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John Key used to be ambitious about dealing with poverty in New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, May 27th, 2016 - 23 comments
Categories: budget 2016, john key, national, same old national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

John key underclass

The 2016 budget has been delivered.  The best analysis has been provided by Deborah Russell.  Her conclusion is captured by the opening paragraph of her article published in the Herald.  Crosby Textor dreams of having this quality of succinct analysis.  The added bonus is that it is reality based and not spin.

She said:

Very quietly, a cut here and a decrease there, a failure to keep up with inflation in one place, and ignoring increasing population in another place, the Government is walking away from New Zealand’s longstanding social compact.

And she is right.  The effect is gradual and mostly subtle but New Zealand is less and less that wonderful egalitarian place that almost all of us wish it was because of this budget.

Maybe National is planning a tax cut next year.  Maybe we should give the wealthy even more money.  Or maybe we should try and fix some terrible social problems that Aotearoa clearly has.  Now.

How did we get to our current situation?  The John Key leadership of the country was initially so promising.  Originally he sounded like National’s version of Michael Joseph Savage wanting to make New Zealand a better place for all of us.  Yet it is now increasingly clear that this was spin designed to make sure that National gained and retained power and not an attempt to continue Aotearoa’s egalitarian tradition.

Something strange is happening to John Key’s website.  It is losing track of his speeches.  Previously it had every one, word for word, and you used to be able to go there and search phrases like “climate change” and “child poverty” and work out how important these issues were to John from year to year.  But now it only has the text of eleven speeches from the past eighteen months and they are not searchable.

Maybe it has been determined that for political purposes ignorance is actually bliss and we should not be allowed to even guess what John was thinking of from year to year.  If this is true it is very retrograde.

I discovered this Kafkaesque revision of what we are allowed to know about John Key’s speeches when I tried to find the infamous state of the nation speech Key gave in 2007 when he was leader of the opposition.   It was nowhere to be found on his site.   The only copy I could locate was a reprint on the Herald website.

The speech is well written and reading it you get a sense of how keen Key was to appeal to Labour and left supporters.  And given what has happened since what a sham it was.

Following are some excerpts.

For me, politics is about the ability to make change for the betterment of all New Zealanders. It’s about challenging us all to dream how great our country can be and then setting out to achieve it.

Part of The Kiwi Way is a belief in opportunity and in giving people a fair go.

As New Zealanders, we have grown up to believe in and cherish an egalitarian society. We like to think that our children’s futures will be determined by their abilities, their motivation and their hard work. They will not be dictated by the size of their parent’s bank balance or the suburb they were born in.

For most New Zealanders, being born into a struggling household is not a life sentence.

Since I’ve been an MP, I’ve talked to a lot of people who grew up in my street, or in streets just like it. Many have done well for themselves.

However, things are different now than they were 30 years ago. It used to be that any street in any community could be the launching pad for a happy and fulfilling life. That’s not the case anymore. Today many are being left behind.

These are tough problems – very tough problems. But I have no intention of being a Prime Minister who tackles only the easy and convenient issues. I don’t pretend I’ve got all the solutions. But I can tell you that dealing with the problems of our growing underclass is a priority for National, both in opposition and in government.

[W]e are all in this together. We all stand to lose from the emergence of a growing underclass, and we all stand to gain by doing something about it.

Is it really beyond us as a country to ensure that every kid turns up to primary school with some food in their stomach? I don’t think so.

Hunger and malnutrition are simply unacceptable in a developed country like New Zealand. And it’s a fact that kids can’t and don’t learn if they are constantly hungry. Their brains don’t develop properly and they can’t stay focused in the classroom. An empty stomach and an empty lunchbox set kids up for an empty life.

Obviously it’s a parent’s responsibility to feed their children. What more fundamental parenting role could there be? But that is not what is happening in some parts of the country.

Unless we tackle this problem we are effectively punishing children for the sins of their parents.

Get all that?

So eight long years on how is this Government doing with improving  New Zealanders’ lives?  Are Kiwi children getting a fair go?  Are Kiwis still being left behind? Is the underclass a priority for this Government?  Are we doing what we can to make sure that kids attending school are fed or are we punishing them for the sins of their parents?

Or was this all CT spin designed to gain the right power so they could sell our assets, privatise state services and give tax cuts to the rich?

Key’s current indifference to the plight of the poor and homeless and the public response is summed up by Stephanie Rodgers in this passage:

But this week John Key has looked up and everyone’s staring at him saying “WTF, mate? People are living in cars? We’re putting them up in motels so their kids can sleep in a bed for once and we’re charging them for the privilege? What the hell is going on and why aren’t you doing anything about it?”

Nine long years ago John Key expressed a desire to improve the plight of the poor.  Nine years later things are only getting worse.

23 comments on “John Key used to be ambitious about dealing with poverty in New Zealand ”

  1. mac1 1

    With the change from 2008 to now in Key’s pronouncements, what has altered that this most focus-grouped and poll-driven politician speaks like he does? Have the people changed that he can go from tapping into people’s concerns and awareness of a social compact to which Deborah Russell refers, to in 2016 being ineffectual and unconcerned?

    Because even if Key in 2008 did not mean a blind bit of what he said, surely the same Kiwi sense of fairness and social beliefs that he was addressing then will now see reaction against him and his sidling away from this same social compact?

    • Graeme 1.1

      I think the only focus groups that matter now are the ones done on party donors and within the National caucus.

  2. Graeme 2

    Winston called him out on his changing rhetoric in the house the other day
    https://nz.news.yahoo.com/top-stories/a/31697564/peters-corners-key-over-auckland-housing-crisis-quote/

    It’s obviously got more to run yet, could be interesting days ahead.

    • adam 2.1

      “Is the Prime Minister able to remember any promise he has made, an hour after he has made it?”

      Quote of the week!

  3. TC 3

    Snakeoil sales behaviour from then till now micky.

    The numbers dont lie and its why nact is always looking to supress, remove, cherry pick and manipulate them.

  4. phil 4

    It’s all there in one word “underclass”. Key sets the haves against the havenots with classic divide and rule dogma. An egalitarian society is not class based, creating a new “untermensch” who’s inability to conform to the aspirational program is their fault entrenches divisions that make a mockery of the egalitarianism of the kiwi ideal.
    Unfortunately for key a population of 4.6m is not sufficient to sustain a credit bubble driven by property speculation and rampant borrowing. In a country with two degrees of separation it doesn’t take long for everyone to know someone living in a car

  5. Sabine 5

    What happened?

    In 2007 he campaigned
    in 2015 he is PM and subsequently has run out of fucks to give about NZ and its Citizens.

    http://www.davidmcelroy.org/?p=12044

    from the link and just replace senator with NZ Voter:

    “Well now, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

    The senator reflects for a minute, and then he answers: “Well, I would never have said this before … I mean heaven has been delightful … but I think I would be better off in hell.”

    So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it into black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

    “I don’t understand,” stammers the senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

    The devil looks at him, smiles and says, “Yesterday, I was campaigning. Today you’ve already voted.”

  6. Ovid 6

    I discovered this Kafkaesque revision of what we are allowed to know about John Key’s speeches when I tried to find the infamous state of the nation speech Key gave in 2007 when he was leader of the opposition.

    Fortunately the National Library has archived Key’s website.

    I’ve downloaded the speech and rehosted it on Google Docs here (PDF).

  7. Olwyn 7

    Key is a salesman, and his practice is to point toward where you want to go, and steer toward where he wants to be. Here are two examples that are not to do with poverty alleviation. The flag. What fun. Take a Labour idea and turn it into a Tory victory gesture. Well that one didn’t work. Then the electric car. How nice, how Green. Give financial breaks of some kind to those who can afford electric cars and then let them drive in bus lanes, to compete with public transport. The same goes for poverty – make caring noises to soothe the middle class but do whatever advances your real aims. It doesn’t seem to be working as well as it once did – little by little the soothing talk is failing to shut down competing narratives. But nothing Key has ever done as PM indicates any real concern for the destitution his policies and methods have produced. His measure seems to be how successfully he has won over the middle class and how much ground he has taken for his tribe.

  8. Mosa 8

    Never Never believe a Tory when they say the care for the underclass its rubbish.
    A lot of kiwis are under the John Key spell with help in the deception from the MSM and establishment.
    If he was genuine he would be in a left wing party.
    The right wing prescription is the same except sold by a smiling ‘one of us state house kiwis “have a selfie with salesman.Steady as she goes is another favorite doing the rounds post budget that does nothin
    g for car dwellers ,poor, working poor ,or the middle class and hard up pensioners unless you have a gold card.
    The biggest con job in NZ political history

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    “The John Key leadership of the country was initially so promising.” – I thought he was going to be a nightmare from the beginning. Sadly, he’s turned out worse.

  10. dv 10

    Actually what should happen is that Little etc should use the same speeches, up dated to account for the last 8 years.
    Wouldn’t that be fun

  11. Adrian 11

    “Originally he sounded like National’s version of Michael Joseph Savage wanting to make New Zealand a better place for all of us. Yet it is now increasingly clear that this was spin”…eh? what? “increasingly clear??” are you implying its taken 8 years to figure that out??
    I’m just going to put that down to excessive politeness on your part MICKYSAVAGE, but what we need here is a Revolution, and that’s not going to happen if we keep doffing our caps and politely pointing out the “Don’t Give a Damn” policies of the likes of John Key.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    I discovered this Kafkaesque revision of what we are allowed to know about John Key’s speeches when I tried to find the infamous state of the nation speech Key gave in 2007 when he was leader of the opposition.”

    Well, that’s why we have the Wayback Machine and Google searches 😈

  13. the slippery snake is very slippery – he was NEVER ambitious for the country – only himself and his mates – he is hollow – there is nothing inside, just space, lots of space – a gap, an emptiness, a missing bit. He is fake, a pretender, a liar, a cheat – he has no depth, no insight, no idea – he is out of his league, he is floundering and his great attribute is that he can make people believe he is none of these things. Why do they believe this? Like attracts like is my answer and for that all key-supporters are damned by their own inadequacies and self interest, just like shonkey.

  14. Nick 14

    It would be fascinating to have him speak at a debate where the opposition use only out-takes from his earlier speeches. Would he notice? The man speaks like a buffoon when he chooses his own words, so he would likely not even pick that the work of whoever wrote his scripts had been cribbed. Ah the gotcha moment!

  15. Just Me 15

    Key traipsed around the country prior to the 2008 election with Aroha. Once her usefulness in his scheme of things had passed the “Used by date’ he dropped her like a hot potato.And where is Aroha now? She realised there is no “Brighter Future” in a John Key NZ and now lives in Australia.
    I am sure we can find other matters that Key used when he needed the votes of the people but dtopped once the votes were counted. Right now the Pike River 29 compensation matters comes to mind.
    There is an old Maori saying even though I am just a simple little Pakeha.
    He aha te mea nui?
    He tangata.
    He tangata.
    He tangata.
    What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.

    In the John Key scheme of things the people are only important when he needs the votes. Once he achieves/retains the hallowed titleship of being addressed as Prime Minister he forgets the ordinary people.
    And so like with Aroha we have a ‘Used by date’ by many in this government.
    I do hope if Labour gets in next year they will keep in touch and accord with the people and not go the way of an arrogant and completely out of touch with reality John Key style of government.

  16. Stuart Munro 16

    The Gnat’s ‘ideal’ approach to dealing with poverty involves 1080.

  17. Chris Randal 17

    No wonder people are becoming more intolerant of virtually everything.

    Can we look forward to a period of civil insurrection?

  18. Kate Lang 18

    It was all a lie from the start. Who did he think he was fooling on the left?

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