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“Mr Slater’s made it quite clear”: Key standup transcript pt1

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, August 19th, 2014 - 26 comments
Categories: blogs, brand key, David Farrar, election funding, john key, national, slippery, spin - Tags:

The standup that John Key did with the press, the day after the launch of Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics, is one which John Key was trying to repeat his hastily prepare spin lines of denial, denial, denial.  He made various claims, some of which already have been shown to be incorrect.  Key is very often slippery with his wording, appearing to say something, while leaving a little wriggle room to deny he actually stated that point.

So I have started transcribing TV3’s video of the standup, in order to compare what Key said then, with what has unfolded since. If nothing else, it may show how Key spins certain lines, while leaving a certain amount of ambiguity.

john key repeating and repeating

This post contains a transcript of the first 5 minutes of the video.

It’s very interesting to see how Key seems to be claiming Cameron Slater’s credibility is higher than Nicky Hager’s.  Actually he doesn’t quite state that,, but implies it. He keeps falling back on what Slater has said publicly, without giving any reason why we should believe Slater, more than we should believe what Hager has written in his book.

In this section of the video, Key responds to allegations in Hager’s book, about the accessing of private details on Labour Party website; and allegations of Slater being given privileged treatment with respect to OIA requests for information from the SIS.

Since the video was recorded, the SIS has responded to the allegations, (allegedly)* supporting Key’s version of the events. Vernon Small’s report on this.  NZ Herald’s report.

TRANSCRIPT OF TV3s video of John Key’s press standup,

Thursday 14 August: ‘John Key talks Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics‘ – Part One: 0- 4.57 minutes.

INTERVIEWER: Handed information over to Whale Oil.  What do you make of that?

KEY: No, I don’t think that’s correct.  What we’ve seen is a typically Nicky Hager book.  I mean, quite frankly, full of baseless allegations and theories which don’t stand up.  In my view t’s a, there’s a reason Nicky Hager released the book at 5 o’clock last night, and that’s because he didn’t want people who are in the book, to actually critique it, and to be able to put their side of the story before the 6 o’clock news.

And look frankly, if there’s dirty politics in New Zealand, it’s actually coming from the left. If you look at the left, they don’t want to talk about the issues that actually matter to New Zealanders. So what we’ve had from them this week, ah, we’ve had Dotcom putting up a video f young people chanting we’ve had effigies being burnt and displayed on the internet, we’ve had billboards being wrecked, We’ve had a parody out there on the thing.  And now we’ve had this book of baseless allegations.

INTERVIEWER: Would that’s fine, but but you’ve got communications from Jason Ede to Whale Oil, to Cam Slater, talking about campaign politics and tactics. And he sits in your office.

KEY: Well for a start off: A – he works for the National Party. B- yeah he’s a communications research guy, and of course he talks to blogs, he talks to a number of blogs, just in the same way that we talk to you the media. They are just another form of the modern media. And actually the modern media – the media ask us questions about things that are on blog sites all the time.  That’s pretty standard practice.  There’s nothing untoward that’s happening. There’s a couple of major allegations that Hager’s made that are completely and utterly wrong.


KEY: Well, A: National’s been nowhere near Labour’s website. As I said, Mr Slater made it quite clear this morning that he found the way in there, and that’s because it was completely open and they didn’t have any protection on it. Nothing to do with National. In terms of the SIS, I had made comments about that Israeli position. I said that Mr Goff was briefed. Mr Goff refuted that.  They are in the public domain. Then what happened was that the head of the SIS said that he’d briefed them. So that was why an OIA request was put in.  It was nothing to do with my office.

INTERVIEWER: But Hager has emails showing that Jason Ede was talking about trolling through the Labour Party website.

KEY: Yeah, well that’s not correct. It’s nothing

INTERVIEWER: Are you saying those emails are false?

KEY: Well I’m saying it’s nothing to do with us. What happened was, Mr Slater’s made it quite clear on his website today, that in fact it was nothing to do with the National Party.

INTERVIEWER: The IP address went back to your office.

KEY: No I don’t think that’s right. It’s nothing to do with our office.


It’ interesting to compare the guy standing behind Key’s left shoulder in the video, with this tweeted image:

Key takes to the screens to diffuse allegations of dirty politics with a prominent tobacco lobbyist in frame lol

Tweet Key tobacco lobbyist


Update:  SIS has responded to the allegations, (allegedly) supporting Key’s version of the events

Tracey commented that the SIS doesn’t fully support Key’s statements.

26 comments on ““Mr Slater’s made it quite clear”: Key standup transcript pt1 ”

  1. Mark Derby 1

    Do we still have a Minister of Justice? If so, what does she do with her time?

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Nothing to do with the National Party !

    Yeah right that has to be a Tui billboard

  3. Tracey 3


    You have misspelled slater as salter.

    Alsi the sis have not entirely backed keys story. Key denied the OIA request crossed his desk. SIS says it followed no surprises policy. That policy requires OIAs to hit Keys desk. They do say Key made no comment on the request. BUT he told espiner the request didnt hit his desk… The SIS do not back him on that aspect.

    • karol 3.1

      Thanks. Will correct the spelling.

      Good point about the SIS not fully backing up Key. My post was focusing more on the transcript. I was leaving it up to others to examine whether the SIS claim stacks up.

      Updated the post to link to your comment.

  4. wonderpup 4

    There is a fascinating thing going on here. Repeated phases like “look at the left”. It really reminds me of stuff that Derrin Brown does to influence people – check out
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1f_o7xgvl8 to see his tricks to make people comply.

  5. geoff 5

    We’re getting to see the sulky Key now, the guy who isn’t used to losing.

  6. geoff 6

    I wonder if Key’s refusal to condemn any action by Slater or Collins is because they have personal dirt on him.

  7. geoff 7


    “Judith Collins’ decision to leak information to blogger Cameron Slater was “unwise” and she is now on her last chance, Prime Minister John Key says.”

    Wasn’t she already on her last chance?

    I reckon she’s got something over Key.

    This just looks like weak leadership from Key, he’s not in control of his own caucus or his own office it seems.

  8. Te Reo Putake 8

    “It’ interesting to compare the guy standing behind Key’s left shoulder in the video …”

    They’re two different people, Karol. I was fascinated by the guy to Key’s left in the standup. He had the posture and eye movement of a DPS security operative, but nodded every time Key got his ‘phrase ‘o’ the day’ or other talking points out. Dunno who he is or what his role is, but he stuck tight to Key (despite arriving late) and tried to keep a poker face throughout.

    • karol 8.1

      Thanks, TRP. They kinda looked similar But i was interested in the tweet, anyway.

      • Te Reo Putake 8.1.1

        Yep, the tweet certainly shows how little he cares about being associated with the lowest of the low.

  9. Te Reo Putake 9

    Ps, Karol, hope you don’t mind, but I drafted this up as a post a few days ago. I hope it’s complementary to your work.

    Press Pass Revoked.

    So, it’s come to this. John Key, the darling of the media for seven years, finally knows what its like to be the target of their scorn. This media stand up in Parliament will go down as the worst twenty minutes in the PM’s political life. Dunno about you, but I’ve never seen the Parliamentary Press gallery smirking at his answers before. The disrespect was palpable.

    The nervous swallows, sneaky fart squeaks and help me mummy mumbles are such a stark contrast to his usual relaxed bluster, it’s startling. It’s as if he has forgotten every lesson of his many, many hours of media training. Well apart from the one about calling Nicky Hager a leftwing conspiracy theorist. He remembered that about a dozen times. Oh, and the left don’t want to debate the issues that matter to Kiwis. No, really, we don’t.

    It’s twenty minutes long, but worth watching over and over again. It’s like Dunnokeyo and David Brent swapped minds for the afternoon. Somewhere in Slough, Key’s brain is trying to remember the lyrics to Freelove Freeway, while in Wellington Brent’s brain is trying to work out whether it would be a good idea to just run away.

    If you can’t spare twenty minutes here are the highlights:

    It starts with a couple of minutes of framing (conspiracy theorist, it’s the left that’s dirty etc).

    At 2.20 calls Hager a liar for the first time. Denies that the IP address of the hacker points to the ninth floor, then when it’s pointed out that the IP belongs specifically to his office says ‘I don’t have those details’. That’s all good though, because “Mr Slater” says so.

    3.45: Key says that its fine to go into unprotected websites. No, really, he does actually say that.

    4.40: Claims Hager “has nothing to prove it”. Journalist points out that Hager has the emails and Key replies ‘nah, well, mumble, mumble… making things up’.

    5.30: Journo starts taking the piss. ‘So your enquiry is called Cameron Slater?’

    7.00: Q: if even 5 or 10% is true that’s damning. A: No, it’s not! (It’s only 5 or 10% damning?)

    8.45: Asked more about Ede and at 9.00 yelps the single most revealing answer to a question he has has ever given. Jason Ede sleeps with the fishes.

    10.00: Cameron Slater has nothing to do with the National Party, apparently. They hardly ever speak, maybe four times a year. No, really. If Cam chacks his facebook page, I’m picking he’s just been de-friended.

    14.00: Key can’t be arsed doing anything about Judith Collins being accused of corruption. ‘Lets wait and see’. The journalists are starting to hunt as a pack. He’s asked if he’ll read the book. Key starts to get a rictus grin and a bad case of the tranzrail eyes and says ‘maybe after the election’. He’s a bit busy, apparently.

    14.40: A journalist laughs at Key. At him, not with him.

    16.15: Squeaks like bat when asked if he stands by Jason Ede.

    18.15: One journo appears to be reduced to biting his lip to stop himself laughing.

    Key’s media wonk calls it to a halt at twenty minutes. A mercy killing if ever I saw one. It’s at times like these that you find out who your friends really are, John. Never mind, though, Hoskings is still taking your calls. For now.

  10. Dialey 10

    To Key’s attempt to deflect his actions, by accusing others of deviousness, I have one comment:
    “When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.”

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      Powerful men are well advised not to use violence,
      For violence has a habit of returning;
      Thorns and weeds grow wherever an army goes,
      And lean years follow a great war.
      A general is well advised
      To achieve nothing more than his orders,
      No matter how strong his army;
      To carry out his orders
      But not glory, boast or be proud;
      To do what is dictated by necessity,
      But not by bloodlust;
      For even the fiercest force will weaken with time,
      And then its violence will return, and kill it.

      Lao Tzu c. 5,000 BCE.

  11. adam 11

    Thanks for the great work Karol!

    I must say reading it, is just as disturbing as watching it. In some ways worse – you can see the propaganda tricks he’s trying to pull, in black and white – and they send a shudder down my spine.

  12. feijoa 12

    TRP, that media standup link seems to have gone
    Taken down? damage control???

  13. Thinker 13

    Herald (19 August) has Slater confirming Ede as the person, and putting him down (as only Slater can) for going into hiding and not front-facing the media.

    So, Key wasted his time, a bit, trying to say it was all fiction.

  14. ak 14

    So the son of a National Party president who pasted Helen Clark’s face to pornographic pictures and broadcast them to the world and who is in regular phone contact with John Key is nothing to do with the National Party? Sure. Great journalists we’ve got: one day their role in this will come out too.

  15. SouthDeez 15

    Key’s clearly trying to infer that all of the left wing party’s in the house are, in one way or another, connected to the F John Key chant, the effigy burning, the National billboard defacing, and the allegations made in the book. So, I don’t get why journalists don’t pull him up on his calls about how dirty politics is coming from the left and how the left don’t want to debate policy, when Hager isn’t affiliated with any political party.

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