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Key’s shell-game wears thin

Written By: - Date published: 12:40 pm, August 5th, 2008 - 20 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, slippery - Tags:

On National Radio’s Morning Report and Nine to Noon yesterday, Key ran the ‘not telling’ line once again and it was once too often.

Asked a simple question: ‘What projects are you going to spend the extra money you plan to borrow on?’ Key refused to answer. You could hear the self-satisfaction in his voice as he once again said ‘we’ll reveal that later’

But later has been and gone. The media and the public expected something substantial out of the National party conference on the weekend. What they got was a bullet point borrowing plan. No explanation of what the money will be spent on. No explanation of what economic benefit those projects would create so that Kiwis can judge for themselves whether the price is worthwhile. No policy on how borrowing would be ‘hermetically sealed’ from tax cuts.

08wire.org asks: “Are National’s twin games of ‘me too’ and ‘not telling’ starting to wear thin with voters?” I think the answer is a resounding yes, not only among voters but in the media too. People are coming to the logical conclusion: National is playing a policy shell-game with us, and there isn’t anything under any of the cups.

20 comments on “Key’s shell-game wears thin ”

  1. Scribe 1

    At the risk of repeating myself, once Helen Clark reveals the election date, things will start being released.

    “Are National’s twin games of “me too’ and “not telling’ starting to wear thin with voters?’ I think the answer is a resounding yes

    Now that’s surprising.

  2. Daveski 2

    We’ve had four posts on a minor issue yet none on the fact that we are now confirmed to be in a recession.

    It’s not just Key’s shell game that is wearing thin.

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    What do you mean, daveski? Cullen was interviewed in an article about that this very afternoon, check out the Herald if you missed it. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong places.

  4. Daveski. I’m getting around to the recession. The posts you’re reading were written this morning (except sacrophagus, which was a different post renamed and reworked).. I haven’t had time to do a post on the recession yet.

    And you can call Bill English undermining Key’s leadership and revealing secret policy behind closed doors ‘minor’ until the cows come home, won’t make it so.

  5. infused 5

    Yet Nationals lead doesn’t slip. Oh noes, what is going on here?

  6. Infused, was there a poll conducted yesterday? I’d like to see it.

    Anyway, the public will get sick of the shell game National are playing well before the press gallery do.

  7. Phil 7

    “Oh noes”

    National iz in ur base, stealn ur voterz

  8. Tane 8

    Phil, classic.

  9. vto 9

    Key was clearly an expert at playing the shell / first to blink / call the bluff / negotiation games when he made his few squillion. My guess is he is applying those exact same skills to the current set of political parameters. And its all and always human beings and their natural manner which is the guide. And the wild card.

    Clark and Key playing the best game of poker we seen in a while.

    You gotta know when to fold ’em, know when to hold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run… You never count your money when its sitting at the table, there be time enough for counting… when the dealings done.

    Who’s your money on? (policies etc aside)

  10. Alex Urquhart 10

    Using the private sector to increase the economy’s capacity? Using debt to fund infrastructure development?

    This is not me-too. These are very much points of difference.

    I was impressed with John Key on Nine to Noon yesterday – he had a real understanding of the economic issues facing NZ. He was able to explain them succinctly and in common sense terms, going far beyond the slogans Labour is fond off. Key will not allow NZers to fall for the broad assumptions that privitisation is bad, the public debt is bad etc. etc. We are capable of rational thought.

    I think New Zealanders will find that comforting.

    Now that he’s got some meat to deal with, John Key’s stature is increasingly assured.

  11. BeShakey 11

    Anyone thats surprised we are in a recession hasn’t been paying much attention lately.

    “Using the private sector to increase the economy’s capacity? Using debt to fund infrastructure development?”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed this one – but we aren’t really a communist country (sorry D4J), the private sector are more heavily involved in the economy than in most other western countries. It would have been nice to hear how exactly JK was going to increase the economy’s capacity (and some story about how he is going to bake a bigger cake than HC isn’t going to cut it).

    Labour has used debt to fund infrastructure as do most western countries. Two key issues – a) is it really for infrastructure, or is it for tax cuts? JK will need a pretty good explanation of how this borrowing could possibly be ‘hermetically sealed’ from tax cuts, and even the Herald is pretty suspcious of this. b) are the (currently secret) infrastructure investments good ones? As most everyone who has read these announcements has pointed out, there is a difference between investments that will have a net benefit to the economy and those that won’t (factoring in the cost of borrowing). Given that National is refusing to say what it will fund it’s impossible for you (or anyone else) to say its a good investment.

  12. “Who’s your money on? (policies etc aside)” – the Left. because this isn’t a poker game, you can’t just bluff it out until the other side folds, eventually you have to show your cards, and we know National’s hand is full of losers apart from its one ace.

  13. Daveski. I’ve jsut read the Treasury report. They say they expect that the economy did contract in the second quarter meaning we are in a recession. That’s what everyone thought already. In fact, I wrote exactly the same in a post yesterday.

    The Treasury report doesn’t give a estimate of what the second quarter contraction was, so there’s not really anything to post on other than ‘Treasury says what everyone’s being saying’… don’t worry, I’m sure it will be breathlessly be reported as shocking new info on the telly tonight.

  14. pinetree 14

    “….I?m sure it will be breathlessly be reported as shocking new info on the telly tonight”

    Too true, see the Key/English debacle of the last few days…

    ….as for policy voids, I think 6th form physics told me that even an “ideal vacuum” will not in practice remain empty….it’ll fill all right, or someone will fill it for you…

    I even had me old mum telling me today she thought it “mad that Key would hock us in debt” for tax cuts….and trust me, she hasn’t the faintest idea economically, but she has a vote….

    Even an old righty like me gets annoyed by this sh*t….

    I feel we’re not too far away from it being all on…as SP says, wearing thin….

  15. Daveski 15


    Nothing unexpected agreed. Nor is it a surprise that the Speaker has ordered an inquiry into NZF finances.

    I was just pointing out that there have been FOUR threads on one topic compared to other none on other issues.

    The Standard has no obligation to do so – time, jobs etc But four separate threads on one topic??

    Ha ha – captcha “who warring” … indeed!

  16. vto 16

    SP, true it isn’t a game of poker. But it is. Completely. And it aint about the cards you hold its about how you play them. Hence good and bad poker players.

    Re the topic: Personally I’m quite comfortable with the crap that each party goes about spouting at the mo. And the fact national are keepimg their cards close to their chest? – pffft. Their policies WILL come out. Do you seriously think they will have no policies?

    And I will look and decide then.

    Until then its all just smoke and mirrors and standard bearers.

  17. vto 17

    Oh, and my money is on Key to win the poker…
    (whether I want him to or not)

  18. Daveski 18


    Sadly I agree about the game playing. All parties play it but the popular view here is that only the righties resort to such tactics.

    I’ve commented previously about the role of the media in dumbing down politics.

    Ironically, the one counter-trend is the blogosphere and I would include the Standard very much in this.

    There is real potential for blogs to examine issues in a way the media doesn’t – at least some of the time.

  19. gazzaj 19

    “The media and the public expected something substantial out of the National party conference on the weekend.”

    Haha. Really? Are you serious?

    The media maybe wanted something substantial… but I doubt they were expecting it.

    The general public though? I bet at least 90% of people had no idea there was a National party conference on the weekend, and couldn’t care less what happened at it.

  20. Actually “infused” they are.

    Maybe not in the NZH polls but Bill English’s and John Key’s blog sites are tanking big time.
    According to the Tumeke boys Bill English’s site is down to 84, down 27 places in one month a John Key’s blog went down from 43 (mine was 44) to 60. I’m still 44. The Standard site went up 2 places to number 4 swapping with the frog. Now some of my readers might only read me for the amusement factor (8500 hits means I doubled my hits from last month) and that is fine but for a politician having people loosing interest in what he has to say (carefully manicured youtube productions) in a pre election period should be of major concern. But then again maybe they are hoping the stupid uninformed sheeple of NZ will ignore all the warning signs and vote for them just to get rid of Helen Clark because that seems to be their only redeeming characteristic.

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