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No answers on the tough questions

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, May 17th, 2010 - 19 comments
Categories: john key - Tags: ,

Hmm, so another bad, bad week for the directionless Key Government. Lucky a major newspaper steps in with a chance to make the PM look cute and adorable. About one in five of the 50 questions put to John Key in the Sunday Star-Times yesterday are cutesy nonsense, which is the one area where Key shines these days.

I am once again disappointed by the quality of our business class. In the article, you’ve got a bunch of business people given the chance to ask one question on the record of the Prime Minister of their country and they’re mostly inane bull-crap.

Theresa Gattung once ran one of our largest companies and her best question is: who do you admire and what books do you like? Jesus, no wonder our companies fail to perform, look at the minds running them.

Anyhoo, let’s look at Key’s answers. It’s pretty telling that National Party pollster David Farrar chose to highlight a joke question from Valerie Vili and a joke answer; the answers to real questions are pretty weak:

5. Sir Stephen Tindall, philanthropist and founder of The Warehouse: If over the next 15 years overseas mining companies manage to extract say $5 billion worth of minerals from our conservation land, how many actual dollars will the citizens of NZ get back via the government in royalties after the remediation costs?

We are working on this. As I pointed out earlier, we are in a submission process. However, we are confident New Zealanders will retain enough of the value from mining to make this viable. The whole point of this exercise if it goes ahead is to lift New Zealand’s economic performance.

You weren’t asked that John, you were asked what share of the wealth New Zealand gets through royalties. The answer is 0.1%.

7. Oscar Kightley, film-maker and comedian: Pacific heroes Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala gave you their support, and that of their supporters, because they thought that, under National, Pacific people would be owning factories and not just working in them. When do you think that will happen?

Lifting New Zealand’s economic performance will help all New Zealanders, and I know that is also what Inga and Michael believe. Michael has said publicly it was my aspiration to bring all New Zealanders forward, including Pacific people, which convinced him to support us. I know our strong commitment to economic growth in the Pacific nations, including business mentoring, is important to New Zealand’s Pacific people.

So, no timeline on that aspiration. But Key would have been happy to have another mention of Jones and Tuigamala – they will be National candidates next year to try to piggyback on the World Cup.

11. Keisha Castle-Hughes, actor: When are you going to show us your vision for how New Zealand can grow in a way that doesn’t irreversibly damage our environment and climate?

Balancing our environmental responsibilities with our economic opportunities is a cornerstone of all our policies. It guides what we have done in changing Labour’s emissions trading scheme. It has guided us in terms of changes to the RMA and government environmental agencies. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of misinformation circulated about National’s environmental intentions by our political opponents.
All we can do is keep pointing to the fact that a cornerstone of our policies is balancing our environmental responsibilities with our economic opportunities. As minister of tourism, I am well aware of the need to be cognisant of these issues.

Funny how the ‘balance’ always seems to go in the direction of free-for-all exploitation of the environment. A smarter government would realise that what is good for the environment is ultimately good for the economy – the economy is built on the environment.

27. Ruth Lim, Sunday Star-Times reader, Christchurch: You went through the public school system and seem to have fond memories of your time there, as evidenced by your recent visit to Burnside High. You have also done very well in the business and political world since. What are your reasons for sending your own children to private schools?

I believe all New Zealanders should have the freedom to make choices, especially when it comes to issues like education and healthcare. New Zealand has excellent schools and one of the reasons for that is different schools are able to cater for students’ various needs. My children enjoy their schools they’re a good fit. As all parents know, if your children are happy at their school it makes a big impact on their all-round wellbeing.

Right, so it’s OK for the rich to have choice. Of course, that means a lot of good teachers go to private teaching for higher pay. If you’re rich, you get the better education, if you’re don’t you don’t – got to love that ‘choice’.

29. Robyn Malcolm, actor: The income disparity between New Zealanders is growing and there is an obvious correlation between low income and poor indices in society, ie, crime, family breakdown, family violence, low education etc. What are you going to do about this?

I want to see all New Zealanders reach their potential and succeed and that means getting things right from the very start of someone’s life. Lifting achievement in our schools helps build opportunities for young New Zealanders, which is why we’re focusing on getting more children into early childhood education, and rolling out National Standards. This emphasis on education continues to secondary and tertiary levels, and recognises the fact young New Zealanders will want to choose from a range of options. We’re addressing the drivers of crime, with a raft of new legislation being passed which is designed to give greater powers to the police and to protect Kiwi families. We are also reforming our social services, principally through Future Focus and Whanau Ora, to help people back into work and to take charge of their wellbeing.

There’s no one policy the government can use to solve society’s ills but we can do as much as we can to create an environment which helps all New Zealanders to live fulfilling lives.

Of course, we know that on every measure the Government has failed to deliver. Unemployment is up, wages are down, inequality is getting worse, crime is up, education is being cut. There are a few little pretenses at doing something, but this is basically a do nothing government when it comes to the things that matter.

34. Judy Bailey, former TV newsreader: Given that we know that our experiences and relationships in the first three years of life have a direct bearing on crime, family violence and physical and mental health, and given that we know we get dramatically better value for money by focusing our spending on the early years, how is your government shaping social policy to reflect that evidence?

For New Zealanders to have every chance of success, it’s vital we help every Kiwi child get the best possible start in life. We’re committed to making sure early childhood education is widely available to children from all areas of society, along with pre-school health care. At the same time, it’s important we instigate policies to make sure parents are supported to be able to give their children what they need. Our social policies aim to give parents the power to do just that.

The Government is cutting early childhood education funding and lowering standards.

36. Jonathan Temm, president, New Zealand Law Society: With prison musters rising and the “Three Strikes” initiative likely to increase them further, what strategies are planned to address the causes of crime and to reduce rates of imprisonment?

Drug and alcohol problems, coupled with a lack of life and work skills, can really put offenders on the back foot if they want to turn their lives around. We have a responsibility to helping those who want to helped, and this government is doing just that. We are fulfilling our promise to double the number of places for drug and alcohol rehabilitation and give employment, job skills and literacy training to an extra 1000 prisoners a year.

The path to prison usually starts well before adulthood, however. A significant portion of our policy efforts are focused on reforming sectors like education, state housing and justice. I believe reform in these and other areas will help in our goal of giving young people better opportunities.

Crime is up despite the Government’s policy of locking up everyone they can get their hands on for longer.

43. Gareth Morgan, economist and investor: What is the single most important policy advance, to your mind, if NZ is going to have any chance of closing the income gap with Australia?

I have always maintained there is no one silver bullet. It will be a raft of policies that lift New Zealand’s economic performance. Reforming our tax system in a fair and equitable way is one. Reducing red tape, boosting infrastructure such as broadband, electric rail and road networks, driving better performance in the public sector, and encouraging innovation, particularly in science, are others. This will be an ongoing programme, year-on-year.

The Tax Working Group never said that its tax reforms would boost growth. It never claimed that. It is merely a process of redistributing the wealth from poor to rich.

45. Helen Kelly, president, Council of Trade Unions: Why won’t the government do more in the job creation space when the small initiatives to date have been successful, are cost-effective, and benefit the country as a whole, and particularly when unemployment is higher now than it was when these initiatives were started? Why not, for instance, expand schemes like Community Max or Job Ops or similar schemes or invest in assisting people who are unemployed to gain the skills they need to re-enter the workforce?

You must remember we inherited an economy in recession it’s now been growing for nearly a year that’s a good start. To date, Job Ops has provided 4539 positions for young people with little or no qualifications, keeping them connected to the workplace and earning a wage. The scheme was designed to help young people through a recession by providing a subsidy to employers to take them on. It has been hugely successful. The Community Max scheme was designed also to assist young people into subsidised positions working with communities on local projects. This scheme has also been very popular with young people and the community; both have been a great success.

Both Job Ops and Community Max were designed as time-limited, targeted initiatives to mitigate the effects of a recession on young people who lack the skills, qualifications or experience to compete in a tight labour market. The government is giving consideration to the future of these schemes.

The government is also working with employers through industry partnerships to link beneficiaries with jobs with good results. Every week over a third of those who walk into Work and Income looking for a benefit don’t end up needing one because of an intense focus on matching jobs with people as fast as possible.

Job Ops is just a giant rort – employers just get paid for jobs they were creating anyway. That’s why Treasury described it as poor spending. The government actually cut money for training. It’s good that unemployment is finally coming down but there are quarter of a million jobless Kiwis and unemployment is higher than Australia for the first time in a decade.

19 comments on “No answers on the tough questions”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    A hat-tip to these guys, for some funny – and more honest – answers from John Key:

    http://www.absolutegeni.us/archives/359

  2. Tigger 2

    “6. Ken Burns, Sunday Star-Times reader, Auckland: Who cuts your hair styles your wig?”

    Fixed.

  3. randal 3

    the gnats seem to have a lock on the sunday star times.
    every week there is at least one photo and usually more of john keys plastered all over the rag and this weeekend he got a three page feature.
    this is embarrassing.
    in the interests of fairness and balance phill goff should at least be offered the same amount of exposure.

    • Anita 3.1

      Do you think that would be a positive or a negative for Labour?

    • Dead Right randal. Every week the SSTs has photos of Key and (of course) Banks. Its about time they were reminded that they are supposed to be a responsible independent paper. What a joke!

    • cal 3.3

      Well, the SST is owned by the lovley Rupert Murdoch after all, what else did you expect?

  4. Fisiani 4

    Thank you for highlighting above the great grasp that JK has on the economy and the solutions. It has been a tough 18 months handling the hospital pass of a decade of deficits delivered by Labour in 2008 but the ship has been turned away from the reef and further good news of recovery is expected on May 20th when we get a better, fairer tax system and a productive economy that rewards hard work.

    • kaplan 4.1

      That’s one of the best satirical piece I’ve read for ages.
      Keep it up. 🙂

    • Bored 4.2

      Disasterous inheritance from Labour, who in turn inheritted a disaster from Nats, who in turn….and the good ship captained by Jonkey ploughs on towards the iceberg, band on deck full of fanfair……and Labour inherits a disasterous situation…..see where this is going?

    • Maynard J 4.3

      Makes me feel more ill than when yank kiddies say “I love you mommy” in crap movies.

      Get a room.

    • Akldnut 4.4

      Fisiani you’ve said that enough over the past few months, I think now you honestly believe it!
      Self medicating???

  5. Bored 5

    God how excrable that “story” was, quick questions from dead enders to a dead ender….two stood out to me:
    1. Theresa Gattung was busy asking about heroes and “aspirational” types (sort of Randian questions)…what a vacuous waste of space she is…maybe she and Jonkey can get together and form an intellectual black hole.
    2. Keisha Castle Hughes…thank God for Keisha, she put her finger on the future of not only people but our whole environment. Stuff the Oscar, make her prime minister.

  6. It got me to thinking. If i had the chance to ask ‘clueless’ a question, what would it be ?
    It’d probably be something like this…

    Look John, you seem like a greasy two faced shit and i cant stand the sort of slimy ‘im an ordinary guy just like you crap’ you’re always trying to peddle in your photo ops and soundbites, so why don’t you pack your bullshit ‘man of the people hokum’ up and fuck of overseas never to be heard of again cos it’s fairly obvious you have no vision or plan for the ordinary NZ citizen, inclusive of Maori, Pasifikans and anyone else who isnt clocking mad dollars ?

    i wonder what his answer would be ?

    • Bored 6.1

      “And that attitude is precisely why you are not getting the Urewera national park back………..p.s Tame said the same to me…….now if you can please stand over here by me and smile at the camera.”

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Most of the questions would have been answered by his staff to keep on message. It could have a great if done face to face with the reporter, if hes the great communicator key should have jumped at the chance to be real. But written questions with written responses . Straight out of Pravada

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    We are fulfilling our promise to double the number of places for drug and alcohol rehabilitation and give employment, job skills and literacy training to an extra 1000 prisoners a year.

    And yet, IIRC, NACT have cut successful rehabilitation schemes, cut funding and haven’t put anything in place to replace that which they’ve taken away.

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    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
    Scholarships for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries is another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor, announcing the scholarships today, says hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding for Foxton regeneration
    A project to help rejuvenate the Horowhenua town of Foxton will receive a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $3.86 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This funding for the Foxton Regeneration project will be used to make the well-known holiday town even more attractive for visitors and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Plan to improve protection of moa bones
    Moa bones and other sub-fossil remains of extinct species are set to have improved protection with proposals to prevent the trade in extinct species announced the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. “We have lost too many of our native species, but these lost species, such as moa, remain an ...
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    5 days ago
  • Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island
    The Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme moves south for the first time creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland. “Eighteen schools with 3000 students are joining the programme – 11 have already begun serving lunches, and seven are preparing to start during Term 3. This is ...
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    5 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
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    5 days ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
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    6 days ago
  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
    From today new legislation takes effect to both restore the right to legal representation at the start of a Care of Children (CoCA) dispute in the Family Court, and allow parties to those proceedings to access legal aid where eligible. During a visit to the Family Court in Auckland today, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce
    Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said. From 1 January ...
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    6 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission gets to work
    The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou Ki a koutou Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei, tēnā koutou Ko Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa ki ngā take o te Ao (NZIIA), Ko te Rōpū Tohu Tono ...
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    6 days ago
  • Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents
    The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start COVID rebuild
    A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong. “New Zealand has consistently emphasised its serious concern about the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong without inclusive ...
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    6 days ago
  • July 1 marks progress for workers, families
    More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today. July 1 is a milestone day for the Government as a host of key policies take effect, demonstrating the critical areas where progress has been made. “The Coalition Government ...
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    6 days ago
  • Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
    Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.  The call-in means the application has been referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, including resultant border restrictions, had been the major factor in the ...
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    7 days ago
  • Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs
    The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said construction of the Matakana Link ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
    The Government is prioritising its latest investment in PPE for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Health Minister David Clark says. “With no community transmission of COVID-19 our response now has a firm focus on keeping our border safe and secure. “We must ensure that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF funding for Parihaka settlement
    The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust in Taranaki will receive up to $14 million for a new visitor centre and other improvements at the historic settlement that will boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have ...
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    1 week ago
  • Protections for workers in triangular employment
    Protections for workers who are employees of one employer but working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force, closing a gap in legislation that  made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers, says Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “This Government is working hard to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government strengthens managed isolation system
    A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end ...
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    1 week ago
  • Whakatāne to go predator free with Government backing Ngāti Awa led efforts
    The important brown kiwi habitat around Whakatāne will receive added protection through an Iwi-led predator free project announced by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “The Government is investing nearly $5 million into Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa’s environmental projects with $2.5 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Growing Goodwood: Expanding wood waste recycling plant in Bay of Plenty, Waikato
    An extra 4,000 tonnes of offcuts and scraps of untreated wood per year will soon be able to be recycled into useful products such as horticultural and garden mulch, playground safety surfacing and animal bedding as a result of a $660,000 investment from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
    The Governor-General has referred Scott Watson’s convictions for murder back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Mr Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. His appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2000 was unsuccessful, as was his ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago