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John Key’s groundhog day

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, August 21st, 2014 - 51 comments
Categories: john key, Judith Collins, national, same old national, slippery - Tags:

I am almost starting to feel sorry for John Key.

He must be dreading waking up each morning. Every day it is the same. He gets asked curly questions by reporters clearly incensed now they understand the way they have been manipulated over the past 6 years. He gets to regularly trot out the same mistruths and you can see by the looks in the reporters’ eyes that they do not believe him.

National must be worried. John Key is pretty well all they have. Without him their chances of winning the next election have all but disappeared. But every day marks the spending by him of valuable political capital defending the indefensible.

Whaledumpleak must be terrifying senior National figures with dread. Each leak so far has undermined National’s stated position that Dirty Politics is nothing but a left wing conspiracy and a beat up.

And Judith Collins has gone to ground.  She must be in danger of losing her seat things are that bad.

It is clear that the media has turned.  John Armstrong has been particularly septic.  Yesterday he said this:

It has taken the best part of a week, but huge cracks suddenly appeared yesterday in the wall of denial erected by the National Party to shield itself from the damaging allegations in Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics.

That was bound to happen. In resolutely defending the indefensible – especially when the indefensible is as well-documented as it is in Hager’s book – John Key was not only starting to sound and look rather silly, but he risked eating into stocks of one of his most valuable commodities – the degree of trust he has built up with large portions of the electorate.

This particularly applies to large numbers of “soft” National supporters who would not give National the time of day without Key at the helm.

It will take only a small chunk of these voters to defect to Opposition parties for National to be in danger of losing the election.

The longer Key denied what was fact – especially the questions raised by Judith Collins’ passing of the private details of a public servant to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater – the more he risked sounding like he was treating voters like fools.

And this morning’s Otago Daily Times editorial is particularly severe on Key.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has become a liability to Prime Minister John Key, the Government and more widely, and disturbingly, the country.

How a Minister of Justice, entrusted with upholding the highest standards in the land, can lower her own personal standards to feed confidential personal information about a civil servant to a right-wing blogger – knowing full-well the consequences of her actions – is beyond most right-minded people.

Mr Key should sack Ms Collins now, but will not take that action.

The reason he will not sack her is, of course, because the election is a month away and to remove the Justice Minister now will give further oxygen to an issue he has already handled badly.

National’s problem is that the book discloses not the occasional discrete episode of misbehaviour but an ingrained pattern of behaviour which stinks.  And the attempted cover up and diversion has been lame in the extreme and insulting to the media.

Today there has already been a focus on Key’s denial that he knew about Slater having his OIA request for information to the SIS fast tracked.  A 2011 letter from then SIS Director to Warren Tucker to Felix Marwick has emerged where Tucker confirmed that he had advised John Key not only that he was going to issue redacted documents to Slater but that he had also taken legal advice on the matter.  Key has been claiming that he had not been told.  Tucker is now backing Key up on this but it is almost impossible to reconcile this with the clear wording of the letter.  And if ever there was a case a personal briefing from the SIS was required this was it.  No doubt Key will have to explain himself yet again.

And Key is going to have to accept that his office has been manipulating the system and facilitating the supply of information to Cameron Slater as well as briefing him on what to ask for and how.  WhoSlater has then in that particularly Slater style has mercilessly denigrated and abused far too many people for political advantage.

This is highly damaging for the National Party but no more than they deserve.  And if on election night they are bundled out of office then they can reflect on the damage that they have caused to their party and to our political system.


51 comments on “John Key’s groundhog day”

  1. westiechick 1

    This is just so beautiful. My birthday and Christmas all at once.
    Finally, finally they can see the Emporer has no clothes.

  2. Puckish Rogue 2

    I agree he probably does think its Groundhog Day:


    National in the high 40s (again) Labour under 30 (again), the left wing trying to smear him (again) and the general public not really caring (again) and people preferring John Key over David Cunliffe (again)


    Yep its all bad

    • vto 2.1

      Sure John, the grass really isn’t green is it

    • JanM 2.2

      So when we get another 3 years of this we’re more to be pitied than blamed?

      • Puckish Rogue 2.2.1

        We get another three years you should be greatful as then there’ll be even more money for the left to throw around and more people working to raise taxes on

        • JanM

          And whose fairytale is that you’re quoting as fact?

          • Puckish Rogue

            That would be Treasury (taken with a grain of salt) saying the econmy is improving and will continue to improve, why more people are coming home and that unemployment is on a downward trend by any indicators you like

            “The latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has risen to 139pts (up 4pts) with 63.5% (up 3.5%) of New Zealanders saying New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 24.5% (down 0.5%) that say New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’”.

            But apart from that

    • Te Reo Putake 2.3

      The interesting question about that poll result is the Hager effect. It’s entirely possible that the polling on the days after the books release actually did influence the outcome in a negative way for National. By that I mean that the result could have been even better for National if it wasn’t for the last couple of day’s polling shaving a couple of points off. Say, running at 50% support pre-Hager, 48% post Hager.

      Look at NZF’s rise. It didn’t all come from Labour, eh?

      No, I think what we’re look at is the metamorphic effect in action. The great salesman, Key, has long since ceased to see the voters as people to be persuaded. He assumes their support, even when evidence shows they have clear reasons to distrust him. The confidence Key has that they still support him no matter what can only be sustained if he continues to project that confidence in public. Every time he cracks a little on camera, on radio or in print, he chips away at the facade.

      Or to put it another way, much of Key’s support is of the ‘me too’ variety. ‘Everybody seems to support John, I should support him too’. Hence the constant squealing about left wing conspiracies. ‘I’m not a left wing conspiracy nut, therefore, I must continue to support John’. It only takes a small percentage of that soft vote to go ‘hold on, is that right?’ and National are goneburgers.

      • Tracey 2.3.1

        my brother is a right winger. Yesterday we had email exchanges about dirty politics. At conclusion he was voting ACT for electorate and national for party. We are both in Epsom.

        He just sent me a link to armstrongs heralf article and told me. OK i wont vote for key and act but who do i vote for.

        anyone who has read me posting about this brother should know this is a big deal.

  3. CnrJoe 3

    An elegant elegant solution to whaling I recall hashtagKey saying.

  4. tricledrown 4

    Poll only had one day of the Dirty tricks and even then the number of MP,s required to form govt
    48% plus 2 MP,s may not be enough to get over the line the dead cat bounce!

  5. ianmac 5

    “I am almost starting to feel sorry for John Key.
    He must be dreading waking up each morning.”

    Wasn’t Mr Key quoted in his book that the Tea Tape saga upset him so much that he considered giving it all away? How must he feel about his job now with so much flak flashing past him and some flak hitting and hurting him? I am sure that he was expecting a knighthood later but what chance of that now?

  6. disturbed 6

    Wait till next week John!!

    Don’t forget to take your tranquilizers.

    Oh! and read the Nixon years (gave you a snippet) as well for preparing your exit speech.

    “I’m not a crook”.
    ““Never be petty, always remember others may hate you,

    But those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself”

    Nixon 30th July 1973 was described as someone who wouldn’t quit.
    History channel screening 19/8/14 release of “Nixon in the den” history
    “He couldn’t resign as it would be an admission of guilt”.

    Near the end in 1974.
    To save himself Nixon’s top press aid’s had been forced out. Halderman & Erlichman were forced out.

    And he was loosing all authority..

    Nixon constantly harried in press conferences, about the tapes the cover-ups, and even his personal finance.

    “People have got to know whether their President is a crook or not, “well I’m not a crook”

    Now the lone ranger really was alone.

    Forced to release the self incriminating tapes and face imminent conviction, Nixon finally resigned in August 1974.

    Now it’s August 2014. ( mmm..)

    He told his staff in a tearful rambling farewell, “Never be petty, always remember others may hate you,

    But those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself”

    The ultimate irony with his hate had become the adrenalin of the Nixon Presidency.

    The ambition & ruthlessness that had driven Nixon to the top had spiralled into a consuming rage and mistrust of others,

    That had indeed destroyed him.

    Nixon wasn’t the first President nor will he be the last to end his tenure compromised.

    The relentless pressures of office drilled down to the venerable heart of the incumbent..

    Exposed it to the media’s remorseless gaze.

    • Puckish Rogue 6.1

      Wait till next week John!!

      • Thats been the refrain of the left for years now…its a game changer…wait until the public see the real John Key…wait until people get to know David Cunliffe

      and yet its business as usual 🙂

      • North 6.1.1

        Even you don’t believe that Puck’. Honest now. Make like SSLands, DumbArse, FizzyAnus, have a cuppa tea and a lie down. The clay feet of TheGodKey are a slippin’ and a slidin’ in the pool of their owner’s incontinence.

        Imagine the National Party conference. Every cocktail party grimace – every robust handshake – every adoring gaze – dear fellow’ll be saying to himself – “Do they really, like really really mean it…..anymore ?

        Quel horreur for a busted narcissist !

  7. politikiwi 7

    The strategy here must be to bore the electorate – same questions, same answers, day in, day out. If people keep seeing this on the news and they aren’t thinking of the wider implications, they’ll get bored with it.

    And the Tories want the electorate to not turn out, so it might all be a concerted strategy…

    • Puckish Rogue 7.1

      I don’t believe National want this coming out but they’re trying to make the best out of a bad situation and doing it quite well

      • politikiwi 7.1.1

        …in your opinion.

        In mine – and most people with their heads not firmly up their own arses – FJK looks like even more of a plonker than previously. (Which I thought was impossible, and yet, here we are…)

      • Lanthanide 7.1.2

        “they’re trying to make the best out of a bad situation and doing it quite well”

        Funny how pretty much none of the MSM political commentators agree with you.

  8. disturbed 8

    Yeah right. Why don’t you now do a another Tui commercial on a clean Government!!!!!

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      Never said they were clean, I don’t believe any government is clean but its what can be proven thats important

      • politikiwi 8.1.1

        Then you’ve got to admit your team are fighting a losing battle.

        Looking forward to @WhaleDump over the next few weeks?

        • Puckish Rogue

          I’m not bovvered, I haven’t read any of them so I’m not likely to start now

          • Tracey

            that explains your vacuousness

            • Puckish Rogue

              You want to support KDC go right ahead

              • yeshe

                dear prickish toad, there are so many completely absurd leaps and bounds in your answer to Tracey … just where and how can you adduce that reading Dirty Politics means voting for KDC ? ( Well, you can ‘t vote for him .. it is Internet Mana after all.)

                I am surprised you are so obdurate as to not even read the book, yet day after day you post saccharine and flaccid messages of support to the floundering govt. Must be fun to stay on your Planet Key … maybe they can teach you how to make a parachute or at least give you some rowing lessons.

                How much brighter and more worthy of engagement you could be if you were willing to open your eyes ( just a smidgeon even) … good luck with that.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  I don’t need to read it because I can pretty much guess whats in it + the media are breathlessly recounting details and I have no desire to fork over my hadr-earned money to give to Hager

                  • yeshe

                    if you could accurately guess what’s in it, you wouldn’t be a front rent boy for them any longer, that much you can be sure of.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Oh please half-truths, smears and unproven allegations with KDC in the background is not my idea of compelling reading

                    • McFlock

                      half-truths, smears and unproven allegations with KDC in the background

                      so much hypocrisy in one sentence…

                    • Tracey

                      as i wrote ; vacuous

                      So far so good for the offspring of sir doug graham, but i suspect by the weekend everyone will know his name and what kind of person he is.

                  • felix

                    “I don’t need to read it because I can pretty much guess whats in it “

                    Yep, I reckon you can too.

              • adam

                You go from assumptions, to self righteousness in a span of a few hours there PR. Then distraction and if that does not work, you spin into states of triumphalism. So PR, why do you feel you have to be right?

                • Puckish Rogue

                  I would imagine the answer would be quite similar as to why most posters on here feel they have to be right

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Puckish Runt has admitted that his effluent is offered in bad faith. He has admitted that when he wears out his welcome under this handle he will switch to a new one.

                  It beggars belief that someone would waste their own time on his trivial pursuits, and this in turn suggest various strategies for responding to him.

                  [lprent: We keep track of people changing handles. Too many or if they start muttering to themselves and they start getting warnings. ]

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Selective posting (must be learning from Hager) I also said I’d let people know my new name + my ISP number and whatever else is used to determine who I am won’t be changing either

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Glad I touched a nerve. Oh by the way, you’re covered in filth. Go outside and strip while I get the hose.

  9. fambo 9

    I wouldn’t feel sorry for him. He takes no prisoners himself as his nasty comments regarding Russel Norman being a stoner indicate. Give him an inch and he will take a country mile. He’s the political equivalent of The Terminator. Don’t write him off till after the votes have been counted and the Left comes out with a clear majority.

    • disturbed 9.1

      Key is a cold calculated carpetbagger as are most of the Wall St gang pre-crash so he is just what he has been made a product of nothing more or less.

      We really need to screen the background of PM’s here in NZ before let these opportunists loose on our future.

      Fancy him revelling he knew nothing of the land when he said of the sale to Chinese Government of Lochinvar as (a tiny piece of land)

      That said it all. Lochinvar is the second largest farm holding in the North Island. Gov’t stats’.

      We cant have uninformed idiots running our assets down like this.

  10. disturbed 10

    PR John key loosing his grip yeah. you said
    I’m not bovvered, I haven’t read any of them so I’m not likely to start now
    my response to you is ;
    “None so deaf as those who wont listen?
    I have no affiliation to any party and have a free mind to think for myself still and not ever become blind to any wrongdoings by any candidate or Government unlike you.

    Leave you to your ignorance then . I am truly free.

  11. Plan B 11

    You have to watch it with the sound off to understand what is really going on.
    With the sound off you see JK looking important answering questions from a large number of media
    That is it
    That is why this whole thing is actually good for him and National.

    With the sound off, the polls make sense.

  12. Plan B 12

    Labour attacks need to quickly switch to what a mess the next three years will be with a rudderless, fictionalized, legally challenged National Government limping on for three more years. It will be a mess. Because this does not all go away on the 20th of Sept. They will be in court, they will be tearing themselves apart.

    This has blown up because of internal rivalries inside National, that will only get worse, for Labour to capitalise they need to

    1. Position crisis as an internal National problem
    2. Point out that what is going on will only continue and get worse and worse aver the election
    3. Point out that New Zealand will be leaderless as National fight it out amongst themselves

    New Zealand cannot afford three years of National infighting, defending, responding to legal action etc etc

  13. I feel very cheerful today – hugely diverted.

    The image of the “sleek team of ambitious hard working office types up early in the morning pulling together in a row boat with a plan and a common purpose’ sits in stark and hilarious relief to the reality of National’s election campaign and its ability to govern.

    The boat has a severe list to the right and is in danger of capsizing; the coxswain has forgotten where he put his megaphone, and at least half his crew are pretending they can’t hear him.

    • Tracey 13.1

      it has caught a crab

      The lines for the left have to be

      What else are they lying about
      How much time does key and collins spend on working for nz, it seems they do alot of things but rarely anything we pay them to do

  14. debatewatcher 14

    With the new Whaledump stuff coming out today, interesting background profile of Simon Lusk based on his M.A. thesis


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