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John Key – Mr 2%

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, February 20th, 2017 - 43 comments
Categories: bill english, john key, Media, national, newspapers, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

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.

43 comments on “John Key – Mr 2%”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    “The speed of Key’s drop in the preferred Prime Minister rankings contrasts with that of former Labour leader Helen Clark who continued to poll fairly highly for months after resigning.” Claire Trevett in Sunday Herald
    Interesting, isn’t it?
    Not that I want to spend much time pondering on the sudden demise of popularity in the former conman PM.

    • Quasimodo 1.1

      If the polls are changing so fast, it will be interesting to see where this momentum will take us.

    • Anne 1.2

      What it shows is the whole “preferred PM” thing is a complete sham. It means nothing. People say the first name that comes into their heads which is usually the name of the PM at the time because its the only name they know.

      • Snakeoil 1.2.1


      • Snakeoil 1.2.2

        yep, but if they have used the same methodology in both comparisons it still tells us something.

        • ….not necessarily?

          I can ask someone if they drink coke, but whether that question is actually telling me anything depends on say, whether I want to know about brand penetration or whether I’m interested in whether people are staying hydrated. (hint: if I’m interested in the latter, I actually want to know how often they drink plain water. Likewise, preferred PM isn’t a useful question. It’s actually far more useful to ask people if they approve of the current PM and their likely challenger if what you want to measure is public support for the PM)

          Preferred PM doesn’t seem to be a predictive measure, or Winston and Brash would have been PMs. It’s significantly less useful than party vote distribution because it’s peppered with all of these weird “I don’t actually know/care who party leaders are” kind of artifacts.

          I’d actually far rather see polling done in Ōhāriu and Te Tai Tokerau about who people are going to give their electorate votes to if we’re going to focus on anything in addition to the party vote, as it would contribute far more to telling us about who’s likely to win the election than “preferred PM” does. It’s just horserace nonsense from National Party PR types who are obsessed with leader-worship.

      • Bob 1.2.3

        Not true, John Key overtook Helen Clark as preferred PM 18 months out from the 2008 election: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_New_Zealand_general_election,_2008

    • Bob 1.3

      “The speed of Key’s drop in the preferred Prime Minister rankings contrasts with that of former Labour leader Helen Clark who continued to poll fairly highly for months after resigning.”

      Perhaps that is because National had a succession plan, so National supporters aren’t overly concerned about the change of leader. As for Helen Clark…

      • Synoptic 1.3.1

        It is not consistent with his air of embarrassment and ducking the camera in his last public appearance.

      • Leftie 1.3.2

        Bob, you don’t think that there are National supporters out there, that are royally hacked off that John key threw in the towel early, did not even see out the term, with a general election just around the corner?

    • Smilin 1.4

      The reason for his dramatic drop could also be the carnage people realise is the life in NZ now after being duped by the second greatest liar in the history of the modern world only separated by the fact that we are still alive and somewhat shell shocked by our own stupidity in ever allowing him to speak or act on behalf of our once sane nation

  2. Nick 2

    ShonKey had goals, they just weren’t anything to do with NZ people, unless they were rich or useful to him.

  3. Brutus Iscariot 3

    What an inane observation. By his resignation he’s clearly demonstrated his unavailabilty, why would anyone select him? Might make more sense if you also included Clark, Shipley and Bolger for fairness.

  4. Agora 4

    As Rob Muldoon used to say … ‘heh … heh … heh’ !

  5. Makes such a mockery of his fans declaring him to be a great PM. Forgotten by lunchtime – lol Mr whocares

  6. Sabine 6

    John Key was only ever a ‘shameless’ sales person, he never was PM.

    I think that is what people never really admitted. He was there to sell the worst ideas of the National Party, and as long as he only demonized those that were not “national party’ voters it was ok.

    in the meantime, statehouses sold or left to rot, assets sold with no net gain for NZ, soldiers in Iraq, and other assorted bullshit.

    John Key is in the words of Hunter S. Thompson was nothing more ever then a used car salesman.

    But then, guess what, i was never asked if he was my preferred PM. 🙂

  7. Acting up 7

    Isn’t john Key still an MP or something? Shouldn’t he be doing MP stuff like, I dunno – running electorate clinics, being on select committees, going to parliament – things like that? I presume he’s still taking a salary. Why does he have time to piss around on golf courses?

    Also, if he needs all this endorsement money, maybe he isn’t quite the wealthy, successful business type that the Nats played so heavily on …

    • Leftie 7.1

      Good point. Conflict of interest? Is John key’s promotional work legal and within the rules being a sitting MP?

    • Quasimodo 7.2

      There might be something in that .. unless he is linked with Haruhisa Handa ..


      “Dr. Haruhisa Handa was born in 1951. He attended Doshisha University where he received a degree in economics. He then went on to study with the Master Class at Musashino Academia Musicae where he graduated with a major in vocal music. He earned a masters degree in creative arts from WAAPA (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts) at Edith Cowan University, West Australia, as well as a Ph.D in Literature from the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University.

      “In addition to supporting the many humanitarian and cultural programs illustrated on this site, Dr. Handa remains the Managing Director of B.C. Consulting Ltd and manages more than a dozen companies in Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom. He is also an active author, and has written more than 220 books that have been translated into seven languages. Some of the best sellers include “Secrets for running a Small Business”, “Understanding Japan” and “Lucky Fortune”, of which more than a million copies have been sold.”

      Dr Handa’s golf ambassadorships include:

      Partner of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) GB&I
      International Ambassador of the Ladies European Tour
      International Ambassador of the Asian Tour
      Honorary Chairman of the Japanese Blind Golf Association
      Honorary President of the International Blind Golf Association
      Chairman of The Legends Tour (U.S. Women’s Senior Golf Association)
      International Ambassador and Patron of Golf Australia
      PGA of Australasia Life Member
      Patron of The PGA of Australia
      Honorary Patron of The Duke of York Sports Foundation
      Member of the On Course Foundation Global Council
      Adviser to the Royal Government of Cambodia with the rank of Senior Minister


      Golf diplomacy.

      Has any enterprising journalist contacted the Embassy of Japan ?

  8. Greg 8

    He left behind poverty like we have never seen all in the to hard basket and English and benett are wiping there hands of the mess as well

  9. SpaceMonkey 9

    2% is at least a truer representation of his constituency

  10. irascible 10

    Once Key disappeared to his home in Hawaii New Zealand shrugged and instantly forgot the bungling snakeoil salesman who pretended to be a PM.

  11. emergency mike 11

    Whoring himself out to the promotion of the corporate projects of the super rich and loving it. Key is himself rich by any normal standard, but still can’t resist a tummy rubbing from a billionaire. Back in 2008 he said he would help the “underclass”, now here we are. John Key is off promoting a golf tournament for some loopy Japanese billionaire in Perth. Hawking for the rich here, hawking for the rich over there. What’s the difference?

    I still have confidence that he’s going to pick up a classier, high finance gig than this. He’s just waiting for his chance to resign as Helensville MP. By promoting golf tournaments on Perth. If any other NZ MP was doing that there would be outrage, but since it’s John Key I guess it’s just par for the course.

  12. Cynical jester 12

    As a lefty im more concerned with Andrew continuing to poll in third place as preferred pm and labour being stuck at 27-30. Labour needs to get bold. Its been ten years of continously polling in a distant second and people are begging and have been for over a decade for bold leadership and instead we get timid leaders and watered down policy. Labours only strategy seems to be wait for national to screw up. It hasn’t and wont work i doubt labour can win this year i also doubt that they even want to form a govt at this point. http://tvnz.co.nz/content/994365/2556418.xhtml

  13. Incognito 13

    I think the PM transition was well handled by National. It was almost seamless, bloodless, backed by consistent PR (messaging) and Key largely stayed out of the news and in the background apart from a few cringing (opinion) pieces in the MSM.

  14. Sir David Henry 14

    I miss Muldoon, all though he did almost break my company in 1980….. but that’s another story…….

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