Key bullies HoS on ‘cup of tea’ recording

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, November 13th, 2011 - 176 comments
Categories: john banks, john key, Media - Tags:

So, John Key and John Banks have a meeting in a cafe, full of members of the public. They get the photo-op, then usher the media out. A HoS cameraman accidentally leaves his audio recorder. Key and Banks talk. In public. Anyone in the cafe could hear. The recorder gets the conversation. Key bullies the HoS into not printing it. The HoS caves. Disgraceful.

The HoS says it got legal advice and it had the right to publish the conversation. Of course it does – public figures, public setting, members of the public around meaning no geniune attempt to keep the conversation secret, public interest in the contents of the conversation. All these factors overrule any prima facie right to privacy.

Hell, this is a government that says you give up your right to your personal financial details if you dare to speak out against government policy (and then threatens the Human Rights Commission if it backs you). It’s rich for them to cry ‘right to privacy’ over a meeting in a cafe.

The HoS says the contents of the conversation are potentially explosive but it would not be ‘ethical’ to print the transcript. I’m astounded. What is more ethical – not printing a recording that you got inadvertently and legally because the participants, who are public figures, didn’t consent; or letting the public know what public figures are trying to keep secret from them?

We have the right to know what Key and Banks were talking about. The only ethical option for the HoS is to print the transcript.

176 comments on “Key bullies HoS on ‘cup of tea’ recording”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    OUTRAGEOUS and who makes off with the FORTUNE Key and his mates!

    • mik e 1.1

      Banks we’ll sell all the assets at fire sale prices like I did with Auckland airport share which are now worth five times what we got for them.Then I’ll sack brash if you give me a cabinet post as minister of asset sales and like don they’ll be gone by lunch time.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “Anyone in the cafe could hear”

    Well probably not, actually. The cafe appeared to be playing music (see the press-talkie bit at the end of the online videos) and there didn’t appear to be any other people in the cafe particularly close to them. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to listen to someone elses conversation in a busy cafe, but it is pretty difficult to do even when you’re deliberately trying to.

    “The HoS says the contents of the conversation are potentially explosive but it would not be ‘ethical’ to print the transcript.”

    It’s probably nothing particularly shocking (Key would have to be a complete idiot, and he isn’t), just HoS trying to hype it up to make it look like they’re hard-done by.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      “Anyone in the cafe could hear”

      I’ll suggest that probably only the nearby press and camera people could hear. Still difficult to believe Key would say anything truly controversial under this magnifying glass event.

      • Blue 2.1.1

        It’s not going to be Watergate, but there is obviously something there that’s a bit embarrassing.

        The article says the media were banished to the balcony, so they couldn’t hear what was being said. They would have been allowed to take photos and talk to Key and Banks before and after, but the actual conversation would have been just between the two of them.

        And from what the HOS is hinting, it seems they didn’t hold back when it came to discussing the nitty gritty.

        If I had to guess what the embarrassing bit is for Key, I would have to say that the tape probably shows him airing quite different views on the prospects of different parties than what he’s told the media lately.

      • tc 2.1.2

        Yup CV the joint was packed and you struggle to hear with the Funky music at the best of times….move along people, who can get past his protectorate anyway.
        The uniformed cops was a nice touch

      • Stan 2.1.3

        Clever viper

    • Jackal 2.2

      HoS trying to hype it up to make it look like they’re hard-done by… totally agree with you there Lanthanide. Wouldn’t expect there to be anything of real interest in their public conversation. Key and Banks are obviously idiots but they aren’t complete morons!

      • Tom Gould 2.2.1

        The hard done-by routine is as phoney as MonKey’s smile. I seems to recall TV3 doing covert recording of a Goff staffer and running it regardless, in order to embarrass and humiliate Goff. No permission needed there. But I guess this is time it would be the MSM crapping on their bestie mate, so the rules apply.

  3. Campbell Larsen 3

    It’s a scam – PR in drag.
    I won’t be joining in the clamor to hear a strategic press release from NAct.

  4. Carol 4

    Something is not as it seems in this story…. it all seems to be happening in a looking glass world at the Mad hatter’s Tea Party.

    “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.”

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone,” it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

    “Well, ‘slithy’ means lithe and slimy.’ ‘Lithe is the same as ‘active’. You see it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word.”

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    From here:

    Hide, who met Key for coffee during the 2008 election campaign, said, “I’m of the strong view that private conversations should stay private.”

    It was in a public place, concerns two public figures who were discussing their plans for NZ and had been advertised nationally before hand. No, it wasn’t a private conversation.

    From here:

    But it’s the sheer range of comments in Key and Banks’ discussion that is breathtaking – and the pair’s assessment of the prospects of National, Act and NZ First.

    Which means that it should be released and analysed so that NZers can make an informed decision in the upcoming election. If the NZHerald hang on to this then it can be reasonably assumed that they are purposefully withholding information that may be damaging to those politicians.

    • Campbell Larsen 5.1

      Purposely delaying the release of information to drum up more media coverage more like.
      The Herald is a joke.

  6. Hami Shearlie 6

    If it could be “potentially explosive” why wouldn’t they publish it?. Don’t they want to increase the number of papers they sell? Or it is rather that the Nats would lose many votes which would displease JK’s friends (the owners of their paper)!

    • Blue 6.1

      They’re having an ethical dilemma.

      On one hand, publishing a big political scandal would lift their readership and make them a lot of money.

      On the other hand, the paper is well known for pushing its own pet causes, and getting National re-elected and having Act win Epsom are their stated political goals.

      What’s an editor to do?

    • anne 6.2

      Key’s press secretary is an ex herald reporter and everything key needs to have good spin,end of story.

  7. Carol 7

    The recording was on a cameraman’s mic. So how come the cameraman doesn’t give the recording to his TV outlet first?

    Seems rather strange to me.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      A techspert is needed here to help piece it together. According to the Herald ShonKey’s security stopped the cameraman from retrieving his equipment but somehow it had transmitted the recording to his “equipment” other equipment? a wireless device?

    • Hami Shearlie 7.2

      Strange indeed Carol. Why did he give it to someone else? Was it because he knew his tv bosses would hush it all up? Sad the HoS are seeming to go that way!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.3

      THis is 2011, the Herald has its own camera operators for its online site.

  8. The point of the exercise was process not content, images rather than words.
    To that end it was successful and one can only hope that it pisses off the National voting Epsomites into voting to National and lock out Act.

    Perhaps getting someone who reads lips to view the footage would be helpful.

    • Carol 8.1

      To that end it was successful and one can only hope that it pisses off the National voting Epsomites into voting to National and lock out Act.

      Actually, could it be that key is looking to move from Act to NZ First/

      Both HoS articles point to NZ First as being a significant topic in the discussions:

      In the eight-minute and 26-second conversation, the pair discuss Act’s future and its leadership, New Zealand First’s electoral chances and the percentage of the vote the National Party would secure.

      But it’s the sheer range of comments in Key and Banks’ discussion that is breathtaking – and the pair’s assessment of the prospects of National, Act and NZ First.

      Three years ago, Key’s refusal to deal with Winston Peters was instrumental in forcing him out of Parliament.

      Now, his deal-making may give the mercurial NZ First leader a foot back in. This will be grist to the mill for those who mistrust deals like those in Epsom and Ohariu-Belmont.

      It’s a pity – because most of our politicians are decent human beings.

      On top of this, we have TV One throwing NZ First a bit of a lifeline by including him in their leaders’ debate by bending their own rules a little.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Ah yes…Key would prefer to work with a re-invigorated NZ1 than with a left leaning Green Party that has too many non-negotiable positions.

        • Lanthanide

          But Winston has been one of the longest opponents of asset sales. Seems like he isn’t exactly Key coalition material.

          Key also said if it came down to NZFirst being the kingmaker, National would go into opposition.

    • ianmac 8.2

      Be hard to lipread Key because he mumbles in a language all of his own.

  9. You are stretching things by claiming “The HoS says the contents of the conversation are potentially explosive…” The closest the article comes to that is saying the recording “contains fascinating insights into how Key thinks the next Parliament will shape up after the election.” Given the media’s tendency to inflate the importance of the information it has, I’d interpret this as Key saying National will likely fall short of an overall majority, ACT will get 4-5 MPs, and there is a chance (albeit not that great) NZF will get back over the threshold … thus National and ACT will be looking to work together again.

    “Fascinating”? Maybe. “Explosive”? Oh, please …

    • Tiger Mountain 9.1

      Try this one by Jonathon Milne, it used “rocket”. The word ‘explosive’ was used in an earlier online Herald article, the online content is regularly edited and updated sometimes without notification as I am sure most of you know.

      As for bullying, there is a track record. Key’s people spoke to senior Fairfax management over the infamous “would like to see wages drop” remark in Kerikeri, published in the Northern News and Bay Chronicle, prior to the ’08 election. The journalist that was leaned on, and pulled his head in ultimately now works for the Far North District Council in communications.

    • lprent 9.2

      Yep, who’d have thought that journalists would hype up their product?

      The comments and words you’re objecting to are clearly attributed to the various news media and journalists in Eddie’s post.

      Perhaps you should sit down and actually read the post rather than reacting to what you think that you see in it.

      • I did read the post. And I pointed out how the word used (“explosive”) differed from the wording used in the linked article. Now, if the HoS reworded their article, so be it … I’m just commenting on what is in front of me at the time. And if the HoS has backed down on the importance of the information in the recording, perhaps Eddie might like to consider doing so, too?

        My point remains … there will be nothing remotely “explosive” or “game changing” in this conversation. It’ll be bog standard “our parties need each other and we look forwards to working together again.” If there was anything beyond this, it’d be front page of the paper. You know this to be true, too.

        • Carol

          The article on the recording IS headlined on the front page of the HoS hard copy, and in the top section of the NZH online. The hard copy article doesn’t mention “explosive” (or any synonymn for it), but it does have a subheading:

          An inadvertant recording captures Key’s comments on NZ First, Act.

          So, as I’ve said below, I believe this is a National Party leak that is preceding a possible move towards using NZ First as a support partner if necessary. The Greens would be a step too far. And it’s probably aimed at drumming up interest in the story, and softening up the public for such a National Party shift towards NZ First.

          • Colonial Viper

            If it was a choice between a Labour led coalition and giving Winston a patsy portfolio or two (that they dont actually give a shit about), what do you think English and Key will do?

        • lprent

          The news outlets re-edit their online posts all of the time – including such notable publications as The Economist and New York Times. They do this because they are news outlets and focus on reporting facts with prose.

          That variability in the online linkable articles is why the authors here try to attribute to the copy that they have in front of them at the time when they write a post. This is commonly done with links, attributions or quotes.

          However we are not a news outlet. We are an opinion outlet which is quite different. It means that we are not trying to be accurate with facts – the author is trying to express an opinion about what they see. Now I’m sure if you wrap your head around this novel idea, you’ll be able to see why transferring the practices of one profession to another simply isn’t that good an idea. In fact you just stated the exact argument in your comment in relation to yourself – perhaps you should reread that.

          The conversation is only likely to be interesting because (as I have stated here already) John Key has a strong tendency to tell different people different things depending on what he thinks that they want to hear. What is interesting is how different this conversation is to what he has said to others. I’m pretty sure that the authors here will have an opinion on that.

          • Pete George

            John Key has a strong tendency to tell different people different things depending on what he thinks that they want to hear.

            That’s what pretty much everyone does all the time, even when they talk to themselves. It’s what people, including the authors, do.

            • Tiger Mountain

              Get a grip too tory Pete, “pretty much everyone” is not Prime Minister of New Zealand. Remember ShonKey was going to be the ‘higher standards’ guy.

            • lprent

              The authors seldom talk between each other. Most of them have no idea who the others are unless they write without a pseudonym and often not even then. The common channel is a permanent post with post ideas that others haven’t had time to pursue.

              The ‘editors’ do some talking (obviously I see the e-mail channel). There are usually no more than 20-30 e-mails per week on maybe 5-10 topics. Most of those are mechanics about server and layout issues. A few are about posts ideas. Occasionally we get a burst of e-mails about a author or moderators approach to something. But often that just happens on site.

              There are occasional meeting of a few authors in either Auckland or Wellington between authors in those cities or authors visiting. But it is rare.

              Mostly what you see on the site including the disagreements between authors or even in the evolution of an authors thinking happens on site. There isn’t an opportunity to do the selective lying that I think John Key specializes in.

          • Andrew Geddis

            Whatever, lprent … I’m not unacquainted with the blogosphere and practices therein, and if bloggers on this site choose to allow their initial posts to stand when the basis for their posts change then they can simply face the criticism that they are over-egging their prose and suffer a reputational harm as a result. Because Eddie isn’t just “express[ing] an opinion about what [he] see[s]”, he’s allowing a factual claim to stand even though it (no longer) is true. You get the difference between a factual claim and an opinion on those facts, yes?

            As for “The conversation is only likely to be interesting because (as I have stated here already) John Key has a strong tendency to tell different people different things depending on what he thinks that they want to hear”, perhaps you could take your own advice here and “actually read the [HoS story] rather than reacting to what you think that you see in it.”

            • lprent

              I understand the argument – I consider that it is monumentally impracticable and based in some kind of misguided fuzzy logic. Opinion uses facts or the perception of facts. It does not profess to be facts of the case. It was one persons reaction and opinion on the reported facts. Your argument is complete crap from that point onwards.

              If it needs correcting then it will be in the comments like yours which again will express opinion and reaction.

              Besides there is an absurdness argument to what you are proposing in a organisation that consists completely of volunteers. Where all of us work on other jobs that are usually more important than this site in our eyes. For instance my company completed and shipped phase one of eighteen month code and hardware development offshore yesterday. As is typical for projects I’m involved in, it is a multi-million dollar development with many people involved.

              There are nearly 9000 posts on the site increasing by about 50 a week and 350,000 comments increasing by more than a 1000 per week. Most have factual errors because they are virtually all opinion. Your proposal would require a similar order of resourcing to my current project because we’d have to not only maintain the incoming but also the writing from the past. And who’d want to be a frigging sub-editor when they do something interesting like be a programmer or whatever the others do for a living?.

              This is a blog site that provides a way of us expressing our personal opinions mostly about politics in public. It does seem to me that what you’re mistaking us for something we are not and don’t want to be.

              As for the reputation – who cares? Eddie puts up what his opinion is and if people choose to read it and put weight to it then that is is their prerogative. If they care dis disagree then they can write comment. Providentially the model we have selected for our operational mode works as our steadily increasing readership (33% jump last month) and steady overtaking of other opinion sites like kiwiblog shows. And we don’t have anyone actually reaching for a lawyer. In fact these days even the trolls don’t threaten it any more.

              .. perhaps you could take your own advice here.

              Why? I was reacting to your comment about this post. I’m remarkably uninterested in the topic. I was only interested in what you were saying about this site.

              I’m not unacquainted with the blogosphere and practices therein,

              You could have fooled me.

              • If ‘Eddie’ claims “Key bullied HoS” it actually means ‘Eddie’ thinks Key bullied HoS, or Eddie wants to paint it as bullying even though he’s guessing, or he’s bullshitting to try and smear Key, or something.

                Is that called ‘opinion’? Is that what should be expected from Standard posts?

                • lprent

                  If it had been ‘fact’ then Eddie would have said so – ie linked and then said “X said” and the like or quoted.

                  Are you an idiot. Can’t you read? I just stated at least 5 times that this site is about opinion – how many times do I have to say this ?

                  Where on this site does it say that we produce news? The list of the posts on the right even says that they are opinion. So does the about and so does the policy.

                  Basically you appear to be wanking in public again. Not a good look for a incipient politician. Perhaps I would express that opinion… on the frontpage.

                  • You know very well you can abuse me from a position of power as much as you like while I have to be careful how I say things here. Would you like to move this discussion to Kiwiblog where it would be on more equal terms?

                    • lprent

                      It is part of the breaks of the site that I operate in 4 persona’s with the same handle. sysop, moderator, author and commentator. I used to seperate off the latter as AncientGeek. But it was too much of a pain switching. You’ll just have to learn to distinguish what happens when.

                      I am pretty damn modal in my persona’s. As you’re probably unaware (or just trying a diversion) it would be highly unusual for me to ban people when I am in a conversation with them using comments. You have to have a d4j type episode for that to happen. The trick is not to argue when I am in my persona as moderator – that is the one who will ban.

                      And in case you haven’t caught up, this is my first day off work for weeks as we finally shipped code to Europe yesterday. Why would I want to spend my first day when I am not working or sleeping getting shouted at by the banned idiots in the sewer? It is incredibly boring replying to people with such a proven inability to listen and who are too stupid to think.

                      Coming to think of it – wasn’t that the trait that you just displayed. You truly are the kiwiblog candidate…

                      Besides I have the writ roll to process for a number of electorates followed by some correlation analysis. Damn election is only in two weeks…

                    • It’s easy for you but not so easy from here to know what persona you happen to be using.

                      You know as well as I do that Eddie’s main aim is not to express his opinion. The persistent attempts at Key smearing have so far been no more successful than last election, in my opinion less so.

                      There might be some hope of chancing on the magic bullet eventually but in the meantime from what I hear it turns people off, to the point of vowing not to vote Labour when in the past they normally have.

                    • felix

                      “but in the meantime from what I hear it turns people off, to the point of vowing not to vote Labour when in the past they normally have.

                      This could be the single most non self-aware comment you’ve ever written, Pete, and that’s quite a feat.

              • ianmac

                Wel said Iprent. You nailed it.

              • However, lprent, you started off by chastising me for “not reading the post” and for failing to see Eddie had simply repeated what the HoS article said. Which I had, and which he (at least no longer) was. Now, if the HoS changes its presentation of the story, then isn’t it reasonable to comment that it is (at least any longer) providing a basis for Eddie’s opinion – I mean … “HoS decides not to publish mildly interesting comments about what JK thinks might happen after the election because of ethical concerns about how information was obtained” hardly ranks as big a deal as “HoS buries explosive conversation – obviously because John Key must have bullied them into it”, does it?

                And, seeing as you admit “If it needs correcting then it will be in the comments like yours which again will express opinion and reaction”, why exactly do you get your knickers in such a twist when such commentary appears? Or, to put it another way, sensitive much?

                Finally, I’m just as busy as you or anyone else on The Standard is, yet I manage to both post and revisit a post when I realise things weren’t as I first believed. See here: So it can be done, if the poster cares about doing it, of course. Which is then a personal choice about how much they care about accuracy, I guess.

                • felix

                  Perhaps your ire would be better directed toward the editor of a a major newspaper which appears to have published a story claiming that they hold “explosive” information about the governing parties of the country, and then changed their mind and changed their article.

                  Note that they didn’t publish a retraction or a correction or any sort of explanation for backing down. No, they just quietly swapped some words out which – according to you – altered the meaning of their published story so much that responses and reactions in other media are no longer valid.

                  I can’t figure out why you think the fault in this lies with an author on a blog.

                  • Sure – if this site is happy to have as its mast-head “The Standard – we just do what the Herald does”, then that’s cool.

                    All I simply pointed out was that the reported story no longer provided a basis for Eddie’s interpretation of events. LPrent then got sniffily defensive. To which I responded. Just another day in commentary land.

                    • felix

                      How in this instance is the standard doing “what the herald does”, Andrew?

                      Are you saying Eddie quietly changed his story too?

                    • The Herald committed one sin – I agree it should indicate when and where its on-line stories are amended. Eddie then committed another by leaving his post as is. The connecting issue is whether or not you care about the accuracy of your claims. If you don’t, that’s OK … I’m not the interweb police … it’s just that, you know, you don’t care about whether or not what you are saying is true.

                    • Message rules, truth doesn’t matter?

                      And it could be seen as a bit hypocritical claiming Key lies, that is another common message.

                    • lprent

                      From the about This paragraph has been there from a few weeks after the site started in 2007 with minor amendments.

                      Who are you?

                      We’ve a collective who saw a gap in the New Zealand political blogosphere and decided that we should have a go at filling it here at The Standard blog site. We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise. We do not write on behalf of any organization.

                      Kind of explicit. States that we write our own opinions. The rest of it says nothing about requiring anyone’s approval or that we will follow anyone else’s guidelines… In fact that is explicit as well in the about

                      No – you must….

                      Have you read this page? We must do nothing. The posters post on the topics they want to (with a few limitations from the sysop). If you really absolutely want your ideas to be heard, then start a blog and start learning to write. You can probably find a more compatible blog on our blogroll. Or you can comment on the posts that our posters write and follow our rather lenient rules.

                      I tend to class you in the well-meaning fool category. Which is fortunate because the penalties for telling us what we should are classed under the self-martyrdom offenses in the policy.

                      Do you ever get the impression that I have seen all of your type of crap before? It is rather irrelevant in terms of running the site because you haven’t managed to make a single relevant point yet within our operational model (and I really don’t care about your framework – I can read that on your blog where ever that is).

                    • felix

                      Yes Andrew I do care about the accuracy of my claims, but I don’t believe any of my claims are in dispute.

                      Let’s see if I’ve got this timeline straight so we’re on the same page:

                      1. The Herald reports that the recording is “explosive”.

                      2. Eddie reports that the Herald says the recording is “explosive”.

                      3. The Herald change the wording of their report.

                      Are we agreed so far?

                      If so, what has Eddie reported that isn’t true? The Herald said it. Eddie reported that they said it. If they want to play silly buggers with the memory hole, why is everyone else expected to play along?

                    • “Key bullies the HoS into not printing it. The HoS caves.”

                      I’ve seen nothing that comes close to showing this claim was true. “Key bullies HoS” was also the headline. That comes across to me as simply yet another smear attempt.

                      If the HoS really thought there was a big enough story and they were justified enough they would have published it without Key having any say in the matter. Instead they decided to play this story out and get as much attention as possible from innuendo and hint – and Eddie has used that for another bash key line.

                      If the recording was an innocent accident the cameraman would have simply deleted it and that would have been the end of it, it would not have gobe to the HoS and it wouldn’t have gone to TV3.

                • Tiger Mountain

                  Post script: Andrew was caught with his tweeds down over the original “Explosive” comment, this can happen to many online commenters at some stage.

                  Mr Hooten on RNZ today just said “in Jonathon Milne’s original… explosive….etc. (twice using the term)” so it was not a figment of my imagination alone. Should have linked immediately to the piece to capture it.

                • lprent

                  Getting back to this (crashed out yesterday and have been bug killing today).

                  My point is and was that I simply looked at the post. Eddie stated where he got the phrase from. That is all that I think he had to do. So far you haven’t managed to state a single reason why he should change his original opinion.

                  As near as I can figure out you think he should do so for his ‘reputation’. Surely that is his reputation and if he figures it is important then he should protect it however he damn well figures.

                  You appear to have decided that you should define the standards for this site on the basis of some arbitrary standard that you appear to have dragged out of your navel. We aren’t journalists, politicians, or anything else that has a professional body (and have no intention of ever wanting to one or in one). We write a blog because we damn well feel like writing. Mostly we listen to each other and long-term commentators – in other words people who have exerted effort into the site.

                  As far as I’m concerned you have the far less credibility talking about the site than Peter George. He has minimal mana but he is persistent in slowly gaining it through sheer bloody-minded engagement…

                  Andrew – perhaps you should rename yourself Mrs Grundy? You appear to have all of the characteristics of many of the other ones I have seen around the net in the last 30 odd years. Wanting to make the rules without having done the work.

  10. Matthew Hooton 10

    If there was anything that really was “explosive” they would have published it, and would have had an obligation to do so, regardless of what Key and/or Banks had to say. But their obviously wasn’t, so they didn’t. And I seriously doubt there was any “bullying”. More like a pro forma “can we print a transcript?” to see if they could get away with it and a pro forma “no, it was a private chat” response.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Herald does what it is told (by its editor) (who no doubt had a call from Key’s office before making his decision).

      • Andrew Geddis 10.1.1

        Riiiight … so after getting its marching orders from JK’s office, the HoS goes out and tells the world “we’ve got this taped conversation, but won’t say what’s in it”, thereby stoking up everyones imagination about what it is keeping from them and drawing continued attention to a media event that National really didn’t want to take part in in the first place?

        And this genius media strategy is aimed at achieving … what?

        • uke

          So H-on-S will have an “out”, just in case Labour happens to win the election. They can’t be accused of covering anything up and have the “legal advice” defence for not printing the transcript.

          Personally I don’t think Key would even need to “have them rung”. The editors would figure out the strategy pretty quickly for themselves.

      • Hami Shearlie 10.1.2

        Agreed CV! Matthew Hooton on i-Predict on Stratos TV said that he will vote the way John Key “tells me to! ” Can’t believe that he would admit something like that!! Obviously the Nats have put something in the water in Epsom!!

    • kriswgtn 10.2

      When our taxes pay for these clowns salary -Nothing is private Hooton

      U of all people should know this

      If they have nothing to hide

      Why hasnt it been played??

      means Fail on your part to totally dismiss this

      • Matthew Hooton 10.2.1

        My guess for the reason it hasn’t been played is because there is some doubt over the legality of the recording and given that it no doubt consists of banalities, it isn’t worth anyone taking the legal risk in playing it or publishing a transcript. If there were anything in it that was explosive, the HoS would have splashed it and damn the legal consequences.

        • kriswgtn

          oh legality is it
          \]next youll be denying the taped convo that was recorded the last election re Blinglish and lets sell everything

          as I said if they have nothing to hide
          release it and let the public decide for themselves

          The more they fuck about on this makes more sinister

    • Tom Gould 10.3

      It has been reported that the tape carries MonKey’s prediction of the Tory result and if Peters will get back in. Looks like NEWS to me. Looks like red hot, front page news to me. Not to the Herald, though. So much for the ‘publish and be damned’ attitude when Clark was PM. But I guess that was attacking an enemy. whereas now they are protecting a mate.

  11. How the fuckin hell can you guys be so hypocritical??? If a reporter did this to helen Clarke you would want them jail, and now your calling for the tape to be released, if you want the media to stoop to the level of the sun, then you guys are truly Faux News.

    To say its ethical to release it, is not cemented in reality.

    But hey you have got your wish the tapes are being released.

    • Tiger Mountain 11.1

      Get a grip Brett, we are talking about this situation not a hypothetical one about an ex politician.
      According to said Herald the ‘freelancer’ that made the recording was not one of theirs.

    • Deuto 11.2

      “But hey you have got your wish the tapes are being released.”

      Source? Nothing currently showing on the Herald site that suggests this.

    • Craig Glen Eden 11.3

      No actually Brett if Helen had rocked up to some cafe courting the media to rig an electorate seat but then started having her security restricting the content of the meeting the left would be outraged and rightly so. If it is legal the media should print it whether it is Keys normal bullshit trivia or just the ramblings of a very pathetic wanna be John Banks.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.4

      If a reporter did this to helen Clarke you would want them jail…

      Nope, I’d want the recording and it’s transcript widely published same as I do for this one. Politicians don’t get to have private conversations between each other or businesses especially when it involves what they’re going to do in government if they get elected.

      To say its ethical to release it, is not cemented in reality.</blockquote.
      The unethical bit is that two politicians are meeting, discussing their plans for NZ and think that it's a private conversation.

    • Tigger 11.5

      If it was Labour they would have published it.

  12. toad 12

    In the eight-minute and 26-second conversation, the pair discuss Act’s future…

    That part of the conversation must have been brief.

  13. Someone secretly taped the prime minister and an media outlet is going to print the story, its tabloid BS if you ask me, if it happened to Helen Clarke, you all would be out of your collective trees.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      “Secretly taped” the PM in an open public space with tons of media standing around?

      Well knock me over with a feather mate!

    • lprent 13.2

      It never happened and probably never would.

      Firstly, Helen didn’t have private conversations in public places. Secondly, what she said in private was usually the same as what she said in public – just more expanded because of the format. I should know as I had decades of both public and private meetings with her to observe her attributes while being a member and activist in the Mt Albert Labour party.

      The problem that Key has is that he is known to talk with a distinctly forked tongue telling each audience what he thinks that they want to hear. That is the only reason that this tape/transcript would be interesting.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      Well, actually, the guy did tell them that the mic was there but they wouldn’t let him collect it so I don’t think “secretly” applies. Incompetence, sure, but then we’ve been saying that NACT are incompetent for quite awhile.

    • Dave 13.4

      Hey Brett, I am sure you have been notified several times, it is spelled Helen Clark, there is no ‘e’ on the end, you dumbtard. Why can’t you even pay her a little respect? She has done plenty of good deeds for this country you reside in, you jumped up little shit.

    • Adele 13.5

      Acksully, a frequent commentator to this site, D4J, supposedly has in his possession an audio tape of Helen Clarke making disparaging remarks about SI West Coasters.

      Many commentators (to this site) including myself have requested that D4J release it into the public domain. So far it hasn’t happened. I suspect however D4J was being untruthful.

      • fmacskasy 13.5.1

        I know what you mean Adele. My brother’s best mate has a friend whose wife works with someone who knows someoneone else that works for a close relation, that overheard a convo between Helen Clark’s hairdresser talking about a phone conversation she recalls about 25 years ago, about some mushroom growers in Eketahuna…

  14. anne 14

    So has key got the tape now ? apart from baning it, people should know,it should be released if he has nothing to hide,look at the clamping down on the Bennett human rights claim,key was angry about that one, he would rather hide it from the public,the nats are so,so shonkey.

  15. Lyall 15

    My question is will KeyBag be announcing the firing of his extensive Security Detail. An unaccounted for little black bag left at an airport would be blown to fragments, let alone if it was sitting at the feet of the Prime Minister of the country. Guess he’ll be doing a throat slitting gesture to the “Spooks” now.

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    Less than two weeks before a general election, the leader of the National Party and the leader of the ACT party talking about after election scenarios and options, in a public place with invited press present.

    If the release of this info is not in the public interest then I do not know what is.

  17. Well colour me surprised, Dvid Farrar thinks it should of been released. There is no way I believe that tape was done unintentionally, they were secretly recorded.

    I guess we have to wait for another October Surprise.

  18. Blue 18

    2 February 2011 – John Key announces the election date and rules out working with Winston Peters.

    “If Winston Peters holds the balance of power, it will be a Phil Goff-led government.”

    It was one thing for Key to rule Peters out when he was sure NZ First were not going to be back and that he wouldn’t need them to govern anyway.

    Situation’s a bit ‘deminic’ now though. We’ll see.

    • felix 18.1

      Ah Blue, the trouble is you’re quoting Key accurately in English but he was actually speaking in Bullshit.

      The truck-shaped hole in that “guarantee” is that if NAT + ACT + NZ1 = >50% he’ll just say ACT had the balance of power, not NZ1.

      I encourage you all to sign up for my Keyspeak course. For just $9.99 – that’s right, just 30 easy payments of $9.99 – you too could be having fun finding out what the leader of your country means when he makes mouth-noises.

  19. infused 19

    Accidently my ass.

  20. gobsmacked 20

    People who have been recorded in a wide range of “private but not really” situations …

    Bush (elder and younger), Blair, Obama, Biden, Prince Charles (talking to his kids), Gordon Brown (in his car), etc, etc …

    How do we know about these? Because they were reported.

    Why were they reported? Because it was news.

    And – because it wasn’t in New Zealand.

    Our media combine the worst of deferential and tabloid. If there’s a juicy news story from overseas, based on a conversation that wasn’t meant to be made public, they’ll happiliy pick it up and report it here. They can say it’s already in the public domain – thanks to journalists in another country, doing their job.

    But if it’s too close to home, they tug forelock. They don’t do their job.

    The Prime Minister of a “free democracy” (sic) talked in a very public place, and presumably about matters of public interest, during an election campaign. In any other “free democracy”, this would be reported without a moment’s hesitation.

    Is it “explosive”. Maybe not. Maybe he said nothing of interest at all. Who should be the judge of that?

    The public, of course.

    • Brett Dale 20.1

      The problem is, it wasnt just a public conversation in a public place that someone heard, a Journo had left a recording device on the table that was hidden, there is no way that was accidental.

      It seems both the left and right think it should be made public, I just personally find it creepy.

      • Blue 20.1.1

        Can’t help it if Key’s too thick not to notice a rather large black drawstring bag sitting right there in plain sight on the table.

        What the hell did he think it was? John Banks’ coin purse?

      • Campbell Larsen 20.1.2

        Creepy? This is a farce.

      • Lanthanide 20.1.3

        Your protestations sound shrill and desperate. Have a look at the photos, it is hardly “hidden”.

        And you’re right, it wasn’t “just a public conversation in a public place”, it was a staged election campaign event that they specifically invited the media to attend.

        • mike

          Exactly. Most likely as others have suggested, this is just a PRopaganda stunt leading up to a NAct press release.

          Or maybe they discuss how they might have to team up with NZ First, even though Key said he would rather be in opposition than do that. (Of course, things can get dinamic, or in other words, things that John Key says mean exactly shit.) Wow, a 3-way coalition of racist, elitist socipaths. Good times.

          Or maybe they were organizing their next satan worshiping, laugh at the sheeple while burning an effegy of a small child meeting.

          • Tiger Mountain

            All this NZ First speculation sounds rather improbable really, but we have not seen the transcript yet to determine stunt or otherwise. ShonKey is like a grubby CD subject to sticking with his “won’t count it in, won’t count it out” line. Significant poll shifts and withdrawing the unfortunate Goldsmith would surely come before a Winston First reconcilliation. But as has been said before Winston is an unreconstructed tory, and though of an earlier kind, could swing both ways or anyway really. Maybe it is an innocuous recording but with profanity in it that would tarnish the brand?

            I’d rather see the partys with something to offer keep hammering policy than all the squiggling around.

            • mike

              Of course I meant inviting Winston into the NAct govt only if the the numbers ended up that they needed him. Polls have a habit of changing quickly the closer we get to polling day.

              Winston Peters – the Voldemort of NZ politics. You keep thinking “This time he’s really dead,” but then he claws his way out of the grave again.

  21. randal 21

    kweewee has the mien of a bully. ipredict he wil be cut down to size on novemebr 26.

  22. Kty 22

    Open question to ponder

    would you have noticed the (suspicious) object sitting on a table right beside You ?, or is this a case of lets keep them happy and give them somthing else to talk about while we make up our own sinister objectives ?.
    Oh! and do our beloved leaders minders normaly let him sit beside unusual objects that look out of place when he is out in public ?.
    Iam of the opinion that the only thig that will be on that tape is the usual nact PR. BS.

  23. Insider 23

    Hell, if ‘anyone could hear’ what they were talking about, I would just leak the conversation on Youtube! Who would know where the recording came from?

  24. Fortran 24

    Be patient – Hager will publish it next week. Then there will be a pre – election political revolution – which may well rebound, once it hits the fan.

  25. ianmac 25

    The microphones for the press were accidentally left on when Sarkozy calls Netanyahu ‘a liar’ in private exchange with Obama. This was reported to the World. It was regarded as ethical presumably.
    Under almost the same situation Key speaks frankly with Banks. Our PM forbids its exposure whereas his mate Obama could not or would not ban his.
    What does this make Key or HOS?

  26. I imagine Stephen Franks would be all for its release.

    “But as humans with life experience they [people/voters] retain sound instincts for assessing character. Hypocrisy meters are acute. But it does depend on the media doing their work diligently. I want gossip. I want tittle tattle and scandal. “

  27. So it was Bradley Ambrose that did it, according to whaleoil (a blog that is too right wing for me btw)

  28. Tigger 28

    If Key wants to have a private meeting he shouldn’t make a fucking photo op of it. If he wants to have a private conversation then don’t invite the media.

    • Jim Nald 28.1

      Exactly. He is making a slut of himself in the media, fucking around with voters’ attention and stupid minds.

  29. Gareth 30

    I reckon it’s all smoke and mirrors, the whole media vibe around the meeting was dodgy deals, system manipulation etc

    Now the story is about some dodgy journo ‘accidently’ recording the conversation, my bet is by wednesday it will be dodgy journo alingned with labour party through some tedious link.

    Think about it, everything is to perfect. From the accidently on microphone in it’s bag to the receiving equiptment running. Also you can say what you want about the dps but they are good at what they do and there is no way an unexplained bag would have gone un noticed on the table it would have been gone unless they were told otherwise.

    The tame paper gets to splash a story to sell papers but decides not to publish the ‘explosive conversation’ when in reality it’s probably boring as fuck.

    you’d have to say it’s worked judging by the way the media at large have picked it up….

    • Colonial Viper 30.1

      gareth thats nonsensical

      1) A dodgy Labour aligned journalist? Why not a dodgy NZ1 aligned journalist? Or an ACT aligned journalist? Or a Green aligned journalist? And why would a dodgy Labour aligned journalist want to submit a “boring as fuck” recording?

      2) Why would the PM withhold permission to publish a “boring as fuck” recording? (Unless it was not “boring as fuck” but actually quite interesting.)

      3) The DPS definitely noticed the bag you say. But were told that it was OK to stay there? Told by whom? The ‘dodgy Labour aligned journalist’? By Key? (and why would Key be working with a dodgy Labour aligned journalist?) If it was the journalist, why would the DPS take instructions from a dodgy Labour aligned journalist?

      4) are you stupid?

      • Gareth 30.1.1

        Missed my point, nothing to do with labour. just a spin that someone like whaleoil will be instucted to put out. I would say Key told the dps to ignore it and the whole thing is a set up by the nats to change the narrative….

    • I’d be very surprised if this has anything to do with Labour, it’s just either planned or opportunism by the journalist, with or with out collusion by HoS but I think that’s as far as responsibility will go.

      This sets a bad precedent that I doubt any party would like to see become common practice.

  30. Tombstone 31

    Key doesn’t want to ‘reward them’ by allowing for the tape to be released! What a fuckin dick! Surely this has got to look bad for Key now?

  31. tsmithfield 32

    Lets assume it was an accidental recording, although there is mounting and damning evidence to the contrary now. Here are the main points from the article:


    We have chosen not to publish exact details of the conversation, as it was supposed to be in private, and Key last night refused to waive privacy considerations.


    Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns said the newspaper had sought legal advice and believed it could have gone ahead, but it was an ethical matter for the newspaper. “Neither politician knew they were being recorded and they want to keep that chat private.”

    So, the newspaper had advice they could legally publish if they wanted to, despite Key refusing to waive privacy considerations. The fact they didn’t publish when they were legally able to suggests there was nothing worth reporting, otherwise they would have published.

    • Tombstone 32.1

      Good old honest John – I don’t bloody think so but you go on believing it if you want because it will all come out it the wash sooner or later. And I’m guessing sooner rather than later.

    • Colonial Viper 32.2

      The fact they didn’t publish when they were legally able to suggests there was nothing worth reporting, otherwise they would have published.

      You’re seriously suggesting that the Herald bothered to seek pre-emptive legal advice about a matter which was “nothing worth reporting”? What the?

      Does Righty logic disappear on Sundays?

      • Andrew Geddis 32.2.1

        Makes complete sense. You find out whether you can publish the info, whilst you are deciding if you should do so (provided the lawyers tell you that you can). How do YOU think the HoS should have proceeded … remembering that there are such things as publishing deadlines in the real world?

        • felix

          If it’s not worth publishing then it’s not worth getting a legal opinion on.

          Jeez for a big city lawyer you struggle with some pretty simple stuff, Andrew.

    • Draco T Bastard 32.3

      And what “mounting and damning evidence” would that be TS? Or are you, as per usual, making shit up so that your version of reality meets your belief?

      The fact they didn’t publish when they were legally able to suggests there was nothing worth reporting, otherwise they would have published.

      It suggests that they’re protecting Jonkey and Banksie.

  32. tsmithfield 33

    Actually, I think the paper would like to publish anything that was recorded, as it would be good for ratings. The fact the didn’t, despite the fact they thought they could, suggests it is more of an ethical stance more than anything else.

    OTOH, if it turns out this was not an innocent mistake, but rather a deliberate action, then both the reporter concerned and the paper could be in deep shit. So, this may have more to do with their back-down more than anything else.

    • Colonial Viper 33.1

      Actually, I think the paper would like to publish anything that was recorded, as it would be good for ratings.


      What the paper wants to do is to help out the interests of its corporate advertisers. Which means putting back into power a Right Wing, big money sympathetic Government.

  33. tsmithfield 34

    “And what “mounting and damning evidence” would that be TS? Or are you, as per usual, making shit up so that your version of reality meets your belief?”

    I am sure you have had a look at both Kiwiblog and Slater’s blog.

    • Blue 34.1

      Yeah, because Farrar and Slater are both professional camera operators who know what they are talking about.

      Oh wait…

    • Draco T Bastard 34.2

      Of course not, I don’t go to those hell holes but now that you have mentioned it we can assume that you’re just repeating shit that other idiots made up.

  34. Uturn 35

    Another day of campaign filibuster from National and their supporters. Don’t fall for these tricks. It will be nothing. Key will say, see, I told you it was nothing. And you’ll all be naughty children for doubting. But more importantly, the newspapers will be focussed on Key and National and ACT for however long they find this fascinating, rather than Labour and Greens and real policy.

  35. Stanley 36

    I’m a news cameraperson. I’m reluctant to speculate as to what happened in this instance, as there are often technical and logistical reasons why what might appear as a conspiracy or bias to the outsider is actually the result of equipment failure, poor time management, bad luck an a multitude of other reasons.

    With that proviso, I can think of times when radio mics have been left in places where they shouldn’t be. Usually a mic is pre-placed in a position where you think/hope audio is going to be important – and a radio mic placed in the appropriate place will mean you can get good audio even if you are at the back of a town hall for example. In this case, as a freelancer with little or no contact with a journalist, the operator would have been a little hamstrung compared to other tv crews there. The network shooters would have given a radio mic (likely connected to a direction mic, often called a “shotgun”) to their respective reporters, relying on the reporter to put the mic in the appropriate place. The freelancer, on the other hand, would have had to guess where the comments were going to take place, placed his radio mic, and left it, hoping for the best. In this case it would appear that there was a scrum inside the cafe where the two politicians uttered meaningless grabs for the media pack, before moving the press outside for their “private” conversation. In that situation, it is conceivable that the transmitter was left in the rush to get outside to get a good position next to the window.

    That’s the sympathetic view. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems in this case. I can’t think of a cameraperson I know who switches their radio mic on and then puts it back inside a pouch, even if the lapel mic is poking outside the pouch. It might be packed in a pouch for protection when not being used, but always comes out to be used. To my mind, this is very suspicious, as all senior politicians (and senior press secretaries) know what a radio mic with attached lapel mic looks like, and would not even start a conversation that was meant to be private when a radio mic was sitting in plain sight on their table. An anonymous black pouch, with no obvious wires, mics or cables is a different story.

    Second, it has been reported that the audio recording of the private conversation is over eight minutes long. Most experienced cameraoperators try to limit the amount they record in order to speed up the editing process. There is no point going back to the newsroom with hours of vision when you only needed to shoot the bare essentials needed to tell the story. I have a lot of difficulty with the suggestion that a cameraoperator could shoot 8 minutes worth of usable vision of two guys talking at a cafe. You would button on and off as required, get your various shots (tights, two shots, wides etc) from a variety of angles, and then wait for the two politicians to wander out and spout more rubbish to the assembled media pack. Three to four minutes of the conversation would be more than enough, even for a freelancer looking to sell the vision to a media organisation.

    The only time you would keep recording, in my experience, is if you want to have a continual audio track recorded, as in this situation. To put it simply, while the camera might be on, and ready to record, unless you are actually recording, and the red light is showing in the viewfinder, then the audio (and vision) isn’t being recorded.

    Those two points make me suspicious that the operator has found himself in a position where his mic is on the table, has seen an opportunity to get an advantage over the rest of the pack, and has taken the “shoot first, worry about the ethics after” approach.

    • Draco T Bastard 36.1

      Most experienced cameraoperators try to limit the amount they record in order to speed up the editing process.

      Since when have camera operators become fortune tellers? The only way that they could be sure that they get the best, most desired parts of the conversation is to record the whole thing and then edit later.

      For some strange reason the term astro-turfer comes to mind or.

      • Colonial Viper 36.1.1

        However it does explain the shite nature of news footage these days. 50/50.

        IF an astroturfer, someone took the time to research the subject matter in a credible sounding fashion.

        • felix

          “IF an astroturfer, someone took the time to research the subject matter in a credible sounding fashion.”

          Not that convincing CV. Radio mics aren’t “connected” to other mics and no-one who worked with audio/video would ever describe them as being such. “Direction mic” isn’t even a thing (directionAL is the fancy name for a shotgun and again, no-one in the biz would make that mistake.)

          And that’s as far as I need to read. I smell bullshit.

          • the sprout

            agreed, definitely some bullshit going on.
            the important thing though is that the meeting is be coming mired in controversy and more perceptions of under-handedness

      • Stanley 36.1.2

        It’s not an exact science. You will miss stuff, often important stuff. Experience will usually help put you in the right place, but even the best cameraperson will miss things. You physically can’t record everything. That goes some way to explaining why news footage is often a bit ropey – (especially when you’re on the campaign trail) – you simply don’t have time to get into a good spot, or get a good white balance, or light a face nicely, because you have to move as fast, if not faster, than the person you’re following. The PM might be walking through a mall – you might film the first three handshakes, and you will probably stay quite close for the rest of the walkabout, but there is no point coming back with 75 versions of basically the same handshake.

        In the above post, I mentioned that I’ve been in situations where mics have been left in places they weren’t meant to be. As an example, there have been times when I have had to cover a Select Committee where it is often better to get your mics into place on the desk before the committee starts sitting in order to limit the amount of disruption at the start of each oral submission. There have been times when I have done that, only to have to move out into the corridor while the Committee conducts some business in private. In such circumstances the Chair or Clerk of the Committee will ask you to ensure your radio mics are turned off. I once realised that a second radio mic was sitting on my gear bag inside the Committee room, and it would have been very easy to sit outside and quietly roll on the Committee’s private business.

        • Lanthanide

          But is 8 minutes really that long? Especially if you’re a free-lancer and may not have any other work on your plate at the moment?

          If you sat there for 15 minutes and recorded the whole conversation, I really don’t think it would take terribly long to edit it out – just fast forward through it and see if they appear to do anything interesting, and if not, bin it. I can’t really see any harm in filming this stuff.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You will miss stuff, often important stuff. Experience will usually help put you in the right place, but even the best cameraperson will miss things.

          Yes they will miss things as they just aren’t in the right place at the right time but once they are there then I would expect them to record all the time.

          The PM might be walking through a mall…

          They weren’t walking through a mall but sitting at a table.

          I once realised that a second radio mic was sitting on my gear bag inside the Committee room, and it would have been very easy to sit outside and quietly roll on the Committee’s private business.

          Not even close to the same situation so I don’t know why your using it as an example. If they wanted a private meeting then they would have been in a private setting rather than a cafe with news media all around them.

    • Dylan Reeve 36.2

      The supposed shooter in this case was is a spot news guy who works on spec. Probably shooting on a file-based camera (NXCAM, XDCAM etc) – storage is cheap and rolling is easy. A lot of news shooters I’ve worked with (I’m an editor) will keep rolling as they reposition during cutaway shooting so as not to risk missing anything. Although nearly 9 minutes is a pretty long time, and this was hardly a highly dynamic breaking news situation.

      The bigger issue is that according to the Herald articles he was stopped from retrieving the equipment, meaning he obviously knew it was there. It’s impossible then to imagine that he didn’t realise he was recording what it was picking up. Even if he was just outside shooting cutaways without headphones on he obviously was aware his transmitter was still on, and therefore knew his camera would be receiving it, and thus he was recording it.

  36. John 37

    Labour need to hammer on about the racism and madness that act offers. If you rule out Winston Peters for unacceptable comments on ethnicity you definitely rule out Banks and Act. Fair playing feild. No pass for Banks. In fact Banks offended and SINGLED OUT two of the most important sectors of old Auckland , Maori and Polynesian . They are auckland bro, they make Auckland and to fuck with that wave is suicide for all of us. Auckland is defined and hugely influenced by the pacific philosophies of those mighty cultures, fuck off Banks

  37. John 38

    I am friends with soundmen. Some of them are really passionate. The comments were picked up by accident, a sound person will kill to get sound, that’s their gig, Imagine if you come away with no useable sound , the news editors gonna think you are a bludger.

    They move early, they creep around sets, no one helps them and they hopefully capture SOUND, it’s not just pictures and tea cups John Key. WELCOME TO A FREE PRESS. WELCOME TO DEMOCRACY. THE DREAM IS TUMBLING KEY. YOU HAVE POLARISED N.Z LIKE MULDOON THAT’S WHY YOU NEED YOUR 51%.

  38. coge 39

    Another taped conversation. Another violation of frank privacy. It’s simply not the Kiwi way, and New Zealanders understand that.

  39. John 40

    The kiwi way is more of a soviet behind closed doors way, is that what you are saying?

  40. ak 41

    Money quote: Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns said the newspaper had sought legal advice and believed it could have gone ahead, but it was an ethical matter for the newspaper.

    Ponder that a sec. If it’s a harmless piece of boring conversation that could do no damage to either participant, why on earth would one have any ethical qualms whatsoever about releasing it? Let alone a publication renowned for Key-inanity reporting. Let alone consult the legal eagles.

    It’s crystal clear that it’s damaging to brand Key, someone else knew about it, and this is an attempt to hide behind “ethical” considerations to avoid accusations of an obvious cover-up.

  41. Roy 42

    This meeting was held during the daytime when Key is supposed to be working for us, the taxpayers. Therefore what he said should not be private. There is no violation of privacy.

    • *_* 42.1


      I thought the consensus here was the Key was a front man for a vast right wing conspiracy comprising of the IMF, World Bank, various investment banks and the Zionist entity in a plot to strip away the assets, sovereignty and dignity of all right thinking New Zealanders.

      In this capacity wouldn’t he be allowed to conspire? he is after all ‘on the job’.

  42. John 43

    Good point Roy, they aren’t priveledged to have big brother conversations about who governs you.
    There is no secrecy in government, it’s not the private sector. These men may be leading Aotearoa in 2 weeks and we need brillant minds in government not secretive private sector backdoor handshakes, publish media, do your job, do your job, do your job.

    John Key welcome to democracy.

  43. Very PC 44

    Couldn’t resist a visit to Not sure I’d like to go tea bagging with either of those Johns. Teabagging : April 13, 2009 Urban Word of the Day
    the insertion of one man’s sack into another person’s mouth. Used a practical joke or prank, when performed on someone who is asleep, or as a sexual act. Is Banksie now the Teabagging John Banks. Bet they don’t do that a lot in South Auckland John.

  44. hoom 45

    *Meeting in a Cafe generally open to the public
    *Pack of Journos invited because its specifically a Public Relations meeting
    *Said pack of Journos filming you from 50cm away through the glass window
    *Plenty of footage of cameras inside while they are talking

    If they were stupid enough to have said something scandalous in that situation then it ought to be made public at the least because its in the Public Interest to know they are morons.
    Anyone with a modicum of media savvy would be operating in expectation that at least one of those journos would try to hide a mic in hearing distance.
    Mic hidden in a bag on the table next to the PMs elbow? 😆 If you, your PR or your DPS goons can’t spot that then too f***’n bad.

    So much for their education reforms, maybe if they’d watched some Sesame Street they might have worked out somethings amiss:
    *Black bag we don’t recognise

  45. Rob 46

    The HoS like the MSM have a vested interested
    To keep Key et al in power so why would they publish?

  46. Adrian 47

    NZ media. HAH. The same NZ media who rubbished the Aussie media for being nasty to that nice Mr Whittle at Pike River. We could do with a pack of Aussie mongrel journos here for a couple of weeks.

  47. John Key states categorically that he will not provide consent to release the tape/transcript of the recording of his conversation with John Banks. He says,

    ” It was deliberately put there and I’m simply not going to reward them with that tape. But I’m not bothered by the contents of it.”

    If the Prime Minister’s sole concern is “not rewarding” the Herald-on-Sunday, then he has another simple option: release the tape to another media outlet.

    That removes any element of “reward” for the Herald-on-Sunday, whilst satisfying the public’s right to know what their elected representatives are up to.

    Quite simple really.

    Unless, of course, there is more to the contents of that tape than John Key is letting on. And let’s face it – the debacle over the alleged “email” regarding Standard & Poors was our first public indication that the Prime Minister could bend the truth when it suited him.

    • Matthew Hooton 48.1

      “he has another simple option: release the tape to another media outlet.”

      No he doesn’t. He doesn’t have a copy of the tape. Only the HoS does. (The freelancer says he has now deleted it.)

      • fmacskasy 48.1.1

        Excellent. Even better, Matthew.

        If only the HoS has a copy, then Key can simply say;

        “Sure it can be released – by your competitors. Give it to them, if you’re so keen on freedom of the press.”

        End result; the HoS doesn’t gain financially, and the material is published by another media company that was not involved in gathering the recording in the first place.

        If the discussion is as inane as what Key is suggesting; he is vindicated; the HoS has not benefitted materially; and the HoS ends up with not just egg on it’s face, but the whole damn poultry farm.

        I think that about covers it.

      • Colonial Viper 48.1.2

        (The freelancer says he has now deleted it.)

        So he was paid to delete it?

  48. Dylan Reeve 49

    “The freelancer says he has now deleted it.”

    Where was that tidbit from? Haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere….

  49. Matthew Hooton 50

    Morning report

    • felix 50.1

      Will you be losing your rag on the wireless this morning Matt? Or are you saving it up for radiolive like you did last week?

      That was one of your best breakdowns yet. Have you had your blood pressure checked lately?

      Love, your biggest fan.

  50. jaymam 51

    Well of course the contents of the tape should not be released. That would be illegal and there could be penalties for whoever released it. There should not be transcripts of the tape accidentally left lying around anywhere in case somebody posts the transcript somewhere anonoymously like on Wikileaks or just plain newsgroups.

  51. homer 52

    Scene. INTERIOR. DAY. JOHN KEY, a Prime Minister, sits at a window table in the URBAN CAFE. JOHN BANKS, a fool, enters.

    BANKS: (Placing two teacups on the table). Here’s your tea John.

    KEY: Thanks John. (He picks up a tea-spoon, dips it into the cup and swirls the tea-bag around.)

    BANKS: Sad about Allan Peachey.

    KEY: Very sad.

    BANKS: Makes you think, John.

    KEY: Yes.

    BANKS: Makes you wonder what it’s all about. What we’re doing here. Why there’s so much hatred and intolerance in the world, given the brief time we all have together. Why kind of society we want to leave . . .

    KEY: Wait. Wait. (He’s looking at the label on the teabag.) John? What the hell is this?

    BANKS: (Grins, a little nervous) What?

    KEY: (Indicating the teabag.) This. What the hell do you call this? What the fuck have you done?

    BANKS: What? I haven’t . . .

    KEY: Is this some kind of joke?

    BANKS: Joke? What? I haven’t done anything. No joke.

    KEY: No joke? What kind of tea did I ask for John?

    BANKS: Raspberry tea. That’s what I ordered. That’s what you’ve got.

    KEY: That’s what I’ve got?

    BANKS: That’s what you’ve got.

    KEY: (Turning the teabag around to face Banks). Read this out for me. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe I’m not reading it right. Does this say ‘raspberry tea?’

    BANKS: (Leaning forward to read out the small print on the teabag label). Raspberry tea with echinacea. It’s raspberry tea. It’s what you asked for.

    KEY: (Nodding, sucking at his teeth.) No John. This is not what I asked for. I asked you for one. Simple. Thing. I asked for raspberry tea. And you give me this.

    BANKS: It’s raspberry tea!

    KEY: (Slapping the table, making the crockery jump, spilling tea). It’s bullshit! Did I ask for echinacea?

    BANKS: That’s the only raspberry tea they had! It only comes with echinacea!

    KEY: Only comes with echinacea? What the fuck are you talking about? It’s dried raspberry leaves. You soak them in water. You have to go out of your way to get the echinacea in there. Now you’re telling me it only comes with echinacea? You think I’m that stupid?

    BANKS: It’s still raspberry tea. It’s just that here – in this cafe – you only get it with the echinacea. It’s no big deal.

    KEY:No big deal. (Key laughs, smooths back his hair.) Let me ask you something John. If I give you water with coffee in it, did I give you water? Or coffee? Are they the same thing? Or is one different from the other? If you ask for water but get coffee is it no big deal?

    BANKS: It’s not the same thing. Echinacea doesn’t taste of anything. It’s just a herb. It doesn’t change the flavor.

    KEY: If it doesn’t change the flavor then why is it in there?

    BANKS: I don’t . . .

    KEY: Boy, you must think I’m a real fucking idiot. You must stand around with Don and just laugh. That John Key, he’ll just swallow anything we give him.

    BANKS: John, it’s not like that. It’s still raspberry tea. It tastes like raspberry. The echinacea is just, like, a dilute herb. It makes the tea more, um, effective. It’s supposed to prevent colds.

    KEY: You think I don’t know that?

    BANKS: I assume . . .

    KEY: You think I became head of forex at Merrills, made $50 million dollars and became Prime Minister because I’m a fucking half-wit who doesn’t know what echinacea is? I know what it is, John. I just don’t want to drink it in my raspberry tea. Well I am not a half-wit. Kiss Epsom goodbye, John. I hope you like gardening.

    BANKS: John, no. I’m sorry. You’re right. I apologise. I was an idiot.

    KEY: You were an idiot. That’s your excuse?

    BANKS: I was. I really . . . I’ve been working too hard. This campaign . . .

    KEY: Yeah. Well you can stop worrying about that. The campaign is over for you. Goodbye John. You’re finished. I don’t work with idiots. I don’t go into coalition with them, and I definitely don’t have idiots serving in my Cabinet as government Ministers.

    Key stands and buttons his jacket. Banks stares off in the distance in shock, but as he processes those last words this fades to a grin of realisation. As it does so, Key’s stern countenance turns into a sly smile.

    BANKS: You fucking bastard.

    KEY: (Slapping Banks’ shoulder). I had you. I had you.

    BANKS:I knew you were shitting me.

    KEY: I had you. I went too far at the end there.

    BANKS: No, I was just playing along.

    KEY: I’m not sure about your ability to stand up to questions in the House there, John.

    BANKS: Ha ha.

    KEY: You may fold under intense questioning.

    BANKS: Ha ha.

    KEY: Send me an email when you’re back in government, John. I’ll make you associate Minister of something.

    BANKS: Cheers John.

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    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago

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