One of the more interesting aspects of last night’s Colmar Brunton poll was the decline of support for John Key as preferred Prime Minister to 2%. Jacinda Ardern is polling at twice that level.
Support for Bill English has surged. But National strategists should be worried about this. English is no Key. In real life he is rather non descript and not very exciting. He will not dominate the media in the way that John Key has.
And what has Key been doing in these post PM days? It appears he has been playing golf and wearing advertising material promoting a Japanese businessmen who has what appears to be an inflated view of himself.
Mark Reason in the Sunday Star Times write this fascinating column after seeing Key on Sky sports dressed up as a walking billboard and saying things like “Well, it looks super exciting to be here in Perth for the ISPS World Super Six. This is just a fantastic new and exciting format.” Key’s final declaration of pecuniary interests, presuming he has to file one, should be interesting.
The column includes this passage:
My finger twitched, as it is wont to do late of an evening, causing a group of peculiarly clothed men to appear on the television set. Well, that’s golf for you. And then our former prime minister John Key appeared on screen.
The great leader was dressed like an ice cream salesman and if a kangaroo had hopped by in the background, done up in plus fours and a tam-o-shanter, you honestly wouldn’t have noticed.
Key had on his head a bright blue cap, with the words ISPS Handa on it.
He was wearing a bright blue shirt with the words ISPS Handa on it. And if the camera had panned down, which mercifully it didn’t, old cottonmouth, the world’s greatest pusher of snake oil, would doubtless have been seen sporting a pair of bright blue ISPS pantaloons.
Key only resigned as PM two months ago. Even Tony Blair waited a bit longer than that before hawking himself around the world. Who’s zoomin who, here?
But perhaps Key’s association with ISPS Handa is not as odd as it seems. The ISPS bit of the name stands for International Sports Promotion Society. The Handa bit of the organisation is where things get really interesting.
Handa is a 66-year-old Japanese bloke called Haruhisa Handa.
As a child he used to try to catch flies with chopsticks, a learned skill that may have helped him to persuade Key to join the party, cult, company, whatever.
Handa made a lot of money out of stationery. Then he made a lot of money out of a lot of other things. Then he made up his own religious faction, called World Mate, based on shintoism which rather handily allowed Handa to be his own god.
There was a bit of awkwardness around claims of sexual harassment and tax evasion, but isn’t there always when you’re out to save the world.
Then Handa became an operatic tenor and a ballet dancer and a composer and a conductor.
He very generously gives to a number of arts programmes and is sometimes kind enough to turn up and conduct his own music or sing a tune or two.
So job done? CV augmented, tax cuts delivered and power company shares privatised. Now off to the celebrity golf circuit to play golf with his rich mates.
Meanwhile a quarter of a million kids live in poverty and we have kids with parents who have jobs living in cars …
Rob Muldoon had the aim that when he finished being Prime Minister he would leave New Zealand in no worse a state than it was when he started as Prime Minister. It is a shame that John Key did not have similar high goals.