger who key had previously boasted of being in regular contact with.

                      Either key was oblivious to all this behaviour around him when it was obvious to people outside parliament, let alone in cabinet, or he was complicit.

                      Then we see that key was declassifying information for party-political reasons and ignoring SSC shortlists so he can appoint school mates to senior positions.

                      So he was either oblivious to the machinations of his government while at the same time corrupting the security services of the nation, or he was complicit in the machinations of his government while at the same time corrupting the security services of the nation. Either is possible, but Einstein might call you an idiot if you thought key was an appropriate person to be prime minister.

                    • framu

                      you do know that mike williams trip to aussie was also undertaken by the MSM who broke the story based on their own research?

                      the fact it didnt pan out was then sheeted home to MW despite him not being the source of the news reporting

                      ie: its a bit of a red herring.

                      but its quite funny – you keep denying that theres anything worth raising an eyebrow over – then when someone points out that there is, you revert back to “the ‘left’ are just trying to pin shit that doesn’t exist, or if it does exist, they haven’t found the definitive link.”

                      youve done it numerous times in this thread already – each attempt to apply some critical thought to known events is met with the stonewall of denial

                    • Chooky

                      @McFlock and Framu ..+100 ..it is like trying to have a discussion and then a punch out in a tank of marshmellow

                      …lets face it Bob doesnt want to face the truth!

            • Murray Rawshark 3.1.1.1.2.3

              The two-track strategy worked pretty well on you, Bob.

        • Bill 3.1.1.2

          Well Paddy, the ‘JK is an arsehole’ meme kinda – let me think here. Yup. Did not fucking work at all.

          Now, if Labour politicians would never again express their respect for him or National, that would be good.

          And if every time something stupid came onto the books from National, Labour and others simply pointed to ‘stupid government’, (with a one liner back-up to reflect a more comprehensive explanation) – that could also be good.

          ‘Stupid government’ has to be more effective and resonate more than ‘unfair to blah blah or so and so’. That shit is too like their fragmented policy pronouncements that made it difficult for people to opt in. They (Labour) have to introduce a universality to their condemnations of government.

          • Murray Rawshark 3.1.1.2.1

            True. Cunliffe saying in the debates that he respected Key and thought he’d done a great job with the GFC …… WTF was that all about?

        • Wayne 3.1.1.3

          paddy,

          Like policy #2 has worked really well for the left.

          As you say “The people are not stupid”. And they have yet to see John Key as the embodiment of malevolent evil.

          But I guess you can keep hoping the people will yet propel a wave of unrelenting disgust against John Key. But it might be hard to do if they see unemployment coming down and the economy continuing to grow.

          And inn any event does your approach look likely to happen with the MP’s in Labour. That just don’t come across as the left wing NZ versions of Senator Cruz, who sees the embodiment of evil in everything President Obama does.

  4. miravox 4

    Since when has the left had a problem with tax collectors doing their jobs?

    Otoh I do not believe John Key is a well-intentioned politician. I believe he set a personal goal to be PM rather than an intention to do good, and is basing his Prime Ministership on corporate principles(?) from his days as a money trader. That’s not well-intentioned in my book. That’s corrupt, and dangerous for the social stability of this country.

  5. BM 5

    Well said.

    All Labour has done over the past 6 + years is drive people away from politics with it’s negative depressing bull shit.

    People just switch off to negativity

    John Key always gives the impression he’s out there working hard for the good of NZ , the left gives the impression they only want to throw spanners in the works.

    • framu 5.1

      “People just switch off to negativity ”

      yet key and joyce constantly say negative things

      • BM 5.1.1

        Of course there’s going to be the odd negative thing said but overall the National government has a happy positive vibe to it.

        The left just come across as surly and negative.

        My strategy for Labour would be fluff pieces about Labour MPs for the next couple of years to build up a positive rapport with the public, hardly any attacks on the government.

        Then just spend the election year explaining why the left way is better than the right way.

        Time to take the attack politics out the back and put a bullet in it.

        • framu 5.1.1.1

          im not talking my or your perceptions im talking behaviour

          the fact is the nats consistantly put out negative comments and engage in attack politics.

          Im not saying whats right or wrong – just highlighting a massive double standard

          So – you need to explain why the left doing the same doesnt work or why theres two standards at play

          • BM 5.1.1.1.1

            Apart from the Slater wankery what attack politics does National do.

            The only time I see Key or National having a go at the left is because the left are having a go at National.

            The left always seem to be the instigators that’s why National gets away with any negativity, it’s seen by the public as more of a defensive response rather than just attacking for the sake of attacking.

            if Labour weren’t being such arseholes there’d be none of this negativity and bull shit, that’s how I believe the public perceive it.

            • framu 5.1.1.1.1.1

              so apart from their main source of attacks what other attacks do they do?

              what about when the nats attacked mike joy?
              or any other of the non labour people?
              you dont see joyce making negative comments every time hes on TV or radio?

              look – i get that you like the nats – big whoop

              but your talking a bunch of shite that requires some major blinkers to even start believing – next thing youll be claiming that john key shits kittens

              • BM

                I think you grossly over inflate the importance and reach of Cameron Slater.

                Also Mike Joy was throwing spanners into the works.

                Yes I do prefer National, but it would be good to have other options and it would be good if the other options had the ability to lead the country to prosperity instead of bankruptcy.

                • RedLogix

                  Time to take the attack politics out the back and put a bullet in it.

                  Tell that to Tony Abbott.

                • miravox

                  “Also Mike Joy was throwing spanners into the works.”

                  And you complain about the left being negative.

                  Funnily enough, the issue of dirty dairying did expose public concern about the way the country was going and brought about changes (albeit minimal) to improve water quality – just enough to appease some of the voters, but not enough to make a real difference, sadly. Dairy conversions were not addressed.

                  The exchanges between Key and Joy also show that arguing against the ‘there is no alternative’ mindset of Key & Co can in fact work and if that is negative politics long may it last. This is upfront debate on science and vision for the country. It is not the 2-track politics National engages in.

                  The TINA mindset of key & Co does not show good intention, it shows narrow vision. Mike Joy exposed that and good on him. Exposing Key & Co in this way on the people left behind in their race to international relevance (financial, political and one-upmanship) is just as welcome, imo.

                • Tracey

                  Yeah yeah, youve swallowed nationals lines about slater… He has no influence yadda yadda… Yet the PM counts him as a worthy contact. Slater reaches all the way to the Ministers of policem justice, gcsb and prime minister but you say framu over estimates slaters reach.

                  What part of deliberate tactic to have Key seem to have clean hands while people who cant be easily connected to him do the dirty, or the word you use, negative work dont you get?

                  Tell me this BM, how many articles have you read post election which quote the Taxpayers Union? Thats a Farrar invention btw, not Slater…

                  Then there is Hooton… I listened to him deliberately lie about dotcom paying peope to vote, to him blaming IP for Kill the PM song and you say that national doesnt do negative.

                  You like Key, you would love an invite to a bbq, I get that. You believe NZ is a better place today than six years ago and its down to john key and national. But you are light on proof and specifics.

                • framu

                  “I think you grossly over inflate the importance and reach of Cameron Slater.”

                  so why have the nats been using him farrar williams and hooten for so many years?

        • Tracey 5.1.1.2

          See, in this post you lapse from the near rationality of the one above.

          That you think joyce and key and the machine are not often negative dissolves the fleeting impression you gave of an ability to critically think.

          So, BM! Why was clark attacked for months and months, her husband too, her sexuality, hell key even attacked her for months over winston and glenns spat… Negativity worked a treat.

          As for fluff pieces, do you mean like the one today on Little. Your suggestion of fluff pieces presumably stems from your observation that national gets them all the time…myet… The left just xant get them and you conclude its cos the dont present them to the media?

          • BM 5.1.1.2.1

            Labour has a credibility issue, people don’t trust them.

            Fluff pieces help the population to get to know the labour pollies and would go a long way in overcoming the distrust issue.

            For example, Little and his cat, it almost made the guy look human and likable.

            Shame he said he prefers dogs and just feeds it whatever is the cheapest thing he can find, rather blew it with that comment.

    • tricle up 5.2

      BM..Opposition parties have a duty..A place to attempt a balance or hold the powers to be to account in the interests of sound legislation and responsible practices..you are dealing non/sense ..

  6. shorts 6

    I have no trouble believing Key (and his team also) thinks of himself as a well intentioned politician and most likely thinks his work is in the countries best interests, note country not people… he is of course very very wrong

    I also support the notion of applauding taxes and the “taxman” – in support of this post Labour could rethink their whispers on we can do tax cuts too which were uttered as key mentioned theirs

    People have lost faith in our government and ways of doing things – we’ve (the public, well some of) blindly accepted the notion beneficiaries are freeloaders… that business always knows best and that poverty is due to personal choice and all those other memes happily promoted by the right (and all too often labour MPs, unfortunately)… can Labour turn that around? Currently that is highly doubtful

    • BM 6.1

      Labour just has to demonstrate in a positive manner that their approach is better.

      It’s as uncomplicated as that.

      • framu 6.1.1

        yet national didnt do this and in fact tried very hard to avoid discussing anything about their policies – to the point where they felt the need to construct a black ops propaganda machine to spread lies about their opponents

        all very complicated and negative

        • BM 6.1.1.1

          National was campaigning on a business as usual platform.

          It was up to Labour to point out why they’d be better than National, National didn’t have to explain any policies they’ve been the government for the past 6 years, every knows what they’re all about.

          • framu 6.1.1.1.1

            yeah you know thats a bullshit answer – since when has any election been a case of the incumbent not having to discuss their policy platform?

            did the nats discuss policy detail in 2008?
            did the nats discuss policy detail in 2011?
            did the nats discuss any policy detail in 2014?
            did the nats run a secret attack machine during this entire period?
            are they still running the same attack machine?

            your bizarre claim that the nats are all about positivity and open policy discussion is laughable and marks you as a fool or a liar

        • shorts 6.1.1.2

          BM is right – nationals polices often fly in the face of what people want so they deflect attention away from that – they also prefer to make things up as they go (react to the market via polls) which is no way to formulate nor discuss policy

          Where Labour fail utterly is showing their policies in a positive light or manner – due to the Mallard effect, the Jones effect etc etc – national stays on whatever the message of the day is, Labour MPs and spokespeople seemingly can’t or won’t, thus they look dis-organised etc

          The non voters and many others want something to believe in and a party that will bring it – the green do this but have yet to capture the numbers… Labour is the only opposition party that can bring the numbers to not only change the bloody govt but actually change NZ for the better

          • framu 6.1.1.2.1

            i agree that labour were useless – im just challenging the double standard BM is trying to use once again

            i want to know how people such as him can say that labour need to be positive and discuss policy instead of attacking – when this nationals actions that have gotten them elected 3 times in a row is the absolute opposite

            its not the suggested course for labour thats the issue – its the denial of what the nats do and the attempts to shift the nats shitty tactics onto the left as a blame exercise

            • shorts 6.1.1.2.1.1

              you can do both – present policy and campaign in a positive manner and
              attack the govt of the day, as is expected of the opposition, again in a positive manner – coupled with the ability to see when they’re getting no where and to move onto other issues… instead of flogging dead horses as they’ve done for three terms (not that many of the issues weren’t worth pursuing but if the media and public aren’t listening there is nothing to gain

              Labour will be doomed if they try to emulate the negative manner National conduct themselves, Labour has not the resources, the skill, the allies nor the unity to be any good at dirty politics – if the party and its hired experts cannot find a way to outsmart and out maneuver the dirty politics machine then they and many kiwis are pretty f__ked

              • framu

                true – not for a minute am i suggesting that anyone should deploy the same tactics as the nats and act

                but i do find it odd when people you voted for them turn around and try to say that labours problem is doing what they, themselves voted for

                • Tracey

                  Yup…

                  Its like BM has purged the indirect besmirching of ms clark and her husbands sexuality… For years

            • Ben Clark 6.1.1.2.1.2

              Part of my argument is that negativity works better for the right, for the small government proponents (even if they don’t actually deliver smaller government expenditure).

              Beyond that Dirty Politics was below the radar, so they got away with that (we’ll have to wait and see if they continue to…), and yes, they’ve delivered less policy each election until none at all this time.

              Talking policy isn’t all that – positive vision is better. Most people want bite-sized chunks, not details, they haven’t got time for that (although you want to have the details available for those who do).

              But in short: yes I agree with you – National are often negative, and get away with it.
              I’m more and more realising that’s it’s having an organised, disciplined team that’s by far and away the most important thing… (along with having a leader with ‘X-factor’ that people like)

              • RedLogix

                Well then Ben – how about leaking all that beltway dirt to some selected TS authors and letting us get on with all that nasty negative attack stuff – and let Labour smile and wave.

              • Ben Labour has to be negative when pointing to the destruction by the Key Regime of NZ society in the name of the ‘country’ [club].

                How else to point to widening inequality, falling wages, oppressed beneficiaries, manipulated statistics, hungry children, market chaos, etc all the result of the failure of the global capitalist casino market?

                The NACTs dirty politics plays the ‘man’ to discredit the policy. That’s its point.

                Labour by and large plays the policy and not the man to a fault [Cunliffe congratulating Key on handling the GFC!] except that Key is the obvious ‘leader’ who lies his way out of every situation.

                When the NACTs have leaders who serve the amorality of the market they are fair game. Key is the perfect personification of the casino economy, [the pure parasite] having made his millions by currency speculation.

                However, the point that you missed (I think) is that all the negative stuff on all sides can be blown away by Labour actually having clear positive alternatives of fighting for equality, liberty, and solidarity that have long been shown to be held by the majority in NZ.

                That is has failed to do by pulling its punches, mixing its messages, and generally played a game of thrones to avoid standing up for working NZers.

                Attacking Key is necessary and only backfires when the Labour leadership is divided over the need to stand up for its core constituency to win their hearts and minds back from the dirty politics of the right and the corporate media.

                [edit] Karol has made much the same point below.

                • RedLogix

                  The reason why Labour’s attacks fail is simple. They are not sincere.

                  Too many of Labour’s front bench have become political insiders – removed and insulated from the people they represent.

                  Instead of mongrel – they come across as yap.

  7. It’s amusing that churches are trying to improve the image of taxation given the role that tithing played in their history.

    • DoublePlusGood 7.1

      And still plays now. Churches have vacuumed up millions of dollars off the people of South Auckland to build gratuitously big worship centres while people in the area struggle to get by.

  8. Chooky 8

    Where is Travellev?…she has analysed John Key and what he has done in detail

    and where is BLip?….he also has analysed John Key’s words and actions

    • BLiP 8.1

      Right here, mate, next to you the barricades, although a little bemused by this post. Given the National™ Cult of John Key’s open contempt for Parliament, disgust for genuine consultation, promotion of a “blame” culture, systematic erosion of civil liberties and human rights, along with its steady dismantling of core government aparatus I am aware of where the real attack on society and the political process is coming from. Handy Hint: its not coming from those who speak truth about John Key. And nor is speaking truth “Dirty Politics”, its the opposite.

  9. Dont worry. Be happy 9

    Really Ben, full disclosure here, are you in any way working within any party of the left to help set strategy?

    Any candidate for leadership of Labour?

    If you are sure of your grounds for the opinion you have expressed here then you will have no problem answering.

    • Ben Clark 9.1

      While actively involved in the Labour Party locally, and having been involved in a policy committee, I am not involved centrally, so don’t have any say on strategy.

      Not involved with any candidates for Labour leadership beyond having an opinion and a vote (Looking forward to the result this afternoon!)

      If I had say on strategy I wouldn’t need to blog about it!

    • Manuka AOR 9.2

      “Really Ben, full disclosure here,… Any candidate for leadership of Labour?”

      I’m backing Grant

  10. Ad 10

    This is a sweet and lovely idea, but negative politics works.

    The quandary your post leads to is this:
    Can you defeat the National government, and restore hope and faith in the public sector?

    All Obama’s “hopey-changey stuff” rapidly deflated.

    I don’t believe there is a ‘high road’ any more. It’s writ in the history of Cunliffe.
    The best approach was from Clark: say what you are going to do on a printed card, hold yourself to it, do it, and then at the next election, promise another concrete set of measures.

    • DoublePlusGood 10.1

      America’s governance system operates very differently to New Zealand’s.
      In New Zealand, you can actually get things done as a left wing government.

    • karol 10.2

      The best approach was from Clark: say what you are going to do on a printed card, hold yourself to it, do it, and then at the next election, promise another concrete set of measures.

      I think it’s not so much the attacks on Key and his govt that is the problem – a lot of this is absolutely necessary.

      But there also needs to be a strong positive message about what opposition parties stand for – framed in such a way as to gain traction with the public, with or without the MSM running interference.

      Frame that message early in the term in clear, brief terms, that are meaningful to the majority of Kiwis – and keep repeating it regularly for 3 years.

  11. BMW 11

    Anno Domini 2014 18 November

    Dear BM,

    Once again you are the great overlord of the one liners (you are truly erudite and objective).

    I will be following your posts diligently in order to imbibe your teachings oh great one. Again, thanks to you and from what I can glean from your teachings (my interpretation only) is, that its OK to shaft the poor. Do you like doing the dirty like the Nanny Nats?

    Again BM, I feel we are an intermingled ecumenical helix of economic liberalism intertwined in snail like embrace. I hang on your every word. There is so much depth in your prose, even the use of the “the” takes on new meaning. So much information packed into your sentences I feel quite giddy just from the information overload.

    Your secret admirer and hopefully soon to be confidant.

    BMW

    ps I am still thinking of getting into housing rentals in order to pay for my BMW, However, I have changed my mind on the BMW M6 G-Power Hurricane RR $380,000?
    I feel I deserve a BMW Nazca M12 $650,000. Maybe I could earn enough if I own a media outlet and suck up to the rich.

    I await instruction oh great sage.

  12. Bill 12

    Slagging somebody off, or being constantly negative about a political party etc is not ‘dirty politics’!

    Seriously Ben (and others). Drop the fucking phrase unless you are referring to the actual machinations of dirty politics. Throwing the phrase around willy nilly results in the National Party’s attack programme being grossly misunderstood, under-estimated and ultimately dismissed as normal and on a par with what any political party, or individuals associated with a political party, do.

    edit – just to add, I have no problem with the left simply telling the fucking truth and getting away from negative politics.

    • Ben Clark 12.1

      I certainly didn’t mean negative politics is dirty politics – (even if in the public’s mind it is on the spectrum).

      When I said we can’t lower ourselves to it, I was meaning we’re not already doing it. But laundering false and unfair stories that denigrate politicians and political parties won’t help us either.

      Obviously without government you don’t even have the opportunity to misuse government information for political purposes like National have been doing, to really get to proper Dirty Politics.

      edit – and yes, calling people to account for their actions shouldn’t be seen as negative politics.

    • Tracey 12.2

      Go brother!!

  13. TheContrarian 13

    I honestly believe Key thinks he is doing what’s best. Maybe I’m naive but I don’t think he would have got into politics if he didn’t think he was doing what was best for people given he could have made far more money doing what he was doing before.

    I think the author has hit the nail on the head.

    • Bill 13.1

      Yes, he’s doing his best for people. Of course, you then have to ask yourself which people he’s doing his best for.

    • Lanthanide 13.2

      Yes, but, it’s difficult to see how selling state houses and using the money for other things is “doing what’s best for the people who need state houses”.

      Similarly telling people who are presented with a 0-hours contract to “get advice” is not actually doing anything to address the concerns of 0-hour contracts.

    • adam 13.3

      Franco got into politics to do what was best for people. Admittedly he did it by starting a civil war, but his motivation and policies are not too dissimilar to our PM. The major difference being, Key is not a Catholic.

    • Tracey 13.4

      I think key believes he got to the top through hard work and anyone else can too. I think he thinks we cant afford the breaks he enjoyed like state house, free uni education, but i also thinks he thinks he would have made it anyway. I think he genuinely believes money is the measure of everything, the only measure that matters, unless you are a beneficiary in which case money isnt the answer to your struggles. I dont think he knows how lucky he has been, and that had he been born with a brown face growing up in a state house his life would be very different.

      I believe he has a set of values that crumple in the face of money or celebrity. He came from an small background and the idea of being around people who others look up to excites him.. All blacks, celebrities etc..

      I dont believe he is evil, i believe his world view is myopic and that makes his dangerous for a number of people already living on the edge.

      As a currency trader he never created anything…

      • BassGuy 13.4.1

        I agree.

        I think Key is a “Just World” proponent – like many, he imagines that those who don’t get to the top income bracket just didn’t work hard enough. Luck never factors into it.

        The “Just World” ideal has always interested me, especially while I was studying (BSc) at university. While still in the computer lab at 2am one morning (four hours before going home to sleep for 90 minutes before my next class), I was working on an assignment when some twit let in a bunch of drunk commerce students who were banging on the security door. They went around the lab, sat by each of us, and said “What’s really funny is that you guys are here doing all the hard work, and I’m partying while studying management and finance and I’ll get all the big bucks.”

        I was ready to choke the guy who let them into the lab until that point, but that one thing was a bit of a revelation to me, something so blindingly obvious yet I had not considered:

        In the sciences, we were doing the hard work, and in the commerce department, they were preparing for the big pay packets.

        For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “Just World” is a fantasy allowing one to believe they deserve anything positive they get. Hard work means big pay and anyone who isn’t paid well hasn’t worked hard. For example, are you on minimum wage while you work 15 hours a week? Work harder! Your efforts will be recognised and you’ll be compensated proportionately. Your manager won’t come to expect you to work at that same level every week for the same money. Meanwhile, in the real world…

        • Rosie 13.4.1.1

          Ah BassGuy, thank you for putting a phrase to this belief system. It’s good to have a definition for this type of thinking pattern.

        • Tracey 13.4.1.2

          Thanks so much for this Bass Guy.

          The biggest piece of luck your Just World Folks got was being born white and male… I bet they make up a decent sized portion of Just Worlders

      • Tracey, you’ve hit it. Key worships money, when he hugged the panda, he talked about money to be made via tourism dollars, it didn’t occur to him that it’s an endangered species, no all he saw was $$$ That epitomises everything he does, other than his feeble jokes, and to him and his cheerleaders, nasty put downs in the House.

      • les 13.4.3

        pretty good summation.They way the very wealthy have managed to convince the aspirational middle class that the poor deserve to be and are the burden on society that eats their taxes and prevents them ‘getting ahead’ is a travesty.

  14. Penny Bright 14

    Telling the TRUTH about
    John Key is NOT ‘dirty politics’.

    Penny Bright

  15. Jenny Kirk 15

    Ben, you said ” It’s going to be tough, but I know I need to attack the ball, not the man…”

    And I say : it sure is going to be tough, when the National Govt have relied on The MAN all along to do their job which is so destructive of life, work and family for the ordinary NZer. How can you attack the ball, when its The MAN who always fronts, who always puts up a distraction, who lies, and then changes his mind at the drop of a hat?

    The Nats are using The MAN to obsfucate their destructive policies – so the left does need to attack that man, while at the same time putting our own house in order and providing people with some clear simple policies which will appeal to them.

    And its a bit naive to think the Nats and ShonKey want to do their best for this country. Come on, Ben – please get real. They want to do their best for themselves, their mates, and their overseas investing friends. Jenny Shipley, Judith Collins are fine examples of that – along with ShonKey of course.

  16. The lost sheep 16

    I personally know a few national MP’s, just like I know a few Labour / Green MP’s.
    Hey. They are all decent normal people doing what they think is right for the society they love.
    None of them are monsters FFS.

    Honestly. Some of you need to get some perspective back into your world view.
    Aotearoa is NOT a dystopian dictatorship controlled by an evil elite conspiring to enslave humanity….when the average kiwi hears that kind of s**t they just wonder where the hell these whacko’s are coming from and how do we get as far away from them as quickly as possible.

    Ben and others above are completely correct when they say that OTT negativity is killing the chances of the Left to regain Govt.
    The ever increasing whine of conspiracy, slavery and misery from the left is out of touch with the average Kiwi and is alienating them.

    ‘This is a great Country and we can make it even better’.
    That is the line that will get the Left back in power.

    • cogito 16.1

      “They are all decent normal people doing what they think is right for the society they love”.

      LOL. Perhaps you should read Dirty Politics.

    • adam 16.2

      Where do you live thelostsheep? Did your dairy get robbed for the 5th time this month? What about the break in’s in your neighborhood? Or how about you feed the kids because both parents are working and can’t make ends met?

      The Lost Sheep, you’re in lala land – we have poverty and a massive disconnection in this country. Yes it could be worse. But ffs it is that bad, do you think we pull these arguments out of thin air?

      I don’t care much for your average kiwi, they voted for more voodoo economics and fear.

      • The lost sheep 16.2.1

        I’m about 500m from a Dairy that’s been robbed 3 or 4 times this year actually….but you go ahead and assume whatever suits your worldview about me.

        But i see that robbery in the context of a country where the VAST MAJORITY of dairies and businesses did NOT get robbed this year, or any year. One rare event doesn’t make me lose track of the fact that NZ has armed robbery rates among the very lowest in the World. Perspective.

        And I do know people who are struggling and sometimes can’t feed the kids as well as they would like, but that doesn’t distort my view of a country where the VAST majority of people have access to all the food they need, and it is actually impossible to starve. Perspective.

        Not saying by any means this country is perfect, but I am saying that the facts back up the reality that life here in Aotearoa is generally pretty bloody good for the VAST majority of us, and even those at the bottom are well off in world terms. Perspective.

        How many countries are there that you think the bottom 10% have less material deprivation than NZ?

        • framu 16.2.1.1

          just a small point there – country comparisons are good if were talking different countries

          but we arent

          were talking about different peoples lives within a single country

          ie: poverty rates in india are irrelevant if were talking about how much it costs to live in NZ.

          And yes – i agree that not all of the nats are monsters – but the clique currently running things has a very dark side, and they appear to be quite ready to do or say anything to keep advancing an agenda that isnt in our interests.

          It doesnt really matter that your nice to your wife and neighbours if your actively persuing policies that make things worse

          • The lost sheep 16.2.1.1.1

            It isn’t relevant how our absolute level of material wealth compares to other countries, it’s equality alone that counts?

            I think that is nonsense. How many NZ’ers would want to live in a country which had a higher level of equality, but in which everyone was much poorer? Ethiopia for instance?

            • framu 16.2.1.1.1.1

              If the question is “does poverty exist in NZ?” then we are looking at costs relative to living in NZ not bangladesh or anywhere else.

              Why? – because no ones going to buy a loaf of bread or fill their car up on the indian subcontinent are they

              do you seriously not understand what im getting at here?

              the “well your not really poor because of country x” argument gets used all the time – and its not relevant to the discussion untill were discussing poverty across several countries or looking at economics at a global level

              its really only a very small point and you might well be talking about global comparisons so no problems if you are indeed doing that

              • A Voter

                Do you realize that since the seventies the value of goods are 10 times greater today and every govt since then has done next nothing about it except strangely in times of economic crisis because thats the only time when everybody is in the same boat no matter how long it takes
                IE 2008 to 2010 have a think about it diesel was under DOLLAR A LITRE
                then it went to a 1.30 after that Key was on a roll and no one could touch
                for uncontrolled economic mayhem

            • Murray Rawshark 16.2.1.1.1.2

              Equality wasn’t even mentioned in the post you answered. You are commenting in bad faith.

        • adam 16.2.1.2

          Then why is the symptoms of liberalism as an economic system having no impact on the way you think? You’re OK with the dairy 500m from your home being robbed 3-4 times a year? You’re OK with people starving some of the time, because the majority are not? You’re OK with a country that produces massive excesses of food, has massive areas of arable land and keeps a certain percentage of the population downtrodden and underfeed?

          As long as it can be worse somewhere else, that’s OK is it? And so what the majority are doing fine, so why should I give a dam? It’s alright we don’t have a massive suicide issue – just close your eyes and keep humming.

          • The lost sheep 16.2.1.2.1

            I was clear to say I didn’t think things were perfect.

            But having studied history and traveled and lived throughout both the developed and undeveloped World, I am saying that anyone who thinks NZ is a miserable hellhole is well out of touch with the vast majority of Kiwis.

            My point was that The OTT concentration of negativity is alienating the people The Left needs in order to regain Govt, and a more positive approach might be more successful.
            But suit yourself obviously.

            • adam 16.2.1.2.1.1

              But you seem to have taken a defeatist position to begin with. So you’re not about uplifting people, and you’re OK with a fair amount of leaving people behind. OK, suit yourself, but is it not better to offer an message of hope and vision, than some sort of half assed excess for shit people live in, and then wrapping that in positive framing? Does that not just reek of hypocrisy, or is that just me?

              • The lost sheep

                I think you’ve just missed that I said this is a great country that could be made better, and that this is a positive stance the left should be taking.

                Don’t know how that came across as defeatist.

        • Minarch 16.2.1.3

          NZ has a very similar crime rate to the Republic of Ireland

          a country that has has sectarian violence simmering away for decades and host various armed paramilitary forces …..

  17. cogito 17

    “John Key is a well intentioned politician”.

    And the plague was a well intentioned disease.

  18. goodsweat 18

    I’m afraid my support may be the kiss of death Ben, I’m not very popular but I do think you’re perceptive and speak the truth.

    I was so surprised to discover that when things were going smoothly the people least worried about the high levels of taxation in Sweden were the Swedes. After several months it became evident why. The very real and tangible benefits of tipping so much into the nation’s kitty.

    Things have changed now, when I was there people retired on a state pension that equated to 75% of their salary. I think working NZers would feel a whole lot better about increased taxes if it equated to their parents retiring onto a state pension that left them with the means to take the grand-kids over to the Qld funparks for a week in the holidays. I’d give a few more cents in the dollar to see that happen.

    I think it’s a paradigm shift that can’t be forced at this early stage of a rebuild. It generates a fear that can be avoided. ‘The Commies are coming to get me!’

    • BM 18.1

      I quite like your posts, I think you write a lot of good stuff.

      There you go, not quite as unpopular as you think you are.

    • RedLogix 18.2

      The very real and tangible benefits of tipping so much into the nation’s kitty.

      What we get here instead is National giving rich pricks big tax cuts, driving the govt books deep into debt – and then expecting the rest of us to pick up the tab.

      I suppose you could call that well-intentioned. For the well-off.

      • goodsweat 18.2.1

        He also put GST up. The guy buying a new Beemer pays a hefty whack. I got my car from a bloke down the road, my GST contribution was zero. Waggling the ‘You’re a bastard’ finger at all wealthy people won’t win the nation’s heart. We all want to be without money worries.

        I feel the best way to do that is lifting people up at the lower end, not dragging the high achievers back. I think we should be sweet talking the high achievers and using their funds to give us all a hand to lift up the prime battlers.

        I don’t want to see people getting an extra $40 a week. I want to see us all on $1200 a week. I don’t believe the poor need a sandwich, they need a sandwich bar.

        • RedLogix 18.2.1.1

          I feel the best way to do that is lifting people up at the lower end, not dragging the high achievers back.

          Sorry but when some 80 300 odd individuals globally control more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion humans – a spot of ‘dragging back’ is perfectly in order.

          When the top 10% control 87% of the global wealth – it’s time for the free lunches to be paid for.

          • goodsweat 18.2.1.1.1

            Why are you worried about what they’re up to? Aren’t you more concerned about your family, friends and quality of life? I live in a country overflowing with opportunity. If having great big stacks of money is important to an individual we are so very lucky to be born into a country where that is possible.

            Do you think the 80 richest people in the world are keeping me poor Red? Should they give me money because….I circulate oxygen? There is a much easier way. Come up with something those fat cats want. Beat them at their own game. That’s what beating National is going to take.

            • RedLogix 18.2.1.1.1.1

              Do you think the 80 richest people in the world are keeping me poor Red?

              Yes they are.

              Since 1980 virtually all the new wealth in the world, especially productivity gains generated by immense technology gains – have been captured by a very tiny minority of the extremely rich.

              In 1980 I started a role as a very junior inexperienced tech. Now almost 35 years later – far more experienced, capable and productive – and employed at a very good market rate – my real income has declined over that period. I’m somewhat worse off after a lifetime of hard work and chasing that ‘opportunity’ you faff on about.

              And I am one of the very lucky ones. I’m not grizzling – because the 95% of people who make less than me have gone backwards even further.

              Yet the world has never been richer.

        • felix 18.2.1.2

          “He also put GST up. The guy buying a new Beemer pays a hefty whack. I got my car from a bloke down the road, my GST contribution was zero.”

          Yeah, I can’t imagine any possible way to buy a new car and not pay GST. If only there were some structural mechanism to allow such a thing to happen.

          🙄 🙄 🙄

        • A Voter 18.2.1.3

          Giving us our country would be a start so we can believe once again that this is a country with a living history as well as a future we can own

  19. Manuka AOR 19

    For the first time in this entire leadership campaign, my heart sank through my boots as I read this post. (Ok, through my sox – left my boots at the door.)

    This does not bode well…

    (Note BM is rejoicing, doing verbal handstands, skips and heel-clicks while “Rah Rah Rahing” his little heart out; Hooton will be so proud.)

  20. goodsweat 20

    Every text ever written about taking on an adversary speaks of the importance of not under-estimating, respecting and getting to know one’s enemy.

    Where are they weak? The gap in their armour? Is it area that will appeal to broader NZ and does a viable solution run true to left principles?

    For the few contributors here the sight of Key on the TV may well make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. For the vast majority of NZers it’s a case of “Oh Yeah, John Keys, I know who he is.”

    • A Voter 20.1

      Yeah I do to but there isnt enough words in the language or his 53yrs to bury him, lets just say he one tight prick and blood out of a stone is what he has for the masses

  21. xanthe 21

    I am with ben on this if you ever want to succeed electorally NEVER promote an assumed motive as fact. It is dishonest and voters know ths.
    By all means explain what the possible outcomes of a policy or action may be, make connections where they exist. but stay away from motive. As the game is now structured when you lower your standards the incumbent wins

  22. Blue 22

    The media gives John Key glowing accolades every single day simply for the virtue of his existence. I don’t think we need to join the chorus.

    There is little danger of people ‘hating government’ in general – that this Government is so wildly popular is precisely the left’s problem. John Key has probably done more for the popularity and public image of politicians than anyone in living memory.

    I don’t think that’s made anyone more keen on paying taxes, however.

    • goodsweat 22.1

      I think you’d be wonderful dry company. Yes, folk are unlikely to be marching on the IRD office because they wish to pay more.

      Key’s common man appeal only carries him so far. Getting back in again policies will need to go easy on tax-payers pockets.

      I keep arriving back at building lots of houses. The spin-off benefits could be plentiful. The Nats have done such a god awful job of it. Those that need a leg up into a home aside. The rest of us have kids, brothers, sisters, friends, work-mates with ‘Own our own place.’ at the top of their wish-lists. When we think of our homes, we slap our hearts.

    • A Voter 22.2

      Id rather have Lange with all his faults anyday than a supreme egoist like Key ,his arrogance is 10 times greater than Muldoon’s ever was and his waiting for a knighthood is so draining

    • A Voter 22.3

      His media I think is more correct

  23. John Key is a of good will…. Sigh, I give up.

    Don’t worry I’ll ban myself for a bit. Primarily because the naiveté of the writer (and that is putting it kindly) makes me realize that this country is doomed and I don’t want to sit on the sideline on this blog and watch it happen.

    • goodsweat 23.1

      Do you think if the left despised Key with a little more intensity they’d win an election?

      It’s like slagging Metallica, love em or hate em, they’re pretty good at what they do.

      The best thing us guys in Aerosmith can do is rehearse like buggery and try and read what is going to not just ignite our fan base’s iTunes clicking fingers but some of those getting into the new Metallica stuff too.

  24. KJS0ne 24

    To boil a lot of this down, image matters. Two people can say the same thing, and their reputations will colour the words completely differently. I think that is in part, why Key can get away with being a complete arrogant smarmy prick at Question time, throwing ad homs and abuse left right and centre (excuse the pun) and a large part of the public thinks no worse of him for it. But when Labour go on the negative, people see it in a bad light. It’s framed within the context of Labour’s infighting and disunity and it’s seen as a culture of hostility and ‘sore losers’.

    We need an image overhaul, and it starts with unifying Caucus, the longer this disunity drags on, the more we will bleed. It may be death by a thousand cuts. If we are going to be an effective opposition this term we will need to reframe the Labour Party’s criticisms of National. As Don Draper says: ‘if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation’.

    I don’t like John Key, but I do think we can take a lot from the way he has governed National. National are staffed full of unlikeable people (besides John Key) and that speaks to the fact that your caucus doesn’t need to be filled full of affable charismatic folk, you just need one at the helm. What you do need is loyalty and teamwork, or at least a public perception that that is indeed the case, and public perception is something National have been very adept at crafting.

    John Key irritates the hell out of me. I don’t like his policies and the fact that he feels what’s best for New Zealand is to give the corporations free reign to do as they please, but I DO respect him. As others here have mentioned it is imperative to respect your opponent, not to underestimate them. Never hold them in contempt.

    • A Voter 24.1

      Key is the master of divide and rule. No one in NZ has been able to do it to level he does .Just think of all the situations in the last six years that have been gross abuses of democracy, Key has got away with all of them He is the devil incarnate in when it comes to accountability .

  25. Sable 25

    Tax is good even though its being used to further the ends of a traitorous government that wants to reduce us to a US vassal state importing the worst economic, environmental and social problems that country faces. Sorry but bugger off…

  26. Ross 27

    Ben, congratulations on one of the few balanced, non hysterical, intelligent and reasoned articles that I have read on these pages. No one really lives their life like a Hollywood arch villain, twirling their mustaches and chuckling mirthlessly. But to read these pages you’d think that John Key does. It is incomprehensible that he devotes his life to the cynical plundering of New Zealand’s citizens. Give up on these endless “Key is an idiot” tirades. All it does is draw attention to Key. If he’s the only story in town, how is any alternative story going to develop.

    And speaking of alternative stories, thanks for the lead into the idea that taxation is, in fact a good thing. For most of my working life I have paid in excess of 50% in tax. No, I’m not rich and I didn’t earn enough to live like a King. I earned enough, roughly, to be able to afford to go back to work. But I didn’t (and don’t) complain about it. My understanding has always been that if I got sick or fell on hard times my taxes were contributing to a system that would support me. And there have been times when it has.

    Now, however, we have collectively bought into the idea that taxation is bad. As a result, good luck if you want any support when you need it, let alone an education for your kids or a functioning public transport system. Now, after a lifetime of massive contribution all I get back is endless whinging about how I’m a drain on the system.

    For all our sakes, this story has to change. It’s not going to change when all of our focus is on the other lot and how bad, venal and corrupt they are. While that may be true it doesn’t advance us toward an alternative. This story does. Thanks again Ben, and let’s hear more.

  27. sabine 28

    Who is Ben Clark and where are his meds?

  28. Tracey, you’ve hit it. Key worships money, when he hugged the panda, he talked about money to be made via tourism dollars, it didn’t occur to him that it’s an endangered species, no all he saw was $$$ That epitomises everything he does, other than his feeble jokes, and to him and his cheerleaders, nasty put downs in the House.

  29. A Voter 30

    Can anyone remember, before Muldoon, hearing from Holyoake and Marshall on a day to day basis ? That was the dawn of the new age in your face politics, TV,
    suck it up our PM is in our home, hipe you up its really important, yeah right,
    Its all about selling your brand every day to the public, bugger the ethics, the more unimportant the daily bable on the news is, the better ,less time for people to really get the gen on whats is really happening that is changing our lives, by holding our politicians to account ,lots of opinion from over paid newzees but no accountability until Nicky Hager writes the real news
    And then we really see the spin machine hit top gear and fuck Democracy to buggery
    The law has no accountability because we cant access the Privy Council anymore so lets bring it home to the wild west shoot first and have an enquiry later and stack the courts with your prefered bloggers because you know its your hits on your site that counts building ego’s to the highest stench on a 35 degree day in a shearing shed in the middle of god knows where
    Really we need a reality check on the crime that is goin on in the govt of this country, how ? well lets start with education and take time to do it Democratically YOU GOT TO KNOW TO UNDERSTAND
    And tax the corporates rather than having them dictate thru “philanthropy ” what we learn or is it their .05% tax rate being reimbursed by donating to whatever they can get it on in the tax department
    Get with it these corporates owe big time

  30. Stuart Munro 31

    Personally I think Key is a crook. Airbrushing him loses you credibility with me. Maybe you buy the MSM line that attacking Key cost the election – I don’t. If Little were to give him a thrashing in the Beehive carpark so much the better.

    • Murray Rawshark 31.1

      Key never goes anyway without half a dozen armed guards. He thinks he’s O’Bomber.

    • les 31.2

      directly disparaging a competitors products is a no no in the commercial world and applies to political personalities.

  31. jaybo 32

    “attack the ball, not the man…”
    Is that a rugby analogy? Isn’t JK the man carrying the ball? Do we tackle the man with the ball? Before he dives over for another try?
    Maybe JK is well intentioned … but putting the economy before the necessities required for the climate crisis might not be good.Same goes for all of us.

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