Key abandons Treaty settlement deadline

Written By: - Date published: 4:57 pm, March 5th, 2008 - 26 comments
Categories: flip-flop, john key, slippery - Tags: , ,

Further to Dancer’s post below, this morning on Breakfast John Key claimed that National never had a deadline for settling Treaty claims and instead only had a deadline for lodging them. This was possum-in-the-headlights stuff, continuing an extraordinary run of gaffes from slippery Mr Key.

Politely put, Key’s done a total rewrite of history. The National Party website could hardly be clearer regarding their Treaty claims policy from the last election:

Complete historical Treaty of Waitangi grievance settlements by 2010. … Claims must be lodged by the end of 2006, with grievances settled by 2010.

And there was certainly no mention of this morning’s radical policy u-turn when Key spoke at Ratana and Waitangi.

Update [17:04]: Key has now produced a media release (currently subscriber only) containing this line:

“This morning, in attempting to distinguish between our current position and the formal policy document that will follow later this year, I gave the impression that National did not have a date for the settlement of historic Treaty claims. This was wrong.”

Is this a flip-flop speed record?

26 comments on “Key abandons Treaty settlement deadline ”

  1. Dancer 1

    he really is having a bit of a bad day isn’t he? do you think he realises that a PM has to have actual opinions (as opposed to a range of options) and be on top the detail?

  2. insider 2

    Scoop has a clarifying media release where he says he made a mistake. Have Labour ever said they were wrong? It’s refreshing in some respects.

  3. Tane 3

    His chief spin doctor is on holiday. I reckon it’s probably that simple. Yesterday and today were John Key unspun, and it’s been tragic.

  4. Pablo 4

    Of course it was a mistake Insider – he didn’t know his stuff like he should have. Clarke in 1999 would never have made these cock-ups.

    Key is clearly trying one of the Standardista suggestions – just apologise and move on. Works if you make an error of fact, but if you make one per week you’ll like like a fool sooner rather than later.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    Come on Bill English, just put him out of his misery. It’s painful to watch.

  6. out of bed 6

    roll on the election leadership debates

  7. burt 7


    This is BIG news, it makes that HB-DHB corruption scandal look like a some form of schoolboy prank. Holly, can you imagine how serious it is when somebody makes a mistake, this is horrific. Now people doing things like appointing people to DHB’s so they can short circuit govt tender processes etc, they were not mistakes so I guess we just need to move on and focus on the really big stuff – like this.

    Good work all_your_base, this is gonna see Key dumped from the National party. That is unless he can keep his thoughts clear and remember to use the magical phrase – “Move on”.

  8. Tamaki resident 8

    I certainly expect a leader of a major political party to be able to think on his feet without stumbling and getting thibgs completely wrong. This is hardly “PM in waiting” stuff as surely this was something he campaigned on last election!

  9. tom-tom 9

    Don’t be cruel. It’s easy to get tongue-tied when its forked.

  10. the sprout 10

    well slippery kind of accords with Hone Harawera’s description of Key

    coalition partner anyone?

  11. the sprout 11

    god Key’s hopeless under pressure – that kind of meltdown in the face of a tory, former National party interviewer!

    like Brash, it’s as if he’s unused to not being surrounded by yes-men and can’t seem to handle having his vacuous platitudes questioned.

  12. mike 12

    “roll on the election leadership debates’

    Key will have Goff for breakfast.
    BTW did anyone see Goffy foaming at the mouth in the house today it cringeworthy stuff

  13. all_your_base 13

    Hey burt, I quite agree that the odd small mistake is probably forgivable but now we have him saying:

    we should(n’t) have gone to war in Iraq: mistake?
    climate change is(n’t) a hoax: mistake?
    we would(n’t) love to see wages drop: mistake?
    we would(n’t) privatise the schools: mistake?
    we would(n’t) drop part charges on GP visits: mistake?

    and so on… it’s only a partial list! It’s absolutely ridiculous.

    This is well beyond the “in a Labour Party I lead” type comment. This is a man who wants to lead New Zealand.

    If these are “mistakes” he doesn’t have what it takes to lead. If they’re not, he doesn’t deserve to.

  14. the sprout 14

    if i were in the National caucus i’d be starting to worry about what would happen to my party if Key did become PM

  15. out of bed 15

    “if Key did become PM”

    Can’t see it

  16. lurgee 16

    As recently as the 1st of February, JK seemed a lot clearer about this:

    The National Party Caucus today moved to confirm its position on the future of the Maori seats, which involves tying their abolition to the settlement of historic Treaty claims.

    “The Caucus today confirmed that the Maori seats will be abolished, which we anticipate will take place around the time of settlement of historic Treaty claims,” says National Party Leader John Key.

    “Around the time of the last settlement – which we anticipate will be in 2014 – National will begin a constitutional process to abolish the seats. The reason for such a process is that this is a major change of interest to all New Zealanders.

    “National will also ensure more resources are available to help speed up the claims settlement process.

    “I want to see an inclusive, tolerant society, where every New Zealander is equal before the law.

    “National thinks there’s no place for ethnically-based electoral systems in 21st Century New Zealand,” says Mr Key.


    Obviously, he doesn’t read his own press releases.

  17. burt 17


    and so on it’s only a partial list! It’s absolutely ridiculous.

    I agree, but then I don’t vote National either so I would say that. The problem you have is Steve went thread post crazy (must have been the full moon & the heat) with “Key wants to drop wages” and so your legitimate ridicule threads get lost in the noise.

    Turn down the volume, crank up the quality.

  18. James Kearney 18

    I haven’t seen any evidence of anything getting lost in any noise here burt. If you want to see volume over quality head over to DPF’s place.

  19. out of bed 19

    Some co-workers called him “the smiling assassin” for
    maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say
    hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the Russian financial crisis in

  20. James Kearney 20

    It was five hundred mate-

    and he didn’t give a damn.

  21. out of bed 21

    So which is the more apt moniker ?
    “the smiling assassin’ or
    “Slippery John”

  22. r0b 22

    lurgee – interesting – 1st February eh! Well, you know what they say, a week is a long time in politics. Long anough to forget your own policy apparently.

  23. lurgee 23

    Shoot me now. That was 1st of February, 2007, not 2008.

    Still, the policy was clearly stated, albeit not quite as recently as I thought.

    Hope I didn’t get y’all too excited!

  24. r0b 24

    Hope I didn’t get y’all too excited!

    Damn – now what am I going to do with all this champagne?

  25. lurgee 25

    End of the day, it was still Key stating that National anticipated all treaty claims would be settled in 2014. No wriggle room there. He made a bollocks of it, and he’s made it worse by trying to de-bollocks it.

    He should have told the truth, said, “Sorry, I came over all ditzy for a moment, that’s what happens when you are a man of no substance, I am too ephermal for my own good, ha ha. Now,lets just foget about that and go back to being mean to talking about policy. Oh, wait a minute …”

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