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Pandas WTF?

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, October 1st, 2015 - 41 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, spin - Tags: , , , ,

So the Pandas are generating a lot of discussion. It’s not just the ludicrous cost (while kids are going hungry, state houses are moldy, and AgResearch gets dismembered) – it’s the blatant disconnect from reality:

Dunne, Labour lash out over Brownlee’s panda mission

The Government has come under fire after 3 News revealed Gerry Brownlee was panda shopping in China while hundreds of Kiwis are holed up in Australian detention centres facing deportation.

Pandas seem to have been the last straw for Peter Dunne yesterday:

Dunne Speaks

Our foreign policy lacks any commitment to human rights. …

In recent years though our foreign policy has become too craven and trade-focussed and lacking a moral compass. In short, we have become too silent, lest we cause offence.

We have a right to expect our foreign policy to be evocative of our independence and nationhood by upholding human rights and dignity, and to stand up for New Zealanders when and where necessary. It is time to abandon the chin-dripping subservience we are lapsing into.

Matthew Hooton is clearly running his own agenda these days, but I don’t think he’s wrong in this piece (paywalled), proposing a replacement for “jumped the shark”:

John Key ‘cuddles the panda’

Mr Key this week declared he wants pandas at Wellington Zoo. Don’t we all. His wife, we learn, is fond of them. Aren’t we all. But so important is this matter to our nation’s destiny that Mr Key plans to raise it face-to-face with no less than the President of China, Xi Jinping. To pay for the pandas, Finance Minister Bill English will take some money out of the surplus, if there is one, or borrow it.

It has been clear for some time that Mr Key has no interest in the prime minister’s job of the sort that legitimises someone holding it. … What polls suggest may be the prime minister’s humiliation in the flag referendum next year may provide him with a suitable pretext to step down. He should take it.

The usual cliché for a column like this dates from the 17th century: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

Perhaps realising that the Pandas are not going down well, Key pleads ignorance:

But while the Government is keen on the panda project, which would use taxpayers’ money to bring two pandas to New Zealand, John Key says he didn’t know Mr Brownlee was on a panda pursuit.

Lying or incompetent? – Take your pick.

I know that the Nats (i.e. their Crosby Textor handlers) are good at spin. And I know that some commentators think that spin is all that matters and all the Nats concentrate on. But surely Pandas aren’t worth the damage the Nats are taking over this. Surely this is one lightweight piece of fluff too far?

Labour priorities key little

41 comments on “Pandas WTF? ”

  1. Ad 1

    Most can see he’s treading water because his really big moves such as TPP are foundering.

    Needs a concerted and united attack from Labour, Greens, and NZFirst if this weak moment is going to be capitalized on though.

    • b waghorn 1.1

      Clarke appears to be backing the tpp this morning in a meeting with key.

      • Murray Simmonds 1.1.1

        Perhaps she knows how to give him enough rope to hang himself?

        • Grindlebottom

          No, I saw her on TV One News at 6. I forget her exact words but she was standing right next to Key and said we absolutely had to be part of the TPPA negotiations and to get the best deal we could. There was no hint of insincerity. She meant it.

          • Ed

            Of course New Zealand had to be involved in the discussions, and of course our representatives need to fight for the best deal we can get. But also of course we should walk away if it leaves the whole country either worse off or locked into unacceptable restrictions on sovereignty. At present we just don’t know enough, but what little we do know suggests that we should walk away, but in such a way that we can keep talking . . .

    • Kaplan 1.2

      The TPP deal is already done, they are just playing it out now while all the various parties get their positions right….

  2. savenz 2

    I guess deflection has worked before. But maybe now a lot more people have had enough!

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    “It has been clear for some time that Mr Key has no interest in the prime minister’s job of the sort that legitimises someone holding it “

    This quote from Mathew Hooten is very telling. He’s saying out loud something I’ve been thinking for quite a while. Surely more of the ordinary (non-politically minded) public are picking it up by now ?

    Key is saying “don’t know” too often on radio and TV these days. He sounds like he doesn’t follow the news, he’s not being briefed by his officials, and now he doesn’t know that Brownlee is also going to China to talk pandas so even his own Ministers are not talking to him !

    Maybe that rich pad in Hawaii has been bought specially for him – when he finally quits. The sooner, the better.

  4. Nck 4

    .Crosby Textor must give him a list of 10 excuses and just txt him….. Use No. 7…… Or use No 4…… Key looks it up and blurts it out and smiles…

  5. Tautoko Mangō Mata 5

    The Panda event together with the missing Dotcom documents would provide further material for a slapstick comedy TV series on the Dotcom debacle called “Outrageous Forfeiture”

    • NZJester 5.1

      I think John Key is just playing out a real life version of the British comedy “Yes Prime Minister”

  6. Gangnam Style 6

    SO come on righties, get the state out of prisons, education, social services, postal service, housing, health etc… yet subsidise fucking pandas! You hypocritical wankers.

  7. Nck 7

    There will be a lot of ponytails at the Panda launch

  8. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    I see that Supertramp are rewriting the lyrics of their hit, “Dreamer” using the same tune.
    I managed to get hold of the first verse,

    John Key wants a PANDA
    Well can he put his hands in his pocket, oh no
    He said “Panda”
    “We must get a Panda”
    “Send Brownlee to Beijing on bended knee. I don’t know”
    We say “Far out! What a crap idea! Distraction fail!
    He knows that the TPP ‘s a tutae deal
    Just a can of worms, just a corporate steal”

    John Key wants a PANDA
    Well can he put his hands in his pocket, oh no……..


  9. Rosie 9

    Ohariu logic = “Yes, pandas are nice”

    You may have, at times, questioned the intelligence of the voters of Ohariu keeping Dunne in power for so long. This is an example of what you are dealing with:

    Four out of six people questioned in the street want pandas.

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Personally I find zoos unbearable. I experience a visceral reaction – something to do with all the miserable animals I suppose. I appreciate their role in “preserving” endangered species.

    Why not buy a white elephant too? It still costs far less than putting the National Party into government.

  11. Ad 11

    Arrest Brownlee for Pandering.


    Or just roll him in glue and black fur, and feed him through the zoo cage.

    • Grindlebottom 11.1

      Now there’s an idea. (There’s got to be a physics limit to how much bigger that man can get.)

  12. NZJester 12

    These Pandas might be going to be subsidized by the NZ tax payer but can the zoo actually afford to keep them?
    Special Panda enclosures will need to be built for them and they will not be cheep to build.
    Once the Pandas are here there will also be the expensive cost of flying in their food on a regular basis. Pandas are a very picky eater and are very particular about the kinds of Bamboo they will eat. I doubt that NZ has anyone who could supply that sort of food for them on a regular basis. Regular shipments are going to have to be flown in from China most likely a minimum of twice a week to keep them supplied with fresh bamboo.
    Maybe the government wants the Zoo to rack up a huge dept trying to house and feed the pandas so they can force them to have to sell up and get the land freed up for new housing developments?

  13. Liberal Realist 13

    Pretty sure the Panda thing is a CT construct.

    The Tories in Canada are running with the panda theme (yes really!) promising to double the panda population in Canada if re-elected. My first thought after reading this was literally WTF!

    The fact that two CT clients are running the same theme at the same time while both desperately wanting to seal the TPPA is telling.


    • Rodel 13.1

      According to Chomsky the USA deliberately left China out of the TPPA so to ensure a free trade continuation maybe Messrs Key and Brownlee are initiating their own Trans Pacific Panda Agreement.

  14. Hami Shearlie 14

    Why not dress Brownlee in a panda suit and put him in Wellington Zoo? He’s the right shape, and pies are cheaper than importing bamboo! Why oh why does the National Party not have any radical and cost-saving ideas like this? The program “Rainbow” had Bungle Bear, why can’t we have a native panda called Gerry?

  15. Rodel 15

    Mr Dunne would be better. No need to dress up or change anything…Peter Panda?

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