Key “short-sighted, irresponsible”

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, May 5th, 2010 - 88 comments
Categories: business, International, john key, leadership, military, national/act government - Tags:

Today’s Herald has a front page piece criticizing Key’s abandonment of his Middle East trade mission to return home for the funerals of the three airmen who crashed on their way to an ANZAC Day parade.

Trade delegate Dr John Langley said

the decision was not in New Zealand’s long-term interests and that Mr Key was pandering to public and media opinion.

The “photo opportunity” of Mr Key’s visit to Afghanistan on the front page of yesterday’s Herald “added insult to injury”.

Having Mr Key on the missions would have had enormous impact for business and paved the way for future development.

“And we blew it”

I agree with Langley. Key’s actions were myopic, sacrificing our long term national interests for a quick spot of media-whoring on the back of a media death orgy. Just another Bush-like attempt to associate himself with the military whatever the cost. That really is tragic.

88 comments on “Key “short-sighted, irresponsible” ”

  1. Scott 1

    “That really is tragic”

    What’s tragic is that this is even a story. Had Key remained overseas and not attended the funerals he’d have been attacked for being insensitive and uncaring.

    There’s plenty Key can and should be criticised for, but this story is a beat-up.

    • That the Herald would publish such a view on its front page is in itself quite a story Scott.

      • TightyRighty 1.1.1

        isn’t this the same guy who NRT called an “apologist for sadism”?

      • Scott 1.1.2

        I agree. It says a lot about the news media’s obsession with minor scandals and the petty misdemeanours of our politicians, at the expense of proper political analysis.

  2. I think the media is realising that they have been far too kind to Key for far too long.

    I disagree with Scott, this is actually a story. Our Prime Minister puts photo opportunities ahead of the hard grind of trade delegations.

    His trip to Afghanistan only reinforces the impression that is growing stronger and stronger.

    He spends his time going from photo opportunity to photo opportunity.

    There certainly has been a change in the leadership of this country. We have gone from a competent knowledgable PM who had a strong grasp of what was happening to a gadfly.

    • Mark 2.1

      Im sure your “competent and Knowledgeable PM” would have made exactly the same decision as John Key on attending the funeral.
      Dr Langley is being petulant with his complaint

  3. Anthony C 3

    I can’t get angry about this… losing three young men from our defense force is a tragedy, and the PM honouring their service is fitting more important I would say than money or trade. That said, putting our SAS troops in harms way in Afghanistan for an Obama handshake and photo-op is something to get angry about.

  4. If Key had stayed in the Middle East you would have been screaming yourself hysterical about the PM putting the interests of big business over the lives and memories of the dead servicemen.

    • Not at all. They died in an accident on their way to a parade. That is obviously a terrible tragedy for their families and friends and I mean no disrespect to them whatsoever.

      But would you expect Key to return for three ambulance drivers or bus drivers who died in an accident on their way to a parade?

      • Jim Nald 4.1.1

        @ sprout
        Erm well, depends … will the funeral service be publicly broadcast, will the story be a big piece for coverage on prime time news, etc etc …..
        There are a number of considerations to be added, weighed and accounted to go into the political/media calculus.

        As Danyl eloquently said, if Key had stayed in [insert relevant place where he might have been] you would have been screaming yourself hysterical about the PM putting the interests of big business over the lives and memories of [insert relevant parties involved].

        • Jim Nald

          I’ve just noticed that irony can be lost on blogs.

          Btw, a friend in the advertising business says it is like media whoring. I said I don’t have a clue what he was talking about because I am a most fickle voter and seldom go back to the same person.

          captcha: successs

          • ianmac

            Irony indeed Jim! Had me wondering if there had been an identity theft!

            • Jim Nald

              Yes, I was getting a bit personally concerned myself, Ianmac.

              Hmm, the lessons learnt from commenting online – some stuff comes out stronger than when one says it aloud, sometimes it seems to be a lot more blunt, and sometimes the desired effect falls flat. I rubbed my nose and felt it was a bit flat when I subsequently read it.

      • would you expect Key to return for three ambulance drivers or bus drivers who died in an accident on their way to a parade?

        They were soldiers that died on ANZAC day, Sprout. If three ambulance drivers died in a very high profile and tragic way that captured the attention of the entire nation, then yeah, I think the PM would definitely return for them, and I guess you’d be trying to score cheap points off that tragedy too.

        • the sprout

          So if they’d died on another day you wouldn’t expect him to abandon the mission Danyl?

          So was it the ANZAC Day angle that made it the right thing to do?

          • Lew

            Not claiming to answer for Danyl, but in my view, yes.

            Once again, some members of the bloody materialist left showing their failure to grasp the symbolic. Honestly, what’s a national day of remembrance for if not for publicly recognising collective loss and grief? And what’s a leader good for if he (she) doesn’t fulfill that duty?


            • the sprout

              So if the same crew went down any other day you wouldn’t expect Key to show such deference to the importance of symbolism, is that right Lew?

              And further to my above point, if an ambulance crew had died on ANZAC Day you would also expect Key to abandon the mission to join us in our collective grieving, is that right Lew?

              • Lew

                That’s right, Sprout, not such deference. Still some deference (after all, it’s a huge event no matter what day it was on), but if you can’t see the symbolic importance of a helicopter crew dying on ANZAC day then there’s really no hope.

                An ambulance crew dying on any day is not as newsworthy, simply because ambulance crews are not the locus of such national sentiment as soldiers are. You might think that they should be, and there’s a very credible argument to be made to that effect, but that doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t. Furthermore, ANZAC is a military day of remembrance — an ambulance crew dying on ANZAC day would arguably be less symbolically important than any other day, because of the nature of the holiday and its celebrations.


              • So it is primarily about media profile for Key, thanks for the clarification Lew.
                I agree wholeheartedly.

              • Lew

                Well, no. It’s primarily about the responsibilities of the prime minister to the country, and the importance of recognising significant current and historical events. Those responsibilities include recognising such events in a highly visible and symbolically resonant manner.


              • indeed Lew, so see this comment below from Jimbo


                And while you seem to be a big fan of symbolism irrespective of the material (although why you should make assumptions about my ontology in your apology for Key is beyond me) what would be wrong with the symbolism of Key battling on in our interests, continuing with his mission despite the adversity, and sending the Deputy PM to attend instead?

              • Andrew

                Key came back for the funeral, Goff would have done so as well, so stop the cheap political points scoring exercise you insensitive prick. Basically as has been eluded to earlier, there are those who would have slammed him for not coming back as well.

                These were 3 servicemen who were killed on what is possibly our most important day of the year. The day that we as a nation celebrate those who have lost their lives in service to their country.

                And yes, 3 ambulance crew members dying on that or any other day would be equally as tragic and it would completely depend on the circumstances as to whether the PM was there as well.

              • Lew

                Sprout, Jimbo’s critique of the date argument is such bollocks it’s barely worth a response. Again — I can do very little but reiterate that symbolism isn’t rational. The day is important regardless of how many people actually died on it in 1915. It’s important to veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts as well as the actual ANZACs despite the fact that they weren’t actually there. It just illustrates an uitter lack of understanding of the issues in play. As for the symbolism of sending the DPM: it would telegraph clearly the message that the PM doesn’t care about our troops, or considered them a lower priority than some arcane trade deal on the other side of the world. In some cases it would be a marginal call, but given the current debate about the SAS deployment in Afghanistan it was a very clear choice indeed.

                As to your “ontology”, I’m essentially just drawing attention to the fact that you think the PM ought to have been paying attention to material, rather than non-material considerations just by virtue of the fact that they’re material — a hallmark of the blinkered economic left, and a solid reason why they consistently fail to gain the sort of support they otherwise deserve. Not expressly a criticism of you, since you’re not among the worst offenders in this regard. But in general: lighten up. Bread and roses, remember?


            • Rex Widerstrom

              Lew: Well said. There are very few occasions when something that is purely a gesture is an appropriate political response. This was one of those times.

              Besides, I’d back Tim Groser to lead a negotiation over key anyway, so I think this was a win / win.

          • mung bean

            don’t forget that John Key personally knew all three of those guys and had flown with them on several occasions

            • the sprout

              pretty sure Tim Groser knew his mum personally too

            • Bright Red

              about that. I find it a bit odd that the PM would personally have known these three guys.

              I mean, he flies in the helicopters only very occassionally and there were 14 of them, with about 30 crews. What are the chances he flew with these particular people and got to know them?

              I bet he doesn’t claim to personally know all the crown limo drivers.

              I think it was just a nice thing to be able to say since one or two of them had flown him a couple of times.

    • Jim Nald 4.2

      Hey, I hear that to ambitiously trim costs and cut waste, some Govt departments are getting more of their meetings done via video-conferencing and other suchlike technology.

      Maybe the PM needs to aspirationally take some lessons that have been preached down the public service.
      Oh, and no worries about missing out on photo-ops. Can photoshop.
      The all pervasive PM can be everywhere at the same time, while actually being nowhere to be found.
      Now, where is that ultrafast NZ broadband for him to upload and download pics mmm hmm mhm …..

  5. Scott,

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Key is on a propaganda tour to get us to either send more troops to Afghanistan or let them stay there longer. If anything his attention to the funeral of the three pilots was a cynical exploitation of a tragic accident just as the publication of the photo of the wedding on that same airbase is. His visit to Afghanistan and his meeting with Karzai who together with his druglord brother is running the most corrupt country in the world apart from Somalia is a slap in the face of all those brave New Zealanders who are prepared to die in order to protect this country but it is sold to us as a troop morale “father of the Nation visits troops” PR stunt.

    It is not about those people involved, it is about us taking pride in our military and their involvement in an illegal war of aggression.

    It is sick and cynical and a dereliction of his duty to this country as it’s Prime Minister in favour of him pandering to the international war machine.

  6. Neil 6

    every so often I wonder why National continues to do well in the polls and then there’s always a little reminder.

    • gobsmacked 6.1

      Neil, if this post was by Phil Goff you might have a point. I’m guessing that it’s not.

      Do you seriously vote according to blogs? Who could you possibly vote for?

  7. personally, I think this says more about the strange priorities of NZ’s capitalist class than Key.

    I can understand why they would be pissed off he went on the Afghan photo op rther than the meetings. He was right to come back from Gallipoli though.

  8. Zaphod Beeblebrox 8

    I’m sure he did lots of useful stuff in Kabul- like discussing opium futures and arms deals.

  9. exbrethren 9

    I think Key is a self serving schemer, but in this case he did what he had to.

    To seriously suggest that the PM shouldn’t return for that funeral is wrong. Any person in that position would have to make the same choice, for no other reason than right or wrong it is the done thing.

  10. george 10

    I reckon Key should have returned but from what I understand his return means Groser has to stay despite his mum dying.

    • Bright Red 10.1

      really? jesus. There’s no way key should have forced Groser to stay away.

      I, too, think that Key should have come back after the accident.

      He could have skipped the soldier boy photo op in Afghanistan and done the diplomatic stuff then

      • Pat 10.1.1

        Key forced Groser to stay away? Yeah, right.

      • Jim Nald 10.1.2

        Accummulating soh manny nice pics for curriculum vitae.
        What would Key aspirationally aim to do with life after PMship?

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Well it seems the tradition is wait till you’re so on the nose only the die-hards and those with no testicular fortitude can tolerate you, then piss off to a cushy job at the UN 😛

          Hats off to Key for setting a new record for making the transition, though.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    I’ve got no problem with him coming home, but it would have been nice if he’d explained his reasons to his hosts rather than leaving it up to Tim Groser. Little things matter.

    Like when you are in Afghanistan talking about winning hearts and minds and visiting a girls school, know enough not to try and shake the hands of the girls.

  12. Gooner 12

    Kudos to Danyl for displaying objective and reasoned analysis despite his politics being centre left.

  13. Craig Glen Eden 13

    I think Key did the right thing in coming home for the soldiers. The sad thing in all of this is because Key is such a media whore it looks like its just another photo op.

    If the info about Grossers Mum is true then that totally changes things everyone should be able to grieve for a parent and in which case Key should have stayed and English could have represented the crown at the funerals.

    I think the point of this post is people are sick of seeing smile and wave, long may it continue.

    • Jim Nald 13.1

      @ CGE
      That is balanced and well put.
      In this instance, the interest of the scammer converged with that of schemer, and the responsible.
      And I am serious now.

    • Pat 13.2

      I hardly think Key instructed Groser that he had to stay, and was not allowed to come home for his Mum’s funeral. Fits the evil Key meme, though.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    I don’t see the “Key” issue here.

    There is a deeper, more nuanced debate to be had about how tragic deaths are treated by the media, and by extension, politicians. I’d probably vote for the first politician who said “It’s private grief, it’s none of our business, you butt out and I’ll butt out”. If I lost my loved ones I don’t think I’d start feeling better just because the PM and the reporters turned up.

    But that applies to all of them, really. It’s the modern, post-Diana era.

  15. ianmac 15

    I somehow hoped that should Key attend the funeral that he would have kept a very low profile. To me his making the speech that he did, seemed to skew the effect. It became all about him. Wrong!
    And I do not think that there would have been an outcry had he not attended. The focus would have been of family and friends and colleagues.

    • Lew 15.1

      You think he made a speech at the funeral without being formally invited to do so?

      Come on. Recognition like this is part of a PM’s job.


  16. Jenny 16

    As Oscar Wilde put it “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

    Is it any surprise that immediately after the huge protests over mining on schedule 4 land, with 50 thousand in the street, and at the same time as the scandal over the overseas sourcing of our rail cars was breaking, a hurried secret rush to Afghanistan for a photo op was organised.

    And yes, before the right say it. Yes, Helen Clark did use this sort of of photo op. diversion tactic, to also avoid facing the fall out from the biggest protests that ever faced her administration to visit a (marginally cute) sheep instead.

    This does not make this sort of behaviour by our politicians what ever their stripe, any less transparent.

  17. Interesting that Annette King said on the spot she and Joyce do with Mike Hosking this morning that it was a “matter of judgment” and that in her opinion, Phil Goff would have done what Key did.

    • gobsmacked 17.1

      Inventory, I agree. Phil Goff would have done the same.

      But then, he wouldn’t have worn a hoodie and treated Gallipoli as a party snog-fest. On ANZAC Day.

      Was that good judgment?

      • the sprout 17.1.1

        Is “Phil Goff would have done what Key did” now a rightwing defence for Key’s shamelessness!?
        Have I fallen through a gap in the space-time continuum since I went for a coffee?

        • bahandhumbug

          “Have I fallen through a gap in the space-time continuum since I went for a coffee?”

          No, but I wish you would

        • Jim Nald

          Hmm, just don’t get a coffee again, ok?

          You see, we on the Real Right really like to accuse you on the Liberal Left of chopping down tall poppies. We say you engage in the politics of envy. You tend to have no response and we have a real laugh about it behind your backs. We see you chopping tall poppies everywhere, we see it happening all the time. Our methods from the Real Right are more sophisticated:
          We decimate the garden of morality.
          So you now have nothing to measure against.
          If you like, we call this the Great Leveller. Or if you like, you can say we have The Decimator.

          captcha: ERASER

  18. Jenny 18

    Is Key “short-sighted, irresponsible”, as the Herald claims?, or is our PM a BVS?*

    For running off and ignoring anything similar to the Australian’s AIP scheme which would require rail infrastructure to be built here, could our PM be a *Baby Vampire Squid.

    Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi received widespread coverage for his claims that Goldman Sachs had repeatedly profited by inflating unsustainable financial bubbles. Taibbi used his now world famous depiction of the world’s biggest finance company as –

    “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.

    “Hedge funds”,
    “short selling”,
    “speculation on foreign exchange rates”,
    “futures trading”,
    “Asset stripping”,
    “Credit default swaps”,
    “collaterized debt obligations”,
    “debt backed securities trading,”

    All these schemes and more, (commonly catagorised under the catch all label of derivatives), are all about making money from thin air.

    Anything but real, productive industry.

    The ultimate result? What financiers euphemistically call “deleveraging” of the real economy.

    Because of John Key’s preference for a derivative-driven economy, over a real economy, with real jobs, and real wealth creation. I would like to paraphrase Matt Taibbi, to describe John Key as –

    “a Baby (faced) Vampire Squid wrapped around the face of New Zealand, sticking his blood funnel into anything that smells like money and using any opportunity he can, as an excuse to ignore any ideas for real wealth and job creation.”

    • Andrew 18.1

      off topic much?! For the last 6 or so posts you have posted basically the same comment worded differently every time. I’m not trying to be LPrent here or anything, but maybe you might be better off posting these comments in the “Open Mike” post. Just a suggestion.

      • Jenny 18.1.1

        Hi Andrew, you are right I have repeated this argument in several different forms and guises and wording, in many comments on various threads. Including, if you noticed it, on today’s Open Mike. (Thanks for your kind suggestion anyway.)

        So, what do you think about my view that Key and his government have no interest in building the real economy?

        I have made the argument that this government, (and particularly so in John Key’s case) prefers an economy which rewards foreign exchange speculators and banksters and other similar financial wide boys like himself, rather than an economy that rewards the battlers at the grass roots.

        Are you in agreement with my view, or are you against?

        If you are against, do you have any substantive rebuttals to make?

        If so I would like to hear them.

        I obviously seem to have hit a nerve.

        But Andrew, it is not enough to complain that I state my case to much, or to often for your liking, or even that I am repetitive, especially if you are not prepared to proffer a counter argument, apart from the wish that I would shut up.

        And Andrew, when you claim that you “are not trying to be LPrent here or anything” tells me, that you wish you were one of the moderators, so you could shut me up with the touch of a button.

        Those who wish to suppress the views of others rather than let them have a fair hearing, are rightfully labelled, right wing, or authoritarian.

        I hope I am wrong in thinking this, in your case.

        Maybe you could tell us all, what you really find irksome about my point of view, rather than expressing a wish for the power to censor it.

        Like anyone I could be completely wrong in my analysis. And sincerely, I would appreciate any one who could pick holes in my argument. If you can’t do that, don’t complain and whine about it. I can’t stop you, and don’t wish to, but truly, it’s just, not a good look.

    • ianmac 18.2

      Yes Jenny. A BVS who manages to smile while doing it. Though hard to be doing that and being his self-styled name “Smiling Assassin.” There is something unpleasant about those who mark their success by feeding off trading in money. Upmarket horse-race betting?

    • Jenny 18.3

      Talk about look-a-likes.

      A squid and it seems to be carrying it’s blood funnel.

      John Key

      The same vacuous smile, the same prominent nose.

      The similarity is certainly striking.

      What do others think?

      Is Squiddy Smile and Wave?

  19. big bruv 19

    I realise that most of you spend your life in the gutter but this latest attack is well below the belt.

    There is nothing more ugly than a beaten and defeating socialist, what was the former Labour PM’s saying for times like this……oh yes, “I will be as nasty, vicious and opportunistic as anybody”

    Seems you are all living up to her corrupt example.

    • the sprout 19.1

      tell it to the Herald BB, it’s on their front page.
      oh, and try reading the commentary – it seems you’ve missed every possible point of discussion.

    • r0b 19.2

      “I will be as nasty, vicious and opportunistic as anybody’

      Another nut job fantasy quote from bb.

      • luva 19.2.1


        “In 1990 at the very last Labour caucus that I attended, when everyone was moping over our well-deserved trouncing, Helen Clark, then Deputy Leader, told the assembled Labour MPs something that I wrote down carefully at the time. She said she would be and I quote from my caucus notes “as vicious, nasty and opportunist as anyone’ in the fight to return Labour to the Treasury benches. Those remarks were a forewarning. The only religious belief most modern Labourites seem to hold is their divine right to govern, to impose their views on others.”

        The quote is not from BB

        • r0b

          Ahh, so BB is misquoting Basset. As I said, another nut job fantasy quote.

          • Pascal's bookie

            I think it’s grand that Basset was so very thorough in writing things down for posterity. I think it would be best that he release his scrbblings to another historian less connected to events.

            When this quote came out, no one asked the obvious question of what the quote was in response to. Seems fairly obvious what it it would have been about, but Basset, for some reason to do with his intellectual rigour and general honesty, ommitted all the context.

            Like I said, he should release his notes.

            Interesting enough, Clark was only partially correct. There was at least one person present who was far more vicious nasty and opportunist, though he is so not in the service of the Labour party.

    • Jenny 19.3

      We really seem to have hit a nerve with you too BB. I see your rebuttal is of the usual high standard, packed with well researched facts. Your argument, so lucid and well made, your logic so blinding. How could I have been so wrong. Please excuse me while I have a little weep of contrition.

  20. Is it any surprise that immediately after the huge protests over mining on schedule 4 land, with 50 thousand in the street, and at the same time as the scandal over the overseas sourcing of our rail cars was breaking, a hurried secret rush to Afghanistan for a photo op was organised.

    They were planning the Afghan trip for about three months.

    • ianmac 20.1

      Yes Danyl. I believe that the secret was not a secret. Well known before-hand.
      How dangerous is such a visit by the way. Don’t they fly into a very secure zone well and truly away from bullets? Window dressing

      • Lew 20.1.1

        There are no “very secure zones” in Afghanistan.


        • freedom

          There are vast areas of very secure land in Afghanistan, some say on on par with the green zone in Iraq. What they generally don’t report though is that those vast heavily defended and well armed secure zones are full of Poppy fields

      • zonk 20.1.2

        so why is TVNZ still refering to it as a ‘secret mission’ then?


    • Jenny 20.2

      “They were planning the Afghan trip for about three months.”


      Fly in, Fly out, take a few photos in between.

      If it took three months to plan this, then the security situation must be much worse than I thought.

  21. Jim Nald 21

    Hey Sprout, You know you’ve touched a nerve when the worms rush out of the woodwork with their sirens blaring.

  22. Lew 22

    Sprout, if you wanted some actual evidence for your headline, and support for your dour materialist arguments against the government, why didn’t you go for this? Looks to be much more meaty.


  23. Jimbo 23

    In my mind it is quite easy to work out if the Prime Minsters sudden dash back from Gallipoli was a PR Stunt, let us look at the track record:

    November 19, 2009 Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster is killed at Waiouru in training exercise gone wrong. Mr Key gives a short (if disjointed) interview paying respect to Flight Sergeant Forster, he issues a somber press release sending the nations condolences, and later attends Flight Sergeant Forster’s funeral. Flight Sergeant Forster’s death is given breaking news status on the respective free to air television news bulletins on the 19th. Then on the 20th most newspapers carry the story, it is featured again on the respective free to air television news bulletins that night. There is a little international coverage in Australia

    January 14, 2010 Squadron Leader Nick Cree is killed in plane crash near Bulls. Mr Key issues a somber press release sending nations condolences to Squadron Leader Cree’s family and friends. The Squadron Leader’s death was accompanied by a few stories in newspapers, one item on the respective free to air television news bulletins, and little international coverage.

    April 25th, 2010 Flight Lieutenant Hayden Peter Madsen, Flying Officer Daniel Stephen Gregory, and Corporal Benjamin Andrew Carson are killed in a helicopter crash near Pukerua Bay. Mr Key returns home with some urgency to lead a nation in morning, issues several expansive press statements, and delivers a eulogy at subsequent funerals. The death of the men is accompanied by a front-page coverage in most newspapers, substantive time on the respective free to air television news bulletins over several days, and moderate amounts of international coverage.

    April 26th, 2010 Private Tahuna Tahapeehi is killed in a traffic accident outside Linton Army Camp. Mr Key issues no press release, does comment about it in a interview regarding the iroquois crash. Private Tahapeehi’s death is accompanied by coverage in most newspapers as a byline to the iroquois crash, this coverage is repeated in the respective free to air television news bulletins, there is little international coverage.

    Furthermore, suggestions that a disportonate reaction is understandable given that it was ANZAC day or John Key knew the iroquois crew are misguided in the least.

    The vast majority of New Zealand’s military causalities did not occur on the 26th of April and have been personally unknown to Mr Key, should they be therefore accorded any less respect because of these facts?

  24. Murray 24

    Any of you “photo op” claimants got any pictures from this photo op?

  25. You know you’ve touched a nerve when the worms rush out of the woodwork with their sirens blaring.

    I wonder if fish who are being shot to shreds in a barrel congratulate themselves that they ‘must have touched a nerve’.

    • the sprout 25.1

      If you just take off your blinkers for a moment Danyl, I think you’ll see the commentaries criticizing Key’s actions are hardly being ‘shredded’ – it’s a valid topic of discussion and I’m glad the Herald have broken the ice on it.
      Equally valid is the fact that the Herald are repeatedly running “do-nothing, vainglorious, ineffectual PM” lines.

    • Jenny 25.2

      Ah Dan, the violent imagery, the gung ho spirit. I imagine that you picture yourself as the one wielding the shot gun shooting into the barrel, to shred all those defenceless leftist worms.

      Dream on brother.

  26. Neil 26

    the picture of Standardistas sitting niavely with mouths wide open grateful for any morsel of opinion piece no matter how stupid the Herald publishes somehow clashes with the usual Great Corporate Media Conspiracy line.

    But maybe the conspiracy just got a bit cleverer.

    • zonk 26.1

      A Herald scorned!

      Fear not Neil your favourite Granny is back at it today with Fran O saying that the mining march meant nothing, was probably only 16,000 people a friend of hers reckons, and that their voices don’t matter that much anyway.

  27. Zak Creedo 27

    The sprout wrote “Bush-like”.. and recognition of a recent bygone is aroused.

    Yet further, to what extent do you feel the PM cobbled together his cycle-way deal out of ‘inspiration’ from dubbya’s cycling pre-occupations..?

    Just curious..?

  28. RedLogix 28

    Whichever choice the PM made here, he was going to leave himself open to criticism one way or the other.

    In the end there was only ever going to be one opportunity to attend the funeral, while the trade negotiations could always be resumed at a later date…even a few diplomatic ruffles needed smoothing.

    Given that most of the electorate evaulates these things on emotional grounds (and the media had not been shy about working the tragedy for all it was worth)…then Key has made the correct political calculus.

  29. Pascal's bookie 29

    Hey, I just remembered that we’ve got a Governor General, but don’t have a President.

    1) Use the right tool for the job.


    2) If our symbols aren’t working for us, we should change them to ones that do.

  30. Swampy 30

    Langley has been rapped over the knuckles by his Board who put out a separate statement distancing themselves from his statement.

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    Trade Minister Todd McClay travels to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today, to take up his role as Vice Chair of the negotiations. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body within the WTO and meets every ...
    12 hours ago
  • Appointment round for King’s Counsel announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced an appointment round for King’s Counsel will take place in 2024. Appointments of King’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint King’s Counsel in recognition ...
    14 hours ago
  • Retiring Chief of Navy thanked for his service
    Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia.  “I would like to thank ...
    16 hours ago
  • Indonesian Vice President to visit New Zealand
    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
    16 hours ago
  • Government boost to fight against caulerpa
    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
    17 hours ago
  • Minister attending Australian data, digital meeting
    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
    1 day ago
  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
    1 day ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
    1 day ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
    2 days ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    2 days ago
  • Finance Minister to meet Australian Treasurer
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to Australia today to meet her Australian counterpart, Treasurer Jim Chalmers.    “New Zealand and Australia have an incredibly strong trade and investment relationship. The Closer Economic Relations and Single Economic Market are powerful engines for growth on both sides of the Tasman.     “I will ...
    2 days ago
  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
    “I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death,” Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, ...
    3 days ago
  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    3 days ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    4 days ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    4 days ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    6 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    1 week ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    1 week ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    1 week ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister congratulates NZQA Top Scholars
    Education Minister Erica Stanford congratulates the New Zealand Scholarship recipients from 2023 announced today.  “Receiving a New Zealand Scholarship is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the hard work and dedication the recipients have put in throughout the year,” says Ms Stanford.  “New Zealand Scholarship tests not only ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    2 weeks ago

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