The strange case of what was or was not said on February 29th by Key to GCSB staff regarding Kim Dotcom. In the Shearer Key face-off I know who I think the public will believe – surprise surprise it’s David Shearer.
John Key has two major problems to overcome in his attacks on Shearer. First is Key’s long history of dishonesty. The first scandal of his political career was The Hollow Men “smoking gun” email, which Key claims he never read. Key has continued this tactic of prophylactic ignorance to this very day, now driven to the extremes of only maintaining “confidence” in certain Ministers by refusing to read a police report. Key has lied about his TranzRail shares, raising GST, the S&P credit downgrade, and much much more (a bunch of links here).
When he can get away with it Key’s preferred tactic is to “forget” information. Again, that goes all the way back to his “inability to remember” where he stood on the 1981 Tour. Just the start of a long list of Key brain fades. Sometimes he gets caught out – Key has already had to admit giving “misinformation” over Dotcom.
Key’s second problem is that when confronted with the allegation that he talked about Dotcom in February he used the same, shifty, evasive tactics that he uses every other time he’s confronted with an unpalatable truth.
Mr Key told TV3 he had no memory about whether he mentioned Dotcom when speaking to GCSB staff. “I don’t recall it, no. Who knows, but I don’t recall it,” he said.
“I don’t remember cracking a joke, but if I’ve cracked one it’s because I crack jokes all the time about topical events …
Video of Key’s first reaction here – “I don’t recall it”. Just like every other evasion Key has ever offered. What he didn’t say was – “That’s not possible, such a video couldn’t exist, because I has no knowledge of Kim Dotcom at that time”. Why the shifty tactics instead, do you think?
In contrast we have David Shearer. Whatever you think of his emerging political skills, I’ve never heard anyone question his honesty. Here the fact that Shearer is “new to politics” works in his favour – he has no baggage of dishonesty (whereas the PM would require three healthy porters for his). Shearer is the honest, unpolished, new kid on the block. We have no reason not to believe him, and he (with the polls swinging in favour of the left) has no reason to make up nonsense.
Shearer did not move on this story when first contacted by a GCSB insider. He waited until there was a second approach and confirmation. That’s sensible and responsible. But having this information from independent sources, what should Shearer have done with it. Nothing? No, it is the opposition’s role to hold the government to account. If Key is lying to the country (as I think any rational observer knows he is), and if there are independent sources confirming it, then put that information to the public and let them decide. Which is what Shearer did.
Shearer has called for Key to have the GCSB release the video – if it still exists, after the relevant hard drives were taken. Key has called on Shearer to release the video – which he can’t, because Labour has never had a copy. So I guess it comes down to who the public believes. For the reasons outlined above, I’m guessing it will be Shearer.