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Key’s small target

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, October 30th, 2011 - 18 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, john key, Media - Tags:

John Key has been running a “small target” strategy. Letting the public form an impression of him based on “friendly” interviews, and goofy Letterman appearances and the like. Avoiding the tough questions and the challenging political interviews (though he slipped up once there on HardTalk). As a political strategy it has worked well – Key remains personally popular. As a recipe for government it works poorly – breeding complacency and incompetence.

The small target strategy was always going to come under pressure during the election campaign of course. But by rights it should now be blown completely out of the water. Labour’s willingness to confront big “electoral poison” issues on the economy (CGT) and it’s long term sustainability (superannuation) should turn the focus of this election on to policy.

If the media does its job Key should be asked why he persists with tax loopholes and unsustainable tax cuts for the rich, while the poor get hammered by GST increases and inflated housing debt. Key should be asked why he can’t think any further ahead than the next election, why he’d sell assets when it would leave him worse off after just 9 years, what his answer is to supporting our aging population.

That’s just the beginning of the questions. And if the media does its job Key should have nowhere to hide from them.


(From Red Alert).

18 comments on “Key’s small target ”

  1. Carol 1

    That’s just the beginning of the questions. And if the media does its job Key should have nowhere to hide from them.

    But the media won’t do the job of a critical, non-partisan fourth estate.

    Already we see the sigh of relief from Tracy Watkins and Vernon Small on Stuff/Sunday Star Times:


    “nats turn for attention”? … as if there is some natural law that each party has its turn in the limelight, and nothing today with Labour’s better campaign strategies….. and ignoring the fact that the MSM has long been giving much more attention to Key and his diversionary photo ops than critically analysing the government’s performance on crucial issues.

  2. KJT 2

    I thought from the headline this was going to be about Key’s small balls.

  3. ianmac 3

    Too true. If you don’t say anything how can you be criticised for something unsaid? Healthy in a democracy? No!

  4. deservingpoor 4

    There is absolutely no way in hell the NZ media will do their job. Any time there is a tough issue, the only place John Key ever fronts up is on the cover of Woman’s Weekly.
    Personally I’d love to see the question, “Mr Key, Doc staff have done a brilliant job of helping the clean up following the Rena disaster. How many of those staff face unemployment as a result of public services cuts, if your government is re-elected.”
    Unfortunately, that question ain’t gonna happen.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      So are his handlers.

      This is a blue team choke that’s just started.

      btw Labour have got another king hit mega policy release coming up in just a few days time.

      Captain Panic Pants on Fire will love it.

  5. tc 6

    MSM has been rigged in their favour since early 08 , they’ve strengthened it via griffin and mates at RNZ, recycling Rick at TVNZ ( holmes, Espiner etc), Mediaworks licence freebies and Granny needed no encouragement.

    labour must focus, keep it simple, consistent, heartfelt and hope for the best, it’s not going to be a fair fight with this joke of a 4th estate.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Labour should have sorted out the MSM and TVNZ years ago. Too late this time around, but lets remember for next, please.

      • Deadly_NZ 6.1.1

        The first thing to do is get the 43million bucks back off of Media works Immediatly and if they prevaricate then 10% interest per day should let them know that we are serious. That should also take care of the Fat duo of Gutbuster and Plonker The NACTS TV3 ass kissing double act.

  6. Blue 7

    The problem is that the media are useless. If they were good for anything, we might not even have a National government.

    Every time you read a politics article, it seems to start from the baseline that right-wing economic doctrine is the absolute truth.

    Key gets an easy ride because the media know that he agrees with them on pretty much everything. The only time he gets criticised is when they think he’s not being right-wing enough.

  7. 56AJ 8

    I think one of the best things about the campaign so far is that it’s got the media scrambling. All ready to do presidential, and talk about ‘who got traction’, and have ‘expert panels’ tell us what we ought to think about the interview that just happened, all disrupted because Labour isn’t buying into the politics of perception.

    No launch, talking to non-voting school kids about savings, Labour’s clear message is it’s about the issues not the photo-ops. It’s blindsided a media so accustomed to reporting on ‘the game’ that you’ve got Mr Ralston and Mr Edwards and Mr Plunket asking each other with straight faces if it’s possible to win an election based on policies not personalities – of course it is and um, actually, that is what is supposed to happen.

    Labour’s loud and clear focus on policy is making all the play to date, and putting the acid on the media to report meaningfully on the distinctions between parties, and demand real answers from politicians about what they are actually planning to do with the country. We all win when that happens.

    We are in weird times when the media reports, in all seriousness, that a large part of the government’s strategy for re-election is to use the mesmeric qualities of its leader, rather than focus on its policy prescription. Labour is creating demand for the media to remove the veneer from the Prime Minister and check if there is anything else there.

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