John Key, centrist

Written By: - Date published: 3:49 pm, July 24th, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: brand key, Media, spin - Tags: ,

IrishBill commented last night that “John Key the centrist” is a narrative we’re not hearing much from the commentariat any more.

I thought this was strange given that was the brand they were all so dutifully selling us in the leadup to the election campaign. John Armstrong couldn’t get enough of it.

I wondered what was going on, so I did a google news search to find out. Seems John Key as centrist really began as a narrative on his election as National leader to distance him from Don Brash. It bubbled along steadily until the last few months before the the November election where it reached its crescendo. Now, not so much.


In fact, the only reference I can find of anyone in the media being shameless enough to run the John Key as centrist line in the last few months is this editorial from the reliably tory Herald.

With the secret agenda well and truly out of the bag it’s worth remembering how easily suckered our fourth estate was by such an obvious piece of tory spin.

– Daveo

22 comments on “John Key, centrist”

  1. Chris G 1

    Just goes to show how powerful the Nats spin machine is.

  2. Tim Ellis 2

    Interesting graph, Daveo. Unfortunately, you see exactly the same spikes, at exactly the same times, in the graphs if you type in “john key” “hidden agenda” and “john key” “right wing”.

    So your graph doesn’t establish anything I’m afraid.

    • Daveo 2.1

      It shows a trend. The commentators were discussing Labour’s claims of a hidden agenda, sure, and they were replying that on the contrary Key was a centrist.

      Take this from John Armstrong:

      The claim National has a “hidden agenda” worked in 2005 when Don Brash, an unashamed advocate of free market policies, was National’s leader.

      Clark laid it on thick again yesterday.

      But whether it will work against the more moderate, more centrist and more reassuring figure of John Key is a very moot point.

      And this:

      Labour, however, is consumed with slapping the “hidden agenda” label on Key and company. That tactic does not work if National’s agenda is the same as Labour’s.

      Key is countering the hidden agenda charge bit by bit with trust-building promises.

      There are more where that came from.

      Let’s be honest about it Tim, National promoted Key as a centrist. The commentariat bought it. Turned out to be a lie. Let’s learn from it and move on.

      • Tim Ellis 2.1.1

        I think the only trend it shows Daveo is that there were far more news items about John Key around the time of the election than there were before or since.

        Not a lot of surprises there.

      • felix 2.1.2

        Hmm, I think Timmeh’s probably right – the results for “john key” with or without any other terms would probably look much the same.

        However, Tim, are you saying that John wasn’t actually promoted to the electorate as a “centrist”?

        • Tim Ellis

          Oh he certainly was, Felix, promoted as center-right. I don’t doubt that. I also believe how he was promoted is very consistent with the reality of John Key.

          I don’t doubt that there are some people in the Labour Party whose ideas on some issues are far more socially conservative than some of John Key’s social ideas, and whose ideas on economic issues are far more dry than some of John Key’s economic ideas, both historically and right now.

          For example, if you compare Phil Goff in 1990 as a Minister to John Key in 2009, there is no doubt that Mr Goff was far more right wing than Mr Key is as PM. On trade issues during his time as Trade Minister, Mr Goff was certainly very economically liberal. I don’t know for sure what Mr Goff’s views are now. They seem to change very often. Mr Goff is certainly still right wing, compared to say Ms Street.

          On the whole I would say Mr Goff and Mr Key both broadly occupy the centre. They govern political parties that have MPs that span some pretty interesting idea spectra.

          The difference between Mr Key and Mr Goff though is that Mr Key is popular, while Mr Goff isn’t. Mr Goff seems to be losing the centre battleground that Mr Key now occupies. How long do you think Mr Goff will remain leader while there are so many caucus members well to his Left who aren’t satisfied that he’s doing enough to connect with voters?

          • felix

            How long do you think Mr Goff will remain leader while there are so many caucus members well to his Left who aren’t satisfied that he’s doing enough to connect with voters?

            Couldn’t care less.

            I think the same question applied to Mr Key (left/right) in 18 months will yield some interesting answers though.

            Captcha: DEPENDS. Certainly does.

            • Tim Ellis

              You really don’t care how long Mr Goff will last, Felix?

              That’s not really a ringing endorsement for your leader.

            • Pascal's bookie

              righties are funny.

              Mostly the propertarians, but even ol’ stick in the muds like tim bring the crazy every now and then.

            • felix

              My leader?

              God you can be a dullard at times, Tim.

              Pb, I thing all the overtime is getting to him. He sounds more and more like Dad. The lid is only just on.

  3. Bright Red 3

    interestingly, search “John Key” “poo” and you find that the references began just before he was elected and have been rising ever since… guess people are waking to the fact he’s dropping us in it 🙂

    • Doug 3.1

      Bright Red

      Labour 30% in latest Roy Morgan poll, taken before the week from hell for Labour.

  4. BLiP 4

    The only thing centrist about Key is the bull – and I don’t mean “eye”

  5. Google trends just logs phrases that people are looking for??

    I mean you could look for Helen Clark Liar. and a ton of stuff will come up, doesn’t make her a liar.

  6. Sting 6

    Helen Clark,left us,thank God.

  7. randal 7

    john key man who likes his photo in the paper for doing nothing.
    shortly the dompost is going to ghange its name to key news.
    they have become emboldened and now he is a regular on page one of the dompost every saturday morning instead of page three.
    hubris johnny boy.
    watchout for it because it comes when you least expect it.

    • BLiP 7.1

      Yeah – saw that – what a sickening, cringe-making piece of Woman’s Weekly pap – “At Home With The Keys” – gag!

      Still, top marks to Crosby/Textor for their valiant efforts in protecting “Brand Key” from any fall out for his mercenary wholesale flogging off of Aotearoa. Its classic, back-to-basics PR distortion of reality: set up some compliant dummy to put out the hard word on the “non-performing” public sector – a la Whitehead – and then placing cosy, puff pieces portraying the architect of the plan as just another hard working Kiwi with the interests of the Nation at heart – a la the DimPost. The reality is that Key, wrapped up in his Weatherstone-like narcissism, is immune from the misery he is about to cause and, to quote a writer far more deft than I, Key, actually, was probably born in a $4,000 suit, and has a face that seems permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so much smarter than us, and exudes a Spock-like, emotion-neutral exterior; the only human feeling you can imagine him experiencing is a nightmare about being forced to fly coach.

      Interesting also to note the dichotomy in reactions from the trolls in relation to Dame Sian and Whitehead – even the New Zealand Fox News Herald’s John Armstrong can see it!

  8. graham 8

    All i can say to labour supporters please give phil a chance us torys want at least 9 years if phil stays around along enough it could be 15.It must be hard being a labour suporter at the moment if he is your leader

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Strong first week of firearms buy-back events
    The first full week of the firearms buy-back and amnesty has produced a strong turnout as events roll out nationwide for the first time. “Momentum is slowly starting to build as community collection events are held across the entire country, ...
    2 days ago
  • New digital service to make business easy
    A new digital platform aims to make it easier for small businesses to access services from multiple government agencies, leaving them more time to focus on their own priorities. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-dollar start to gun collection events
    Million-dollar start to gun collection events  Police Minister Stuart Nash says a solid start has been made to the gun buyback and amnesty after the first weekend of community collection events. “Gun owners will walk away with more than ...
    1 week ago
  • Praise after first firearms collection event
    Police Minister Stuart Nash has praised Police and gun owners after the first firearms collection event saw a busy turnout at Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch. “Police officers and staff have put a tremendous effort into planning and logistics for the ...
    1 week ago
  • New Police constables deployed to regions
    Seventy-eight new Police constables are heading out to the regions following today’s graduation of a new recruit wing from the Royal New Zealand Police College. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the record high number of new Police officers being recruited, ...
    2 weeks ago