Key’s vomit-inducing Herald interview

Written By: - Date published: 9:56 am, April 17th, 2010 - 41 comments
Categories: Media, Minister for Overseas Holidays - Tags: ,

If you want to read something vomit-inducing this morning, there’s no need to go any further than Audrey Young’s interview with Key about his overseas trip. Key talks about touching Barack Obama, sharing secrets with Stephen Harper, discussing Berlusconi’s boat, and how Angela Merkel knew Helen Clark quite well. Surely Audrey Young is taking the piss?

Have a read of the interview in its full vomit-inducing glory:

—-

The Prime Minister has just finished a hard week, including Obama’s nuclear summit and a trip to Canada. Political editor Audrey Young gets him to reflect on the personal moments.

How did you feel about being caught up in the middle of an incredible scandal in Canada?

Well, given that it dominated all the questions on the Canadian side [of the press conference], it shows that universally sex sells. I don’t even claim to understand it nor could I even understand the question, given that it was in French. But it sounds interesting.

Perhaps Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked for your advice because you sacked a minister, Richard Worth, last year and didn’t tell the media why?

It wasn’t lost on me that there were similarities.

Did you pass that on to Mr Harper?

I did actually.

Why do you get on so well with Mr Harper?

I think he is a really warm and engaging guy. I know the media give him a hard time for not being but in my experience with him he has been.

He’s centre right for start-off and probably his natural instincts would be more right than centre.

Whenever I have gone to any international functions we have struck up a personal relationship. We are quite like-minded in a lot of things.

There’s a really warm relationship between New Zealand and Canada.

Could you recap some of the more personal moments at the summit?

I had a really good conversation with [Italian Prime Minister Silvio] Berlusconi. It was the first time I’d met him … He was very animated, as those European leaders are.

He told me he parks his boat in New Zealand so that was quite interesting, and I invited him down. And I actually think there’s chance he might come. He said he wants to come, he’s heard great things about it, he’s very keen on sailing so who knows?

And why would you invite him?

Well, because it would be great. If his boat [will] be there, why wouldn’t he come? He’s got a place to stay.

What about others?

The King of Jordan came over and saw me. He has absolutely perfect English. Obviously educated in England, in one of those public schools I’d say.

A very English accent. He said to me he’s keen to come to New Zealand. He wants to bring his motorbike and drive down the South Island. He’s apparently famous for it. He apparently drives his protection people absolutely crazy.

Did you speak to Good luck Jonathan?

The Acting President of Nigeria … no. But I spoke to [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel. She invited me to Germany actually. She said she knew Helen Clark well, that she had a good relationship with her and thought it would be good for me to come.

So when these leaders dish out invitations do they really mean it?

She absolutely did mean it. Put it this way, when it has happened to me it is definitely genuine. With [India’s Prime Minister Manmohan] Singh when we saw him at Chogm [Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago] he was quite persistent.

He mentioned it about three times. When I saw Lee [South Korean President Lee Myung Bak], I had a great chat. He’s a great guy. What I find is when you have had a bilateral, when you have had a visit or they have come to your country, the relationship is always at a different level.

It is always much more warm and friendly so I think it is really worth investing some time. Obviously you’ve got to balance that against your domestic schedule.

President Obama gave Lee a big hug. Is he that sort of guy?

He put his arm on me too. All those US Presidents are tactile. Bush was like that too.

That’s all about showing who’s boss, isn’t it?

No I don’t think so. I think it’s actually the nature of US politics.

What makes a good bilateral?

In the case of the US, having one. Being there! That’s honest isn’t it? [laughing]. Generally, good chemistry and hopefully some deliverables and a sense of expanding the opportunities for the two countries.

What did you call President Obama and what did he call you?

He always calls me John and he has told me to call him Barack. But I always call him President, Mr President. I think I would [call him Barack] if I was in private with him in a bilateral.

What is your next big overseas mission?

Gallipoli. So in fact April in terms of overseas travel is an extremely busy month for me – it will be the busiest month we have in 2010.

How do you cope with the time difference?

Generally okay but if there is a substantial time difference I will take something to make myself sleep in the first day or two. Yesterday I didn’t. I thought I had got acclimatised and was feeling in great shape. But I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 2 and that was it.

So I actually felt a bit jaded yesterday. I can survive on about five hours sleep reasonably comfortably. If I get four … it’s not a major stress but if you’re getting two, you feel it.

Do you really like North America?

I do … partly because I’m extremely familiar here. I spent an awful lot of time when I was in Merrill Lynch in the States. Secondly, it a really vibrant place isn’t it?

There’s always exciting, different things going on here. Part of the reason we bought the house in Maui [Hawaii] is because we like this part of the world.

Do you have a favourite city in America?

I think probably on balance still New York because of the buzz and vitality. It wouldn’t be my favourite place to live but it is probably my favourite place to visit.

Funnily enough I hadn’t been to Washington a hell of a lot. I didn’t go there very much when I was at Merrill. I went to all the other centres, you know, from Atlanta to New York, a lot to LA and San Fran. But it’s just the energy in New York.

41 comments on “Key’s vomit-inducing Herald interview”

  1. Armchair Critic 1

    So the PM of Canada can be told why Worth was fired, but the citizens of NZ don’t deserve the same privilege?

  2. Olwyn 2

    This falls somewhere between a celebrity interview and the social pages: “The Prime Minister has just finished a hard week, including Obama’s nuclear summit and a trip to Canada,” could just as easily read, “Actor John Key has just finished a hard week on location in New York and Canada,” or alternatively, “I managed to get an interview with millionaire man-about-town John Key after a busy round of international charity luncheons.” I am surprised his brand of shoe did not come up.

  3. john 3

    I felt really out of it reading this interview, almost as if I’d been on a loverly holiday with John where we met all our Buddies and touched each other and chilled out together and did a bit of cringing worship to The Big Man who towers over all :Barack. And then we sweetly parted giving out invitations to visit one another.Everytime John goes overseas he returns exuding what a wonderful feel good time he’s had! And from the great heights it’s now time to put the squeeze on the ill and underclass, the undeserving who won’t or can’t work, and if that doesn’t work wash our hands of them and let our Corporate Buddies sort them out by the harsh method of Privatization of the services that keep them alive. As in America where 38 million Americans survive on food stamps and 500,000 Americans die every decade from treatable illnesses ’cause they have prior conditions not covered by Insurance Companies and are too poor to buy the necessary treatment The Eisenhower Foundation which Paula Bennett is doing time with later this year has as its leading light the War Criminal General Colin Powell, where she will learn about Corporate Responsibility, but really she’s making Ideological Obeisance to the Darwinian ,Friedman failed disaster of American Neo-Liberalism where the rich get filthy rich and the poor get poorer and the middle goes no where as wealth trickles ever upwards.But it feels sooooo gooood !

  4. ianmac 4

    Michael. I had just read Audrey’s interview and rather wondered if she was “taking the piss.” A shrewd journalist would let the chap speak himself into ridicule. It rather matches the image I have of someone who wins Lotto and believes that it gives a free pass to the social stratosphere.
    But for the Prime Minister of our country? Hells bells!
    Still looks like a person who stumbled onto the world stage by accident.

    • Marty G 4.1

      The problem with that hypothesis is the questions are as vacuous as the answers, I would have thought. Unless she really went all out to set him up.

  5. What did you call President Obama and what did he call you?

    ‘I called him B-dawg and he called me Lil-J. Hahaha (laughing)…some good honest bilateral ebonics humor there dont you think ? but seriously with the US it’s a case of…you scratch my Barack and i’ll scratch yours, know what i’m sayin ? “

    my favourite is…

    What is your next big overseas mission?

    Gallipoli.

    ‘Crank up the time machine Bronagh, i’m off to give the boys a hand, good for morale and all that seeing their leader standin on the hill smiling and waving, be back for dinner tho. Whats that…dying and suffering for your country ? Fuck that for a joke we got our retirement in Hawaii to think of…

  6. coolas 6

    Vacuous drivel spills so easily from Key.

    If it were April Fools Day I’d think this satire. Unbelievable from a PM.

    Of Berlusconi coming to NZ, “If his boat [will] be there, why wouldn’t he come? He’s got a place to stay.”

    CRING

  7. IrishBill 7

    I loved the bit about the King of Jordan’s english. Perhaps he could offer Key some elocution tips.

    • Marty G 7.1

      I know, I mean Key’s been a big-wig in an international finance bank and a PM for over a year and he is still impressed, in a partonising kind of a way, when a person from a non-english speaking country has good english?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2

      Dont forget the reference to -“He was very animated, as those ( southern) European leaders are.

      he almost borrowed John Banks phrase and called him a ‘dago’

  8. Ian 8

    I wouldn’t be surprised if our John had called the First Lady, “honey”.

  9. deWithiel 9

    I really can’t believe this: I thought it was a Standard spoof, but it’s not. This is the true voice of the prime minister of New Zealand? And the Herald thinks it’s worth the while of its readers to promulgate this ingenuous, cringe-making drivel? I think I’m beginning to understand it all; I guess pigs gorging at the domestic trough – rooting out minerals, tarring the landscape, slaughtering the odd whale, stealing the water, stiffing the poor, shafting Mäori, ignoring the climate and lining their pockets – don’t need to understand anything outside of the sty.

  10. Mutante 10

    Sucking up to Berlusconi so they can have a rich boys boat party.

    He likes boats, does our John.

  11. Nemesis 11

    So good to see the PM is well respected and liked by international leaders. Labour doesn’t have anybody in the same league.

  12. Jim Nald 12

    I avoided Audrey’s piece this morning when I saw the headlines, rolling my eyes to the heavens as I scrolled down the Herald webpage. (Audrey, I thought to myself, thou shalt not wreck my Saturday morning so I shalt shun thee .)

    Thanks to The Standard, you *made me* read it(thanks??).

    At best, this must surely surely surely be satire? Is this Audrey Young’s loud protest for not being able to get any information or newsworthy material from the PM? Hmm?

    [“He put his arm on me too. All those US Presidents are tactile. Bush was like that too.” – Audrey: you are DEAD serious!]

    At worst, my dear Audrey, you are losing the plot totally. I’d love someone to publicise this to the outside world to broadcast what one of our world-famous-in-NZ journalists writes. You would be single-handedly leading the way for setting the highest standard for stupidity. And win second prize for idiocy.

    Perhaps it is not just 1st Apr that media celebrates these days, but every day of the whole blaady month.

    p.s. About to go to the Herald to check this is identical to what was published (The Standard: you’re not pulling out leg, are you???)

  13. Jim Nald 13

    pulling out [sic] leg ? indeed
    pulling out ouR teeth

  14. Tigger 14

    Wait, Hawaii is in North America now?

  15. Anne 15

    @RT
    … and what’s more, she’s heading for even higher things. Leaves the John-boy clown for dead.

  16. john 16

    If Turkeys vote a Garbage Government in they shouldn’t be surprised if Garbage policies disgorge out! This Government subverted the democratic process with the cynical trick of standing down so that the extreme privatization nut job party, Act, could win in Epsom and then proceeded to lie down and let Act do as it wanted in the new Government pretending their policies must be entertained, while the reality is this National government has identified with Act policies all along. this is a criminal subversion of democratic Openness at Election time its equivalent is the Extreme Right Wing Coup De’ Etat during the Lange administration which was covered over by the red herring of the revolutionary anti nuclear policy to divert people’s minds away from an undemocratic forceful change in the whole way NZ operates. And they are doing it again! They show only elite style contempt for ordinary NZers. Can’t you see that, for God’s sake?

  17. tsmithfield 17

    What I took from this is that JK has built and developed some good personal relationships with other world leaders. Sure its a bit mushy, but you have to blame the interviewer for that as well.

    JK has often been criticised here for being all “smile and wave”. While I disagree that this an accurate view, it is probably good to have someone who can “smile and wave” when it comes to building relationships with other important world leaders who we may need to work with in the future. Key’s relaxed and engaging style would definitely help him in that respect.

    • logie97 17.1

      One just has to hope that there is a person of substance behind the smiling eyes. Mr Key has not articulated a considered philosophy in his public utterances so far. He appears to talk in “tabloidese”. Somehow, love or hate them, Marshall, Muldoon, Lange, Clark and Palmer, had a handle on a world beyond Nzild.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.2

      Whatever T. Check the stories about how Rudd got on with Obama. Or the stories about the Russian prez and how he felt about Obama.

      A common factor is leaders that come to the table with clear thought out positions find Obama engaged on the issues and get a connection made. Smile and wave gets smiled and waved at back.

    • ianmac 17.3

      I guess a President has to be good at the smile and greet so perhaps that President John Key is apparently good at………… Hang on. He is not a President. He is Prime Minister which is a bit different i’nt it? Even if he gets his next wish and becomes Sir John, he still can’t be Presidential!

    • smokie 17.4

      tsmithfield is taking the micky. surely.

      • Pascal's bookie 17.4.1

        He usually is.

        Occasionally technically true, but collectively bullshit all the same.

  18. Lucy 18

    .

    [lprent: There is a delete option after you’ve posted a comment… ]

  19. WillieMaley 19

    tsmithfield, what I take from this is an image of a wide eyed kid at Disneyland. Oh look theres Mickey Mouse, wow Donald Duck! etc.etc.
    He is so far out of his depth as P.M. that it is now becoming embarassing for both Key and this country.
    Do you seriously think that the King of Jordan is going to be looking at building relationships with us when he reads Keys comments regarding his “perfect English”?

  20. Anthony 20

    Well I thought the interview was OK.

    The best I have seen Mr Key actually, my impression of him has gone up a little.

  21. Irascible 21

    Are we sure this wasn’t published in Hello Magazine in between an article about Jennifer Aniston pining for Brad Pitt and the sex life of “Desperate Housewives”?
    The Herald has certainly descended into the abyss of crawling journalism while Key certainly deserves his “Smile & Wave” nick-name.

  22. Jum 22

    Sorry to disappoint you discerning people, but New Zealanders will lap this up. They love John Key. They actually believe he cares about them. Surely you have always known that if it’s a youngish rich white man he must be perfect????

  23. George.com 23

    Was this in the lifestyle magazine section of the NZH? Only place worthy of it. This weeks ‘smile and wave’ column is from Audrey Young. Really, really slow news week in NZ was it?

  24. Salsy 24

    Check out the trade me auction for John Keys beehive doodle. Some of the comments are priceless 🙂

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=282801844

  25. Alexandra 25

    I seldom buy the herald these days but longing for a long leasurely saturday read, did so yesterday. The article was a reminder of why I dont waste my money. All credit to those who have the stomach to finish it. A shallow interview with the hollow man!

  26. richard 26

    “The King of Jordan came over and saw me. He has absolutely perfect English. Obviously educated in England, in one of those public schools I’d say.”

    Ha ha ha. Did John Key really say this? Where did he think the king got his English education? A state school in Brixton perhaps?
    And the King Of Jordan wants to bring his motorbike to NZ. Bet ya didn’t mention the ACC hikes for motorbike rego John.
    Why do they call this joke of a newspaper the New Zealand Herald? It infers that this crap rag is inflicted on the whole country. Call it the Auckland Herald, or the Daily Tory, or something more accurate.

  27. Zak Creedo 28

    This whole thing.. transcript and commentary reads real trite — you oughta know that!

    So in the interests , the real interests of governance by-and-through effective and telling Opposition in the New Zealand political scene why not just for this once get a hold on the real buzz in New York. Begins 15th April with Tom’s CDO post.. and blasts updates from well and truly around the place.

    Real “buzz”— No, not the one the PM’s yakking about: the one he wouldn’t ever want to yak about.

    Which kinda cues you guys… Open your minds people.. bust the polling blues!!

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