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On the flag debacle and John Key’s supposed popularity

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, March 3rd, 2016 - 108 comments
Categories: brand key, john key, national - Tags: , , ,

Much is made in NZ political punditry of John Key’s supposed popularity. Mostly this rests on his dominance of the standard “preferred PM” question in political polls. But the incumbent PM has almost always led on this measure – partly it’s a matter of simple visibility, partly it’s a matter of “the devil you know”. Does it represent actual popularity? In Key’s case I think the answer is – not any more.

Consider the Northland by-election. When it became clear that Peters was a real threat to the supposedly safe National seat, the Nats threw everything they had at it – including John Key. They lost badly to Peters. If Key was popular, why didn’t his personal appeal to voters save Northland for the Nats?

Consider the current flag debacle. It’s been Key’s project from the start but he hasn’t won over voters. In fact, Curia’s polling must be telling the Nats that Key is actively damaging the campaign for change, if yesterday’s headlines are anything to go by:
Dont make it about me: Prime Minister John Key’s plea on the eve of flag vote [sic]
Flag debate: Key to stay out of debate during voting process
Flag process challenged by politics, voters urged to put that aside
If Key is popular, why is his involvement actively damaging to the campaign to change the flag?

Consider the growing signs of unrest, summarised by Bryce Edwards in Increasing hatred for John Key?. Key has recently been booed at the Auckland Nines, the Big Gay Out, and at Ratana. He has been exposed by an internal leak, and criticised for “trolling”, “partisan sledging”, “snark”, lack of substance and more – Key is “reaping what he sows”. Are these the hallmarks of a popular PM?

If, as seems likely, the flag change referendum opts to retain the current flag (I for one will not be voting for the abominable tea towel) then there’s going to be quite a post-mortem – both nationally and within National. I don’t think that the myth of Key’s popularity will emerge intact.

108 comments on “On the flag debacle and John Key’s supposed popularity”

  1. I don’t think that the myth of Key’s popularity will emerge intact.

    I am not as optimistic about our media to think this will happen. Any post-mortem done in the public media space will probably include plenty of excuses and blame of labour or the evil lefties in some manner to divert from any real spotlight on Key’s popularity.

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    Post 2,954 since 2008 about how “people are waking up”.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      60% of the country don’t want him as Prime Minister. Some of us saw through him from the start, and your point is? A bit mushy, for a point, if you ask me.

      • The lost sheep 2.1.1

        91% of us don’t want Little as PM, and he is the most popular LW leader…..
        And your point is?

        • tinfoilhat 2.1.1.1

          It is telling that the majority questioned don’t really want any of those on offer as the PM, goes hand in hand with our (imo justified) distrust of politicans.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.2

          That claims of Key’s popularity are exaggerated.

          QED.

  3. The lost sheep 3

    As always, Key is playing the flag issue perfectly.
    Since first putting the issue out there he has been very carefully monitoring public sentiment and adjusting his level of commitment accordingly.
    With the sentiment clearly on the side of retaining the current flag, he is very sensibly gently conceding the issue rather than be seen to be hung out to dry.
    When it is all over he will play the ‘look at the end of the day that’s democracy, and the people of NZild have had their say and i respect that’ card.
    And the next opinion poll will show his support slightly up, and Left support slightly down, because of the contrast between his calmness and the hysteria of the haters on the Left.
    Just like happened with Dirty Politics, Ponygate, TPPA….
    It is going to take a fourth term to get some of you understanding that the LW obsession with Key plays directly into his hands.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      🙄

      Saying the same tired borrowed attack lines over and over again certainly doesn’t work for you parrots, that’s f’sure.

      • The lost sheep 3.1.1

        Pavlov’s moth.
        Being of a deterministic nature, it lacks the capacity of choice, and is compelled to move towards the light. Even when it has said it will not, and has nothing to say.

        • Tricledrown 3.1.1.1

          The lost sheep shager.
          Perfect summation of those who voted for a brighter future.

      • Crashcart 3.1.2

        I don’t know that most of what he said was an attack line. It seemed pretty accurate.

        The OP’s over all sentiments about his popularity may be true but I think he is being quite smart in how he is handling it at the moment. By backing away now he can appear very pragmatic after the election. I doubt this will hurt National at all in the polls.

        • The lost sheep 3.1.2.1

          Think it was Lao Tzu that pointed out that allowing hatred of your enemy to blind you to their strengths was the surest way of getting your arse kicked.

          Many on the Left have lost a rational perspective, and so….

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.2.2

          The borrowed zombie assertion that the Left has an obsession with Key, and that suits him, is though.

          • Expat 3.1.2.2.1

            You have to give credit to Tls, at least he admits being a “sheep”, albeit, a very lost one.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.2.2.1.1

              He fits a very familiar pattern; one of false frames and bad faith arguments, and as McFlock has ably demonstrated, complete incomprehension.

              I guess someone whose lines and mannerisms are borrowed in their entirety from third parties can claim credit for being able to follow the script.

            • Stuart Munro 3.1.2.2.1.2

              Perhaps he wants a free flight to Saudi.

          • The lost sheep 3.1.2.2.2

            “zombie assertion that the Left has an obsession with Key,”

            % of your comments today that have been directly about JK or part of a JK thread = 82%
            % of your comments today that have been constructive contributions to a LW political debate = 0%

            Number of comments here today directly about JK – 106
            Number of comments directly relating to NZ LW politics or politicians – 3.

            Another KDRS free day? No preoccupation on display here eh?

            • McFlock 3.1.2.2.2.1

              100% of your comments today have been directly about JK or part of a JK thread

              50% of them have been direct replies to OAB.
              If OAB has a syndrome, you have a pathological compulsion.

            • The lost sheep 3.1.2.2.2.2

              100% of your comments today have been directly about JK or part of a JK thread

              Not quite. My first comment here today was an attempt to shift the debate away from JK and back to the LW Itself.
              And if you look at my comments you will see that about 60% of them are in fact attempts to directly discuss LW politics.

              But any such attempt either meets with abuse or reverts to a JK / Nat meme.

              How about we make tomorrow a LW day McFlock? A majority of the discussion on TS will be around LW Politics and LW politicians in NZ?

              Sounds like fun eh?

              • McFlock

                All your comments today have been in the comments thread revolving around to a post titled “On the flag debacle and John Key’s supposed popularity”. The content of the post, every paragraph, considered the validity of Key’s reputation for popularity.

                If you were trying to shift the debate away from the post, you were trying to derail the thread from your first comment.

                Why were you trying to derail a thread about john key’s supposed popularity?

                Why were all your comments today solely related to derailing that thread, rather than any of the other topics you could have commented on, from the US elections to the TPPA or any of the topics raised in open mike or the daily reviews. Why are your interests here today limited solely to derailing discussions about John Key’s reputation?

                If you want to make shit up about the left, write your own fucking post. Compulsive derailers are dickheads.

    • framu 3.2

      the sad bit is, the fact your likely right says much more about us as a society than it does about the PM

      hes playing us, yet again – and many cant see it, dont care or actively support it – which is sad.

      note: im talking about the acceptance of this behaviour – not whether one agrees with nat policy or not

  4. North 4

    Such a pathetic picture for a PM…….man-child Key running away from likely failure precipitated by an ever more ugly and demanding ego…….dropping turdlets of blame as he skitters off. This entitled, snivelling moral juvenile was never but a construct.

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      You are altogether too kind to him – if it were only a character test perhaps – but this idiot and his hebephrenic pack of buffoons have run NZ into unprecedented levels of debt and it’s getting worse – $20 billion last year, $30 billion this year if we’re lucky, and you know you drop $20 billion here and $30 billion there pretty soon you’re talking serious money. And that’s just from the bean counting perspective.

      Suicide is over 500 a year – must be about double what was under Clark and Clark oversaw a disgraceful increase. Child poverty (which never happens without entire family poverty) is at record levels. Foreign land sales – a form of economic suicide as well as locking the doors on kiwi aspiration – are at record levels. Farm foreclosures are or are about to be at record levels. Unemployment if measured honestly is approaching 20% and benefits are not being paid to people who need them including invalids.

      He doesn’t understand the TPP and he didn’t have a CBA done on it. Due diligence is not part of his character and he’ll try to claim, not his responsibility.

      He’s not just a pathetic individual with no redeeming human features – his corrupt and incompetent government is an immediate threat to the whole country.

      • integralenz 4.1.1

        Precisely!

      • alwyn 4.1.2

        “Suicide is over 500 a year – must be about double what was under Clark and Clark oversaw a disgraceful increase”.

        Are all your “statistics” as ridiculous as this?
        The standard figure used is the number per 100,000 of the population. It is silly to use a total number if the population is increasing quite rapidly.
        If you have a look at these figures you will see that the normalised rate is, more or less, dropping, and dropped during the years of the Clark Government.
        http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/nz-social-indicators/Home/Health/suicide.aspx
        The headline on the next story may be rather alarming but if you read it you will see that the normalised figure was in fact LOWER than the 2 preceding years.
        http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/nz-suicide-stats-highest-ever-recorded-2015100611#axzz41mUjuXuu
        The figures may be, sadly, high but to say silly things like “doubled” is simply wrong.

        • Stuart Munro 4.1.2.1

          God you’re stupid.

          “The standard figure used is the number per 100,000 of the population.”

          Oh really – so how come we don’t use that for road tolls? Three of my friends and former colleagues formed part of such a total so my concern is not abated by your statistical jesuitry.

          And it is jesuitry – the total was in the order of 250 under Clark. Our population has not doubled you pitiful mathematical dunce – so the striking increase in suicide – the key social performance indicator according to Amartya Sen (who got a Nobel for his work because unlike NZ’s ‘rockstars’ he actually knew what he was doing) needs to be accounted for. Of course the Key kleptocracy is never accountable for anything – it must’ve been someone else running the country because all Key has been doing is stealing bits off it and selling them. Goodbye Pork Pie economics – and it won’t be winning any prizes anytime soon.

          • McFlock 4.1.2.1.1

            if you look at Alwyn’s statsnz link, you can download the actual excel table.
            Lowest number under Clark was 458 in 2000.

            Table 1 goes back to 1985, and the suicide number hasn’t been 255 anywhere on the chart.

            • Stuart Munro 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Clark also restricted access to suicide numbers and prevented a visiting academic from speaking on them at Otago.

            • alwyn 4.1.2.1.1.2

              I could have saved myself the trouble of my post at 11.00 am just down the page.
              While I was composing it you have posted here.
              And found all the years. Thanks.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1.2

            Stuart Munro

            The problems with NZ’s high suicide rate go far deeper than which party has the most MPs in Parliament any given time (although that might be a minor factor of influence).

            • Stuart Munro 4.1.2.1.2.1

              Nevertheless the decisions that restructure our society and impact on particular groups are made by politicians. It is not happenstance when significant numbers of particular professions are eliminated in this fashion. At best it is negligent – but when governments act not unconciously, or from broad considerations of public interest – but in the corrupt and selfish pursuit of private profit then they are undeniably culpable.

              • Colonial Viper

                Nevertheless the decisions that restructure our society and impact on particular groups are made by politicians.

                The point is that politicians from both major parties have majorly contributed to the fucking up of this country and the pretend and extend status quo people are suffering under.

                • Stuart Munro

                  From which I would say they all need to take their responsibilities infinitely more seriously.

                  National should’ve dumped Key for not being up to snuff, never mind the opposition parties. National should’ve dumped Brownleee for the CERA debacle, and National MPs should have insisted that ministers answer questions or resign if they can’t. That’s the job – and screwing it up kills people.

            • Mrs Brillo 4.1.2.1.2.2

              Not really a high suicide rate in this country, according to WHO stats.

              Suicide rates are always partly a cultural thing: the world’s highest suicide rates are in Greenland, Lithuania and South Korea.

              In suicide rates per 100,000 people, with a 12.3 average New Zealand comes in at 32nd in the world – just ahead of the UK at 39th (11.8). Canada is 40th, the US 30th. Eastern Bloc countries tend to be in the top 16. France is 26th and Germany 31st.

              Countries that rank very low for suicides in the WHO statistics are frequently those where the stigma on suicide is such that statistics are not collected adequately, for reasons of shame.

          • alwyn 4.1.2.1.3

            “And it is jesuitry – the total was in the order of 250 under Clark”.

            Rubbish. Where do you get these delusory figures from?
            I haven’t tracked down all the years but the Ministry of Health publishes the numbers. See
            http://www.health.govt.nz/nz-health-statistics/health-statistics-and-data-sets/suicide-data-and-stats
            They were
            2002 – 465
            2003 – 515
            2005 – 502
            2006 – 524
            2007 – 483
            2008 – 497
            I didn’t find the ones for 2000, 2001 or 2004
            Nothing like 250 were they? If you are going to quote statistics please use real ones and not numbers you simply make up.

            • Stuart Munro 4.1.2.1.3.1

              I didn’t make them up – but as I said they used to be surpressed. I got a figure off the Nelson coroner when he noticed the same anomaly I did.

        • McFlock 4.1.2.2

          Well, put this one in your calendar – I actually agree with your main point.

          A slight quibble over whether a difference of one or two per hundred thousand could really be call “dropping”, even “more or less”, given that the population denominator is an estimate that can bounce around quite a bit depending on methodology – especially given the long gap between census 06 and 13.

      • cogito 4.1.3

        +1000%

        viscerate the ba*tard.

  5. alwyn 5

    “But the incumbent PM has almost always led on this measure”.
    Well no actually. Key got ahead of Helen Clark in May 2007 and, to the best of my memory remained there. That was about as far before the 2008 election as we are before the 2017 one.
    Why is Little not ahead? Because people don’t think very much of him, do they
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10439572

    • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 5.1

      Trying to make the flag referendum failure about Andrew Little is too long a bow even for troll…..

    • Ben 5.2

      Ah, Labour at 36% – those were the days.

      • McFlock 5.2.1

        wasn’t shearer’s last poll result around that level? 👿

        • swordfish 5.2.1.1

          No.

          Last 3 Poll Results for Labour during Shearer’s leadership:

          31.6%
          31.5%
          32.5%

          Then 34% in a poll carried out 14-18 Sep 2014 (so beginning the day before Cunliffe’s election as Leader and ending 3 days after).

          Then Labour skyrockets to 37-38% in the 3 immediate polls following Cunliffe’s win.

          • Kiwiri 5.2.1.1.1

            And then what … Cunliffe got snatched back into the Thorndon Bubble (and allowed himself to be so)

            * sorry (to myself), I have just broken my pledge of long silence since observing and giving up on Little’s political contortions and choosing to be leader for the GR/RW/careerist factions

          • McFlock 5.2.1.1.2

            No there was a Roy Morgan of 34% just before Shearer quit. 2% difference is in the ballpark.

            • swordfish 5.2.1.1.2.1

              True. But the last Poll before Shearer stood down was the Fairfax Ipsos 31.6% (fieldwork: 10-15 Aug), Shearer falls on his sword 22 Aug.

              Then a Roy Morgan 31.5% (fieldwork: 12-25 Aug: carried out overwhelmingly before Shearer announces intention to step down).

              Whereas your 34% Roy Morgan was a somewhat earlier one.

    • swordfish 5.3

      @ alwyn: “Well no actually.”
      (in reply to Anthony’s “But the incumbent PM has almost always led on this (Preferred PM) measure.”)

      Well, Yes actually, alwyn.

      Key was very much a freak of nature. His lead in the run-up to the 2008 Election was by no means typical of his Oppo Leader predecessors.

      Then again, you’re in good company: Jane Clifton (probably heavily influenced by one of David Farrar’s carefully misleading, decontextualized Kiwiblog poll analyses) argued in a recent politics column in the Listener that “Andrew Little is nowhere near where he needs to be, in actual or trending popularity, if he wants to lead his party into forming a government. At this time in the three-year cycle, his Opposition leader predecessors who went on to form the next government were way ahead of him in personal standing.”

      Which is bollocks. There certainly has been an ‘incumbency effect’ historically, with serving PMs usually (not always, but usually) ahead of Oppo leaders, regardless of whether or not those Oppo leaders subsequently go on to form the next government.

      The question now is: Has Key changed the game so that, in order to be successful, Oppo leaders need to be able to emulate his pre-2008 popularity ? Has the Presidentialisation Process gone so far that Leadership is now the crucial factor for a lot of voters in determining their vote. Clearly, Valence Issues are more and more important, but is leadership – rather than say, economic competence – now pre-eminent ?

      That also raises questions about which measure is best ? In the UK, for instance, pollsters rarely ask about who voters prefer as PM. Instead they ask about Performance Ratings and Favourability Ratings.

      3 News (now Newshub) Reid Research is the only public pollster that take these sort of (more sophisticated) measurements, although Labour’s pollster (UMR Research) also does on a regular basis.

      One thing’s for sure, Key is currently at his lowest point in the Preferred PM ratings and, I’m guessing, in these more subtle measurements as well.

  6. Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 6

    The way I see it John Key is a brilliant politician at anti-politics. Being the selfie, talkback host PM. The PM we would like to sit down with, have a beer with, talk about Richie and watch the rugby with. He has done that brilliantly while his minions have played ‘dirty politics’ or better yet taken Brownlee’s playbook and ignored ordinary kiwis concerns -(the stuttering rebuild in Christchurch, the housing crisis, the lack of a credible economic policy to deal with the inevitable commodity downturn….).

    What John Key has failed to do though is to turn his brilliance at anti-politics into any form of genuine leadership. Kiwis are not buying his contrived efforts. They have been ignored for eight years and now it is their turn to ignore him.

    • Puckish Rogue 6.1

      They may ignore him on this (I think its going to be a lot closer then what anyone thinks) but in the end they’ll still vote for him at the next election

      Theres no other realistic option

  7. Grindlebottom 7

    I don’t think failing to get a flag change is going to hurt Key. He’s impervious to damage as long as there’s no credible alternative leader polling high enough to represent any kind of threat.

    • Stuart Munro 7.1

      There are two ways it will hurt him (besides that fragile ego).
      His own team will lose respect for his infallibity.
      And the electorate will learn that he can be resoundingly defeated.

      • Grindlebottom 7.1.1

        Maybe.

        I think it just as likely his team will learn he can survive even this without sustaining any real damage. And the electorate will simply note that most of us didn’t like his flag.

        Ponytailgate made him an internationally-renowned creepy dickhead and it didn’t even dent him here. Asset sales. The electorate resoundingly told him no. He went ahead anyway. Didn’t even hurt him.

        • Puckish Rogue 7.1.1.1

          Ref: the asset sales I think it happened that way because he said he’d do it before the election

          If he’d sprung it on NZ after the election it would have been a different story

          Ref: Ponytailgate: I suspect its because more of the population think it wasn’t a big a deal as the left would like to think it was

          • Grindlebottom 7.1.1.1.1

            Ref: Ponytailgate: I suspect its because more of the population think it wasn’t a big a deal as the left would like to think it was

            Apparently true. I wonder how many of them would’ve felt the same way if it had been their daughter, say? It was a weirdo thing for any PM to do – there’s that clip of him doing the same thing to some really young schoolgirl too.

            Anyway, I agree that the flag referendum ain’t going to hurt John Key.

          • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1.2

            You might think that – but the issue doesn’t necessarily go away. Most people aren’t as far to the right as you – they just want a government that governs in the national interest. Asset sales tell them that Key isn’t a good bet for that. It’s just more karma on the non-performing PM’s slate, that will add to the force of the rejection when they finally take the time out of their busy lives to think about him.

        • Expat 7.1.1.2

          Grindlebottom

          “Ponytailgate made him an internationally-renowned creepy dickhead and it didn’t even dent him here.”

          And what do you think that say’s about the people who support him?

          The international description of Key also applies to those who find that type of behavior acceptable, any other country in the world (western), would have forced a resignation for the embarrassment.

          • Grindlebottom 7.1.1.2.1

            I think that says that heaps of people in this country don’t give a toss that their PM sometimes behaves like a dork. Beyond mentally registering that, they obviously don’t give it any further thought at all. They probably just go back to watching the rugby or the cricket.

            • Expat 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Exactly, the sort of people who vote national, dip sticks and suckers, there is a disproportionate number of these in NZ compared to most global democracies.

              • greywarshark

                Expat
                I think you would find a similar percentage in Oz. And Toronto dallied with a clown.

                It’s like NZ watching reality TV. People no longer have any set ideas about what the country should be and do, and what serious problems many are facing. It’s all about me, isolated, unfriendly, systems driven families hoping their children will become celebrities one day and then be really on reality TV.
                Perhaps we should stop watching tv and watch reddit or youtube. You get a choice of what you watch, and it is informative and quite often funny.

                This link is the informative type, the first of 13 talking about economies and how they affect the people. Each one quite short – a few minutes.

  8. slumbergod 8

    Key should fuck off to USA so he can live with all his rich mates in that neoliberal paradise.

    • cogito 8.1

      I can just see him trying to worm his way into Trump’s political machine….. the little creep in the back row playing with the school girl’s ponytail while trying to explain to anyone with time on their hands (and no ponytail to fondle) that the Stars and Stripes is outdated and that they need Kyle Lockwood to design them a new tea towel…

  9. Brigid 9

    He says “Don’t make it about me” but displays the ‘new’ flag in his electorate office window.
    He’s an insubstantial git.

    • cogito 9.1

      I wonder if he suffers from sexual dysfunction. Would explain a lot….

      • Planet Earth 9.1.1

        No, really, there’s no such thing as Key Derangement Syndrome. You’ve lost it, son

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    r0b, don’t waste your energy worrying about Key’s popularity or otherwise.

    He’s a tool. We all know that. He is not worth spending time writing a detailed post though.

    Enjoy the good things about life and promote our positive story. You will feel better about it

    • Planet Earth 10.1

      Hear hear!

    • BM 10.2

      The left wing doesn’t do positive.

      • Stuart Munro 10.2.1

        Sure they do – it’s just that you feel threatened by their triumphs. It’s like when the Marseillaise goes ‘Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire’ you’re cheering for the other flag.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2.2

        I recall the Right’s universally positive approach to Lab5, with specific reference to the wonderfully positive strategies outlined by Blabbermouth Lusk and Cameron Slater.

        Meanwhile, build houses, offer three free years of tertiary study, the living wage, cgt, maintaining public services, not to mention per-capita gdp.

        It seems all the windows in your glass house are broken. I did that 😈

      • weka 10.2.3

        “The left wing doesn’t do positive.”

        You certainly don’t going by your comments on ts. Maybe that’s clouding your view.

      • Expat 10.2.4

        BM

        Maybe you could describe a “positive” contribution that your dearly beloved leader has instigated that a majority of NZers agree with, good luck.

        True popularity in politics is when 70% of the voting population approve of the policies being introduced, like Bob Hawk and Nevile Wran (NSW Labour Premiere in the 80’s) who had an 83% approval rating from both sides of politics because everyone in the community benefited from the changes, our govt runs on divide and rule.

      • appleboy 10.2.5

        Ah that little ray of right wing sunshine BM, who just exudes lovely positive comments here week in week out…oh hang on a minute

        = righty troll

  11. Brigid 11

    Well now that’s a good point. Flag = phallic symbol. Very Freudian.

  12. vto 12

    Key says “don’t make it political” while wearing his preferred flag on his lapel in his role as PM

    ffs

    • Heather Grimwood 12.1

      to vto at 12: have thought the same for some time about the lapel badge…totally inappropriate when referendum looming. I’m pretty sure I saw it on other ministerial lapels and certainly know a local Nat activist who flys it for passing traffic.

  13. Urban Redneck 13

    The opposition has to look like a Government in waiting before the public will turn towards them. This current lot are still a country mile from that.

    Helen Clark, in the absence of charisma and charm, and with the help of the media was able to carry off the image of a no frills, no nonsense, steady-as-she-goes political manager. The current top tier in the Labour Party can not carry this off and the odd one or two further down the hierarchy that probably could (Nash) will never be given the chance because they aren’t considered to be left-wing enough.

    This is the unfortunate outcome of the Labour selection process whereby over-educated former student politicians [r0b: deleted] who have never worked a shop floor or made a payroll get elevated at the expense of anyone else and whose careers consist of sitting around sipping coffees and eating club sandwiches waiting for their politically connected friends to find them cushy non-jobs – publicly funded of course. Such examples of these folks are Little, Robertson, Ardern and Richie Cunningham.

    • integralenz 13.1

      As opposed to mediocrities like Todd Barclay and Jami Lee Ross ? Really mate, you talk crap. Those wee boys have never done a real day’s work in their lives and are only in parliament as a consequence of the really robust selection process National adopts and you evidently support.

    • cogito 13.2

      “worked a shop floor”

      Oh, for the good old days of fire and brimstone…..!
      Like Pat Kelly who famously said:
      “I don’t think I’ve ever said anything good about an employer in my life.” ”
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/arnold-pickmere/news/article.cfm?a_id=65&objectid=3574848

      And Red Robbo… and others…

      Troubled but happy memories of people standing up and taking on the fight…. We need to rekindle some of that. Our country is being sold from under our feet.

    • Smilin 13.3

      Swap all the names in this to Natcorp and your describing the current govt, your denigration of the left sounds like you should be describing the right
      When did John Key ever have a straight job hes a fuckin crook

  14. I’m waiting for the final result, whats the bet it’s 51% change, 49% keep the old one.
    Thus keeping the ‘distraction’ going for years …. perfect. The pissing people around wankers

  15. Smilin 15

    Popularity contests, lets see something that the rich and those under 25 indulge who have IQ less than 60 indulge in
    This is the main reason Key is PM
    Once this country had morals and integrity .Who do you trust to run this country now?

  16. pat 17

    No change ….voted and dispatched…..vote early and vote often

  17. Mike 18

    I think you make a good point here Ants. John Key is popular, but not as popular as is widely believed.

    Which obviously leads one to conclude that Labour must be terribly unpopular if they are the only ones brand Key can dominate.

  18. RedBaronCV 19

    Well my two uurgh flag comments are these:

    Firstly this vaguely petulant threat from the PM. Actually if we want to have another go at the flag next year under a different government we can and just how does he propose to stop this? And why didn’t the media challenge this remark?

    The current referendum on New Zealand’s flag will be the last opportunity Kiwis have to make a change unless the country becomes a republic, Prime Minister John Key says.
    Actually there is nothing stopping any web site, even this one, from taking flag pictures, submitting them the expert hand and running a voting process over a lengthy period of time until we have some good candidates at a far cheaper cost.

    And the second one is this:
    Flag panellist Malcolm Mulholland ..
    The issue of $26million being spent on the process should be seen in context, he said.
    “When you pull down the cost it’s actually a cup of coffee per head.”

    Now why don’t we hear so called welfare fraud (because it includes accidental over payments) of similar amounts being dismissed as minor rather than being used to demonize whole lots of people.

    • Bob 19.1

      “Now why don’t we hear so called welfare fraud (because it includes accidental over payments) of similar amounts being dismissed as minor rather than being used to demonize whole lots of people.”

      Flip that on it’s head, you complain about $26m split over 4.5m people being spent (less than $6 per person), so are you saying that every person that commits at least $6 benefit fraud should be dragged over the coals for wasting tax payers dollars? That is what you are doing on the flag referendum!

      • RedBaronCV 19.1.1

        Not sure I made my point well. The comment tried to minimize the flag cost with “the one cup of coffee” argument. But it’s still $26m.
        $30m of welfare “fraud” gets those people kicked around by the righties, right wing newspapers etc etc. – maximizing the amount.
        I’m saying that similar amounts of money are being given very different treatment .

  19. Northsider 20

    Key still has huge support across most sectors of society. Articles like this have been written hundreds of times . Wishful thinking will not remove Key.
    If we are to deploy attack policies we should focus on those around Key: Joyce, Mcculley, Smith, Bridges et al.

    Attacking Key ad nauseum does not work. Change strategy.

    • cogito 20.1

      So your strategy is to focus on the yes-men and give the boss guy an easy ride because he’s popular.

      Nah.

  20. logie97 21

    Key commented yesterday that this will be the last chance to change our flag before we become a republic. He is, by admission, making a case for the status quo. The current flag should remain until we change our relationship with The Crown.
    We have the Queen’s representative here and parliament passes all law changes for the queen’s approval/assent. The Union Jack on our flag reflects this.
    Surely Key should therefore be leading the discussion on the larger issue of our constitution if he wishes a change of flag.

    But wait, he might risk losing the chance of a (he reinstated honours) knighthood if he were to go there.

  21. Paul 22

    Key still pimping for the flag like a used car salesman.
    And it’s not political he pleads.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/298017/new-flag-would-be-ready-for-rio-pm

  22. Sandor Biczo 23

    Good, well written article, The Standard. We don’t get this kind of critical journalism in New Zealand anymore.

    • Bob 23.1

      Hardly critical journalism with comments like “If Key is popular, why is his involvement actively damaging to the campaign to change the flag?”
      It only takes a tiny amount of critical analysis to figure out that a large amount of National supporters also support the current flag, so people from all parts of the political spectrum would need to be involved to make a change. The issue is, as shown dozens of times on this site, many on the left are so blinded by hatred of John Key that they cannot set aside their anger to support something that they, in many cases, actually want!
      So Key being involved is hurting the campaign due to the requirement of support from the left (who hate him personally, but not necessarily the new flag), not because he is suddenly unpopular with his own constituents as this article suggests.

      • cogito 23.1.1

        ” to support something that they, in many cases, actually want!”

        Maybe, but it’s a crap flag. So we have a crap flag being pushed by a polarising and lying PM after engaging in a farcical selection process and a joke of a first referendum.

        A bunch of drunken Irishmen in a brewery would have done a better job.

  23. sabine 24

    and a hundred % of my household voted to keep the flag.

  24. SimonM 25

    On Monday April 4th “a prominent New Zealander” goes to court to face serious charges of sexual nature. If they’re found guilty it’s going to have enormous implications for the PM and the National Party (assuming the whole thing isn’t suppressed forever to “protect the victims”). Let’s see how Key’s precious popularity holds up then. If someone mentions the “Christian Heritage Party”, what immediately comes to mind? It’s not “a small political party that campaigned on social issues from a morally conservative perspective” is it?

  25. Alphonso de Barbo 26

    This will be will be a big blow to the liberal media in New Zealand who backed the Prime Minister’s dubious support of a business logo design. The reason why the result went to the people and not the media/Prime Minister/celebrities roped in to support the flag change was for the most part due to the rail-road strategies employed by all of the aforementioned – New Zealanders don’t take kindly to these manoeuvres – Yeah! Stick that up ya!

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    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
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    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
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  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
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  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
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    1 day ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
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    1 day ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
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    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
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    2 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
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    2 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
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    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
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  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
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    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    4 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    5 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
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    7 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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    2 weeks ago