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Key & Banks chatted about rolling Brash?

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 pm, November 14th, 2011 - 102 comments
Categories: act, brand key, don brash, election 2011, john banks, john key - Tags: ,

The tea tape didn’t interest me at first. Nats’ reaction seemed over the top but would Key and Banks be so stupid to discuss anything sensitive in a public cafe metres from the press mob? But then Key went to the cops. This said the Nats were really worried. What’s their one asset? Brand Key. What’s his greatest weakness? His honesty/loyalty. So what could they have been discussing that would damage him?

TV3 has the tape. The cops told them not to air it.

Instead, they asked Banks some interesting questions: did he and Key discuss ‘changes’ to ACT after the election? Did he and Key talk about rolling Brash? Are there plans for a coup replace Brash with Banks?

Banks’ answers were … less than convincing. When an MP is asked if they are planning a coup on their leader, anything other than an empathetic denial is confirmation.

We’ve known for a while that Banks is unhappy with Brash. Remember the marijuana fight. Remember Banks on Close Up last week failing to endorse Brash’s leadership when directly asked to do so twice. It will have been dawning on National and Banks for some time that Joyce’s coup that replaced hide with Brash is a failure and Brash is a liability.

I don’t know what is on the tape. I haven’t heard it. No-one who has heard it has told me what was on it. I can’t tell you what is on the tape.

But there’s no law against taking an educated guess based on what we know from 3news and Banks’ behaviour. So, I’m going to take a stab in the dark: what if Key and Banks talked about their plans for rolling Brash after the election?

Let’s play out that scenario. Just for the hell of it.

Key’s mum would have called it chutzpah. Not only is Key for the second time planning a coup against Brash – shaking his hand and smiling while hiding the knife behind his back. He’s assuming that Epsom voters will do his bidding and that it is his right to make and reshape ACT as he chooses. He’s acting like it’s OK for him to assume the election is won and move on to planning a ‘restructuring’ of his ally. And, to top it all off, he had the chutzpah to talk about it in a public cafe, in front of the media, separated by a pane of glass.


So, no wonder the Nats are in a tizzy. Brand Key is the only thing that can win them this election. It’s weakness is Key’s habit of being a lying, disingenuous son of a bitch. Audrey Young calls it his Tranzrail eyes. Others call it slippery. The voters already think he has a forked tongue.

A tape of Key talking with Banks about a secret plan to roll Brash after the election builds on people’s nascent feelings about Key. It manifests and solidifies that he’s not a trustworthy guy.

Some people see JK the smiling, easy going guy. Some see Key, the smiling snake, the con artist. It’s one or the other. Once you see him the second way, you’ll never see him the first way again. So how much damage would be done to Brand Key by this tape coming out? How many votes would be lost?

It’s illusory that this election is sown up. National could govern alone, or it could lose 4-5% and be the first one-term National government in history. Remember, National has an awful lot of soft support at the moment. Easy come, easy go.

If National’s so worried about the damage to Brand Key from the tape’s contents that it is willing to bear the damage of trying to keep it secret and the contradiction of Key pretending to be relaxed while calling in the fuzz, it’s ten times worse for ACT.

Just enough Epsom National voters might have held their nose on Key’s orders and voted Banks to get him over the line after Friday. But what if they learn that he’s secretly planning a coup against his leader? Is that the kind of character Epsomites will vote for when the alternative is that nice, harmless Goldsmith? Will Epsom voters want a bar of a party that is facing yet another coup lead by yet another outsider? Does any ACT supporter want an ACT lead by a racist, homophobic old conservative? Does the spectacle of two old men fighting over the remnants of Roger Douglas’s dream inspire anyone?

ACT is probably dead anyway. This tape is the stake through its undead heart.

Like I say, I don’t know what’s on the tape. It is just my educated guess. But it sure explains why National has hit the panic button.

102 comments on “Key & Banks chatted about rolling Brash? ”

  1. I don’t reckon The DON will worry about the backstabbing from these two pathetic pip-squeaks. I sincerely hope Baldrick made the tea. Two lumps Mr Pee and Mr Wanks??

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Never mind, dutiful as ever, Guyon ran the non-denial denial, MonKey saying ‘if there was anything juicy on it, they would have published it.’ Heads he wins, tails you lose. And the cops are the enforcers. And the courageous media, the defenders of the public interest, all fold and quiver and say ‘yes John, whatever you say John’. A tale worthy of any good one party state in any good Banana republic.

    • mike 2.1


      TV1 is just sour graping it because TV3 got a copy and they didn’t. “We havn’t heard the tape, but a copy was made and given to another media outlet…”

      Yep. If any media outlet publishes this embarrasing info which is clearly in the public interest then that’s a criminal act says our dear leader.

  3. Banks and Brash are two old men who are past their use by dates and they have been allowed to take over the ACT party to make sure that Brand Key can continue with the disposal of public assets into the hands of the greedy.

    They all need to be retired as soon as possible.  Our country’s future depends on it. 

  4. mike 4

    “Some people see JK the smiling, easy going guy. Some see Key, the smiling snake, the con artist. It’s one or the other. Once you see him the second way, you’ll never see him the first way again. So how much damage would be done to Brand Key by this tape coming out? How many votes would be lost?”

    Good post. The sociopath’s mask is his greatest strength and greatest weakness at the same time. His strength because it is the thing that blinds and mesmerises his victims. His weakness because if it is ever exposed it’s all over. Therefore they will do whatever needs to be done to prevent that from happening.

  5. toad 5

    Gotta transcript, Z. Well, sort of.

  6. In case you missed my other post – here are some pics to send about.
    In particular, one about Key’s love/hate relationship with microphones.

  7. Wonder what Key and Banks are chatting about now?

    Wonder if NZ Prime Minister John Key supports ‘ONE LAW FOR ALL’ and ‘ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ‘WHITE COLLAR’ CRIME?

    Is THIS the real reason why NZ Prime Minister John Key won’t himself vote for John Banks, although John Key actually lives in Epsom?



    14 November 2011

    Adam Feeley,
    Director of the NZ Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

    Dear Mr Feeley,

    I am deeply concerned to have to request the assistance of the NZ Serious Fraud Office, in order to have the principle of ‘ONE LAW FOR ALL’ equally applied to fellow former Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, Dr Don Brash and John Banks.

    The reason why I am requesting the assistance of the NZ Serious Fraud Office, is because, in my considered opinion, the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes, has failed to ‘do his job’.

    In my considered opinion, the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes has NOT ensured the application of the same law equally and consistently to ALL three former Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, Dr Don Brash, John Banks and Peter Huljich, ALL of whom equally signed, for example, the Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme ‘Registered Prospectus’, dated 18 September 2009, which contained ‘untrue’ unit price performance graphs.

    This is the latest correspondence which I have received from , the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes, on this matter, in an email dated 13 November 2011:

    “Dear Ms Bright
    Thank you for your letter, which was handed in to my Auckland office on 8 November 2011.
    I have reviewed your latest correspondence carefully, noting that it does not raise any new or significantly different issues to those raised by you on 27 September 2011.

    FMA’s position is unchanged from that expressed in my email to you on 28 September 2011. I am satisfied that the position of both Mr Banks and Dr Brash was carefully considered by the Securities Commission and that competent advice was received in relation to the entities or persons against whom charges ought to be brought. Unless you have new information or evidence to bring to light which was not previously considered by the Securities Commission, FMA does not consider you have any basis on which to suggest it should bring proceedings against either Mr Banks or Dr Brash in relation to Huljich Wealth Management.

    Yours faithfully
    Sean Hughes

    Sean Hughes | Chief Executive | Financial Markets Authority
    T: + 64 4 472 9830 | E: [email protected]
    Level 8, Unisys House, 56 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
    Level 5, Ernst & Young Building, 52-70 Galway Street, Britomart, Auckland, New Zealand
    PO Box 1179, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

    I hereby formally request, that in order for ‘justice to be done and be seen to be done’, and for the principle of ‘equality before the law’ to be preserved in practice, for you to please exercise ‘due diligence’ and take all necessary steps to ensure that the same charges that were laid by the Securities Commission against Huljich Wealth Management Director, Peter Karl Christopher Huljich, are equally laid against former fellow Directors Donald Thomas Brash and John Archibald Banks.

    For your information, when I asked why charges had not been laid against former fellow Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ ) Limited, Donald Brash and John Archibald Banks, the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes, replied in an email dated 28 September 2011:

    “Dear Ms Bright,

    I refer to your inquiry yesterday regarding the position of Mr John Banks and Mr Donald Brash as former directors of Huljich Wealth Management.

    I understand that when this matter was initially brought to the Securities Commission’s attention, the Commission sought legal advice on whether an offence had been committed, by whom, and what charges if any should be laid.

    On 10 November 2010, the following charges were laid against Huljich Wealth Management and its director Mr Peter Huljich:

    • 2 charges under s 58, Securities Act 1978, for the distribution of a misleading prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009;

    • 6 charges under s 59, Securities Act 1978, for the distribution of misleading investment statements.

    The charges relate principally to unit price performance graphs contained in the Huljich KiwiSaver Scheme prospectuses and investment statements that portrayed the Scheme as having significantly outperformed other KiwiSaver Schemes.

    However, the Commission alleged that prospectuses and investment statements failed to disclose that the performance of the Scheme had been materially inflated by a series of related party payments, made at the direction of Mr Peter Huljich.

    I further understand there was insufficient evidence available to the Commission to prove to the requisite criminal standard that either Mr Banks or Dr Brash was involved in these related party payments.

    I am satisfied that the position of both Mr Banks and Dr Brash was carefully considered by the Securities Commission and that competent advice was received in relation to the entities against whom charges ought to be brought.

    Thank you for your interest in this matter.

    Yours faithfully
    Sean Hughes”

    I note that, for example, the Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme ‘Registered Prospectus’, dated 18 September 2009, (pg1 – APPENDIX “A”) which contained the ‘untrue’ unit price performance graphs (pg 5 – APPENDIX “B”, was signed by all three Directors (pg 42 – APPENDIX “C”)

    I also note that s. 58 (3) of the Securities Act 1978, is, in my considered opinion, very clear regarding the criminal liability for ‘misstatement’ in ‘advertisement or registered prospectus’, in that EVERY person who signed the prospectus, commits an offence:


    58 Criminal liability for misstatement in advertisement or registered prospectus

    (3) Subject to subsection (4) of this section, where a registered prospectus that includes an untrue statement is distributed, every person who signed the prospectus, or on whose behalf the registered prospectus was signed for the purposes of section 41(1)(b) of this Act, commits an offence.

    (4) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (3) of this section if the person proves either that the statement was immaterial or that he or she had reasonable grounds to believe, and did, up to the time of the distribution of the prospectus, believe that the statement was true.

    (5) Every person who commits an offence against this section is liable—

    (a) on conviction on indictment to—
    (i) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years; or
    (ii) a fine not exceeding $300,000 and, if the offence is a continuing one, to a further fine not exceeding $10,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence is continued; or

    (b) on summary conviction to—
    (i) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months; or
    (ii) a fine not exceeding $300,000 and, if the offence is a continuing one, to a further fine not exceeding $10,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence is continued.
    So – why were Donald Thomas Brash and John Archibald Banks, as fellow Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Limited, who signed the same Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme ‘Registered Prospectus’, dated 18 September 2009 as Peter Karl Christopher Huljich, not equally charged, particularly given that it was in their supposedly astute business acumen, that the investing public were led to believe that they could have confidence?

    Were Donald Thomas Brash, former Leader of the National Party and John Archibald Banks, former National Government Minister (of Police and Local Government), effectively protected from prosecution because of their political connections at the highest levels?

    Because, quite frankly, in my considered opinion, that’s how it appears, particularly now that the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes, has confirmed that:

    “ (the) FMA does not consider you have any basis on which to suggest it should bring proceedings against either Mr Banks or Dr Brash in relation to Huljich Wealth Management.”

    I look forward to your confirmation, in writing, within 7 days, that the same charges that were laid against Peter Karl Christopher Huljich by the former Securities Commission will be laid against Donald Thomas Brash and John Archibald Banks, by the Serious Fraud Office.

    I have checked today, and can confirm that the Finance Markets Authority has all the former Securities Commission documents which were used to enforce the Securities Act 1978 provisions against ONE of the Huljich Wealth Management Directors – Peter Huljich.

    All I’m asking for, in the first instance, is that the same legal action is equally taken against Donald Thomas Brash and John Archibald Banks.

    The required ‘homework’ has obviously already been done, by the Securities Commission.

    In my considered opinion, there is significant and growing public interest in this matter, both nationally and internationally.

    Surely – there will not be much work required by the Serious Fraud Office to promptly lay the same charges against Donald Thomas Brash and John Archibald Banks?


    Is ‘justice’ against ‘white collar crime’ going to be done and be seen to be done?

    Or not?

    Secondly, I would like the SFO to formally investigate why the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes has chosen NOT to equally apply the same ‘law’ to has NOT ensured the application of the same law equally and consistently to ALL three former Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, Dr Don Brash, John Banks and Peter Huljich.

    Or is this a matter for the NZ Police?

    In my considered opinion, the failure of the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes to NOT to equally apply the same ‘law’ to has NOT ensured the application of the same law equally and consistently to ALL three former Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, Dr Don Brash, John Banks and Peter Huljich, is a arguably a form of ‘corrupt practice’.

    I understand that the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes was appointed by the Finance Markets Authority Establishment Board, who were effectively National Party ‘appointees’, ‘hand-picked’ by the National Government Minister of Commerce (and Justice) Simon Power.

    Is this why the CEO of the Finance Markets Authority, Sean Hughes, has been less than vigorous, as it were, in ensuring that the same law is equally applied to the former Leader of the National Party – Don Brash, and the former National Government Minister of Police and Local Government – John Banks?

    Yours sincerely,

    Penny Bright
    Independent Candidate for Epsom.
    Campaigning against ‘white collar’ crime, corruption (and its root cause – privatisation), and ‘corporate welfare’.

    Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
    Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference 2010

    [email deleted]

    • Good on ya Penny. See it through!
      I think there was some court case lately in Melbourne in which the finding set a precedent that directors of companies no longer have the room to claim ignorance/lack of expertise when they put their signature to documents.
      I see that Rod Petricevic is also squealing that he didn’t know.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      Haven’t you been warned about copy and paste dumps on here before?

    • ropata 7.3

      Great work Ms. Bright, very interesting case to be answered, and very much in the public interest.

      • Penny Bright 7.3.1



        Don’t you think that one or two of the voting public might be just a little bit interested in the fact that one candidate in the electorally pivotal seat of Epsom, (myself) has made formal requests to both agencies which are supposed to be at the forefront of fighting ‘white collar’ crime – the Finance Markets Authority and the Serious Fraud Office – to apply the same law equally to ALL three former Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd?

        Why didn’t the former Securities Comission , or Finance Markets Authority apply ACT’s policy of ‘ONE LAW FOR ALL’ equally to the current ACT Party Leader, Don Brash (former Leader of the National Party) and current ACT Party candidate for Epsom (former National Government Minister of POLICE and Local Government) John Banks?

        Pity ACT’s stated policy of ‘ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CRIME’ – doesn’t equally apply to the arguably yet-to-be convicted white collar criminals who are leading the ACT Party?

        Don Brash and John Banks can’t have it both ways – rely on their purported ‘commercial expertise’ in order to entice the ‘Mum and Dad’ Huljich Kiwisaver investors to give them their hard-earned monies, then these same commercial geniuses don’t do ‘due diligence’ and both sign Registered Prospectuses, (along with fellow former Director Peter Huljich) containing untrue ‘misstatements’?

        Don Brash and John Banks want to help run the country – but they couldn’t properly run a Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme?

        Why isn’t this getting matter the same ‘MAN ON THE MOON’ headlines that (NZ) ‘Heralded’ Rodney Hide’s complaint to the Serious Fraud Office about NZ First before the 2008 election?

        Oh – that’s right.

        In our so-called NZ ‘democracy’ – we get the Government that the majority of BIG BUSINESS want us to have.

        In 2008, the majority of CEOs didn’t want Winston Peters or NZ First to be part of any ‘coalition’ government – so their was an unprecedented mainstream media campaign to attempt to discredit them, in order to stop NZ First reaching the 5% Party vote threshold.

        It worked.

        This 2011 election – the majority of BIG BUSINESS organisations want partial privatisation of SOEs.

        Which political parties support partial privatisation of SOEs?

        National “A” Team, led by ex-Wall St bank$ter John Key, and National “B” Team, led by a yet to be charged or convicted ‘white collar’ criminal – who hasn’t had the ‘ONE LAW FOR ALL’ that he so loudly trumpets – equally applied to himself – Don Brash (former Leader of the National Party).

        All this happening in ‘clean, green NZ’ – ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ – along with Denmark and Singapore, according to Transparency International’s 2010 ‘Corruption Perception Index’.

        yeah right….

        Penny Bright
        Independent Candidate for Epsom.
        Campaigning against ‘white collar’ crime, corruption (and its root cause – privatisation), and ‘corporate welfare’.

        Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
        Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference 2010

        [email deleted]

        Penny Bright
        Independent Candidate for Epsom.
        Campaigning against ‘white collar’ crime, corruption (and its root cause – privatisation), and ‘corporate welfare’.

        Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
        Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference 2010

        [email deleted]

  8. Hilary 8

    What about that other little issue about the candidate that has been alluded to on the Standard before? Perhaps that came up in the conversation too, ‘what about this story about …’

  9. Lanthanide 9

    All in due time, I’m sure. Best for such issues to get their maximum airing, rather than being overshadowed by other events.

  10. felix 10

    None of the photos and footage of Key and Banks I’ve seen give the impression that Key is in charge.

    • Jackal 10.1

      He’s not. But what makes it worse is that he appears to be one of those people that panic when put under pressure. This is exactly the wrong type of person to be Prime Minister, as they often need to make the right decisions under extreme pressures… not freak out and do the wrong thing, as is often the case with Key.

  11. pete 11

    I wouldn’t expect “empathy” from anyone involved in ACT. I think the word you wanted was “emphatic”.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    I think you are stretching quite a lot Zet.

    If National were seriously worried about burying this conversation they would have got legal straight away and probably issued an injunction against the Herald. If the Herald was sure it passed the public interest test, then they would have published straight away before the Nats had a chance to apply for an injunction.

    If there was a conspiracy between Key and Banks to roll Brash then that would surely have passed the public interest test and the Herald would have published immediately.

    However, I can imagine a conversation along the lines of succession planning in Act given Brashes age for instance. National would probably be interested in this from the point of view of the stability of its potential coalition partner.
    This would probably meet the criteria of “interesting” as stated on TV3, and could have prompted some of the subsequent questioning.

    As it stands, the Nats have left the issue long enough to appear considered, and have given plenty of time for the media to release the recording if they felt it was that hot, which it clearly isn’t.

    Ambrose by his own admission placed the microphone on the table. His explanation seems very dodgy on a number of grounds, one being that he concealed the microphone; if he had nothing to hide, why not just place a microphone clearly on the table. Also, it looks like he has been flogging the recording off to several media outlets.

    IMO National is quite right to go to the police. This doesn’t appear to be an effort to bury the matter because they didn’t act with the urgency to suggest that burying was the objective. They have absolutely no requirement to release information about their private discussions. Why should they? It is private after all, and that is what private means.

    [too long, too late, ts. Watch the 3news clip and tell me what you think Key and Banks were discussing. The rebecca wright section is a big wink to the audience that even a Key lover like you can’t miss as hard as you try. The escalating, panic response from the Nats is in response to learning the exact contents of the recording and, then, that the HoS had given it to 3 news. Police complaint was intended specifically to block 3news. Zet]

    • felix 12.1

      What a load of bullshit.

      If there was nothing worth hearing on the recording then you and Key would be saying “go ahead and publish, you’ll only embarrass yourself”.

      If there was nothing worth hearing on it then those who have heard it wouldn’t have described it as “interesting”, or as “explosive”, or as “game-changing”.

      And if there was nothing worth hearing then National definitely wouldn’t have called in the heavies. That on it’s own looks truly desperate. A panic move.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        Disagree. There could be numerous reasons for Key not to want to release the tape. For instance, if the discussion had been around future plans for the election campaign, why would they want to release this so their opponents could get advance warning?

        • felix

          Could be, sure.

          But then he could say so too. And he won’t, ‘cos it isn’t, and you know it.

          Think I’ll take notice of the opinions of people who have heard the recording, thanks, and not those of the National Party stooge with the desperate spin.

        • Ari

          TS: If his plans require the element of surprise, it’s not a campaign strategy we the people should support anyway and there is a legitimate news interest in publishing that. Politicians should be open and honest about their campaigns, their policies, and the parts of their personal life that reflect on or inform their policies, even if they generally aren’t right now, and every time we catch them at not being so, it should be made into a Very Big Deal™ by us and the news media.

          There COULD be reasons for key to not want the tape released, but any reasonable excuse would be something they could tell the public the generalities of in asking for it not to be released. But they haven’t told us anything, so it’s likely they’re trying to hush up an embarrassing conversation.

    • Lanthanide 12.2

      What’s funny about ts is he always prepared to give National the benefit of the doubt. Everything always has a nice explanation where National are doing the right thing and we just don’t understand all the subtle nuances of the situation.

      Whereas I think most left commentators here are fully prepared to dish on Labour and/or Greens when they do something they don’t agree with or think is stupid; I certainly do anyway.

      • tsmithfield 12.2.1

        Lanth, if we accept the taping was illegal, do you think those who have been taped are entitled to expect their privacy be protected. As I just said, Key and Banks might have been discussing plans for the remainder of the campaign and may not that info let out to the advantage of their opponents.

        It can’t be argued that what was on the tape was clearly in the public interest, because, the Herald had plenty of time to make that determination and decided not to publish.

        • Lanthanide

          Well I don’t accept that the taping was illegal, for starters.

          Then, because this was a staged event during an election campaign at which they invited media to attend, and frankly didn’t do a terribly good job at corralling them away from the conversation, I think they get what they had coming. If you’re sloppy, you deserve it – teach you not to be as sloppy next time. HoS editor said on the radio yesterday morning that there was an open door just behind Key (you can see it in the photos) and that the reporters outside were only about a metre away and could hear every 4th or 5th word anyway. Given the amount of camera footage of the event, it’s not impossible that a lip-reader couldn’t piece together what they were saying, either.

          When you put all that together, I think it’s rather academic as to whether it was truly accidental or not. Key and Banks were very very sloppy and have been caught out for it.

          “It can’t be argued that what was on the tape was clearly in the public interest, because, the Herald had plenty of time to make that determination and decided not to publish.”

          Actually they have said that it IS in the public interest, but they decided not to publish for “ethical reasons”.

          • Ari

            I’m sure you missed an “un” in that quote. 🙂

          • tsmithfield

            Lanth, the Herald can’t in one breath claim the information to be in the public interest and then in the other breath claim to be with-holding publishing on ethical grounds.

            If it is in the public interest, the ethical thing to do is to publish. So, the Herald is getting itself rather tied up in knots over this.

            • toad

              Interesting point TS. A journalist I’ve spoken with who has worked with Bryce Johns suggests he hasn’t got an ethical bone in his body. I suspect the real reason the HoS didn’t print a transcript is that they’ve calculated it would be more damaging to the Party they editorially support, National, than the ongoing speculation is.

              • Deadly_NZ

                But watch when it is finally released, whats the bet there will be 5 different copies of it. More disinformation..

            • Pascal's bookie

              You’re assuming that whether or not something is in the Public Interest is a clear cut thing divided by a bright and shining line. It’s not. It’s always an arguable thing, and if the HoS had published it the right would no doubt be crying and bleating that this case didn’t meet the standard.

              But everyone is tying themselves in knots. Key says that he only went to the police to stop NoTW type tactics becoming prevalent in NZ, and that he is not at all concerned about the content of this tape. If that is the case then he should give consent to publish it. That wouldn’t affect that police complaint and would remove the very real and justifiable impression that he is trying to keep what he said secret.

              On the question of whether or not the recording was inadvertent, and therefore fair game, this post covers the issues:


        • Colonial Viper

          As I just said, Key and Banks might have been discussing plans for the remainder of the campaign and may not that info let out to the advantage of their opponents.

          Sorry mate, ACT and National discussing their plans for working together to screw the voting public is very much in the public interest – especially if it is at odds with what they are saying in public, and especially if the details will change how people vote.

  13. just saying 13

    I think you are underestimating Key.

    I still think this is a set-up that on the surface, and in the short term, might show Key in a slightly unflattering light, but which will, in time, prove to be an advantage to National.

    For example, what if it was Brash that Hone was referring to in regard to the affair with a p-user. It might turn out that Key is in damage limitation mode of some kind, and what he said “off the record” will avert a greater discrediting of the brand. And it will seem all the more believable because of all the leg-work in advance to make it appear to be Key’s “authentic” feelings.

    Also, going to the police to protect the nation from the evils of an unscrupulous and dishonest press, could turn out to be a master-stroke if the tape turns out to contain little more than tittle-tattle.

    Will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Even if this is embarrassing, it’s unlikely to be a king-hit imo. Much as I’d love to see the ‘smiling assassin’ uncovered once and for all.

    • Lanthanide 13.1

      I think anything on the tape is more likely to be damaging to Act, than National. Hence Key’s initial “don’t care” remarks that later turned into police complaints after Banks remembered exactly what they’d said and got the new instructions to National HQ.

      • hawk 13.1.1

        To me the important factor here is that the tape was made using dodgy tatics.

        If as the camera operator states it was an “accident” and I was not intending to use it in any way. Then how did this accidental recording of information of a private conversation (even the fact that they are in public still does not make it to me acceptable) become obtained by media outlets.

        I think if it was totally accidental then he would have just destroyed that information when he found he had it. However that has not happened.

        • rosy

          Dunno if it was me I’d be going around the office saying ‘look what I scored!’ before I thought about destroying it. But maybe I’m shallow.

        • Lanthanide

          His explanation, according to the editor at HoS, is that he asked for his microphone back from National and they initially said they’d send it back to him and then indicated they were going to keep it for longer.

          He decided at that point that they were keeping his property and that it wasn’t fair, so he should hand over what he had to the HoS. He claims to have not actually listened to the full recording himself (initially, anyway, the story has moved on quite a lot since then).

          The editor questioned him in detail and at length for about an hour, asking what he considered to be all of the important and pertinent questions. He was comfortable with the camera man’s statement that it was an accident.

        • Colonial Viper

          To me the important factor here is that the tape was made using dodgy tatics.

          To me the important factor here is that Key and Banks were contriving to screw the voting public, using dodgy tactics like pre-planned leadership changes.

          • felix

            Yep, Key and Banks are the leaders of the parties that are running the country for us. Nothing they say to each other is off limits to us.

            • Ari

              I actually very slightly disagree with that. Things they say about spies or troops in foreign nations that might endanger people working in the national interest should not necessarily be open to public disclosure, unless there is a very good reason to do so. Everything else though, absolutely, there’s no excuse for keeping it secret if someone’s willing to put in the time and effort to publish it.

              • felix

                Fairy nuff.

                If they were talking about spies or soldiers they can say so and that’ll be that. 🙂

                • Colonial Viper

                  Although, an agreement to send new NZ troops into Afghanistan or Iran is absolutely something we should be told about 😐

                  So no hard and fast rules.

              • I would be extremely worried if Key was talking to Banks (not even an MP yet) about any troop deployments.

                I would be even more concerned if this conversation was happening in a cafe within one metre of a press scrum. It would really bring into question Key’s judgment. 

          • mike

            Yep and if that is the case, it would be unethical not to publish. That’s something the voters deserve to know about if we do indeed live in a democracy.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Really !. The cameraman was there to record a meeting. Banks was answering questions inside the cafe before Key arrived so that sound recording equipment was activated. Key arrives and everybody is told to clear out.
          There is probably a default setting on the camera ( which contains the memory card for the actual voice recoding) when the video is running the sound is running too ( to avoid bloopers when video is great but sound turned off)

        • Draco T Bastard

          Then how did this accidental recording of information of a private conversation…

          It wasn’t a private conversation. By law, you cannot have such in a public space and a cafe is public space. Go read the post that PB linked to.

          (even the fact that they are in public still does not make it to me acceptable)

          Well, that just proves that you’re a moron. Them being in a public space is what makes it not a private conversation else everybody would be summarily summonsed to court every time they walked down the CBDs mainstreet at lunch time just to see if they’d picked up anything in all the “private” conversations going on around them.

          I think if it was totally accidental then he would have just destroyed that information when he found he had it.

          It’s his job, he gets paid to record this stuff even if it was recorded accidentally.

  14. Irascible 14

    Has anyone got a continuous film of these two coniving together? A good lip reader could easily transcribe the conversation and report on it without having to worry about the shonkey legal opinions being bandied about by Key & Banks.

  15. Adrian 15

    There are very few people alive who can interpret what Key is saying at anytime, let alone a lip-reader.

  16. Sea bandit 16

    Call the keystone cops

  17. tc 17

    Whilst the media churns out space on this the real issues get forgotten, asset sales, economy, national standards, broken promises, rubbery budgets and forecasts etc etc…..what’s happening is exactly what the NACT want to happen feed by mates like DF and gluon etc

    Focus people, ignore the sham crises, much ado about nothing with less then 2 weeks to go to the grand NZ sell off if this works by distracting from real issues.

  18. The Voice of Reason 18

    My thoughts on the matter are that if all they discussed was rolling Brash, then neither man would be shy about releasing the tape. It would be a significant boost to Banks’ chances if he promised to remove Brash, not the other way round. So I reckon there is more to it than that. A corrupt promise of a cabinet seat, perhaps?
    Regarding Key’s meltdown, I think that comes from shock resulting from the media challenging him for the first time in 4 years. He’s simply not used to anything other than arse licking, photo ops and patsy questions. Calling the cops is a desperate effort to get his parrots back on message (Vote National, Polly wanna cracker, vote National, vote National! Raaaaark!!!).
    One thing that can be released is what I’m told is Key’s first response to questions about rolling Brash:
    “I can’t confirm that, I wasn’t at the meeting, it’s not for me to say. I wasn’t there … I didn’t say I was at the meeting. I said ‘there was a meeting’.”

  19. Sanctuary 19

    The reaction has got nothing to do with the contents of the tape. It is about paranoid hollow men lashing out at anyone who dares go off message. Key popularity is the result of a tightly scripted work of fiction. If any part of the story is exposed as a lie, then the whole edifice may come down. Steven Joyce and captain panic pants and the rest of the National Party communications team have spent to much time bullying, threatening, and bribing journalists to stay on message to allow some two-bit punk of a freelancer from the HoS to get in their way. He is to be made an example of, and if that annoys the HoS – well, they can chat to the owners of the paper after the election.

  20. tsmithfield 20

    To repeat a point I made above that was not responded to:

    The Herald cannot consistently claim both that it had material of public interest and at the same time that it was acting ethically not to release it. This is because it is the ethical thing to do to publish information that is of public interest. So, either the Herald is incorrect about the public interest nature of the material, or they have not behaved ethically. Given the propensity of media outlets to publish, then I think the former.

    Key is quite right not to allow the release of the information because he doesn’t have it. He is therefore relying on the media outlets to publish the full recording rather than snippets that might present the information out of context.

    • toad 20.1

      I’m sure that given the HoS gave a competitor, TV3, a copy they would give one to Key too if he asked.  Then he could release it intact to avoid that possibility.  Grasping at straws, TS.

    • uke 20.2

      The HonS is hedging its bets, as it were, trying not to annoy either the next NACT or Labour government too much.
      They had to immediately admit they had the tape: the news would have got out eventually and the HonS wouldn’t want to be seen as part of any right-wing MSM cover-up.
      But their right-wing allegiances meant they wouldn’t actually want to publish the conversation, so they have found the convenient “legal advice”-type clause that enables self-censorship.
      This way, the Left gets thrown a bone and there is no specific dirt sticking to the Right.

  21. infused 21

    Well if that was the convo, I don’t think it was a very bad one.

  22. The Voice of Reason 22

    Even John Armstrong is turning on the heat. The comments below are pretty good, too!

  23. In Vino Veritas 23

    Good-o. Why don’t you posture and guess at what was said and make up a whole post relating to what you dont know. Bloody brilliant! Then have a whole lot of RLWLCT

    • Blighty 23.1

      god save us from right whingers.

      It’s obvious that Key and Banks discussed a secret plan to roll Brash after the election and that Key said something derogatory about older voters in relation to New Zealand First.

      The line of questioning from the TV3 reporters has been very carefully designed to let us know the contents without saying them – and to invite Key and Banks to contradict what is on the tapes, which would lead to further embarrassment when they come out.

      • In Vino Veritas 23.1.1

        Blighty, you can say what you like, but when this post was written, you had absolutely no idea what they spoke about. That’s none whatsoever. It’s all just a load of wishful theorising by some desperate lefto’s looking for an angle that might give them some traction in an election they are coming a distant second in.

        God save us from left wing gossips.

        • fmacskasy


          “No idea of what they spoke os” perhaps…

          But Key is definitly afraid of the tapes becomiong public. He insists he is “comfortable” with what he said – and yet he can’t be that “comfortable” if he’s called in the Police…

          • In Vino Veritas

            Frank, there may well be something in the tapes. But the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak, when they are released, as I suspect they ultimately will be, somehow. But to blindly speculate is just a waste of time. Surely people have got better things to debate?

  24. aerobubble 24

    Key was willing to over rule the courts and have covert video admitted
    as evidence even if illegally obtained. Labour said it could already be
    admitted currently if there was a sufficient justice issue. But Key
    wanted to go further, that even the ACT party would not swallow,
    Key wanted to retrospectively allow police covert video already

    So here’s Key obviously knowing full well he was being watched,
    obviously he knes he’d just be force to climb down over covet
    video, and here’s he saying its not in the public interest to clear
    up this matter. sorry but, the guy isn’t two faced, he has a
    different face for each hour of the day.

    • Roy 24.1

      Oh but that’s different, don’t you see, because the defendants in that case are poor, powerless brown people and Key is a wealthy, powerful white person.

  25. randal 25

    kweewee and binky are wealthy white greedy persons.
    there is never enough for people ike them.
    they want everything.

  26. A typically interesting and well-argued analysis of this ‘taping’ from Gordon Campbell.

    The comparison to the Urewera ‘utterances’ is particularly interesting, as is the speculation that one reason for not publishing is not to get offside with the government – which would be craven, of course, but would explain why something is “in the public interest” but isn’t published. 

  27. tsmithfield 27

    In this interview on TV3 the interviewer states she has heard the tape, and does not disagree with Key about the contents being bland.

    So, I doubt anything explosive was discussed. Perhaps it related to the leadership of Act. If so, I don’t think many would give a monkeys about that. In fact, many would probably be pleased if Brash was gone. Perhaps it was about a ministerial post. So what, this is MMP.

    There are several reasons why Key might not want to release the tapes, even if the content is “bland” and non-incriminating.

    Firstly, to do so would be to allow the individual, HoS, and other media organisations to profit off a potentially illegal act.

    Secondly, even if the recording was released, it would undoubtably be spun for all it was worth by the media and other politicians, regardless of the content. So, Key might not be any better off by allowing the recording to be released.

    Thirdly, by going nuclear he is showing himself as strong and forceful, and not willing to take shit. These qualities tend to be respected in politicians.

    Fourthly, this way he is able to keep his message very clear; that it was an illegal act; that if the Herald had anything they would have published; and that there is an important principle to protect. He doesn’t have to get into the specifics of the tape and answer endless questions about its content.

    Fifthly, he may have found a subtle means to turn the debate on MMP, if he wants to see it gone.

    Sixthly, as Randal has pointed out above, the opposition is starved of oxygen at the moment.

    • Lanthanide 27.1

      Continuing to see National in the best possible light, as always.

    • Blighty 27.2


      desperate, ts.

      Hey, that was an interesting question Smalley asked Key about the demographics that support New Zealand First, wasn’t it?

      Why do you think she asked that?

      Just out of vague interest, I suppose…

      • tsmithfield 27.2.1

        Don’t know. Key started the discussion about NZ First, so it just seemed to be a continuation of that. Smalley seemed mainly interested about Keys opinion on why NZ First was losing support. Why do you see anything sinister in it? Do you think Key was discussing removing the rights of the elderly to vote or something?

  28. by going nuclear he is showing himself as strong and forceful, and not willing to take shit

    It’s all in the choice of words, isn’t it?

    How about “by being strident and panicking he is showing himself as weak and impotent, and not willing to take a deep breath”. 

    • tsmithfield 28.1

      I guess that depends on how well he sells his message as per point four. I think he does a good job on TV3 and is quite willing to front-foot his position with the media.

      Also, there is a reverse psychology element to this: Key was inviting the impression that he was covering something up to go to the police. Therefore, for him to do so, it must have been something quite serious, and a matter of principle for him.

  29. Roy 29

    He’s not showing himself to be strong and forceful. Rather, he is showing himself to be petty and narcissistic. To say that there was nothing of interest on the tape, while refusing to release it, is pettiness worthy of a kindergarten child. To claim the same sort of victimhood as the Dowler family and other victims of the NOTW is narcissistic, self-centred and emotionally tone-deaf.

    • tsmithfield 29.1

      You didn’t answer the relevant points I made. Why should he allow the offenders and other media organisations profit from their crimes?

      • Pascal's bookie 29.1.1

        They are already profiting from it. The longer the story goes on, the more they profit. If it’s so bland, he could release it and pretty much kill the story dead.

        • tsmithfield

          Well the story seems to have disappeared from Google news and has been replaced by the co-ordinated leftie attack on National party bill boards.

          So the media has already got some more political nonsense to focus on. Good on Norman for fessing up on this one btw.

          • Pascal's bookie

            yep, the way Norman has handled this means the story won’t have legs.

            Key’s problem however has a we ways to run yet. Key has fueled it quite needlessly, assuming it is bland of course.

            The problem he has is that he has claimed that it is bland, and that NZers won’t be interested. Even Hooten is saying that he should release the tape. I’m sure you can see the problem, but just to spell it out, if the tape has *anything* that isn’t bland then it looks like Key was trying to cover that thing up.

            • tsmithfield

              Don’t know. It looks like it was some sort of discussion around the future of Don Brash. Since Brash is not the most popular person in NZ at the moment, has been behaving as a bit of a dork, and knifed the former leader himself, this sort of talk could make Key more popular not less. In fact, people might be expecting Brash to be rolled. Key could use this argument to demonstrate that it actually was a point of principle he was arguing, since there was only upside for him in the recording being released.

              Anyway, I think there could be a bit further to run with the Greens saga, as the person involved in this action was very close to the Greens inner circle, so it is a bit of a stretch to believe that Norman would have known nothing about it. If Whale oil manages to track down the printer and the invoice it could be very interesting.

      • KJT 29.1.2

        Like the police in the Urewera, you mean.

      • kriswgtn 29.1.3

        cos he has and still is Profiteering from his 😛

  30. Fortran 30

    I am awaiting Nicky Hagar’s version – where is it ?

  31. All this shows, is the unfair system that Left-Wing parties have to contend with. Just imagine the uproar from the press if this had been Phil Goff and the Labour Party? The Herald and the rest of the media would have demanded that Labour release the conversation. Whale oil and Farrar would have been screaming non stop.However its not ,but it shows what a nasty scary lot the Act/Nats are .

  32. newsense 32

    I bet the tape has Banks come in and ask Key “So what did Steven say we do now?”

    • fmacskasy 33.1

      So… he’s moved on.

    • Puddleglum 33.2

      The article states that Alp said White (Ambrose) had nothing to do with his group.

      Also, that group was ‘anti-government’:

      The police suspension occurred in 2000 after items that allegedly belonged to White were found during a raid of Alp’s Mangere home. Alp was reportedly trying to recruit a private army to oppose the government at the time.” 

      Now, the “government at the time” was the Labour-Alliance government.

      So, you’re bringing to our attention a tenuous, ten year old link between Ambrose and an anti-Labour/Alliance group.

      Which signifies what, exactly, about TeaKey-gate? 

  33. Uturn 34

    Yes, interesting that the media ethics that let them publish that won’t let them publish Key’s mutterings. Ok not interesting, or ethical, just boringly predictably hypocritical.

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