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‘Let’s wait & see’ – do-nothing PM

Written By: - Date published: 8:49 pm, November 8th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: john key, Media - Tags:

If you think that John Key gets a lot of soft coverage, John Armstrong explained why yesterday:

Key’s soaring popularity has made him virtually untouchable

Now, you and I might see a certain circularity to that logic – after all, anyone given constantly positive coverage is going to be popular. Thankfully, some journalists choose to to take Key to task. Anthony Hubbard’s report of his interview hilariously exposes our do-nothing PM, and all he has to do is quote him:

“Our vision,” says the politician, a smile on his face and a bowl of tulips at his elbow, “is to close the gap with Australia by 2025 … We need to grow at roughly double the per capita growth rate that Australia will grow at,” he says cheerfully.

Key obviously knows it’s not going to happen, it’s a joke. As Gareth Morgan says: “If they had a plan … you would have seen it by now.”

Is Key “visionary or manager?” writes Hubbard: ‘”You’ve got to do a bit of both, actually,” says Key.’ Of course, we are seeing neither vision, nor management. What we’re seeing is a guy who likes being PM and pushes off any hard decision to stay popular:

  • Will he close rental loopholes? – “Let’s wait and see.”
  • Will he implement reforms to boost productivity? – ‘”Let’s see,” he says, and smiles.’
  • Will he achieve his 2025 goal? ‘As Key cheerfully puts it…: “Let’s see.”‘

What we get out of Hubbard’s report is that Key knows he’s full of crap too but doesn’t give a damn – he’s not actually PM to do stuff, he’s there to have a good time, while National’s old guard get up to their old tricks. Hubbard exposes that brilliantly.

And lest you think that Hubbard has been selective in his quotes, here’s Key on Q+A this morning:

GUYON  (on mining in national parks). You guys are obviously eyeing this pretty seriously aren’t you?
JOHN  Well I think it’s worth taking a stocktake.
GUYON  But you don’t do a stocktake and then do nothing do you?
JOHN  Yeah well let’s just have a look

GUYON Generally you’re looking at trying to lower personal and company tax, and fund that potentially by raising consumption taxes like GST, or possibly some sort of property or investment tax.
JOHN Well the mix to the tax regime is possible, I wouldn’t rule it out, but nor do I necessarily rule it in

GUYON It sounds like there may be some change coming for property investors, what about GST, will you raise GST
JOHN That’s an argument that the Tax Working Group’s put up.
GUYON Cos you’ve previously ruled that out.
JOHN No, what we’ve said is we’d need to be convinced of a good case.
GUYON But you have to fund these personal tax cuts don’t you, somehow?
JOHN Yeah, well again it’s about a potential change in the mix, that’s a possibility, but I wouldn’t put it any higher than that

GUYON Are you going to bring that top rate down?
JOHN Well we’ve said we have an ambition to do that, and to get that down to a 33% rate to align that with the company rate.
GUYON Do you think that’ll happen next year?
JOHN Let’s wait and see.

GUYON Just last question. Seabed and Foreshore, you had an August deadline, November deadline, what’s happened to it?
JOHN Well progress is being made, I think it’s likely that the law will be repealed but I think before we repeal it let’s replace it with something that there’s agreement on.
GUYON What about just going back to the courts is that an option?
JOHN Could do

27 comments on “‘Let’s wait & see’ – do-nothing PM”

  1. Galeandra 2

    Guilty.

  2. Outofbed 3

    i think the media have a little competition going to see if they can get him above 85% in the polls just leaving the dia hard lefties and the Greens holding out
    I wonder if positive coverages is all part of the agreement with the media mentioned in “the hollow man” ?

  3. Draco T Bastard 4

    The plan has six parts to it, or perhaps seven, says Key. It does not consist of a single silver bullet. Or take another number, such as 40. “You need to do a lot of things at one time. It’s a little bit like being a juggler, but you can’t just have two balls in the air, we actually need about 40 of them.”

    The six “drivers” Key is as prone to cliches as any other politician are already in motion. One is infrastructure, and the government is spending billions. Transpower, for instance, will spend $3b over the next four years on the national grid, including money on the Cook Strait cable so the North Island won’t run out of power. There’s the ultra-fast broadband. And roads, and …

    Key skips the other drivers for the moment and mentions a possible seventh:

    He’s just not telling us what the plan is. I suspect it’s the same as John Banks in that if he told people they’d want to get rid of him ASAP and that he, nor his party, are electable if people knew what it was. There really can be no doubt though that it’s back to the 1980s/90s with Brash et al heading up the working group. Be ready, our economy is about to buckle the same way it did then.

    • We have had 9 years of intensive investment in infrastructure and the nats are just finishing what Labour planned for.

      The most worrying thing for me about Key is his lack of a medium term view. The big calls that he has made are really regressive the further out you go. Just think about:

      1. Kneecapping the Cullen fund
      2. Destroying the ETS
      3. Undermining ACC’s long term future
      4. Undermining Kiwisaver and our hope to have a long term change in saving habits.

      And do not get me started on lightbulbs or the reversal of the ban on thermal stations.

      There is no long term view. God knows what we will be doing after the next election.

  4. Tigger 5

    The emperor has no clothes. I know some of us have been shouting that for years but clearly the rest of the crowd are going to take a little more time to catch on…

  5. George.com 6

    Anyone with the SST today, should have a read of the Rod Oram column. He poses much the same questions about Key. He has not done much and will need to lift his game in the next 2 years. The chances of that happening, it seems, Oram said are still up for debate.

  6. Deus ex Machina 7

    John Key made his reputation – and fortune – as a currency trader. Apart from being utterly parasitic – you produce nothing but simply ride on the backs of those who do – currency trading is totally reactive in that you can’t control events but merely hope to read them and react to them, and has a time horizon of about a month at best.

    So what’s changed?

  7. gingercrush 8

    It really must suck to be a leftie and realise for the next six years or so you’ll be doing the screaming and shouting the right did for the last nine years.

  8. Cal 9

    I can’t even begin to say how frustrating the constant media suck-up to Key routine is getting. If it was Helen Clark, they’d be all over her for every teeny-tiny thing, but when JK stuffs up the media has the same reaction as parents do when their baby knock their sippy cup on to the floor.

  9. Jasper 10

    It’s because Helen was a woman. New Zealand is still, for all the advances in equality in the last 9 years, a relatively chauvinistic male paradise. Just ask Bob “my left testicle” Clarkson.

  10. jarbury 11

    The problem for John Key is that he effectively has two options to choose from for his “plan”:

    1) 1980s/1990s neoliberalism
    2) Continue what Labour was doing

    To be honest, there really isn’t a third option there (other than going further to the left of what Labour was doing). Every time Key thrashes around for some ideas on an issue he gets someone proposing one of the two above options. He knows that he got elected on being, well neither of those options, so he doesn’t really know where to go.

    This is particularly evident when it comes to the 2025 productivity taskforce, or whatever the heck they’re called. Key’s whole argument is supposedly that in order to catch up to Australia we need to change a lot of things from “what Labour was doing”. The problem is that the other option is 1980s/1990s neoliberalism, which was EXACTLY WHAT CREATED THE WAGE GAP.

    So he’s pretty screwed, and therefore does nothing. And he’s wildly popular for doing so…..

  11. Jim McDonald 12

    The Guyon-Key interview appears to be quite revealing with regard to the cause for the PM’s lack of vision … he can’t see beyond the tip of his own nose which seems to be growing longer as he attempts to reply

  12. BLiP 13

    Classic McDonalds government – put a clown out front to keep the kiddies amused while the “crew” heat up corporate bullshit carefully disguised under a special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

    Thanks National Ltd® – I’m lovin’ it.

  13. felix 14

    So John Key thinks the company tax rate is 33%

    WTF?

  14. gobsmacked 15

    Imagine if the public talked like John Key:

    “Will you marry me?”

    “Yeah, in terms of marriage, couple of things, gotta have a look, not gonna rule it out, take a step back, we’ll see where we are, taking a balanced approach, ooh, can I tell a joke now?”

    The man is a verbal marshmallow.

    And if you think that’s exaggerating, here’s Key commenting on Harawira this morning:

    “I definitely think he owes a bit of an apology”

    What the hell does that mean? Saying Sor?

    • Walter 15.1

      I like this game.

      – John, are you doing anything in government?

      “Yeah, well, in terms of doing things…..we’re considering a number of options, it’s too soon to say really, but at this point in time, I’m relaxed about the course of action and comfortable with our achievements and vision for New Zealand.”

      – And what about fixing that leaking washer at home, I understand your wife has been complaining about it for months now?

      “Yeah, well in terms of action, I’m keeping a close eye on things as they unfold, taking a considered approach and will revisit the whole thing once all the facts are in. We don’t want to rush to a decision. Rodney Hide has some useful suggestions on water management that might be worth looking into so we’ll need to wait until that work has been done.”

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 15.1.1

        Might want to add-

        “Yeah, we’ll kick into touch for a while. A working party is due to report back in 2025. I’m sure it will come up for consideration then”.

  15. JD 16

    “Apart from being utterly parasitic you produce nothing but simply ride on the backs of those who do ”

    That sounds a lot like a large part of the public service bureaucracy in Wellington.

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