web analytics

Key’s bunker of spin

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, September 27th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: brand key - Tags:

Way back in August the National Business Review ran a well researched (but off-line) story by Matt Nippert titled Panic station: policy quashing on the ninth floor of the Beehive

And I must say it’s an interesting view into the strange bunker of spin that is the Prime Minister’s office – an office in which it seems the spin doctors are firmly in charge of government policy:

Every morning of almost every weekday at 8am, Captain Panic Pants, Hansel and Gretel, John Key and Wayne Eagleson attend a strategy meeting where risk aversion flatlines good ideas.

“Captain Panic Pants” is also known as Kevin Taylor, Mr Key’s chief press secretary.

Hansel and Gretel are the little-known but high-powered duo of Phil de Joux and Sarah Boyle who hold, respectively the position of deputy chief of staff and senior adviser.

All three, along with chief of staff Wayne Eagleson, work on the ninth floor of the Beehive in the opaque but politically dominant Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

But these so-called “good ideas” seem to be the kind of ideas that would make Roger Douglas proud:

The scaled-down – and then jettisoned – plan to expand mining, the shelved proposal to part-float state-owned enterprises and the wholesale rejection of any policies contained in the 2025 Taskforce are among the examples cited by sources of well-grounded policies that met their end at the hands of the PMO.

As an anonymous Auckland businessman tells it:

The people who are reading your paper are the sort of people who feel they should be able to pick up a phone and call someone and get something gone. And they can’t do that at present.

I’ve heard similar things from business contacts – they’re not happy that they aren’t getting what they want from Key (although the attack on work rights has helped a little). They also know there’s not a lot of depth of support for him in his own caucus.

But Key knows he’s all that National has got going for them which probably goes some way to explaining why he is so careful to manage his image. After all if he’s not delivering the shock and awe policy that business is demanding he better be providing votes and a hope it will come soon.

Right now Key’s tied to the need for a second term. But if he’s not going to stick around after that (and more than a few National party insiders say he won’t) there’s not a lot to hold back all those “good ideas”.

23 comments on “Key’s bunker of spin ”

  1. Dancr 1

    So how long can they keep this up? Will it last through the campaign next year? Or will those outside influences be seeking to get some committments down on paper as the manifestos get put together…

  2. tc 2

    This comes as no surprise, Sideshow’s only ever been in it for his own egotistical reasons, he doesn’t need the bucks (he’d make more in his old job anyway) and doesn’t want the grief he’d bring on himself if he actually did some of that policy stuff like heaven forbid…make a decision.

    Style over substance and watch him smile and wave at every PR opportunity (see here’s me with Bernie F1 Ecclestone….choice eh) is all anyones getting from clueless.

    Out of the mouths of babes last week, a child watching him observed how tired and ragged he looks after some real work in the field at chch…. so off on holiday again.

  3. roger nome 3

    I want to see National campaigning on “privatisation by stealth” next election. “The Hollow Men” shows us that the idea of doing this in a second term is popular in the National hierachy – and last election Key was at pains to make it clear that there would be no privatisation in the first term. Seems likely doesn’t it?

    The sad thing is, that with Phil Goff as the main opposition leader he could get away with doing what most New Zealanders oppose for a few more years yet.

    • IrishBill 4.1

      Cheers Bryce. It’s interesting to see your analysis of it as a product of the political professional class however I can tell you that Sarah Boyle is certainly ideological – a trait that combines with her professionalism to make her very effective.

  4. J 5

    Key is if nothing a financial man, he knows the only way out is stimulus and higher taxes on higher incomes but how can he do that and stay leader.

    Yet that is pretty much the way to play yourself out of a a long lull in market activity, stoke the fire until it starts burning again and ask the higher incomed to bear some of the pain of the economic loss.

    After the wall street crash the domestic economic society has to be studied in a very, very transparent way.No dropping taxes and hoping anymore.

    • bbfloyd 5.1

      Doesn’t say much for us does it? vote the man out for doing the right thing… that is, if he did it…

  5. Jim MacDonald 6

    Re “business contacts – they’re not happy that they aren’t getting what they want from Key”

    I have some business matters that can do with policy changes and I think I would be better off approaching Goff and Labour MPs who would more successfully seek consensus from a wider range of interest for policy action.

  6. felix 7

    “Why haven’t you fucked New Zealand yet?”

    “Well, we can’t because of Pillow Pants”

  7. Rex Widerstrom 8

    I started reading this post imagining its seemingly obvious conclusion would be that hollow men still run National. But then, when right wing business types rail against the ameliorating influence of these types, suddenly they’re all that stands between us and a raft of Act-like policies.

    It’s a situation neatly summed up in Bryce Edwards’ article (linked by him above) which I’d recommend reading. he concludes:

    When a party contains a mix of professionals (of the ‘Political Class’) and ideological ‘true believers’ wanting to change society, then a clash is inevitable. This is clearly what we’re getting a glimpse of this story.

    So what do we want? A largely unknown collection of people for who (paraphrasing Edwards) career matters most, at the expense of policy? Or a coterie of ideologues, safe in their list positions and safe seats and determined to remake NZ in an image which suits them and their equally unknown backers?

    What about neither? If this is the choices we face no matter who we elect (and, as Edwards says, Heather Simpson and her team were any equally pernicious influence on Labour, and Margaret Pope was widely held to have controlled Lange) then isn’t it time we remodelled the system so we have a say more than once every three years?

    The ideologues would be free to try to convince us of the validity of their competing visions, but we’d have the final say. And the faceless “Political Class” woud be reduced to carrying out the wishes of their employers, not insidiously shaping them.

  8. marco 9

    I know a Nat party insider with a different take on things. His prediction before the last election was if they lost the election, the party would split in two. The left of the party would follow Key and the right would head toward English. The simple fact is the right of Labour and the left of National would sit quite comfortably together. They are prevented from doing so by the members of each party that would like to stick to their roots.

  9. Lazy Susan 10

    I don’t think Key has any firm ideology or any great “ambition for NZ” – he just wanted to “have a go” at politics.

    His main goal at the moment is to not frighten the horses, running into next year’s election, and secure National a second term. If he achieves this, and it’s by no means certain that he will, I believe he will step aside within a year. He’s astute enough to know that a second term will see the National dogs unleashed.

    Key only ever took on the role of PM because he liked the idea of it. He will want to make sure his legacy is the guy who made the National party electable again – not the leader of a wrecker government that unleashes a far right agenda on the citizens of NZ.

  10. Sarah Boyle used to be a select committee clerk. This is what happens when office clerks rule the world.

  11. david civil servant 12

    @tobefrank – and the Labour party used to be the government.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt parks the expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
    As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “While this extension won’t officially ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 community fund to provide support for vulnerable women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced a $2 million community fund that will provide support for women and girls adversely affected by COVID-19. “We know that women, particularly those who are already vulnerable, are disproportionally affected by the kind of economic disruption caused by COVID-19,” Jan Tinetti said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Next phase of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response announced
    A further NZ$12 million of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response has been announced by Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today. The package builds on previous tranches of assistance Aotearoa New Zealand has provided to Fiji, totalling over NZ$50 million. “Fiji remains in a very challenging position in their response to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Robotic asparagus harvester aimed at addressing industry challenges
    The Government is backing a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to the project. Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago