Johnnie’s choice

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, October 10th, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: john key, national, slippery - Tags:

With the second English secret agenda tape out, John Key was asked whether he was worried about whether he had been caught on a tape. His answer: “oh, look, who knows”

That’s a weak answer. A strong answer would be along the lines of ‘I’m not worried if there is a tape of me because I say the same things in private as I say to the people of New Zealand’. That was his line when the first English tape came out, before National knew there were more. Now, Key can’t be sure there isn’t a tape of him.

But, given that he has to err on the side of assuming there is a tape of him, Key could still have chosen a strong rather than a weak response if, and it’s a big ‘if’, he knew that he hadn’t been voicing National’s secret agenda in private. Only if there was no possibility of a Key tape emerging could Key run the strong line. If he has been talking about a secret agenda in private, he must run the weak line in case a tape emerges and he is shown to be a liar.

The fact that Key chose to run the weak line is telling. He must know that he has been talking about the secret agenda too.

17 comments on “Johnnie’s choice”

  1. theodoresteel 1

    Thats a very thinly stretched piece of logic.

    He may have made blunders, but he is not that stupid as to talk about secret agenda to anyone who isnt in his circle already.

    < strong >[it’s simple game theory. I was going to make the choice grid for you but I’m sure you can see it yourself. Interesting that you acknowledge that he probably has been talking about the secret agenda. Remember, too, that his senior MPs were stupid enough to talk about it with someone who seemly was a stranger. SP]

  2. higherstandard 2

    Clinton at times you’re like a schoolboy who’s just found his older brothers stash of girlie magazines – it’s not a great look.

  3. Vanilla Eis 3

    *Recommends SP take the there/they’re/their test on Facebook*

  4. BeShakey 4

    Given Key’s generally weak response to awkward questions (when he doesn’t redirect), I have to agree that its hard to draw that conclusion from what he said.

  5. dave 5

    given that he has to err on the side of assuming their is a tape of him


  6. Scribe 6


    I often disagree with your posts, but at least see your point.

    This makes you look incredibly desperate and possibly scared about the impending result.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Scribe, are you trying to exude some zen-like demeanour? It’s sitting oddly.

  8. Barb 8

    Re the right-wingers comments on this site
    – talk about rose-coloured glasses!!
    What evidence will it take for you guys to accept you are supporting a party of liers and deceivers? Where are your principles?

  9. Scribe 9


    Scribe, are you trying to exude some zen-like demeanour? It’s sitting oddly.

    No, and never been accused of being zen-like. I just don’t like coming on and saying things like “Steve, you’re scared and desperate”.

  10. sorry about the ‘their’ error. I know my grammar but things slip at 1am.

    HS. I see you’re running the line I predicted in the previous post. well done.

  11. Tim Ellis 11

    I think I can help you SP. I have a copy of a secret tape of John Key at the National Party conference. I am struggling to upload it from my tape recorder to the interweb, but I can provide the transcript here:

    John Key (JK): Pssst.

    Secret-taping Person (SP): Yes, can I help you?

    JK: I haven’t seen you before, are you authorised to be here at this Conference?

    SP: Yes I am definitely a National Party supporter. I am definitely not a Labour Party supporter. If I were a Labour Party supporter, I wouldn’t pretend I am not a Labour Party supporter by telling people I am a Green Party supporter.

    JK: Oh good, so although I haven’t seen you before, and trust that you’re not taping this conversation, I would like to talk about National’s secret agenda.

    SP: Oh good-oh. Do tell.

    JK: Yes, we have a secret agenda to sell all state assets, slash people’s wages, give tax cuts only to rich people, privatise healthcare and education, and kill all puppy dogs. While we’re at it we will also secretly break the Electoral Finance Act, but do it in a way that is so subtle that nobody notices. Evil laugh.

    SP: Those are big secrets you have there in your agenda.

    JK: Yes they are. Are you sure you’re not taping this?

    SP: Very sure. Quite certain, I think.

    JK: Good. So please don’t tell anyone. I need to go and do some insider trading now. See you later.

  12. Vanilla Eis 12

    Tim: You forgot eating babies. That John Key is a bastard!

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    Tim, now I know that was satire, but given that at the conference several senior National Party MPs spoke to someone they clearly did not know about selling kiwisaver and implied that winning was more important than principles, it loooks a bit silly to satirise something that pretty much happened as you said (without the silly embellishments).

    Scribe – it was just that your comment seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with the post, nor anything that could reasonably be deduced from the post.

  14. Tim Ellis 14

    That is a fair point Matthew, and you will appreciate that it is my view that the secret tapes have been hysterically embellished by the Left. My comment was intended to satirise that embellishment.

  15. Matthew Pilott 15

    Ah, I thought you were impolying they never happened…

    Doesn’t it concern you a bit, or do you also really put it down to it being the kind of discussion you’d have among your supporters?

    I can see where that point of view comes from, but it doesn’t wash with me. If I were a member if a party and senior MPs were saying things to me that I knew were going to look so bad in the public domain, or were in contradiction of stated policy I don’t think I would be happy, unless I was convinced that my party should win no matter what it requires.

  16. Scribe 16


    Scribe – it was just that your comment seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with the post, nor anything that could reasonably be deduced from the post.

    Oh, I see. Well, trying to make something of John Key’s response to this question, and how it differs from an earlier one, smacks of desperation.

    In the same way, I thought the attention given to Phil Goff’s answers about Labour leadership, based on the fact they were different from earlier statements, was ridiculous.

  17. According to the clip in “In case you missed it”, he was asked if he _believed_ he’d been recorded, not if he was worried about. I imagine he probably is worried, but I can’t fault him for not answering a question he wasn’t asked.

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