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Ladies and gentlemen, your Prime Minister

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, August 28th, 2013 - 66 comments
Categories: john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, russel norman - Tags:

Much has been made of Key’s bizarre performance in the House yesterday. Some are naturally questioning his medical intake after his unhinged laughing at his own weak pre-written jokes in answer to Labour questions. But, for me, it was his response to Russel Norman’s questions that was more telling. His utter contempt for accountability (even just consistency) is something every Kiwi should see.

(oh and if you’re wondering why Norman asks a ‘stand by all his statements’ question at the start – apparently, Key will now refuse to answer and will transfer to another minister any other primary question even questions about direct quotes he has said)

Here’s the transcript:

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements relating to Government policy?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Should New Zealanders believe his statements that the asset sales would not cost more than 2 percent of the sale proceeds, or should they believe Treasury figures that show that the cost of selling Mighty River Power was twice that much?

Does it concern him that fewer than one in four New Zealanders believe that what their Prime Minister tells them is the truth?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Should New Zealanders believe his statement on Campbell Live that under his new law the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) would not have access to the content of New Zealanders’ communications, or should they believe his subsequent statements that the GCSB would be able to read their emails?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Should New Zealanders believe his statement that the Auditor-General’s investigation of the Skycity deal vindicated his Government, or should they believe the Auditor-General herself, who said that the process was neither transparent nor even-handed?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Should New Zealanders believe his statement that the Henry inquiry had Ministers’ permission to examine their email records, or should they believe Judith Collins’ statement at the Privileges Committee that the Henry inquiry did not have permission to read her emails?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Should New Zealanders believe his statement that he will not confirm whether the GCSB receives funding from the US Government, or should they believe this cable from the US Embassy showing that the National Security Agency has funded a position within the GCSB?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Given those answers, in all their fulsomeness, why does he think that the credibility of his statements has fallen to a point where according to the latest polls only 23 percent of New Zealanders believe that he tells the truth?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not.
Dr Russel Norman: Does it concern him that fewer than one in four New Zealanders believe that what their Prime Minister tells them is the truth?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is wrong in his assertion.
Dr Russel Norman: When the Prime Minister said it has been “fun” fighting red zone landowners in court over compensation after an earthquake, does he think it has been fun for them?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

66 comments on “Ladies and gentlemen, your Prime Minister”

  1. infused 1

    They all ask ‘does he/she stand by all statements’

    It’s pretty much in every single question time… it’s the easiest base to launch an attack.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    It’s nice to think that the Labour leadership race has knocked Key a bit off his game, but there has to be bigger pressure on him than that right now. What else is going on?

  3. Tracey 3

    No interruption by the speaker to make Key answer the questions asked properly?

    • Blue 3.1

      Ask a different question then would be the solution. Don’t ask “does he …..?” As a yes or no answer is completely appropriate. Perhaps “what does he….?” Or “how….” Etc.

      • ‘Does he stand believe “x” or “y”?’ does NOT allow a yes or no answer. Just because it starts with “does” doesn’t make it a yes/no confirmation if you introduce alternatives. Alternatively the Prime Minister can introduce his own third option to answer the question, but answering yes to all of those is incredibly disrespectful to the institution of Question Time.

        • McFlock 3.1.1.1

          I disagree – I can believe X or Y quite happily, even if I cannot believe both at the same time (Orwell notwithstanding).

          However, the wee exchange:

          Given those answers, in all their fulsomeness, why does he think that the credibility of his statements has fallen to a point where according to the latest polls only 23 percent of New Zealanders believe that he tells the truth?
          Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not.

          is intriguing: does he not think that his crediblity has fallen to that point in the polls (in which case he is claiming to not believe reality), or is he merely stating that he thinks the reason his credibility is so low because he does not tell the truth? 🙂

    • BLiP 3.2

      Its long been a rule that where a parliamentary question has two parts the member answering only has to address one part and need not even say which part is being addressed. Ridiculous, I know. Still, I reckon Russell Norman has made good use of that rule to highlight John Key’s mendacity, arrogance, contempt for parliament, and utter unwillingness to be held accountable for it. Well played, the Greens.

  4. SouthDeez 4

    Does anyone have a link to an article further detailing Key’s behaviour that’s referred to at the start of the post above?

    • Tracey 4.1

      it can be found in question time when he was answering questions from Cunliffe, Robertson and Jones.

  5. bad12 5

    Lolz, i hardly think that we have seen from Slippery ‘the best’, under pressure is the underlying theme of our Prime Minister’s latest foot in the mouth moment, and that situation of being under pressure is set to worsen for the Slippery little Shyster the closer we get to November 2014,

    In a week we have seen the division in the National Government go ‘crack’ wide open with Collin’s openly telling the PM that She is after His job, a giant no no for those in a Government Party is to show the slightest bit of discord in the ranks,(a wrong move from Collins which in my opinion will count against Her when the time comes to Slip the current incumbent the blade),

    In this same week He, the PM, has been given a glimpse of the future and it’s His worst fears realized, more than an even chance that the one person who can shove His smart arsed jibes back down His throat and expose Him as the empty suitcase of intellectual rigor that He actually is, will be elected in the coming week to lead the Labour Oppostion,

    ‘Thinking’ that like Him the Leader of the Green Party Russell Norman is some form of ‘power is my drug lunatic’ the PM has tried to ferment a division among the left by dissing David Cunliffe over who He would chose as His Minister of Finance,(as if the stunning dullard, Bill English, forced upon Him by National’s internal divisions is someone to crow about),He has found himself in the House not facing a severely dented ego in the form of Russell Norman, instead being quizzed by Russell over the PM’s overly dirty laundry,(a large full basket as outlined in this post),

    Under Pressure will be the theme from now until November 2014 for the PM, and the easy ride is certainly coming to a timely end, expect lots more ‘acting out’ from Slippery the PM as the numbers for National falter and the pressure from the Opposition increases…

    • Richard Christie 5.1

      Lol, Tolkien (Gollum) capitalised He and Her when referring to Sauron and Shelob. An apt analogy too.

      • bad12 5.1.1

        Lol, to plagiarize Joey Strummer ”He has never read the book tho i told Him to take a look, He lifted his pool hall cue for another game”,

        Havn’t watched the fillum either, but that’s more to do with the actions of the barefooted wanker that made the thing…

  6. tinfoilhat 6

    Bring back Lockwood.

    Although Russel also needs to be cleverer with his questions.

    • That’s a bit ridiculous. You should be able to get an answer to an “A or B”? question in Question Time, even if that answer is “C.” What you shouldn’t get is a “yes” that could apply to either. 😛

  7. Tom 7

    http://www.stuff.co.nz uses the awkward construction

    ” John Key’s ‘believability’ low ” at

    http://news.google.co.nz/?ar=1377640608 and
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9085347/John-Keys-believability-low

    A more accurate rendition would be

    ” John Key’s ‘credibility’ low ”

    .. but that might make sound like a common crim.

    Who is writing the Fairfax headlines these days ?

  8. bad12 8

    Oh and a PS to the above, i was disappointed in those who chose to criticize David Shearer over His use of the standard 1st question to the Prime Minister at Question Time,

    It is a well used political tool as written questions are already a ‘known’ by the PM befor He enters the chamber so asking the standard, ”Does the PM stand by all His statements” is the only way to not let the incumbent prepare befor-hand the answer to the obligatory ‘Supplementary Questions’ that follow…

    • Stephen 8.1

      Also worth pointing out that questions that aren’t only answerable by the PM get delegated to his other ministers, so asking him about his statements is the only way to get him to answer personally.

    • Watching 8.2

      Bad12, with this ”Does the PM (or Minister) stand by all His statements” approach, you are right that that Key has no prior warning. But this can reduce question time to playschool and the PM can hide behind the wording of a ‘no specific subject” prime question. So……

      1. What about the quality of the answer to the prime question. If it’s a good question there is nowhere to hide, and the PM should have the information available to answer any follow up supplementary questions.

      2. I am sure the Nats will use this approach when in opposition – so are we just playing games.

      So what if the PM is given notice on the question – regardless of whether its Key or a Labour PM

  9. tc 9

    With all this work placed drug and alcohol testing wonder what the results would be if the MP’s were given the same test.

    What’s the sentence for DIC of a country, we know what the punters get but what about the offenders.

    • Malcolm 9.1

      I think based on the past it is a knighthood and a cushy post-politics assignment somewhere.

      • SpaceMonkey 9.1.1

        Great comment on Max Keiser last night about how modern politicians (in reference to Tony Blair now collecting obscene amounts of money at JP Morgan) are treating the position of Prime Minister and other high-profile government positions, as stepping stones towards cushy consulting positions in the TBTF corporations – payment for their good service while in politics. IMO, this is what happens when you elect technocrats instead of statesmen. Who John Key has been working for will be revealed by where he goes post-politics.

        • Greywarbler 9.1.1.1

          Space Monkey
          That’s what happens when the wealth holders in society are given such free rein to step outside the interactive society that they have little fiefdoms parallel to it and tapping its services. They have become the rulers, unelected, but presenting their own ‘boys – and girls’ to the voters.

          Government isn’t sovereign any more, it is the immensely wealthy individuals, families, or corporations which pull the strings. And ultimately can hand out the cushy jobs. The PM is as close to the people he represents as a yeti on Mt Everest is to the rest of the animal kingdom, and all tales of service to the people are just as mythical.

          • Rhinocrates 9.1.1.1.1

            Government isn’t sovereign any more, it is the immensely wealthy individuals, families, or corporations which pull the strings.

            Exactly, and it’s the Blairs and Keys who know that and want to join them while the Putins see government as the mafia.

            That is the real ideological opposition of our age – the demagogic technocrats versus the demagogic oligarchs… but they’re not opposed – instead, they’re hand-in-hand.

            • geoff 9.1.1.1.1.1

              On the money. Kiwi’s think John Key is super rich but he’s only small potatoes in the global scheme of things. I’ve no doubt he has asparayshuns to jump into the higher echelons on the back of his time as PM.

  10. Sable 10

    Keys attitude is indicative of many contemporary politicians who believe they are not accountable and he is right, they are not accountable. Why? Because people insist on voting for the same parties who don’t respect their rights again and again. What message would any politician take away from that. If we want change its time to stop voting for National and Labour and have the common sense to look at alternatives, that sends a message that these people can not ignore; behave, be professional or piss off.

    • Macro 10.1

      +1 to that!

    • Rhinocrates 10.2

      Indeed, if we are entering the age of the professional politician over that of the representative, then we need to be discerning. It’s not OK if they’re charming, we need them to be good at their jobs. Politicians market themselves as such – Key as a “successful” (in reality, not so much) banker, Shearer as a UN bureaucrat and concentration camp administrator (which turned out to be irrelevant).

      That, I have to say, is a momentous and dangerous change that is already well underway.

      Ideally, politicians are our representatives, supposedly like us for good or ill as long as they are representative. Now if they are professionals, other standards will apply.

      Either a politician has to be competent like a good civil servant or other kind of professional such as dentist and accountant, or we have to drag them back into the role of representative – in which case “identity politics” is essential.

      In the long term, there has to be tutelage as there is for dentistry in the case of the former, or randomisation in the case of the latter, so elections are replaced by lotteries like jury duty… and since so many of us find reasons to avoid jury duty because we’re “irreplaceable”, that’s going to present some problems.

      I don’t know if I can make suggestions, but if you want stability and competence, look to the public servants, not the politicians, but then that opens the doors to other kinds of corruption.

      I’ve no answer, but please be aware of the questions.

      Do we want a “representative” democracy of demagogues or an elected technocracy? Can we tell the difference?

  11. lurgee 11

    As a display of parliamentary chutzpah, that was unsurpassed. Answering a dozen either/or questions with ‘yes’ is pretty ballsy. HJelps if you’ve got a tame speaker who won’t pull you up on it, of course.

    As service to our democracy, on the otherhand, it was a swineish display.

    • Rhinocrates 11.1

      His perception as a “Smug, glib arsehole” might be Key’s downfall. Kiwis don’t like cleverness overall (hence our insidious anti-intellectualism), but that might grow to be especially grating.

      It’s also David Cunliffe’s problem, which he should beware of. Cultivate the stubble, the Russell Crowe look would be my advice to him.

      • lurgee 11.1.1

        Unfortunately only saddos like us watch enough of this sort of thing to notice what a git he is. When he thinks people who matter might actually be watching, he’ll turn on the charm – which he does do well.

  12. emergency mike 12

    Well done by Norman, he would have anticipated Key’s response and it’s shown up his arrogance nicely. This video is circulating the net. Share well folks!

    The lying is a real weak point for Key now, his perceived credibility is sinking fast and he knows it. Once a bullshitter loses that what has he got? Nothing.

  13. lurgee 13

    Sadly, the video will play two ways. People who support John Key will probably think it is all a bit of a laugh, their man showing how clever he is. People who don’t like him will view it as arrogant disregaurd for parliament. And most people won’t see it at all, and won’t care too much either way if they do.

    • Tracey 13.1

      people who support key will always support him. People need to start understanding that polls stating you have popularity don’t always translate into swing voters..

      that didn’t come out right.

      There are people who like him that will start to add some of this stuff up. His ardent supporters would probably excuse a hit and run.

    • emergency mike 13.2

      Nah I think that finally more people are waking up to Key’s true face. And when videos like this go around the net it helps a lot.

      • Winston Smith 13.2.1

        Did it ever occur to you (and everyone else that posts on this site) that maybe we know what Keys true face is, we know what type of person he is and we (the voting public) just don’t care, we think hes the best person to run this country…

        • emergency mike 13.2.1.1

          You mean the 47% who voted National already know that Key is a sociopath who ingratiates himself with the 1% so he can do a good enough job raping the country for them that he gets his dream job in Goldman Sachs? Wow, that’s pretty messed up, and no it never occurred to me.

          Does it occur to you that claiming to be the voice of ‘the voting public’ make you look kinda dumb?

        • Mike S 13.2.1.2

          Not so.

          My Dad, who’s nearly 80, has always voted National without fail. This last couple of years he has become more and more disgusted with the government and particularly with John Key, whom he is starting to see as dishonest and “an arrogant, spiteful sod”. So much so that he is making overtones about not voting for National next year, which for my father is a massive, massive, unbelievable change, as I’m sure many others with National party voting parents would understand.

        • Appleboy 13.2.1.3

          What?! You are happy the PM is a liar and arrogant? How self serving you Nats are. As long as you’re alright everyone else can go to hell. I always said you have to be greedy or ignorant to vote National. Both for you it sounds to me.

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    Well it is old news here that ShonKey exhibits all of the above behaviours. Jeez you could even imagine the likes of Keith Holyoake kicking his flabby butt for disrespecting the prime ministerial office.

    What a Hawaiian refugee dick. But the bigger dicks are the non voters and the “it is all about me” dicks. Times are a changing tho.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Key was obnoxious, and got away with saying black = white. Partly the Speaker was at fault, but yet again we see the opposition not thinking on their feet and tag-teaming. Not one Labour MP interjected with a point of order, to make him answer (and they love doing that when it’s their own questions). So Key for the umpteenth time gets an easy ride.

    Yes, we can post the video and complain afterwards but it’s the failure to act in the moment that is so frustrating. When you know what game your toddler is playing, and it’s annoying, then you change the bloody game. Key’s’ no genius – you just have to be smarter than an infant. Can’t they manage that?

    e.g. “In the light of those helpful answers, is the PM now willing to answer Yes/No questions?”

    Follow-up “Did he (insert any of his lies), yes or no?” … as often as necessary.

    Or just wrongfoot him (“Point of order, I seek leave to table a dictionary” or whatever). Or ask him if he rules out Winston Peters. Or anything else where he can’t say Yes.

    Heaps of options, but bloody sitting there and passively taking Key’s crap isn’t one of them.

  16. Winston Smith 16

    Sorts out the contenders from the pretenders though…I mean all I ever hear on this site is this person will take on JK and beat him or this other person can match him or this other person has the goods to handle him

    Well wheres this mythical labour mp that can handle JK because I’m still not seeing it and theres no good complaining about what JK does, its upto the potential leader to show what they can do

    • gobsmacked 16.1

      A leader and a contender for leadership are not on the same footing – allocation of time, media etc. So your comment doesn’t make any sense.

      Key did no damage to Clark until he became leader. Most voters had never heard of him before 2006.

    • Tracey 16.2

      yawn. It’s not like you are a swing voter. Labour does not need you to turn on Key to win.

      • McFlock 16.2.1

        and I suspect that the Labour party that had a chance at getting him was Lab4, douglas, prebble et al.

      • Winston Smith 16.2.2

        No I’m not and no it doesn’t but I’m sure there more then a few swing voters they would like to bring over but if it looks like Keys handling them then they’ll go with National

        I’m assuming that Labour want to win the next election

        • framu 16.2.2.1

          “if it looks like Keys handling them”

          depends if you find arrogant buffoons or competent experts more to you liking i guess

          theres plenty, like yourself, who i dont think would change from key regardless. But theres plenty who see these little exchanges and go off him. And pollies acting like clowns has never really been that poular with the public

          And the thing is – once youve gone off key – you never go back. Its a one way street

  17. the pigman 17

    I can only surmise that Russell/his party/the Opposition thought it somehow helped the cause to let Key continue with his fearless, braggartly act, because it is plain that yes was not an acceptable answer to many of those questions.

    I haven’t really seen Russell thinking on his feet in the house, though, so perhaps he wasn’t prepared to ditch the script?

    • bad12 17.1

      The Parliamentary Question Time has long been a game of Duck,Dive and Dissemble, what is acceptable as an answer is entirely at the mercy of the Speaker,

      In a Arnie replay i would suggest that Russell Norman has hardly finished with the Slippery little PM on matters of ‘truth’ Russell ‘will be back’,

      It took the Green Party’s Julie Anne Genter what seemed like an eon of questions to force from Gerry Brownlee an admission that National’s Roads of No Significance did not even come close to being able to be funded under the Governments own funding equations…

  18. Rodel 18

    What really p****s me off is that I’m paying these turkeys (all of them) $3-5 thousand a week for them to indulge in this childish crap. What is the solution?

  19. BrucetheMoose 19

    In relation to last question by Russell to Johnny, you can get a better understanding here – http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/9094360/Prime-Minister-sorry-for-threat-that-angered-Outcasts

  20. BrucetheMoose 20

    Ackshoeally, Russell would have done himself a lot of good service, by changing his tact of rather than asking closed questions, which enabled the Minister for Spying and Lying to respond in simple yes/no replies, Mr Norman would have been more effective by asking open questions which are much for difficult to give basic short verse answers. “What” is always a good start.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 20.1

      You are dreaming… you cant re ask the question when hes given ‘an answer’ One word answers are perfectly allowed

      • Hanswurst 20.1.1

        What Mr. Norman could have done, though, is ask each question on its own rather than in pairs as an either/or distinction. For example:

        Dr Russel Norman: Should New Zealanders believe his statement on Campbell Live that under his new law the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) would not have access to the content of New Zealanders’ communications?
        Rt. charlie John Key: [presumably] Yes.
        Dr Russel Norman: Should they also believe his subsequent statements that the GCSB would, in fact, be able to read their emails?
        Rt. charlie John Key: Oh, kiss my arse, you tree-hugging Aussie smart-alec…

        That way, Key would have been forced to stand by his own word against that of treasury or whomever, or to qualify and prevaricate where he appeared in direct contradiction of himself.

    • felix 20.2

      Bruce, the rules for parliamentary questions are a bit different to the conventions of the real world.

      One thing you don’t usually want to do is phrase questions in such a way that they can be deemed to be seeking an opinion, as this gives license for the minister to talk about almost anything they like.

  21. Delia 21

    Even Muldoon would have soon tired of Key.

  22. tracey 22

    I wonder winston do you have children? Did you teach them to lie and bully to get what they want or anything you agree with? Or is that behaviour you only condone in the most powerful figure in nz.?

    and yes it has occurred to me that people know he is a constant liar and still want him. How they measure that makes him the best person to run the country is bizarre given most of what he tells us is great about his policies must, by logical extension, also be likely to be lies.

    he and especially joyce know that people, dont like to admit they were wrong because it makes them feel stupid. Accordingly such people resort to rationalisations.

    • Blue 22.1

      I wonder if you have children Tracey, if you plumbed to the depths of bringing someone’s family into an argument to make a point. Shabby zero class duff. Do you teach them that this acceptable ?

  23. Brian 23

    The petulant schoolboy is on show again. The arrogance of the man is monumental.

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