No Aroha for Key

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, February 7th, 2011 - 25 comments
Categories: brand key, class war, john key - Tags: , , ,

Tomorrow is the first day of Parliament for the year, so I’m picking we’ll see John Key’s annual passing mention of the ‘underclass’. You remember Key’s promise to make lifting the underclass his priority, eh? Well, Key doesn’t. He has abandoned Aroha Nathan after using her for PR and now says he can’t do anything for the poor.

The last time Key spoke about the underclass was at the opening of Parliament last year (after I wrote this post). We’ll see another passing mention of New Zealand’s poorest this year and then nothing as the Nats continue with their agenda to enrich the rich.

Campbell Live revealed last week that Aroha, the little girl that Key used for photo-ops to show himself as a ‘compassionate conservative’, has not benefited from Key’s rule and neither have her former neighbours in McGehan Close (I say ‘former’ because Aroha is now in CYFS care).

As Aroha’s mum puts it “[I like him] as a person but [politically] he’s an arse-hole. He’s just looked after the high-income people and abandoned the low-income”

Key refused to participate in the Campbell Live story but the question of his delivery on the commitments he made to the underclass were put to him by Corin Dann on Breakfast this morning (what a breath of fresh air Dann is after Paul Henry).

Key essentially shrugged his shoulders: ‘That’s recession, baby, the poor get screwed’ (or words to that effect). He then shrugged his shoulders on the question of his economic management and whether New Zealand has fallen back into recession.

Of course he shrugs his shoulders. The fate of the poor and even economic recession don’t really touch Key and his class. You see, Aroha’s mum has it right. Key has abandoned the underclass and looked after the rich like himself. Very few of them lost their jobs anyway and Key has handed the top 1% of earners an average tax cut of $16,000 and himself a tax cut of $24,000 just on his PM’s salary. That’s more than the ‘underclass’ earn in a year, handed to the already extremely rich.

Key’s political persona ‘Brand Key’, all that ‘smile and wave’ stuff, is about distracting from the fundamental truth that his government is all about enriching the rich and screwing the poor. The problem for him is that the persona is wearing thin, with his latest antics once again making our Prime Minister the subject of international ridicule.

And if he doesn’t have the persona, what does he have? Just an appalling economic record and a trail of broken promises.

25 comments on “No Aroha for Key”

  1. I would urge everyone to watch the TV3 clip. It is the most compelling bit of news gathering I have seen for a while. Both Aroha’s mum and the other person interviewed put matters with a clarity and siccinctness that the Goffice needs to emulate.

    Under Key’s rule things have got worse, not better. And he is only interested in the rich.

    The original visit to McGehen Close and cooption of Aroha was a cynical exploitation of a bit of Labour Party history. I am glad to see that people are seeing through it.

  2. vto 2

    I big chunk of NZ would have thought, on watching this … “why on earth did Aroha’s mum have another child when she can’t look after the ones she’s got?”

    A stereotype reinforced.

    • Shane Gallagher 2.1

      Yes – I read the comments section and about half of the comments said exactly that…

      But Labour do not really care about the underclass and try to pander to middle NZ (whatever that is). If they really cared they would be hitting National on this daily but whoever is in the Goffice are just not on the ball. In fact I am not sure if they have turned up at the playing field yet.

      BTW I notice no one has mentioned Goff’s appalling interview on Nine to Noon? After having just done some media training I now realise just how bad the interview was. I so want National out but can’t Labour find SOMEONE who can pull off an interview on radio at least?

      • mickysavage 2.1.1


        Why does everyone trot out the “Labour does not care about the underclass”?

        You realise that by doing so all that you are doing is buying into a Crosby Textor theme.

        • Shane Gallagher

          Really – do they? 60% of the households in Dunedin South have an income of $20k or less and that happened when Labour was in power and is a safe as houses Labour seat…

          and since they are stealing nearly all their progressive policies from the Greens one wonders what keeps them up at night… I would love to be wrong but just point me to the evidence!

          • Colonial Viper

            Wait on, that’s household income you are quoting there? Are you sure you’re not quoting individual income?

            Basically my view is that the last LAB govt helped stem the bleed from Douglas and Richardson and made some positive changes, but not much more than that.

            As for stealing policies from your Green mates, you should be flattered. Oh, unless the Greens are looking to gain votes this election by taking them off Labour, no that can’t be it can it 🙄

            • Shane Gallagher

              Yes – HOUSEHOLD incomes. In a Labour stronghold, under a Labour government. Tell me they care about the poor. Go on.

              It is why I didn’t join the Labour party even though I am a trade unionist. I am just saying that Labour is not the voice of the poor or the disenfranchised. I wish it was.

              Here is the link for your records – it makes pretty grim reading.


              “Nearly 60% of South Dunedin households have a total income of less than $20,000, compared with 29.6% for the whole of Dunedin
              – Ministry of Social Development

              Sixty percent of South Dunedin residents aged 15 and over are receiving income support. Nearly one third are on superannuation or veterans’ benefits
              – Ministry of Social Development

              Nearly 50% of South Dunedin homes accommodate just one person, compared with 14% elsewhere in Dunedin
              – Ministry of Social Development “

              • r0b

                Those links and stats are old Shane, and probably predate Working for Families. Labour reduced the incidence of poverty in this country, and started narrowing the overall gap between rich and poor as well.

                Yes, Labour should have done more and more quickly. But those slagging off Labour as “not caring about the poor” haven’t got the first idea what they are talking about. You can slag the party off from the outside, or you can join, get involved, and make it better.

              • Maynard J

                Shane, your logic seems to be that if there are poor people, they are poor, Labour hasn’t stopped them from being poor, thus Labour does not care about them.

                That means that by definition, if there are poor people in existance, Labour doesn’t care about them.

                Bit silly really.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      Yes, and very evident when they read out of the viewers comments later in the show. Of the 6 read, 5 of them were huge beneficiary bashers.

    • pollywog 2.3

      eh !…hardly makes her a credible witness.

      Of course all Key needs to do is provide a tertiary scholarship as an incentive for Aroha to complete high school and he’s Saint John all over again…

    • bobo 2.4

      I was thinking the same thing when I watched the story that most will just judge the mother, but the issue was more about Key saying he would take Aroha under his wing and look out for her almost like some godfather which he never did, instead he just used her as a photogenic Maori kid for his election stunt. To say hes “monitoring her situation” sounds like a copout, I wonder if some money to the mum will change hands since the tv3 story to shut her up…

  3. And if he doesn’t have the persona, what does he have? Just an appalling economic record and a trail of broken promises.

    …plus a silly accent

    Let’s not forget that for all the rhetoric, the oppostion parties gratefully swallowed up their taxcuts for doing fuck all without so much as a hiccup to business as usual.

    There is no honour among thieves or politicians.

    Faced with a choice of capitalist party with social conscience and charisma free leader paying lip service or capitalist party with no social conscience and charisma endowed leader paying lip service…

    …whats a bro to do ?

    • The ‘underclass’ will be dealt with (to?) this year.

      At first I couldn’t believe my ears, but Hooten on National Radio this morning said that Key has to show he will do something about the ‘underclass’ prior to the election.

      My stunned mind quickly regained its composure when Sue Bradford helpfully (for me) reminded listeners that the Welfare Working Group are due to report in a week or two. So … that was the ground Hooten was preparing the way for. Key’s very own ‘John the Baptist’.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2


      You need your own TV show

    • Bored 3.3

      Hey Polly,

      Too bloody right on the tax cuts, a great gulping sound resonated around the chamber, followed by a burp.

      Whats a bro to do? Maybe a sort of reverse Roger Douglas and Labour, like getting Inga and Ice to infiltrate Nact along with a whole pile of Pasifika people and sort of take over from within, have Bellamys replaced with a hangi and umu whare, then only serve DB to really piss off the usual latte and chardonnay suspects. Also you could get Maggie to arrange some hibiscus flowers in Shonkeys hair. Like you I agree wasting any time on both major parties is like trying to cure cancer by cutting off the patients head.


  4. God, it’s so sad….. it’s heartbreaking that a mum who obviously loves her daughter, would believe that her children are better off in CYFS care than with her – presumably because her daughter has a higher standard of living now (eg nicer home, nicer clothes, better school, better food).

    What is wrong with our society when parents who love their kids, can’t afford to provide for their children properly?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Don’t look at me, blame the paupers its their own fraking fault for picking their lifestyle choice.

      Hey someone pour me another glass of that vintage Bollinger, I’ve got to pop out and make sure that the meter hasn’t run out on my new X5. Shit if the minimum wage gets removed I might hire a boy to put the parking meter money in for me, save me walking.

      • The Baron 4.1.1

        The disconnect is CV that you dream up ideas based on these fantasties of yours, then say that they should apply to everyone earning over $100k.

        The people you describe in that, and your other, weird envy fantasies are only about what, 0.5% of the NZ population?

        Does that seem to you to be a rational and sensible way of coming up with policy?

  5. The ‘underclass’ is not “abandoned” by Key. Its created and exploited as a bogey to bash workers with.
    You are masters of your own destiny if you cant leave a state house behind and become a banker like me its your fault Aroha. So Key will come back to it because he’s never left it. It will be reminder coming up to election that its not international capital that is the cause of all our problems, but a ‘class’ (they have even appropriated that label) of unproductive dross that is bringing us down. If Labour uses the word ‘underclass’ they should be shot becasue they are buying into the meme of underserving, lazy, dependent bludgers. All a go go chanelling Paula Rebstock. Anytime someone says ‘underclass’ we should say you are talking about the impoverished working class which is about to rise up and bury you 6 feet under – hows that for class!

    • Olwyn 5.1

      @dave brown: yes “the dispossessed” is a more honest term. The horror of the term “underclass,” especially when it is used in a country that crows about how non-racist, non-sexist, etc it is, is that it identifies a large group of people under a pejorative description. This in turn has a divisive effect – the intuitive answer even for very deprived people to the question “Where does the underclass begin?” is “At a line drawn directly behind my own heels.” It is a difficult term for people to gather under in order to collectively defend themselves. It is also a repellent terms designed to rob the already dispossessed of even the smallest shred of remaining dignity.

  6. Irascible 6

    The cynicism of Key as commented on during the 2008 election.

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