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Key’s mistake

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 pm, February 2nd, 2011 - 121 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags:

So I reckoned the election would be in July.

That’s because July would have been a good call. And I thought Key and his wee crew were good.

Turns out they’re locking in November 26.

That’s a big mistake, he would have had the opposition on the ropes if he’d called July or earlier – instead they’ve got nine months to dig away at the government.

I guess the pundits will go on about what a bold move it is and how Key’s rewriting the playbook and blah blah blah. But a stupid political move is a stupid political move no matter how you sell it.

And today we saw a stupid political move from Key.

121 comments on “Key’s mistake”

  1. it’s funny. you assume your opponents will act in a way that maximises their advantages and minimises yours. And then they throw it away through a miscalculation. No mistake – Key thinks November is best for him but he’s misjudging by over counting the bounce the World Cup will give him (it’s only 0.3% of GDP) and underestimating how much a ten month campign on asset sales will hurt him.

    Key would have been able to go in July perfectly legitimately (don’t want world cup to overshadow election campaign etc) and would have caught Labour completely flatfooted from what I’ve been hearing.

  2. Bazar 2

    Amazing post, very insightful.

    Key takes the goverment to full term, and holds an election on a traditional date, rather then ending the goverment term early to take advantage of favorable polls. He even announces it well ahead of time.

    God dammit, it looks like hes let standards, possibly even ETHICS get in the way of electioneering.

    This is utterly unacceptable, a party that puts the country first, instead of itself isn’t worth having in goverment.

    • Marty G 2.1

      calm down. His decision is political either way. He’s always going to do what he thinks is best for his re-election. It’s just he’s made the dumber choice.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      You’re talking about a person who lied about the number of shares he owned in Tranzrail while he was using his government position to try and sell them, set up new accommodation rules so even more of his MPs could rort the taxpayers and failed to hold numerous of his MPs to any sort of ethical standard.

      • Clint Heine 2.2.1

        I think you’ll find Draco that there isn’t any evidence in that – moreso that Key is wealthy enough to not even try and do that. Being quite a well known trader, highly regarded and without a blemish against his name – I think he’d be a little more clever than to do something like that.

        As for accomodation rules… well MPs from both main parties are neck deep in that one. I’ll agree with you on that – but you should look at your own first before claiming the moral high ground on this one.

        • orange whip?

          moreso that Key is wealthy enough to not even try and do that.

          Spoken like a true peasant. You think it’s about the money, Clint, but it ain’t.

          It’s about the game.

          • Clint Heine

            Wow, the irony of being called a peasant at the Standard. Good grief.

            • orange whip?

              That’s it Clint, let it all out. Air your faux-aristocratic pretensions for all to see.

              • The Voice of Reason

                Great Movies Revisited. No 94: Clinty Python and the Holy Grail.

                Clint: Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!
                King OWthur: Bloody peasant!
                Clint: Oh, what a giveaway! Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That’s what I’m on about! Did you see him repressing me? You saw him, Didn’t you?

                Cont, ad nauseum …

                • I was hoping for something better than that but Monty Python isn’t a bad way to do it. Well played.

                  I’ll remember that when I am back at the hunting lodge talking about how we’ll be eating our endangered birds at supper time.

        • pollywog

          Let’s not forget teh public at large thinks Key doesn’t draw a salary but donates it all to charity…

          …that’s one speech bubble that well and truly needs to be popped

    • Samuel 2.3

      It’s simple, he wants to be 100% sure that he is PM during the RWC.

  3. ak 3

    Have to agree Irish: tomorrow would’ve been good, July an acceptable shoe-in. The gamblers’s putting it all on black: signals division in tory paradise.

    Sniiiiiffffffff. Tory fear in the air, brothers and sisters, hit those keyboards and leaflets!

    (don’t believe it, captcha “write”!)

    • TightyRighty 3.1

      You really believe that if you say something enough it will come true don’t you?

      “Key has given his opponents nine months to dig away at the government, this is a stupid political mistake”

      The opposition has had two years, hasn’t achieved anything (possibly less than nothing) and are unlikely to anytime soon. Key could have named ant date he liked. Face it. Your cause is bust and no one gives a shit about what you say.

      • Craig Glen Eden 3.1.1

        yeah you keep believing that Tighty if it makes you feel good but on a weekly basis I hear more and more people saying they are disappointed with Key.
        They never held much hope for National, but they really thought Key would turn things around, as the play goes on they see a guy who is nothing but image he has done nothing to help them make ends meet. Having given tax cuts to his rich mates he now wants to sell the Nations assets to his mates.

        The Prime Minister that makes out he is not a politician what next a tax cut North of $50 a week.

  4. M 4

    November 26 is a better date to get your war on with the right but as another poster on another thread said it could still be altered.

    My hope is that PO’s more urgent door rapping will give the left’s campaign a nice shot in the arm especially on the importance of public transport even though many more people will have to cope with increasingly poorer diets and more debt.

    With any luck the tightening of the screw on those poor fools who voted for that awfully nice, shiny, smiley Mr Key will figure out his real intent and realise that naked self interest in the form of a $50 tax cut rather than altruism wasn’t the way to go.

    C’mon Phil get going and apply your boot to the throat of NZCorp, oops National.

  5. Adrian 5

    I think Key knows his chances of holding on are not good. November 26 gives the sad fuck a chance to run around Eden Park with the William Webb Ellis Trophy with the All Blacks trailling behind.

    • J Mex 5.1

      I think Key knows his chances of holding on are not good.

      Based on what available evidence? The polls? Opinions of ‘experts’? Popular opinion? iPredict?

    • Deadly_NZ 5.2

      Yeah another mr photo op strikes again, And then it will insidiously arrive on Nat boards all over the country. Almost wants you to have the AB’s lose just to fuck up his carefully laid plan.

      me personally I don’t care who wins I a league fan, and they are world Champions and Key was no where in sight.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Either Key and English have inside Treasury info saying that the economy is going to pick up strong this year so go for a late election. Or they have inside Treasury info saying that the economy is frakked beyond all recognition this year so go for a late election.

    • Marty G 6.1

      I think he’s over-estimating how much of a boost the world cup will be. Yes, wall to wall coverage but actually only $700 million into the $190,000 million economy – a 0.3% boost, which then unwinds once it’s over.

      another bad winter in the northern hemisphere and he could be running during a time of skyrocketing oil prices. In fact it’s likely that either they’ll be up due to china’s growth or china’s bubbles will burst – not good either.

  7. gingercrush 7

    They also have nine months to make a fool of themselves. Something Labour have been excelling in.

    July would have looked opportunistic just as it looked opportunistic for Labour to go early in 2002. Likewise, too much is made about the economy.If New Zealanders were that worried there is no fucking way National would be polling as well as its doing.

    Besides, Irishbill you showed your stupidity by constantly going on about how National would go in July. And if they did go in July there would be howls of criticism at this site about what a stupid move John Key did and how opportunistic it was etc. And how could it be legitimate to go early because there’s a World Cup. How fucking stupid. Not to mention, that John Key just announced asset sales and then does a July election. Voters would hate that.

    Neither you or Marty G present a decent reason for why John Key choosing November as a date is a bad move. Instead, you choose utter delusions in believing eventually that support National and John Key has have to disappear (after all Marty G has produced a dozen or so pathetic posts about trends in polls) and thinking the economy is going to go south. GDP and/or job numbers are likely to be dreadful from now till July but should eventually improve when November 26 comes.

    Besides giving away when the election is held allows plenty of time for Labour and the delusional left blogosphere to really believe New Zealand is coming round to hate John Key.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      If New Zealanders were that worried there is no fucking way National would be polling as well as its doing.

      NZ’ers are very worried about the economy.

      However NAT continues to poll high because many NZ’ers continue to believe the nice successful businessman John Key when he says that an aggressive recovery is right around the corner. Also, LAB has not rolled out a complete, cohesive narrative about what they will do different, as yet.

      The *risk* that Key is taking is if by the last quarter this year, that aggressive recovery is nowhere to be seen. And if at that stage NZ’ers cease to believe that Key and English can deliver.

      Yes, its a lot of ‘ifs and buts’, but a conclusion that people aren’t worried about the economy just because NAT is polling well is a touch too simplistic IMO.

      • Bunji 7.1.1

        Calling John Key a businessman is like calling a real estate agent a builder.

        He’s a trader or speculator. He doesn’t know about growing a productive business/economy, he knows about buying and selling assets…

        • Olwyn

          Well said Bunji. We need a “like” button on the posts. Anti-spam word: Loans (eerie)

        • KJT

          Business men/women are entrepreneurs who grow their business by selling people something they need or want. Money jugglers are just parasites.

    • IrishBill 7.2

      Nope. Plenty of good reasons to go early. He could have claimed that a four week election campaign in November would be too rushed and unfair on voters. Which it is.

      Now you can take a week off for abusing an author.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Of course, the November date gives plenty of time for the country to recover from the recession. So, I don’t think that November disadvantages National at all.

    • IrishBill 8.1

      I think that’s a little optimistic but it may well be in Key’s thinking.

      • tsmithfield 8.1.1

        I think there is good reason for Key to be optimistic about an improving economy before November:

        1. Worldwide food inflation that will boost profits of our agricultural producers.
        2. Pick-up in building due to the earthquake.
        3. Influx of tourists due to world-cup.

        • Marty G

          1) the nzier analysis agrees with mine- higher food prices are a reduction in welfare to the country because most of us don’t have jobs in the sector and our incomes will not rise in the short term due to higher export receipts.

          2) the fact that building consents are falling despite the earthquake being five months ago suggests little work is happening

          3)While a great event,I’m sure, the added GDP from the World Cup is 0.3% and a one-off. The $700 million boost is 32 hours economic output.

          • Colonial Viper

            The other thing about the World Cup is that a lot of people are going to feel left out of participating. You want to go to a big semi finals game in one of the big centres? Good luck with Air NZ airfares and hotel accommodation setting you back a grand easy.

            For the Few, this is no problem of course.

            Also if we win, look for John Key to declare a national holiday. His business mates will suck up a short term one day loss if it means another 3 years with a Tory Govt in power.

          • J Mex

            Hey Marty, speaking of your analysis, is there going to be a follow up post to this one:

            It’s official: 2nd recession has begun

            I haven’t seen you mention the December GDP growth anywhere, which kind of axes your claim that the 2nd recession had officially begun?

            I only mention this because when I pointed out that your post title was factually incorrect – A 2nd recession had not actually officially begun – you wrote:

            stop crying, it belittles you.
            this quarter is also going to be negative, meaning that the September quarter will then be recognised as the first quarter of the Key recession.

        • Draco T Bastard

          1.) NZIER expects the high food prices to drop the economy by 2%
          2.) hahahaha, sorry, EQC and Fletchers capped the amount that can be paid and so a lot of builders around the country aren’t going to bother. Canterbury’s on their own for that one.
          3.) A minor, short term boost that will be gone by the time the election comes round and only affect a few people directly

        • Deadly_NZ

          And plenty of reasons for us to be pessimistic as we still have the nice Mr Blinglishes budget to go yet, and what little gems and delights can we expect in that???

          1 Poorer kiwis can not afford to buy food. Export prices guarantee that.
          2 Yeah when EQC and the insurance co’s get their asses into gear.
          3 And if NZ loses in the quarters. Influx of tourists out of NZ.

          • J Mex

            Um… just on your number 3….

            3. And if NZ loses in the quarters. Influx of tourists out of NZ

            Firstly, wouldn’t tourists be coming to support ‘their’ teams? I doubt they care if the final is Australia, France, South Africa, New Zealand or England.

            Secondly, don’t you think that these tourists will have booked their accommodation and travel arrangements for the entire tournament (or as part of a package)?

            • Deadly_NZ

              True, but a lot more will stay after their team has lost if the Ab’s are still in it Those on the ‘floating’ tickets, But also for accomodation and travel packages would they not have an out if your country had a bad day and bombed out early?

    • Vicky32 8.2

      “Of course, the November date gives plenty of time for the country to recover from the recession. ”
      You really believe it’s going to? 😀 I shall simply believe it when I see it…

  9. Pete 9

    IrishBill’s mistake.

    Trying frantically to criticise an expected full term election date being announced in plenty of time looks desperate, criticism as a natural reaction rather than picking fights that matter. This reinforces the image of anti-everything Labourites. Sensible and correct decision has been made, why not just accept that and move on?

    • IrishBill 9.1

      Because for every reason I suggested an early election having a late one is a bad idea. In all honesty I can say I’m very pleased Key is going late and he’s lost a really good opportunity to catch labour and the greens out because there’s no way they could have got a decent campaign up and running by then.

      I reckon he’s lost himself at least four or five percent with this call. Of course I won’t know for sure until we get the final result and can compare it with July polling.

      • Pete 9.1.1

        No one will ever know for sure if it was a “bad” idea in relation to National’s chances. But more importantly it was a good idea for demoratic process. The PM should not be trying to manipulate election dates to try and score a few points. It should be an independently set date, all Key has done here is set the election to the proper date – and it sounded like Goff was agreeing with that when he spoke on NatRad this morning.

        • nadis

          bill – you may be right, but your comment reeks of exactly the reason why Key is so popular and the opposition is in disarray. The public is sick of politics as usual (and the traditional gaming over election timing is typical of that). these games are meet and drink to the 1% (or less) of NZ who are actually closely involved in the political party machines machines, but to everyone else – Keys announcement yesterday is a line in the sand between politics as usual and a new approach. You think Key didn’t look like a statesman as opposed to a politician in yesterdays news bites? Contrast that to the footage of Goff spinning and Winston blustering…….. It is no wonder politicians rank so poorly in public perception polls when they cannot look genuine. That is Key’s great advantage, he sits above that.

          The only way for Labour and Winston to seize back some initiative is for Winston to announce he will never go in a coalition with anyone and will sit on the opposition benches providing moral guidance and conscience on the government (I know – it sounds really funny), voting against bills that are bad for kiwis, and for Goff to support that approach saying “it’s good for NZ” (even though it isnt).

          We should move to a fixed election date.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But more importantly it was a good idea for demoratic process.

          I’d agree with that. It should be a fixed date – first or second Saturday in November.

          The PM should not be trying to manipulate election dates to try and score a few points.

          But that’s exactly what he’s done. He’s also just told everyone that there’s 11 months of campaign period even though NACT legislated for 3 after repealing the previous regulated period.

          • luva


            The alternative would be National telling their caucus only when the election was. They would be campaigning for 11 months while Labour and the rest of the country spend7-8 months trying to guess when the election is rather than campaigning.

            Now it’s an 11 month campaign for the many, not the few.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It was always going to be an 11 month campaign. That’s why the previous government regulated from Jan 1. NACT said that was silly and that campaigning was only for three months. So, what NACT can do is put through huge amounts of money for campaigning without it being regulated so that the campaigning is flooded by the few and drowns out the many – same as they did in 2k5.

          • Pete

            But that’s exactly what he’s done.

            That could be claimed whatever date he announces, whenever he announced it, there’s no way he could have avoided that accusation when it’s his decision. In any case, there are plenty of claims for the points being both for and against so they drown each other out in irrelevant hubris.

            I agree with nadis.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The point is that it wasn’t an announcement of principal but a political byplay.

              • J Mex

                Draco, can you give one hypothetical example of Key announcing an election date that you wouldn’t claim is political byplay?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Nope, the announcement of the election date is a political byplay in one fashion or another. Doesn’t matter who’s doing it.

  10. nadis 10

    November is all about the economy. Will be in a significantly better looking place by then. Employment always lags so November gives more time to see positive gains in job growth.

    And I wouldn’t pin hopes on the asset sale campaign – nats have taken the heat out of that by a) seeking a mandate at the election, b) doing things in a much ore limited way than in the past (ie govt retains 51%). To make that resonate the public has to believe Key is untrustworthy and dishonest. Good luck with that. The public sees no evidence as they judge Key by the standards of other politicians which unfortunately for the opposition is a sample of such paragons as the corrupt Winston Peters, the machiavellian and devious Helen Clark, the mean spirited michael Cullen.

    Its only within the Standard echo chamber you can find a group of people who actually believe that. It may well be cynical (or good politics) but Key has been very very effective at being a politician who is seen as above politics. No-one else has managed that in the last few decades.

    With Phil Goff in charge of Labour the contrast is so stark there is not the slightest chance of changing the public perception of Key, and negative attempts to do so merely reinforce the difference between Key and “ordinary” politicians in the minds of the middle public.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      November is all about the economy. Will be in a significantly better looking place by then. Employment always lags so November gives more time to see positive gains in job growth.

      Yes I agree with you, its all about the economy. So you think that we will be coming out of recession ‘reasonably aggressively’ at last? Maybe.

      If Australia stumbles, its game over for the economy this year. If a major european country stumbles into default, its game over. If China stumbles with local unrest, its game over.

      Even though Key is an old hand gambler, he should know better than trying to time the markets.

      • nadis 10.1.1

        I don’t have any great predictive insight (as does anyone), but generically economies globally have clearly turned for the better and recent imbalances are being worked out. Plenty of risk out there but I would be almost certain growth and employment will be better in Q4 than now right around the globe. Even the US is now seeing traditional growth in employment growth precursors (industrial production, housing starts, service sector confidence) – employment growth will follow. NZ will have a similar experience imo, and in November National will be able to point to a clearly better economy and a strong outlook.

        I wouldn’t really characterise as a trying to time the markets. Yes in part, but this is more about redefining Key and National as better than politics as usual.

    • Pete 10.2

      The economy will be a major factor – but mostly it will be what party looks the most capable of dealing with the economy going forward. An incessant whine in opposition is not a great vote catching image, I hope Labour start to look like leaders-in-waiting soon.

    • lprent 10.3

      Curious. You start with saying that the election is going to be about the economy (which you’re wrong about – it is pretty obvious it will be at best no worse than it is now).

      The remainder of your bullshit concerns itself with presidential type electioneering – which has less and less of an real impact close to an election. You’re correct in your emphasis that Key is holding up the Nats polling numbers. You’re wrong in assuming that will be sustained all of the way to polling day. Voters tend to vote against governments if they have a viable alternative. In my experience over the last three decades, that viability has little to do with the personalities when it comes close to polling day.

      The election is going to largely be about Nationals record in office. It isn’t particularly good for the majority of voters and most of the better bits were actually put into operation by Labour.

  11. infused 11

    Either way it’s going to be a land slide. Labour are going to get smashed. Looking forward to it.

    • Craig Glen Eden 11.1

      It wont be a land side either way. Yup based on the polls Key looks good however more and more people are wising up to his spin. The other issue with polls is the polsters only call land lines more and more people only have a cell phone so I think polling is becoming less reflective of the electorate.
      The problem for National is the election is not first past the post. Act are not in good shape and the Maori Party couldn’t organise a hui on a Marae so who’s left. Shit time to hammer Winston yup that John Key he’s not political at all at all.

      Key has set the time and has chosen the long game he should have gone early thank God he hasnt.
      Its Keys to loose and his short history is starting to tell a sorry tale of under delivering.

  12. Hilary 12

    It’s going to be all about growing inequalities, in all sorts of ways, and no amount of spin will be able to disguise that from those whose lives are getting harder.

  13. Scott 13

    Key will be gambling on Labour continuing to look inept in opposition. It’s a good bet and I’d put my money on it.

    • Richard 13.1

      But he’s also gambling on National not looking inept in government.

      Certainly, there are lots of things that are going to play out over the year. Some might go National’s way, some might provide fuel for opposition to National.

      – Teacher’s strikes
      – Economic recovery
      – Impact of GST
      – Impact of ECE cuts
      – Whether or not the Rugby World Cup is a shambles
      – Earthquake recovery process in ChCh
      – Involvement in Afghanistan

      To me, it looks like Key etc, are trying to insure themselves against losing by giving themselves a bit more time to “work” in this term. They seem to want time to start to implement some questionable processes now, in the hopes that either they can continue those processes in a second term — or that undoing theses processes will be tricky and distracting for a new labour goverment.

  14. patriot_nz 14

    I’m happy the election is going to be held at the end of November- no excuses now Labour- you can roll Goff and King and have enough time for the new leaders to make the party electable again.

    I saw a recent poll of the Maori seats- even those traditionally left voters prefer Key to Goff for PM. Goff and King are dinosaurs and nobody from the left or right wants them back in charge.


    • ianmac 14.1

      Strange that patriot should be so anti-left but enthusiastically giving advice to “save” Labour. Perhaps he is indicating an anxiety about the longterm prospects of a threat from Labour?

  15. vto 15

    Hate to say it but I think Patriot NZ above is right. Goff in particular. Suspect many would struggle to recognise him for a start.

    I mean he is up against a PM who is a near celebtiry and for example laughs about the women he would love to fuck ffs. Poor old Liz Hurley. Poor old Bronagh. (Poor old all of us having to put up with such schoolboy fantasies of his.)

    Key’s smiling is simply working. That really is a majpr part of his popularity imo. Tho what one does to counter that or stand out in some other way I don’t know. And it is too late for Goff to start some new political mannerisms etc now anyway. Perhaps Goff, as in many areas of life, could simply sharpen up around the edges and just improve, rapidly, all aspects of his self. A 10% improvment here, a sharpening of the one-liners there, a bit more hair dye somewhere else, slightly sharper dressing, just a few more smiles. I dunno, I aint a polly person, but that’s how its done in business and other areas – just constantly improve your own position, wherever you can by however much you can. Little bit here, little bit there.

    • vto 15.1

      Oh, and one other thing – winkle out all the eyes in the potato. Concentrate hard on the worse aspects and get them improved. Every single one. Don’t turn a blind eye to anything.

      Here endeth the lesson …

    • orange whip? 15.2

      What really bothers me vto is that it may still be too late to change leaders, BUT it wasn’t too late two years ago and many of us were calling for it then.

      Little here, little there – is that an intentional pun? 😉

    • vto 15.3

      Maybe also, get a terrier to rip into Key. He can’t be allowed to get away with this “mmmm I’d love to fuck Hurley” shit, for example. Surely that is a sitter for ripping into. Key targets emotions and etc,.. well, haul him further intp emotional heart-string stuff. Get a Mallard or someone else to play him at his game. Get him into an uncomfortable position about things like this.

      • luva 15.3.1

        Do you really think Key would lose support if someone ripped into him for his“mmmm I’d love to fuck Hurley” shit?

        He was playing to his supporters when he said it.

        Wright or wrong, the boys at the pub sipping on their Lion Red love that shit

        • orange whip?

          It’s not about the boys at the pub, luva. It’s about, as vto says, uncomfortable positioning.

          Getting him to say it again, only louder. Letting him play to the boys in the pub. Putting him on the spot. Forcing him to stand by his words. Making him take stands he doesn’t believe in so he has to reverse himself. Make him piss someone off whatever he says. Alternate and repeat.

          It’s about getting him to paint himself into corners, and guys like Mallard are really good at it.

        • Colonial Viper

          He was playing to his supporters when he said it.

          Wait…this is the kind of thing that conservatively voting women are into?

          Surely you jest.

        • Puddleglum

          The boys in the pub are one thing – then there’s the women who might put themselves in Bronagh’s position and wonder what it feels like to have your partner talk like that about other women on broadcast radio.

          They might also have a sense of what it feels like to have your partner talk about other women in smaller social groups and then they could extrapolate from that feeling. Then again, there might be a ‘boys will be boys’ eye-rolling from most women and it won’t affect their voting intentions. I really don’t know.

          Nevertheless, men are only 50% of the population. I understand that women (as a voting bloc) shifted towards Key/National in 2008. I’d be interested in a gender ‘breakdown’ in the polls of the last two years and then through this year.

          This also relates to the ‘feminism and the left’ posts. Phil riding motorbikes, chopping wood on his lifestyle block and talking protectively about his mother and grandmother versus Key speaking to Tony Veitch about ‘hot’ women and no doubt doing a lot of boys’ own, blokey rugby stuff in the second half of the year.

      • orange whip? 15.3.2

        Good call.

      • Domino 15.3.3

        If you’re goign to use somebody to rip into Key about speculating about having an affair, better to use somebody who hasn’t actually had an affair. That rules Mallard out. Mallard could have gone about his business in private if he hadn’t gone after Brash for the same reason.

      • nadis 15.3.4

        Mallard? You are kidding, think of the baggage Mallard carries, maybe Trev could invite John out to the back of the bike sheds for a fight? Mallard attacking Key would see Keys rating improve dramatically.

        You really really don’t get it do you? That knee jerk response “attack Key” is why Labour is in disarray and Key so popular. Whether or not he is really above it (I’m generally a right voter and I would accept the proposition Key is just as calculating as any other pollie) but he doesn’t get sucked down to that level publicly. The electorate doesn’t want to see old style politics. If Labour wants to get traction you have to stop thinking that the inter-factional blood feuds you get within labour is how adults should behave in public. Or at least be smart about – National probably do exactly the same sheet, but they are not SEEN to do it.

        In recent history I think there are two political events where I remember thinking “oh oh, you are going to lose the election because of that”

        1. When Brash couldn’t define a “mainstream New Zealander”. Simple answer, “anyone who wants to leave society a better place for their children.” Non-political, aspirational, non-exclusionary – exactly the answer John Key would give.

        2. When Helen Clarke bizarrely intimated John Key was a wife beater. What the fuck? Had Mike Lee or someone uncovered “evidence” in Melbourne or somewhere?

        • orange whip?

          Nah, it’s only the politically interested extreme right-wingers like you who hate Mallard. Most people don’t even know who he is.

          Simple answer, “anyone who wants to leave society a better place for their children.” Non-political, aspirational, non-exclusionary – exactly the answer John Key would give.

          Ha, there is no fucking way Key could string together that answer.

          • nadis

            extreme right winger? not sure how you’d mistakenly assume that. I don’t hate Mallard at all, rather see him in parliament than the grey drones you otherwise get.

            But think through the Mallard thing…… assault case, picture of him in the dock, many many soundbites and quotes of him coming over like an aggressive toss pot. How hard to deflect a personal attack from someone with that form?

            And how effective would an attack be coming from someone like “Most people don’t even know who he is.”

    • Shane Gallagher 15.4

      The problem is that Labour do not have anyone obvious to take over – which is a real problem. I mean how shallow does your team have to be to have no one else? Goff does not have anything resembling the X-factor (Key doesn’t either – I am not sure what it is he has – luck of the devil maybe?) and Labour needs someone with a bit of charisma. Goff is just too stiff and uncomfortable on TV. And that has nothing to do with him personally – Sue Bradford comes across very differently in real life than she does on TV for example.

      • orange whip? 15.4.1

        The problem is that Labour do not have anyone obvious to take over – which is a real problem.

        Question (serious one): Do they have anyone who would do a worse job than Goff?

        • Anthony C

          Little would be very good, good mixture of gravitas and intelligence on delivery, and looks wise he has that classic burly kiwi jock look.

          Maybe a bit late though, by the time he is into parliament, and then PM the country will be screwed.

          As a deputy in parliament Cunliffe is the obvious choice.

          Kelly would be great as well if she was in parliament, she has the passion and the fieriness to make a good MP or deputy and one that can speak well on TV, like a moderate Sue Bradford.

          • orange whip?

            Party Leaders don’t have to be in parliament, do they?

            Put him in now I reckon. This ain’t the time to stand on ceremony.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Party leaders become the PM and you can’t be PM unless you’re an MP.

              • orange whip?

                Yes but I’m presuming that Little will be an MP after the election anyway.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Ah, got you. Yes, if it’s not specifically against Labours rules they could make Little leader now. He doesn’t need to be in parliament to get the coverage from the MSM – it just helps due to QT etc.

        • fatty

          “Do they have anyone who would do a worse job than Goff?”

          My thoughts too, I’ll never vote for Goff, cause of his past, particularly the 1980s…I’d at least listen to David Cunliffe.

          Looks like Greens will get another resentful vote from me, unless Hone creates a left party.

          • Sookie

            Why not Trevor Mallard? He’s a take no prisoners kind of blokey bloke who’s well known to people. He’s somewhat polarising, but he’d definitely get some media attention. I’ve always liked him and wanted him as leader since Auntie Helen left.

            • Draco T Bastard

              He seems a decent chap but from my reading of Red Alert he’s still clinging to the neo-liberal line. As Labour need to differentiate and get away from that line of thinking he wouldn’t be much better, and possibly worse, than Goff.

            • Colonial Viper

              Would someone in LAB please start talking about ‘Fair Trade’ instead of just ‘Free Trade’.

              Anyone? Anyone? Come on guys, throw us a bone here.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Over the last 30 odd years “free-trade” has never been about free-trade. What it’s been about is free capital movement and restrictions (IP, laws) that benefits the rich.

                Fair trade would kill the free-capital movement, remove the restrictions and make sure a number of laws (environmental protection, minimum wage) were close enough to be identical.

    • M 15.5

      ‘I mean he is up against a PM who is a near celebtiry and for example laughs about the women he would love to fuck ffs. Poor old Liz Hurley. Poor old Bronagh. (Poor old all of us having to put up with such schoolboy fantasies of his.)’

      Don’t really Key could handle it – If Liz Hurley dropped her skirt he’d probably run a mile.

      I think you’re right about Phil sharpening up his image – just as men notice a woman who is nicely turned out so it is with women noticing a snappy dresser and maybe Labour can get women who defected to National to notice a shinier Phil. Maybe Gok or Trinny and Susannah could do with some work just now and for heaven’s sake Phil get some extra media training – think of it as your trousseau for gaining office.

    • prism 15.6

      vto – Key’s smiling is simply working. That really is a majpr part of his popularity imo. Tho what one does to counter that or stand out in some other way I don’t know.

      Presumably there is a political commentator who has studied the electorate and has figures on the partitions in it, and their inclinations. It seems that younger people are happy with Key, possibly because they haven’t a strong vision about the country and others’ wellbeing. Young people with no children, for instance, may have a different viewpoint five years later when they are confronted with the duties, restraints and costs connected with children.

      Are older people mostly conservative? I feel they are, but has someone got cogent information on this? If someone can provide a link to a well-informed summary, I’d be interested in reading it.

    • Deadly_NZ 15.7

      And you have seen what popularity can do. Just look at George W Bush, now there was a airhead but he did 8 years as president waging war. and little else.

  16. Hilary 16

    But Key is National’s only asset. What if he stumbles?

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      No sweat, Hilary, English will lead team National to victory.

      • orange whip? 16.1.1

        Tony Ryall looks quite dapper when he fills in for the PM, all dressed up and sitting in the big-boy chair.

  17. Treetop 17

    Better a late election as then it will be more apparent how much profit the SOEs make. Big electric bills over the winter so more profit and the voter gets hit in the pocket with a large power bill. Why sell the golden goose? And the consumer wants to have some control over the cost of electricity?

    Winston is so entertaining regarding his political comments about Key, Winston hasn’t started yet.

  18. Anthony C 18

    I wonder what would happen if Phil Goff actually called John Key a dick or at least a bit of a dick.

    • orange whip? 18.1

      Totally. Next time he’s asked to comment on something Key has done he should say “Who cares what that bell-end thinks?”

      Let’s get some aggression into this game. Labour, any fight left in your dogs?

    • Akldnut 18.2

      1. which part? I suggest the head!

      John Key = Richard Cranium (Dick Head)

  19. David Cameron announced the date of the next UK general election 5 years out. Key is only worth 20% of an Etonian twit

  20. Craig Glen Eden 20

    The problem for Key is he now has history which he did not have in the last election and that history is not good. Key never delivers, never, the tax cuts have failed to help bridge the gap in the weekly household shortfall,National standards are a mess, his war on P has been a fizzer. Just last week he was put on the spot by Campbell and he fell apart, yesterday he announced the election date and practically read it word for word.

    Keys house is built of straw and he knows it,” aspirational” more like a dreamer who what was it according to English jumps or bounces from “cloud to cloud”.

    Key is going to have to hide for 10 months with the likes Veitch! Great company if you want a kick in the back but shit its not the type of company a PM needs to be in week after week.

    Key should of gone early and their is one Politician with a way better smile than Key and thats that white Maori boy Winston. Winston will be in his element this election on the attack with costic funny one liners and they will be all aimed at Key. No wonder Key is trying to attack him, its game on girls and boys.

    • Treetop 20.1

      Winston the big bad wolf is certainly addictive. Has he done his penance for the Glenn donation? I think so. Winston did not lose it and physically assault someone which required ongoing medical treatment and he does not embarrass his wife on radio either.

  21. KJT 21

    Labours fight back has been so pathetic so far it is probably a good bet it will not improve over the next few months.
    Goff as one of the Neo-Liberal persuasion anyway does not have his heart in it.

    Vote Greens if you want real change.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1


    • Craig Glen Eden 21.2

      As is always the problem for the Greens for most its too much change hence elections are won and lost in the centre. The other problem for the Greens is Norman is a arrogant twat.

  22. the sprout 22

    not sure what the Electoral Act says, but unless Key is now legally obliged to make it Nov 26, don’t be surprised if it does turn out to be July after all – an implosion of ACT or Maori Party will grant him all the justification he needs in the gullible public’s eyes.

    • Lanthanide 22.1

      I think he’s upped the stakes so it would really requires *both* ACT and MP to implode to justify bringing it forwards.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        yeah and Labour can agree to confidence and supply to make the justification all the harder to move the date.

  23. Brett 23

    My advise to Phil Goff, don’t try to be something your not, otherwise you will look try hard and ridiculous.
    Key relates well to Mr and Mrs Average, because his ‘working class upbringing’ shaped his personality in a way that enables him to relate to most kiwis.
    Most Kiwis do not have a problem with Key saying he thought Liz hurly was attractive, they would have had more of a issue, if Key had said something along the lines of ‘Tony I am appalled you would even ask me that question,how dare you even think of a woman in that sort of way, they are not pieces of meat!!!!”
    The end result then, would have been most people thinking “That guy Key, what’s his problem, we do that thing all the time., what a wanker”.
    The fact that he gave such lame answers, makes me think he really isn’t into that sort of thing but was put on the spot and didn’t want to look like a tool.
    That is good politics.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Not looking like a tool in front of the lads but confirming for married women you have no back bone or class is ‘good politics’?

      • Brett 23.1.1

        Woman talk about hot celebrity/sports dudes all the time, even ‘gasp’ married ones.
        Have to say though, Tony Vetch has to be one of the dumbest bastards ever, that man does not learn.

  24. JS 24

    The obvious next leader when PM Goff decides to retire in a few years is Grant Robertson. He’s got gravitas, a bit of charisma, and he’s just been promoted. But he’s still under 40, so has time on his side. And he would never be trapped by the Liz Hurley questions.

  25. NX 25

    You actually have to have a good reason to call an early election.

    The fact you’re advocating Key should’ve done this says much about your politics.

    • The Voice of Reason 25.1

      No, you don’t have to have a good reason. The PM can call one anytime he feels like it (and may well do just that well before November). However, history on both sides of the Tasman suggests that the party calling the snap election takes a hit, no matter what reason is given. But that doesn’t mean the Government always falls.

      Nobody here is actually advocating Key should do anything other than his job. (Relentless focus my hairy arse!) Most comments on this and the related posts have been around whether the announcement will work in his favour or not. Most say not. This is Key’s Muldoon Moment. He may not have been as pissed as Piggy was in making the announcement, but I reckon it’ll go down as in history as an equally foolish decision.

      • NX 25.1.1

        No, you don’t have to have a good reason.

        From Wikipedia:

        “although a convention exists whereby Prime Ministers do not call early elections unless they have no reasonable alternative.”

        So there’s a convention. Give how often the fifth Labour govt ignored parliamentary convention, it’s no surprise you don’t see them as important.

        But may I point out that because NZ has no constitution, our system is based on conventions.

        • NX

          Key may not have done the right thing by the National Party, but he has done the right thing by the country.

          I support fixed parliamentary terms.

          • Colonial Viper

            Four year terms.

            • NX

              I was referring to fixed election dates.

              I’m not sure about a four year term.

              With only one house of parliament, we don’t have much opportunity to vote on what they’re doing. So three years is a good power check.

              But, in terms of implementing a government programme there maybe strong reasons for having a four-year term.

              I dunno.

  26. Maui 26

    As a person who saw many get rich quick dreams dashed during the Sydney Olympics due to its population leaving town to athletes, tourists, and the media, think you should seriously consider the collapse of the NZ tourism market outlined in the link below ..


    An election held after a similar World Cup debacle would be interesting.

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