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John Key challenged!

Written By: - Date published: 4:57 pm, May 13th, 2014 - 24 comments
Categories: john key, Media - Tags:

It’s 4 months to the election, the election year budget, and political parties are in full sledging mode.  John Key will throw out some ridiculous spin / outright lies, so we can expect journalists to challenge that right?  Provide some balance, clarifications around what they’ve said etc?

Apparently not.

Exhibit 1: John Key says that there’s no way Labour could deliver a surplus – as he’s the expert on Labour (media have been going to him for the last 6 years for Labour commentary, so why stop now I suppose).  Now they could easily put something back from yesterday’s article, with Labour showing that the Capital Gains Tax and higher rate for top earners covering any additional spending, and their estimates showing roughly the same surplus in 2016/17 that National are promising… Or read all the policy that Labour’s put out…  Or ask Labour how they are going to deliver surplus… but no, the story is: Labour couldn’t deliver a surplus.

Exhibit 2: Suzie Ferguson, fresh from hectoring Lianne Dalziel and David Cunliffe, gives John Key great respect in asking the question and giving him plenty of time to peddle his related spin, not challenging him on any of it.  Oh, under Labour we’d be $90 billion worse off by now, and not have a surplus until 2018/19? Sure John, that must be true.  Only 350 went to Australia in March, it’s because John Key fixed the economy, nothing to do with Australia’s economy tanking, or it being a one-off figure after having over 1000 per week crossing the ditch for years under National?  Sure John, must be true.

Exhibit 3: Considering State Funding of political parties? Labour is ‘hypocritical’ – although the article never quite says why.  Apparently it’s because Labour can’t raise money, rather than anything to do with National’s corruption.  Also, Labour gets lots of money from the unions, so they’re enthral to them.  Because 2 contradictory lies are better than 1, but we won’t point that out.  Or go to Labour for some balance comment about political funding… no.

Indeed John Key regularly puts out that Labour and the Greens have ‘no plan’ for the economy, and despite the large amount of policy both the parties release, this never seems to be challenged.  He claims the Greens are anti-jobs (despite jobs being one of their priorities), and Labour have “no plan” to achieve a “pipedream” of 4% unemployment (despite plenty of policy to the contrary).  I would really like to see a journalist do the stunt of printing out released policy, and weighing the pages in front of Key to show how little “weight” there is to his comments and his plan for the economy versus the Left’s.

For in reality Key is reflecting his own party’s paucity of vision.  National have only had unemployment under 6% for 1 quarter since 1990 – the first quarter after they inherited high employment in 2008.  Under National average GDP growth is consistently lower than under Labour whether you look back 10, 20, 30 , 40, 50, 60 or 70 years to the start of our current 2 main parties having their hands on the reigns of government.

Labour aren’t the anti-business, anti-growth party, they’re the ones who deliver booming times.  Labour getting unemployment under 4% isn’t a pipedream, much as National can’t get it under 6% – the Party of Jobs delivered under 4% unemployment for 5 years before John Key took power.  Labour aren’t ‘unable to deliver a surplus’ – they delivered a surplus every year for the 9 years they were in government last time, versus National’s record debt they’ve piled up.

Just don’t expect this backstory in any articles on “what John Key said”.


24 comments on “John Key challenged!”

  1. Tracey 1

    its the lack of fact checking thats annoying.

    like peters today, quickly journos have an opinion, and either dont look, or dont care, that collins has declared travel contribution from aust govt in 2012, and many cabinet colleagues declare such interest, including when china funds it.

    good response from epmu. .. but will it make the first three pages of the herald?

    ” The Prime Minister’s desperate accusations about unions funding the Labour Party to the tune of millions of dollars is absurd and a blatant diversion tactic.

    “It’s absolutely rubbish,” says Bill Newson. “Unlike National’s elite backers, we don’t have millions of dollars. Last election, the EPMU donated $40,000 to the Labour Party’s campaign. That’s less than John Key got from Oravida for a round of golf, and less than he got from just one dinner at Antoine’s.”


  2. Stuart Munro 2

    Key may not be an expert on Labour, but he is certainly an expert on not delivering surpluses.

    Though strictly speaking, an expert has to be someone who can deliver something – another fail.

  3. Karl Sinclair 3

    Up until recently National have seemed to own the airwaves (media) showing themselves as the pragmatic party, the farmer/business mans friend, the can do party. I feel that maybe the tide is beginning to turn. Labour is certainly becoming the solution focused party, they are beginning to challenge John Key.

    In Philip Mirowski book:

    “Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown”

    I feel he has defined a serious problem that the left has been struggling with, that is:

    Cognitive Dissonance

    “He concludes that neoliberal thought has become so pervasive that any countervailing evidence serves only to further convince disciples of its ultimate truth. Once neoliberalism became a Theory of Everything, providing a revolutionary account of self, knowledge, information, markets, and government, it could no longer be falsified by anything as trifling as data from the “real” economy.” End quote.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03h428y (work and consumption; neo-liberal economics)

    Mirowski then highlights certain elements of the left have failed to craft a serious political opposition.

    To me there is a perverse double bind being played. It’s illustrated in the phrase “Too big to fail” when describing banks or companies propped up by the public. I feel National are playing a similar game. Propped up by Big Money, commercial media etc, how can any other ideology cut through the false rhetoric? People need a means to get out of this psychological trap. In other words most of the main stream media are too biased to understand it. It is easier to go along with the status quo.

    See Orwell Rolls in his grave (a fantastic doco on main stream media and politcal biases) http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/orwell-rolls-in-his-grave/

    The media/national up until now has seemed to have the left caught (only because they are funded by big money and blanket media coverage). If the left wants to improve workers conditions this somehow automatically transforms to Labour doesn’t want business or farmers to succeed. Which is rubbish. Nationals spin doctors are trying to make Labour appear one sided.

    Interesting to note why talks involving people like Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are not interviewed on the main TV channels (They wrote the book subtitled “Why more equal societies almost always do better”, and will present this year’s Sir Douglas Robb Lectures at the University of Auckland from May 19-23.

    Will TVNZ be attending?

    • karol 3.1

      Yes, this:

      Once neoliberalism became a Theory of Everything, providing a revolutionary account of self, knowledge, information, markets, and government, it could no longer be falsified by anything as trifling as data from the “real” economy.”

      But the left has been building an alternative narrative: it involves the focus on the inequality gap, corporate greed, the 1%, all pervasive US corporate-serving state power, etc. And the alternative: working together, for sustainable, community-focused society that works for us all.

      • Karl Sinclair 3.1.1

        Yeah, love it, please keep communicating it clearly and simply Karol.

        Define the problem

        Prepare the solutions, discuss and implement..;..get big business involved.

        Go for it.

        It should be about solutions………………….

        People are hanging out for what are we going to do……(apart from keeping Collins honest which is fair enough, we need a positive solution focused campaign that not only looks after workers, but businessmen, farmers etc…… it is possible)

        • karol

          For me, the left narrative needs to take a broader, community-focused perspective. It’s the neoliberal way to make business the central focus of economy and society: the model for how everything should be organised and managed – from government (NZ Inc) to education, health, transport, etc (user pays, etc).

          Adding workers rights into that mix is only making a bit of a shift in focus.

          The focus needs to be on the whole community, working collaboratively in the equal interests of all, from cradle to the grave: at work, and play, socially and vocationally, in employment and without. Businesses enterprises and employees need to be considered and catered to within that context.

      • RedLogix 3.1.2

        Interesting to note why talks involving people like Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are not interviewed on the main TV channels.

        Really? Not one?

        Doesn’t invite any comparisons with another pair of recent visitors from the UK by any chance?

        • karol

          We have yet to see what MSM coverage Pickett and Wilkinson get in NZ. They have already got some coverage within the print news media.

          Of course, they will not be likely to get the coverage of celebrities and royal beneficiaries.

    • Chooky 3.2

      Karl Sinclair +100 …good points…especially

      1.)”If the left wants to improve workers conditions this somehow automatically transforms to Labour doesn’t want business or farmers to succeed. Which is rubbish. Nationals spin doctors are trying to make Labour appear one sided.”.


      2.) “Interesting to note why talks involving people like Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are not interviewed on the main TV channels (They wrote the book subtitled “Why more equal societies almost always do better”, and will present this year’s Sir Douglas Robb Lectures at the University of Auckland from May 19-23.”

      imo… 1) unfortunately some commentators on the Left fall right behind National’s spin doctors by attacking all farmers generically and the business/ middle class/over 50s etc ….and making them out to be the enemy of the Labour Party worker and unemployed ( and I dont think that NZ workers or unemployed, who are not stupid, buy into this false dichotomy at all…they know a broad based Labour Party is a successful Party) …So in actual fact Labour does and needs to be shown/portrayed as supporting these groups far better than does National/Act with its cronyist and foreign corporate monopolistic BIG capitalist take over focus…

      2) still waiting to hear these people interviewed on radio as well….maybe closer to the Election)

      • Karl Sinclair 3.2.1


        I like both your points,

        To add comment on point one of yours, “unfortunately some commentators on the Left fall right behind National’s spin doctors by attacking all farmers generically and the business/ middle class/over 50s etc ….and making them out to be the enemy of the Labour Party worker and unemployed”

        Agree, Labour does support farmers and certain big business a lot better than probably most of the right. So how do you start to show this in the PR campaign. Suggestions anyone?

        For comment 2, “Still waiting to Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are not interviewed on the main TV channels/radio?”

        Couldn’t the people running this post set up a similar question and answer time similar to Davids? and/or maybe get the Internet Party to stream live an interview with them (oh the possibilities are endless…

        Wouldn’t it be great to challenge MSM? Steal there viewers/readers……….Any suggestions anyone to get these people the media attention they deserve.

        Here is the link to Prof Richard Wilkinson


        • Chooky

          @ Karl….sounds fabulous to me…. I am sure a lot of people would like to hear Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett !!!!…. but I am a tech retard and Iprent is in charge of this site! ….so best addressed to Iprent on ‘Open Mike’ or by email


          “Couldn’t the people running this post set up a similar question and answer time similar to Davids? and/or maybe get the Internet Party to stream live an interview with them (oh the possibilities are endless…

          Wouldn’t it be great to challenge MSM? Steal there viewers/readers……….Any suggestions anyone to get these people the media attention they deserve.”

        • Chooky

          @ Karl…just in case you are interested and dont already know ……another left wing internet news forum that does interviews/streaming live is ‘the daily blog’ run by Martyn Bradbury


          thanks ….watched your link to the talk by Richard Wilkinson….very interesting! and gives the cross cultural and economic evidence for what most people suspect …ie.. not how rich a country is but how big the gap is between richest and poorest sectors that counts for equality/inequality and social wellbeing/ or social ills…

  4. captain hook 4

    suzie fergusson and her pal gluon espinah are just national party suckup kissarses. How else did they get their jobs? very appropeeit!thats how its done in noo zillun.

  5. Brian Vercoe 5

    Journalist know that they must have access to the decision makers at all costs.So news is what the powerful people tells us is important and true.To check the veracity of what one is told risks their access,and howls of bias.So journalist just tell it like Key says it.
    Keys trumpeting of a budget surplus shows he is an economic illiterate.The paradox of public deficits is that they raise private profits.Surpluses do the opposite.Each time countries run surpluses down the track the economy crashes.Private debt can carry the demand so far before debt burden gets to much and bankruptcies ensue.The Clinton surpluses along with the three d’s led to the GFC.

    • Lloyd 5.1

      Surely the GFC was a result of the Bush’s “lets stop taxing the rich” policies. Government surpluses weren’t the problem, it was just not getting enough money into the hands of the poorest members of society. If you distribute wealth equitably financial crises are very unlikely. It is the rich with money who stuff up economies. Take the money off them (gently but firmly, you don’t need firing squads) and spread it around. If the rich aren’t squealing about the unfairness of taxes they aren’t being taxed fairly. Tax the richest in society, problems solved. (I mean problems, not problem, too).

  6. Populuxe1 6

    Given that North & South have dedicated an entire issue to analysing the phenomenon, I’d hardly say he has it all his own way

    • tc 6.1

      wow North and South, such a widely read and influential publication in it’s glossy pricey format.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    Check out Tory Watkins appalling piece leading Stuff today on their ‘one day’ weekend snap poll. Turns out the results actually show National 47.6% and Labour Green 42.2%. Their last poll in February showed National 49.4% and Labour Green 41.8%. So the gap has actually narrowed from 7.6% to 5.4%. But the story screams the Tories can “govern alone” if they do a deal with UF and ACT to deliver 2 seats and if we ignore that NZF will get over 5% and get back with 6 MPs or more. This must be the most biased beat up of a poll ever. Is there an award for that?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      This will be the way it remains until the Left establish solid alternative media channels and find ways to support good journalists and news editors.

  8. captain hook 8

    time for DC to start kicking their arses.
    Obama did it and they soon got in line.
    mind you fergusson and gluon are like plastic fox news replicants so they might not feel anything.
    But their bosses will soon give them a rocket if they start ignoring the truth.

  9. Tracey 9

    the ceo of rnz is going to do some management structure because amo gst other things its not visual enough. that is right, the radio station is not visual enough.

    ” Radio New Zealand is expected to restructure management at the end of this month.

    The revamp is part of the next stage of its makeover to place greater emphasis on its online arm, with details expected to be revealed after a board meeting scheduled for May 29.

    Chief executive Paul Thompson has signaled an increased focus on its online operations but insists it will not be turning its back on its radio stations; National, Concert and RNZ international.

    Thompson hinted at the shift in a keynote address delivered this week to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association conference in Glasgow.

    He was blunt when describing the present shortfalls of RNZ’s online operation.

    “We are weak, almost irrelevant on the web. As a broadcaster we lack visual journalism and digital story-telling skills,” he told the conference.

    RNZ’s preferred medium where it had built up expertise – radio – was in long term decline, he said.

    Thompson has initiated significant changes to key programmes such as Morning Report since taking over as chief executive.

    A RNZ source said Thompson was pressing for a more proactive approach to news coverage and aimed to break more stories.

    Changes to be announced at the end of the month are also expected to affect news gathering operations.

    Thompson told the conference RNZ was the most trusted source of news in New Zealand.


    • Karl Sinclair 9.1

      Just for kicks, see what the board of RNZ have done in their past jobs…..

      You can make your own inferences.

      Hey theres an idea, check out the boards of all big commercial and government media organizations see what professions they fall into….. I suspect alot of accountants, ex bankers, businessmen. Determine percentages,. You can also guess which team they bat for.

      Yes many can be impartial, but how odd the composition of boards are not discussed when bringing up points about the Taurima report.

      Maybe John Key should take that into consideration when talking about a single member of RNZ who helps David Cunliffe with speeches.

      So, for most boards, I’m making the assumption No Political Science philosophers, Biologists, sociologists, environmentalists etc Why Not?
      The gene pool seems rather limited….

  10. fambo 10

    I’m thinking of directing my complaints directly to those concerned starting with TVOne news since it is supposed to be a public broadcaster. No point wasting my anger.

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