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Mr Key’s Achievements

Written By: - Date published: 4:55 pm, December 6th, 2016 - 56 comments
Categories: john key - Tags:

I was tempted to just have an empty post, but John has of course had his achievements.

There are the 3 election wins, and enduring popularity, that was only now starting to decline (only 36%!).

But what he’s done with that popularity, that mandate, for the benefit of Aotearoa?

That gets a lot harder.

Giovanni Tiso got an excellent piece up straight away yesterday of ‘The man without a legacy’.  Scrupulously cultivating his political capital, never risking spending it on a vision for New Zealand.  Just keeping the books ticking over.  Even the nature of his wins (dirty politics), he’ll be hoping people don’t look too closely at.

But while there are various tributes to his economic management, the finally lowering unemployment rate, the GDP growth (driven by migration), the balanced books (eventually, and Cullen can probably take most of the credit for), there is lots in the long-term economic outlook that he did his best ot ignore.

The books balance today, but Treasury is forecasting a century of deficits due to his lack of willingness to deal with issues like superannuation, or the trade deficit.  Migration is heading our way, but not because we’ve closed the wage gap with Australia, which was their main promise when they first came in (along with raising our OECD GDP/capita ranking, which has gone up 1 to 20th thanks to Spain dropping down).

And then there’s the big issues: the housing crisis that is biting us now, but will really hurt when the bubble pops; rising inequality; child poverty; climate change; water quality and our environmental standards (and the accompanying risks to our ‘green’ brand).

All ignored.

But at least he was happy, and optimistic and kept us looking on the brighter side of life?  A failed flag referendum was his big regret, even if it would have been good if he could have helped poor kids a bit more.  Aroha from McGehan Close is forgotten.

John Key quit rugby because he didn’t like getting tackled.  And as Colin James says, there are tackles ahead, be they dealing with Winston, or having to deal with some of the long term problems he’s ignored.

So with his ‘legacy’ being popularity and winning, you can see why he made the ‘selfish calculation’ as Bryce Edwards puts it, and made sure not to tarnish that legacy by losing, or having to do a deal with Winston that would seriously undermine that popularity.

Also a good instant analysis was John Armstrong:

Mr Key’s many critics on the left will have a much harsher verdict. They will argue that Mr Key leaves a country where the gap between rich and poor has widened considerably throughout his tenure.

And that his betrayal of the means which enabled those like him to climb up the ladder of meritocracy is his true legacy.

Labour made the ladder he climbed from poverty to the premiership, giving him the welfare & education safety nets, then the 4th Labour government giving him the financial bubble that made his wealth.  And his response as the arch-politician pragmatist was to adopt whatever Labour policy he needed to beat them and pull up the ladder.

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56 comments on “Mr Key’s Achievements ”

  1. Nick 1

    Change the Government.

  2. Gristle 2

    A PM with a great legacy (and a truer measures of popularity than a poll) is identifiable would by how many people named their kid after them. How many Micheal Joseph’s were there?

    • alwyn 2.1

      ” How many Micheal Joseph’s were there?”
      Three I believe.
      When asked if he knew their mothers he replied, in his best Sergeant Schultz impersonation. “I know nothing”.
      By the way it was Michael Savage. The other mothers could spell.

    • Hanswurst 2.2

      I imagine it would be dwarfed individually by the number each of Robs, Davids, Mikes, Geoffreys, Jims, Jennies, Helens and Johns.

  3. red-blooded 3

    Key has been a consummate politician, if one defines a politician as someone who wants to gain and maintain power. He’s never struck me as a man with a strong sense of vision, though (probably a good thing, as I’m pretty damn sure I wouldn’t agree with his vision) and I’ve always thought of him as shifty and smarmy. I’m glad he’s gone.

    The big question is, what happens now? Can Labour finally break through and get their message across? One’s got to hope so.

  4. Ovid 4

    I can think of two first term accomplishments – laying fibre was a very important piece of infrastructure to set in place, although it was the natural extension of Labour’s Digital Strategy and it provides a clear contrast to Australia’s woeful NBN. The second is the NZ cycle trail. Which has provided tourism industry opportunities. I remember damning it with faint praise, but there you go. A continued commitment to the settlement process with iwi should be acknowledged, too.

    My big criticisms are 3 strikes legislation, the handling of Pike River, the handling of the Christchurch rebuild/insurance payouts, partial asset sales – which made no economic sense, charter schools, the closure of night classes, double bunking in prisons, eliminating the sickness benefit, selling state houses, allowing a property bubble to get out of hand in Auckland, selling out employment rights to Warner Bros, the 90 day trial, the national shame of homelessness, boom-bust dependence on milk and failure to diversify the economy, uninspiring options in the flag referendum and I’m sure if you gave me five minutes I could vent my spleen over more.

    All in all, I don’t think Key was a malicious PM and I think he did temper some of the more right-wing excesses of his caucus. Perhaps that’s why he suffered such a poverty of ideas.

    • And…. like Key with his bicycle path, Hitler was with his autobahns…. so what ?

      Most sociopathic political leaders do something of use as a side issue in sometime of their miserable political lives.

      Its the colossal damage they create in the meantime and the years and years it takes to clean the damn mess up they’ve gone that is the focus.

      The only achievement he ever made was to pave the way for the obscenely wealthy to suck yet more and more from the NZ public.

      AND create a memorial out of Pike River instead of doing what he said he would do.

    • gsays 4.2

      Hi Ovid, while you are catching yr breath, I will add:
      Environment Canterbury,
      The unprecedented use of urgency in parliament,
      taking obfuscation and ‘I don’t recall/remember’ to new heights, sending us into Afghanistan,
      massive increase of state powers to surveil the citizenry…

  5. Mr Keys achievements?… um..

    .

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    “His successor has some serious issues to overcome, the biggest one being Not Being John Key. The same problem Opposition leaders have had.”

    I don’t think the Opposition leaders have that problem at all because they have never sold themselves as an alternative version of John Key.

  7. BM 7

    Setting up NZ long term ,getting the important stuff done instead of playing Santa Claus with taxpayers money (WFF ,interest free loans)

    http://www.infrastructure.govt.nz/

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      Empty rhetoric is the best you can do, That’s not a question.

    • mauī 7.2

      Setting New Zealand up for what exactly…?

    • adam 7.3

      You been struggling now for a couple of days Bm, I think you should take a wee rest and get your head back together. I know you’r heart broken you’r best buddy is gone, but go through the stages of grief, it will help.

    • NZJester 7.4

      John Key and his government played Santa Claus with Tax payer money all the time. He sold off valuable public assets, a lot for less than there real worth. They spent $11.5 million of taxpayer money on a Saudi farm. They wasted a lot of public money on all those failed Charter Schools. They wasted money on privately run prisons.
      Those are just the ones I can think of right now, but are only the tip of the iceberg.

      • BenM 7.4.1

        Sky City and Rio Tinto are two more recipients of Key’s generosity.

        But one could argue that this isn’t playing Santa Claus. Santa gives out presents for being good. Key gave out presents for being evil (or at the very least for being rich).

  8. Jum 8

    Key was America’s man for corporates (TPP being just one item on his instruction list from his visit to the American Fed). That’s all I need to know. Key took out one leg of the stool of govt/ business/worker – the working person’s rights to living wages – by deliberately seeking to reduce them. He destroyed the balance of our democracy.

    Yes I was shocked by Key’s resignation, knowing what a vain beast he is wanting to beat Michael Joseph Savage’s time in government, although for every good thing Savage brought to New Zealanders John Key took it away, under urgency. As National/Act representative Matthew Hooten readily acknowledged on Radio NZ on Monday politics, National was formed to get rid of Labour because it was fighting for ALL New Zealanders’ well-being. Key has already succeeded in reversing that. So, why would he bother to stay on?

    I’m ashamed Kiwis actually imagined he gave a damn about them. He donned a mask and played a role. Key, like Lange, played the host while business destroyed NZ egalitarianism under English/Joyce and Douglas/Richardson in the 80s and 90s.

    How could anyone have not understood that simple game plan by Key.The Queen’s going to be talking to him tonight, no doubt to organise his knighthood. What an insult to Sir Ed.

    The one thing above all that ‘sticks in my craw’ is the person on Radio NZ this morning from Key’s Helensville electorate saying that Key was an honest man. Crap. He was a multi-talented liar that, with the quiescence of the easily swayed ‘celebrity media’ types skewed New Zealand’s future.

    Hollow Men: Tell a huge lie often enough and people will believe it.

    And Helensville? Seriously? Of all the electorates his money could have bought, He chose Helensville to fight HELEN Clark. How gullible Kiwis are.
    I wonder who’ll hoodwink us next? Double dipton English, Coleman the taker-away of home help for the olds? Collins? Really? Adams who was advantaged by the Plains water irrigation legislation? Water, the lifegiver to everyone on earth, now seen as a money spinner.
    Please, Kiwis, do your fxxking homework on these politicians. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

    • garibaldi 8.1

      Spot on Jum.
      It’s like Wall St. has told John his job is done.
      Let’s hope the momentum to wrest control away from the one-world globalists will continue to grow and we can rid ourselves of them.

      • KJT 8.1.1

        Next possibility.
        Key got the sack because he failed to deliver the TPP to his corporate US bosses?

        Why keep a puppet, that doesn’t deliver?

    • { ‘ I’m ashamed Kiwis actually imagined he gave a damn about them. He donned a mask and played a role. Key, like Lange, played the host while business destroyed NZ egalitarianism under English/Joyce and Douglas/Richardson in the 80s and 90s. ‘ }

      Exactly.

      Key was nothing more than the malignant vector for the virus that is neo liberalism.

      To which this country is now so delirious with that disease that it can no longer tell when the next injection of odious virus filled serum is about to be introduced into its veins.

  9. Muttonbird 9

    It is instructive that John Key supporters here come up with next to nothing in their desperate attempts at writing his political eulogy.

  10. Anne 10

    Glad to see Bryce Edwards didn’t fall for John Key’s faux explanation for his decision to walk…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11761271

  11. David C 11

    Well in 8 years as PM Key has raised Nationals popularity and squashed Labour down to almost half what it was in ’08. That and seeing off 4 Labour “Leaders” in that time.

    As core political business goes that is quite an achievement.

    • Molly 11.1

      As core governance goes it is an embarrassment.

    • And ?… and ?… so what ?

      You count that as an achievement , you worm?

      You like a one party state where the media is censured? Worse still , – run by private interests that only report on and create biased accounts only favoring a leader and their party ?

      You think political vacuums are a good thing , you anti democratic neo liberal fascist?

      That all you’ve got?

      And by the way – National isn’t as ‘ popular’ as you’d like to make out. As you will soon see once the great pretender leaves these shores to watch National crash and burn.

      Not that he would give a damn. Ironic that the last laugh from the Smiling Assassin was against his own political party.

      How ironic it is….

    • garibaldi 11.3

      Well David C when there is total domination of the world through American Corporate Capitalism and Militarism, you might be able to look around and realize the world has been destroyed . That is what our wonderful moneytrader Wall St puppet wants. That’s the core political business he stands for.

  12. Tanz 12

    HIs biggest achievement has been keeping all of Labour’s policy intact, and then adding some more Labour like policies of his own.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Hahahahahahaha

      No, he hasn’t done just that – he’s seriously attacked poor people and made them poorer while enriching the already rich at the expense of the poor.

  13. ropata 13

    Yes, the Gnat caucus was itching to dismantle Kiwibank, KiwiSaver, WFF, and sell off anything that wasn’t nailed down. But Key was ever the pragmatist and knew that would not fly with the Kiwi voter and enable him to maintain his mild everyman image.

    Key’s pragmatism produced a weird mix of misguided and pointless right wing policies like asset sales and charter schools and slashing the public service, alongside important infrastructure investment in transport and fibre broadband.

    • { ‘ Key’s pragmatism produced a weird mix of misguided and pointless right wing policies like asset sales and charter schools and slashing the public service, alongside important infrastructure investment in transport and fibre broadband. ‘ }

      Yeah , – its called the ‘appeasement ‘ approach.

      • ropata 13.1.1

        I think Key has always been a numbers man and when Farrar’s moles reported that the odds were against him continuing as the beloved saviour of Aotearoa and white collar bank accounts, Key’s nose twitched and he abandoned ship

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    Hundreds of millions of taxable dollars left NZ shores forever when Key removed the lid on how much money the rich can put into a trust each year. (I recall it was around $23,500.)

    We will never know how many millions (or billions) are gone forever. It was Key’s greatest contribution to the millionaire class. They could put their money in an overseas trust in a no-tax country and let it grow unhindered by the inconvenience of paying NZ taxes.

    That’s what “honest John” did for the working people of NZ.

    • Here’s an interesting link for all the Key sycophants to have a good look at…

      And I would suggest Blip posts the ‘ Honest John ‘ list one more time with this as Keys Epitaph.

      http://aotearoaawiderperspective.com/2008/12/17/open-letter-to-eugene-bingham-or-would-you-have-voted-for-john-key-if-you-had-known/#comment-7147

      What an absolute areshole he really , really was and is….

      • ropata 14.1.1

        Hopefully this much-rumoured forthcoming book will complete Ev Gilbert’s excellent work, God rest her soul..

        • rawshark-yeshe 14.1.1.1

          Hi Ropata .. have been away … so such sad news to gather from your post … please, can you tell me when and how we lost Ev ? Thank you …

    • Craig H 14.2

      If there was ever a maximum trust settlement, it wasn’t recent. If you’re referring to the repeal of gift tax, it raised very little revenue for the government, and a lot of money was spent on professional services to avoid it.

      • John up North 14.2.1

        Yes but at it’s heart it achieved it’s goal very well, those with money could move it easily in very large licks to vehicles designed to hide ownership, concealing ill gotten gains or maybe even well deserved $$ from creditors, debtors, wives, husbands or just the authorities that may have demanded their fair share.

        Previously there was an annual limit you could “gift” not sure if the quoted sum above was correct before there was a “duty” attached to funds exceeding the limit. After the change you could move “millions” if you felt inclined.

        • Craig H 14.2.1.1

          $27000 was the tax-free threshold for many years, so people would set up a family trust and “lend” the full amount to the trust, and then forgive the loan at $27000 per annum.

  15. GregJ 15

    Perhaps “achievements” is the wrong way to think about it. Probably better to think about the impact of his premiership on the country and to separately think about his impact on NZ politics.

    I think in terms of the second it is hard to deny that he has made a significant impact on the way politics is done in NZ (I would argue, of course, mainly to the detriment of the political process in the country). The politics of populism, Dirty Politics, the casual contempt for truth, narcissistic media showboating and focus-group driven policy are hallmarks of his time – I’m not sure if his going will lead to a move away from that or not – much may depend on his successor.

    In terms of his longer term impact on the country that is obviously going to take longer to break down – I don’t think he ever really had a clear vision of where he wanted to take the country – aside from placating the middle-class and further enriching & enabling the wealthy I don’t know he had any particular plan. He seemed mainly to want to keep the boat sailing along with no real destination in sight and as long as he was popular and liked everything was OK. He had no choice but react to the Christchurch earthquake and sort of muddled through but left the heavy lifting to Brownlee (who doesn’t seem to mind if he makes himself unpopular).

    I don’t think he was divisive in the way Muldoon was but I think he cared a lot less for ordinary New Zealanders than Muldoon did and that means inequality and poverty has increased during his time straining our social fabric to breaking point. We are less unified as a nation – not one New Zealand but two.

    His biggest failure I think was more than adequately summed up by David Cunliffe

    “An inability to use his personal popularity to address the serious challenges of the long term: climate change, superannuation, real productivity growth driven by innovation and infrastructure deficits made worse by overhyped growth.”

    • { ‘ I don’t think he was divisive in the way Muldoon was but I think he cared a lot less for ordinary New Zealanders than Muldoon did and that means inequality and poverty has increased during his time straining our social fabric to breaking point. We are less unified as a nation – not one New Zealand but two. ‘ }

      Yep ,… at least Muldoon had a concept of the Kiwi battler, and yes, he was divisive, authoritarian , ( and certainly wasn’t politically correct , – though the term wasn’t in existence then – its a neo liberal construct )…

      Thing is, we operated under a Keynesian based economy then with its regulatory characteristics, which put a cap on negative exploitation of loopholes somewhat in political and economic areas… and Muldoon was a strong advocate of that and the maintaining of the welfare state.

      As has been said … there wasn’t massive differences between both National or Labour… all operated under that system.

      But then that is exactly the sort of thing said nowadays under neo liberalism as well.

      The difference was then – there was far , far less gap between the haves and have nots. Wages were OK , a family didn’t necessarily need both parents working , and per capita,.. we were regarded in many official circles as enjoying one of the best standards of living globally.

      Since then under neo liberalism , we have ranked as around 32nd – behind Mexico, … and also on a par with Albania…

      Douglas should have been charged with treason .

      If that had happened , we never would have been saddled with the smiling subversive globalist from Merril Lynch.

  16. infused 16

    Hold the left out of power.

    • Keys gone , … little person ,… maybe its time for you also to dig out that dual passport and fly back to America… maybe have a few rounds of golf with EX President Obama and Ex PM Key…

      I hear they are in need of a peasant type person to fetch the golf balls from the rough.

  17. ropata 17

    How did that help NZ?

    But you could be onto something, perhaps Key’s “leadership” was just a pissing contest and a public display of his daddy issues

  18. Left Right Out 18

    What about the pandas?

  19. BenM 19

    In all seriousness, there is one good thing I’ll say about Key: he didn’t stand in the way of marriage equality. Of course he let others do all the hard work, but he didn’t try to block them, and he even voted in favour of the bill when it came before the House. It may not seem like much, but it’s better than how right-wing leaders of certain other countries have treated the issue.

  20. save nz 20

    “THE ECONOMIC ASSASSIN, JOHN KEY HAS HIT HIS TARGET, AND IS MAKING HIS GET AWAY BEFORE NEW ZEALANDER’S NOTICE

    The TPPA was secretly enacted in parliament during the death and destruction of the earthquakes (starting the day before) and the appall of having an international arms fair held in Auckland complete with a foreign, probably nuclear carrying warship (starting the day after===). FYI the US warship was “redirected to the blast zone showing it’s real priority.”

    http://kiwicando.com/tppablock/john-key/

  21. Tanz 21

    Marriage equality, my foot. Just the typical anti establishment, anti-God, progressive attempt to break up the traditional family and to undermine marriage. Such a perversion. That’s what it’s really about. The usual, agree with us or else. Why did it not go to referendum? Funny, that. Just as the elite in Britian are ignoring the will of the people on the Brexit vote. For a long time now, those in power have run roughshod over majority will. The tide is turning though, especially in Europe. Globalisation – yet another elitist, stuff the will of the people, shaft the people, idea.

    • framu 21.1

      “The usual, agree with us or else. ”

      no – thats what your doing.

      Dont like gay marriage? – dont have one

      xtians dont own or invent marriage – you dont get to claim it

      whats next – blacks dont get the same rights as whites? (its the same logic)

    • Draco T Bastard 21.2

      Just the typical anti establishment, anti-God, progressive attempt to break up the traditional family and to undermine marriage.

      The ‘traditional’ nuclear family isn’t all that traditional:

      In later years, the assumptions about the family held by Malinowski, Murdock, and Parsons have been challenged by family sociologists as well as by anthropologists, historians, feminist scholars, and others. Research in these fields has emphasized the diversity of family not only across cultures and eras but also within any culture or historical period.

      It seems that the nuclear family is the perversion.

  22. Tanz 22

    Yes, but what about the children they then adopt or have by purchase (Elton John for example), the children who have no say, and then are told ‘gay marriage’ is normal, and never ever had a say. God invented marriage, not men or women, and it was only ever meant for to be between men and women. Hence why childbearing bearing gay couples on their own is not possible. Even nature is against it.
    Ever thought of them? Nope, but then, I guess you support abortion, too, whilst the unborn have no voice at all.
    Such demented logic, the blacks and whites example.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      Yes, but what about the children they then adopt or have by purchase (Elton John for example), the children who have no say, and then are told ‘gay marriage’ is normal, and never ever had a say.

      I’m pretty sure that the children in your preferred heterosexual family didn’t have a say either. And they tend to be the ones getting more abuse from their parents as well.

    • framu 22.2

      So your OK with treating people the same based on skin colour – just not on who they sleep with?

      Spare us your self annointed exceptionalism – We are a secular country and we are all equal before the law. You do not get to claim a right as your property in order to deny it to others. (which is what we used to do to black people, women and the disabled – duh)

      We all have the same rights regardless of what we believe.

      [/off topic rant]

  23. Smilin 23

    If people spent more time looking at the horror stories of John Keys tenure as PM that were his to put right for a democracy to function at this time in history
    They would have stopped listening to his bs along time before now
    and his ego mania would have died a natural death and all the disgusting abuses of power would have been the real news instead of the dancing clown stupidity we have endured for so long that has left us with chronic debt and mismanagement of this country’s resources and wealth

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