People don’t just vote for politicians because they like their policies. Just as important are trust and perceived competence. Key’s policies were never popular. He won on the other two – particularly trust. That’s why the Dotcom saga is so ruining for him. As more details of what Key knew or should have known come out day by day, perceptions of Key’s competence and trust in him plummet.
Take the latest. Key says he never heard Dotcom’s name until the day before the raid in January. This despite the fact that his spies (whom he is meant to “control” under law) were illegally spying on the richest person living in Key’s electorate, one of the few people who had come into the country on Key’s pet millionaire emigrants programme, who just so happens to be a large and larger than life flamboyant German who had dealt with several of Key’s ministers and his electorate office twice.
Now, we learn that Simon Power sent a message to Key in July last year when he declined Dotcom’s OIO request to buy the mansion in Key’s electorate. Key says he never saw the message and it wasn’t shown to him because it was “routine”.
Hang about. This is where the competence/trust questions come in. Are we seriously to believe that when this came to Key’s office, given that Dotcom was the richest person living in Key’s electorate, one of the few people who had come into the country on Key’s pet millionaire emigrants programme, and just so happens to be a large and larger than life flamboyant German who had dealt with several of Key’s ministers and his electorate office twice, no-one thought it was good political management to tell Key?
Not a two sentence note in Key’s papers to read on the way to the next photo-op: FYI, Power has denied Dotcom permission to buy the Chrisco Mansion. Dotcom’s that rich German internet guy who lives in Coatesville that Hollywood hates – Banksie knows him.
That’s the kind of general info the PM needs, so that he’s not caught out if a journo asks, or the issue suddenly blows up.
Either Key’s lying or he is running a spectacularly incompetent office. Neither option is good for him.
And what’s with the fact that this new information only just came out now? Why is there this steady drip, drip of facts, and a growing accumulation of inquiries, which will all produce their own new facts in time? Good political management, especially once this issue got big, would have been to release everything in one hit and kick for touch with a ‘full inquiry’ undertaken by a safe pair of hands.
Why haven’t Key and their staff managed that? Did they fail to understand how big and bad this issue would get? Did they fail to see it happening once it started? Do they still not see it? Or are they hoping that they will get away with keeping secret as much as they can?
Again, it goes to trust and competence. People don’t like seeing these stories drip out, it tells them that Key hasn’t been up front or isn’t on top of what’s going on.