The Nats lied and promised their way in to an election win in 2008. That was always going to make it difficult for them as the honeymoon glow wore off. Now they’re being squarely confronted with their failure on one of their biggest empty promises of all. Even John Armstrong (eventually) gets it:
Key figures out how to bamboozle with the best of them
A politician who does not twist statistics to suit his or her argument is not by definition a politician. John Key’s big attraction, however, has stemmed from being seen to be not indulging in such behaviour. But yesterday, the Prime Minister revealed he is is as capable of Machiavellian manipulation of the figures as the rest of the pack.
It could be argued that he had no choice but to defend his Economic Development Minister, Gerry Brownlee. But Key’s choice of figures was nothing short of outrageous in being so brazenly selective.
Brownlee got into trouble in Parliament the day before by claiming that the income gap between New Zealand and Australia had narrowed since National came to power in 2008.
Labour MPs did their own calculations. Finding their figures contradicted Brownlee’s assertion, they sought to ping him, while leaving the Prime Minister with the dilemma of contradicting a senior Cabinet colleague or backing him even though he was wrong. Loyalty dictated John Key take the support option.
Ummm – WTF? Sorry, snorted my coffee there. Loyalty to Gerry dictates that Key lie? How about loyalty to the country?
To loud guffaws from the Labour benches, Key told Parliament that he had been advised that the gap between gross average weekly earnings in Australia and New Zealand, adjusted for purchasing power parity, was $160.25. “That is certainly a lot less than it was in 2005, when it was $187.60.”
Indeed it is. But National did not win the 2005 election. It was elected in 2008 when – according to Key’s own figures – the income gap had narrowed to $138. Since then, the gap has widened by around $22. Without those figures in front of them and still coming to grips with Key adjusting them for “purchasing power parity”, all this seemed to pass Opposition MPs by. So Key did it again.
When Labour leader Phil Goff asked why Key and Brownlee were spreading this “misinformation”, the Prime Minister kept spreading and fudging. …