Key resorts to “memory lapse” defense

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, February 21st, 2008 - 43 comments
Categories: john key, workers' rights - Tags: ,

So without Bill to run interference like he did in the House yesterday, John Key has resorted to the age-old “memory lapse” (aka “Don Brash”) defense regarding his statement to Kerikeri Business Association that “we would love to see wages drop”.

Key’s use of the memory lapse defense places him in the illustrious company of such renowned truth-tellers as Richard Nixon and Ronald Regan.

Nixon, brainstorming with aides on how to tailor grand jury testimony:

“You say, ‘I don’t remember.’ You can say, ‘I can’t recall. I can’t give an answer to that, that I can recall.'”

Reagan, to Tower Commission investigating Iran-contra affair:

“The only honest answer is to state that try as I might, I cannot recall anything whatsoever about whether I approved an Israeli [arms] sale in advance. My answer therefore and the simple truth is, I don’t remember — period.”

Closer to home, some readers may remember Don Brash’s (ultimately unsuccessful) invocation of the memory lapse defense in regard to both secret donations from the Exclusive Brethren and his comments that under a National government NZ’s anti-nuclear legislation would be “gone by lunchtime”.

This really is the same old National Party.

UPDATE: Kiwiblogblog tears to shreds Key’s twin claims that “I can’t recall” and “I was talking about Australia”.

43 comments on “Key resorts to “memory lapse” defense”

  1. the sprout 1

    i smell a Memorygate brewing

  2. He seemed to have a whole other defence talking to Mikey Havoc this morning. Y’all might want to watch out for that audio turning up on Scoop. It’s a bit boring, though …

  3. Phil 3

    Second paragraph needs some work ayb – you’re use of Nixon and Regan is too old school;

    “Key’s use of the memory lapse defense places him in the illustrious company of such renowned truth-tellers as Helen Clark and William Clinton.”

  4. milo 4

    Um. Didn’t we just have a convenient memory lapse from the Prime Minister over several aspects of the Owen Glen affair?

  5. Daveo 5

    Russell- that’s very interesting. What was his line this time?

    [captcha: feel churn – John Key’s stomach yesterday in Parliament?]

  6. the sprout 6

    “It’s a bit boring, though”

    i’d say that’s Defence 4

  7. IrishBill 7

    Yes Sprout, and there’s defense number five: “Quick look over there!”

  8. the sprout 8

    and Defence 6: “Behind you!”
    and Defence 7: “She did it first!”
    and Defence 8: “It was only a little bit!”

    bets on how many he’ll run?

  9. Good god and l;ittle apples, so let’s get this straight, he used the same defense that Dear Leader used over Owen Glenn and speeding through the countryside at 176kmh.

    Let me see, if he now changes it to “I didn’t say that” and then to “If I did I was only joking” then you guys will have to drop it, surely.

  10. Tane 10

    Hey Whale, if that’s the case I guess you’ll be demanding answers from John Key? Just for consistency’s sake, of course.

  11. Steve Pierson 11

    That’s the best they can come up with? No denial of the substance of what he siad just “I don’t remember”.

  12. Steve Pierson 12

    Whaleoil. Which is more serious for a political leader, their car, not driven by them, driving too fast while they work in the back, or a political leader saying he wants the living standards of all 4.25 million New Zealanders to fall as a result of lower wages (bearing in mind that lower living standards would certianly lead to higher cirme and more homicides, as it did under National in the 1990s)

  13. the sprout 13

    i would’ve thought “i’d love to see lower wages” for NZers was of slightly more gravity and worthy of remembering than what a speedo read when someone was driving Clark through the countryside.
    or maybe lowering wages really is that unimportant to Key? i mean, it’s not like it’d affect him now is it?

  14. the sprout 14

    steve, are you me?

  15. not nearly as grave as forgetting that you didn’t, and if you did it was only joking about offering a Ministerial portfolio in return for donations.

    or, not recalling the name of a donor you met three hours before in Sydney, or not committing a prima facie case of Forgery……

  16. Tane 16

    Yawn… so how much is your pay cut gonna be Whale? And how’s that make you feel?

  17. Matthew Pilott 17

    Ok Whale – you’re implying you think the defence is bullshit – I’m going to make a wild guess that you didn’t believe Clark over Owen Glenn and the motorcade incident (I’m guessing because I’d rather have a tabasco sauce enima that trawl through the shit-hole that is your website).

    So what you’ve come onto The Standard, to loudly proclaim, is that Key is probably lying to the public, and he wants to see our wages drop.

    Good on you…

    Not the sharpest tool are we, buddy?

  18. gobsmacked 18

    Key’s real problem is not what he says or remembers, but what his supporters want him to say. Like cutting wages.

    It’s going to be a fun 2008 campaign: expect headlines like:

    “Business Round Table welcomes Key’s plan to cut benefits”

    “ACT backs Key, soars to 2% in polls”

    “Key clarifies slip of tongue: some of his best friends are on benefits”

    “BRT /ACT / Kiwiblog slam latest flip-flop”

    etc

  19. Bart 19

    Keep going people, all you are doing is basing an entire policy debate on one line in a local newspaper. Show me the tape, the interview, whatever. And as you conveniently fail to mention the actual policy goal of sustainable wage increases LINKED TO PRODUCTIVITY INCREASES, rather than the artificially generated faux-prosperity that the Labour government have attempted to generate via working for families, the holidays act, and the raising of the minimum wage and abolition of youth rates without any attendant attention to increasing the quality of infrastructure vis broadband, rail or freight. Reduction in business compliance costs, and so on and so on.

    And if any of you actually beleive that John Key will cut wages. You keep beleiving that and banging on about it, meanwhile, the rest of us will actually look at the real policies and the real issues.

    You lot are all smoke and no substance!

  20. Steve Pierson 20

    Sprout. I wish.

    captcha: abse- Auckland, that’s, um, that’s weird

  21. No wage cut I expect, probably because I don’t work for wages or salary, or in fact at all.

    I’m one of those rich pricks that Michael Cullen talks about. You know the ones a “wage payer” rather than a “wage earner”.

    Though Michael considers $60k the mark of a rich prick that is hardly enough to pay the Amex bill.

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    Bart, I did mention it back here but I don’t think you responded

    John Key’s plan to cut your pay

    Given the National Party’s chronic inability to give out any policy, or engage in constructive debate I think it’s a bit rich hearing you complain about criticising sound bites.

    Tell me, what has National been Harping on for the last three days? A matter of real consequence, or something about a $7,000 donaton as part of a loan?

    Please feel free to mention how you would look at increasing productivity (here I will mention the billions Labour has spent restoring the nation’s infrastructure that was left to rot under National – or sold off to be pillaged by the private sector) because John Key hasn’t gotten round to that yet, Bart.

    He said he wants wages to drop, and that he will increase productivity by cutting taxes. Either he is an economic retard (which I grudgingly admit, he’s probably not 🙂 ) or he has no ideas abiout raising productivity.

    Therefore I see his talk of cutting wages as an indirect attack on WFF, benefits, minimum wages, union organisation and so on – but if this is the man’s policy, I want to bloody hear it – not just the goddamn soundbite.

    So tell me when you get round to the ‘policy and real issues’ and while you’re at it, send a letter to John Key asking him to do the same.

    Tell me when you read about the government’s initiatives on Broadband which are making a difference, and John Key puts out some policy that will help.

    Tell me when you look into roading and rail infrastructure spend in New Zealand under Labour and National, because the substance there is only from the left; don’t forget to let me know when John Key has released some infrastructure policy, if he actually does (you know, if he wants to privatise it all he’s unlikely to tell anyone before the election).

  23. Hey Whale – how’d you get rich when your last company went into liquidation? Do you creditors know you’re this flush.

  24. Steve Pierson 24

    whaleoil. so you would like to see wages fall, like Key?

    Go on you can say it: you want to see the bulk of families who get most of their incomes from wages suffer, so that a do-nothing rich prick such as yourself can get a little wealthier.

  25. Bart 25

    Matthew, I’d love to see them, and so would Labour, so they can immediately adopt those policies as thier own, as usual!

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    Bart – if they’re good policies, then I would love to see them adpoted, no matter where they originated. Hell, even the idea was from the LibertariaNZ (there. I said it.)

    If, OTOH, National were deliberately disguising its policies behind a friendly face, then the public is being decieved.

    And if we think about it, policies that National should be releasing, in theory, won’t be adopted because they would be contrary to Labour’s ideology. If that’s not the case (as is the case, seemingly) then it would seem both parties have gone centrist.

    I just believe one has done so for show, and they won’t be remotely centrist should they win in 2008 – and that’s deception in my books.

    The other party could take a swing to the left though, but a bit of third-term pragmatism seems to be the order of the day.

  27. The Havoc interview is here:

    [audio src="http://95bfm.com/assets/sm/186370/3/JohnKey21.mp3" /]

    Key implies that the “young guy” (ie: reporter) in attendance took faulty notes, he would never had said that, etc. Claims they’ve tried to track down the notes.

    He then bridges to how he’s been talking about higher incomes for years, unlike Michael Cullen, etc…

  28. infused 28

    Funny that. HC resorts to a memory lapse everyday.

  29. Right so now we’ve had:

    1. Not a word – let Bill talk about Australia.

    2. I forgot.

    3. I never said it – I was misquoted.

    4. I was talking about Australia

    5. It was joke about Australia

    6. (again) I never said it.

    Hmm.

  30. Oh and I have it from a very reliable source that the notes show Key certainly said it and that he was talking about New Zealand. Jeez, if the ‘Sod can find out why can’t National? Oh that’s right they still haven’t found out who “stole” the emails either…

  31. Horisthebear 31

    the statement was made in relation to Aust wages not NZ wages. I could pick almost any sentence out of context made by Labour and do the same.

    We now have ridiculous protests by people at Bunnings demanding to be paid the same wages as Austrailans. Well it is easy, go to Australia or of course the ‘rich prick employers’ could cut their massive profits. I know lets everyone simply demand to be paid what Australians are getting paid – See Easy no wage gap!

    Umm wait a minute. What happens then, yeah I know company closes shop, operating moves to low cost model…

    I had this exact experience recently with our Union who demanded that a company that makes millions of dollars a year can afford 5% wage rises. After pointing out that yes you are right it is bad, I should shut down move the plant sell the land to a developer move production offshore to a contract maker and put my money in the bank and make more money risk free but hey that means no jobs.

    The grand socialist conspiracy that exists that firms are bad, profits are evil and the workers are good is just bumpkin.

  32. I had this exact experience recently with our Union

    No you didn’t.

  33. Tim 33

    Horisthebear – I’m sure that if you could make more money in the manner described in your post above you would have already done it. If it weren’t profitable to employ workers you wouldn’t do it.

    Redundancy is commonly used as a threat when workers ask for a wage increase but it’s a counter-intuitive argument. If you make everyone redundant, you don’t have anyone to make you money and you don’t have profits. A threat to withdraw capital when faced with a threat to withdraw labour is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  34. Tane 34

    I am getting sick of people coming on here pretending to be anti-union employers.

  35. Horisthebear 35

    Robinsod – yes I did. And we employ nearly 300 people, 90% unionised…60% production exported.

    Tim. It is profitable to do so CURRENTLY. I think you like many Labour supporters confuse return on capital with profits. But our business is constantly facing major cost pressures. We are an exporter with about 90% of our costs fixed as a price taker. It is costly and hard work to move production offshore, I can employ the same skilled labour for 50% of the cost in other countries, and simply input production and keep my sales team here. I have recently commissioned some work to look into more. I think you missed the point it is not about redundancy it is about surivial as a business. In the past 2 years we’ve laid off about 30 people just to survive against imported products in the face of the alternative, it is the only cost we can control in the short term in an industry where EBIT margins are 3-5% and staff are about 10% of costs. I am moving more and more to being an importer rather than export.

  36. Draco TB 36

    No wage cut I expect, probably because I don’t work for wages or salary, or in fact at all.

    I’m one of those rich pricks that Michael Cullen talks about. You know the ones a “wage payer’ rather than a “wage earner’.

    I’m fully in support of income being fully determined by productivity and WhaleOil’s income subsequently being cut to zero because, as he fully admits, he doesn’t produce anything of value.

  37. Draco TB 37

    I had this exact experience recently with our Union who demanded that a company that makes millions of dollars a year can afford 5% wage rises. After pointing out that yes you are right it is bad, I should shut down move the plant sell the land to a developer move production offshore to a contract maker and put my money in the bank and make more money risk free but hey that means no jobs.

    So you think its ok that the entire society should be held to ransom by a few?

  38. Tim 38

    Horis – Wage increases are not the real factors, as an exporter, that are putting pressure on your business. The high dollar and competition from cheap labour in China and Thailand are more likely the real pressures. We’re never going to be able to compete with those countries on labour costs, nor should we try to.

    You can’t really compare your situation with Bunnings. They are mostly minimum wage workers in a retail industry. I’m guessing you are in the manufacturing sector judging by your comments about employing skilled labour and having a 90% unionised workforce. Those two industries are completely different.

    However, if it’s still profitable to run your business in New Zealand, then don’t you think that your employees deserve a fair share of the profits? A 5% claim really only keeps up with the CPI and inflation. It’s hardly unreasonable.

  39. Horisthebear 39

    Tim – CPI = Inflation not plus… You assume as does the Union that everyone can pass on costs. We (and most others) can not – I am not a monopoly or Govt agency.

    Typically although the famed CPI is 3% pa our importer competitors costs rise by say 1% so this is the most we can pass on hence reduced profits each year or invest heavily to improve productivity. Union won’t allow this, and simply want more “because the CPI went up”. Free trade with Thailand is great, simply means fewer jobs in NZ for Unions…The Unions fight tooth and nail to allow competitive processes and replacemetn of labour with capital to compete with low wage economies.

    I have no issues with paying people for the value they create. But if I don’t have it I can’t pay it. Fair pay for fair work. Typical wage we pay is twice minimum wage.

    Draco TB – Not at all.

  40. Draco TB 40

    Not at all.

    Capitalism = Dictatorship

    Thank you for confirming that.

  41. Horisthebear 41

    Draco TB – funny that my reply to you last night wasn’t posted…

    Anyways…Capitalism works, Socialism doesn’t. I believe in one person one vote. I believe that Unions can do good. I used to be a member of one. But stupidity seems rife in some of them. I will give you another example. In our firm we offer Super subsidies on a 1:1 basis – ie free money to encourage staff to remain long term savers and to build loyalty. One union rep told me it was just a way to avoid paying staff more – nuts. Result 100% takeup in non union staff. 20% takeup in union staff.

    Look at what China has done once it started to embrace capitalism, look at what happened in Venezula when Chavez decided to create a new social republic. There has never been in the history of the planet been a capitalist dictator. But pretty much I can rattle off a dozen socialist dictators…

  42. Tane 42

    You probably mistyped the captcha Horis.

    There has never been in the history of the planet been a capitalist dictator.

    There’s actually quite a list Horis. Try Pinochet for a start.

  43. Tim 43

    “Look at what China has done once it started to embrace capitalism” – mass exploitation of the working class, encouraged by big business in America coupled with shocking environmental degradation. You need to watch “China Blue” Horis, then maybe you’ll think twice about moving production offshore.

    Chavez has faults, but his revolution has benefited the working poor immensely and he has popular support. Free health clinics and education for example. I’m sure the people in the barrios of Caracas would disagree with your comment.

    Capitalist dictators – JP Morgan, Carnegie, the Bush dynasty, the list goes on. The money spent on the war on Iraq (and the profits for Halliburton, Lockheed, Shell and so on) could have ended starvation and death from preventable diseases in Africa.

    Capitalism is an inefficient system based on exploitation. It’s killing the planet.

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