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Written By: - Date published: 1:08 pm, July 31st, 2008 - 117 comments
Categories: john key, same old national - Tags:

Speaking in Rotorua earlier this week, John Key offered the following reason why you should vote for him to be Prime Minister:

“The only time we’ve won the rugby World Cup we had a male Prime Minister.”

You make my stomach turn, Mr Key.  You’re just another sexist old bigot.

117 comments on “Sickening”

  1. Higherstandard 1


    Your hatred of Key and the Nats is becoming almost pathological.

    Key can’t even make a comment in jest without you leaping on it.

  2. Felix 2

    Key can’t even make a sexist, bigoted comment in jest without you leaping on it.

    There you go HS, fixed that for you.

  3. HS.

    Just because something is meant to be a joke is not carte blanche to say whatever you like.

    If someone joked “we shouldn’t elect a money-trader Jew as PM because the last one (Vogel) got us into debt”, that wouldn’t be funny it would be disgusting.

  4. Daveski 4


    Please explain the following comment that appeared under your name:

    Ol’ Fatso will, doubtless, be having a fit over these latest revealations and have another five posts up already.

    Frankly, i don’t have a problem with either – but if anything, your comment is more borderline than Key’s because it is clearly personalised.

    The problem YOU have is with the double standards and sheer hypocrisy, let alone your fixation on Key.

  5. What kind of leather rugby ball is a “sexist old bigot” ?
    Give it a boot Robbie!!!
    Red Card that Tony V cretin !!

    [lprent: What is up with you today? That wasn’t coherent – get some coffee. ]

  6. djp 6

    SP, you suck all the fun out of life… next thing you know we wont be able to laugh about women and parallel parking.

  7. longtimelurker 7

    Wow. As a regular reader of this blog I think this is finally the post that will stop me from taking anything posted on it seriously again.

  8. Felix 8

    So Daveski, do you think Steve was trying to appeal to all the fat-haters who read the standard?

  9. Key is saying that a man, any man (but specifically him) is better than any woman as PM. It’s not funny, it’s bigoted.

    Hands up those of you think an anti-semitic joke directed at Key would be acceptable. None of you, of course.

    Hell, you accused one of the Standard’s writers of being anti-semitic when he pointed out that Key portrays himself as Christian, agnostic, or jewish depending on his audience… yet, Key coming out and saying he would be a better PM than Clark because he’s male is just fine with you. losers.

  10. longtimelurker. why?

  11. longtimelurker 11

    Steve, I’d suggest you rethink this one.

    He said: “The only time we’ve won the rugby World Cup we had a male Prime Minister.’

    This is not the same as saying any man is better than any woman as PM.

    Please take a moment to reflect.

  12. longtimelurker. Key is saying he should be Prime Minister because if a woman is PM in 2011, we won’t win the Rugby World Cup. Obviosuly, it’s a joke but he’s claiming that his gender makes him a better candidate for PM than Clark… that’s the heart of bigotry, claiming that an attribute such as gender, race, sexuality makes one inherently better or worse. Rather than judging people on their individual merits, the bigot says I’m better than that person because I’m X and they are Y (I’m male and she is female)

    I don’t want a bigot for PM, you might.

  13. Daveski 13


    Read Steve’s comments about Key’s joke.

    Read Steve’s post today – he didn’t even click he’d made a fool of himself.

    It’s not me pointing the finger, by SP and he shoots himself in the foot. Where’s the lofty principles that sets the left apart?

    It’s SP’s rules, not mine and he fails. Unless, just like the EFA, the point is to have one rules for one group and another for others.

  14. Tane 14

    Steve, the true believers will defend anything Key says or does. There’s no point arguing with them. Any decent person knows what he said was sexist and designed to appeal to sexists.

  15. Daveski. I know Farrar personally – people make fun of his girth all the time. I shouldn’t have on the blog but there you go. People make fun of my beard too, I don’t care.

    That’s vastly vastly different from a man who would PM saying, even in jest, that men make better PMs than women because they deliver better outcomes for NZ.

  16. longtimelurker 16

    Thanks Steve.

    I think that if you take comments like this too seriously you risk sanitising politicians to a point where reciting CT style lines becomes the only viable option.

    If Helen Clark said that she should be PM because the last time we won the Netball world cup was when we had a female PM I wouldn’t take anything negative from it.

  17. NX 17

    ^ Simulated rage by Steve.

    Surely you recognize key’s comment was in jest .. otherwise you’re just sad.

    Besides.. [deleted. you might be happy with sexist bigotry in your leader, I’m not having it on our blog. SP]

  18. Tane 18

    longtimelurker, it’s called a dogwhistle.

    You say:

    “The only time we’ve won the rugby World Cup we had a male Prime Minister.”

    Your intended audience hears:

    “I’d be a better PM because I’m a bloke like you. Women don’t even understand rugby, why would you want one of them running the country?”

    But you can claim you never really said that.

    Your mistake is to look at the text and ignore the subtext, and it’s fools like you who always fall for the dogwhistle.

  19. lprent 19

    It’s not me pointing the finger, by SP and he shoots himself in the foot. Where’s the lofty principles that sets the left apart?

    It is good that you recognise the usual moral authority of the ‘left’. But I’m afraid we’re just people like everyone else. It is just we give into our base instincts to revile people probably less often than, than, well your average kiwiblog commentator… 🙂

  20. Pascal's bookie 20

    If SP was running for PM you might have a point Daveski.

    But he aint.

    So ya don’t.

    You also might want to bear in mind the shite Farrar has been peddling re this blog. He’s a big boy mate, he can look after himself. If he’s desperate for an apology I’m sure he’ll come demanding one.

    Till then, you just look like a boring ‘concern troll’ trying to disrupt conversation by making the issue The Standard and discredit the posts here by making, (shock horror), personal attacks!

    And yes, ‘you’re a hypocrit’ is a personal attack.


  21. longtimelurker 21

    Thanks Tane. I think I’ll stick to lurking in the future.

  22. Daveski 22

    Sorry it doesn’t wash – it wasn’t an issue worth the effort you made and then at least IMO you’re guilty of double standards. Key knows HC so that excuse legitimises his comments according to your reasoning.

    You seem to be passionate and clearly have a handle on the economic analysis and you have made plenty of rational points re policy which I’ve agreed with you.

    This is petty and lacking in the very principles you claim to espouse.

    Pascal – see my comments above. I’ve disagreed with SP on multiple occasions but i try not to personalise anything. The problem I was pointing out if you adopt the high ground be prepared to cop the same flak. Sort of like Winston Peters. It may be a back handed compliment but this post does SP no good given the standard of his others, regardless of my views of them

    Off to fix my fence 🙂

  23. rjs131 23

    If you are so offended by it why draw attention to it? UNfortunately the vast amount of people will see it as jest, especially males. Or are you expecting the kind of counter attack from Labour that was pulled off by Ruth Dyson when she criticised Norm Hewitt for being a poor role model when playing with a broken arm?

  24. Daveski. i concede my snipe at farrar was in poor taste and duely retract it… it does not change the fact that key’s comment is a sexist attack on women in general that exposes an underlying misogyny that has long characterised national and the right in general.

    rjs131. i’m shining light on it because i’m sick of our discourse being infected with such filth and light’s the best way to sanitise.

    If helen clark made an anti-semitic joke would you be arguing for that to be ignored too?

  25. vto 25

    I don’t get it – surely NZ women would agree that the place of women in NZ has been advanced by having a female PM.

    Why not the same for the place of males by having a male PM?

    The sexism allegation has been inaccurately aimed.

    But it has made for some strung out postings. And exposed some typically crude assumptions about males and what they are capable of thinking about people and the world. Which says more about the poster than anything else

  26. vto. What you’re arguing is not what Key is saying when he says we should elect him because it takes a male PM for NZ to win the world cup.

  27. randal 27

    there you go…key making another either or question…male…female and/or, maybe neither (cyborg, replicant), neuter. so out of that grab bag what is key? besides being an old leather football?

  28. Felix 28

    Daveski if you really, really think that calling a fat bloke “fatso” on a blog is the same as joking that women shouldn’t be Prime Minister while running for Prime Minister then you’re probably not worth the trouble of arguing with.

  29. vto 29

    No its not SP. You assume too munch.

    Perhaps it would in fact help rugby if the leader of the country was a male!

    I realise that that sort of statement is not allowed these days, but have you seriously considered that possibility? (just try and put the whole sexist thing aside for a minute and consider it in an objective manner)

  30. Billy 30

    Fukcing hell,

    Is beardy-weirdy saying we shouldn’t call people “fatso”? People are always making fun of my stutter, incontinence and eye-patch. You people want to harden up a bit.

  31. coge 31

    Finally NZ has the real prospect of getting a PM with a sense of humour. Something sadly lacking over the last nine years. Lighten up Steve, or you may find the next decade hard going.

  32. Higherstandard 32


    You really need to take a break – you’re taking life too seriously and seem to have completely lost all perspective.

    Bill you’re back I thought Sod had locked you away somewhere !

  33. vto 33

    Just as many women have liked the idea and reality of a female PM, so too do, I imagine, many men like the idea and reality of a male PM.

    Might sound harsh (not) – but go against earth’s spin at your own peril.

  34. vto. When I consider it in an objective manner, I find no reason to think it would be so.

    Now, you offer an objective argument that having a male PM is better for rugby than having a female one (note: you’re not arguing specific males or females, you’re arguing between genders). If you can’t but you assume it’s true anyway and so argue that we should have any male instead of any female as PM, then, by definition you’re a bigot… a bigot holds a prejudice against a group of people in spite of a lack of supporting evidence.

  35. Tane 35

    Billy, the Sod doesn’t count as a person.

  36. Tim Ellis 36

    Tane I don’t see how it is a dog-whistle. It is a throw-away line. Are we really so uptight in this country that somebody pretends faux outrage about such a thing? Helen Clark’s own party has referred to various religious groups as “chinless scarf-wearers”, freaks, and weirdos.

    The question for me is whether the statement was intended to lower the audience’s opinion of women. Clearly it wasn’t. Calling John Key a “jewish money-lender” does try to lower the audience’s opinion of jews. SP has not very subtly resorted to his own dog-whistle. Simply couching it in: “if I said this, you would be angry”, is downright cowardly.

    I say it doesn’t make sense that John Key would try to demean women is that there’s no political gain from him by doing it. National already has a very very high proportion of male voters. If you believe Chris Trotter then the right-wing nutjobs are already voting National. So why would John Key make a statement intended to alienate the half of the population where National has not done well in attracting their vote?

    It was not a sexist or bigoted statement. It was a throw-away line, and I don’t think it was a very clever one, because Helen Clark could also have replied: “Yes, it was a male Prime Minister the only time we’ve won the World Cup. But it was also a Labour Prime Minister!”

    I don’t believe SP is as wound up about this as he says he is.

  37. Joker 37

    This is a good example of the kind of sanctimonious rubish that has helped alienate normal New Zealanders from this Government.

    Key’s a boy, Clarkes a girl. Nothing wrong with using that difference to make a cheeky jibe.

    You guy’s really know how to suck the fun out.

  38. Billy 38

    Bill you’re back I thought Sod had locked you away somewhere !

    Several weird things have conspired to eat into my blogging time. 1. I moved offices and those fcukwits that are Telecom managed to mangle my telecommunications. 2. I am very busy at work. 3. I have been trying to self-censor my tendency to post nothing but innanities. I have decided to stop fighting this last thing.

  39. vto 39

    SP, that’s weak.

    Following your line of argument there are bigots in the majority of the population, especially the ‘left’ given their propensity for ‘positive’ discrimination in so many areas of society.

    btw, I didn’t actually say rugby would be helped by having a male PM, I invited you to consider the possibility.

  40. NX 40

    [deleted. you might be happy with sexist bigotry in your leader, I’m not having it on our blog. SP]


    What I meant was technically Key is correct – but his point has no bases in reality hence why it’s meant in jest.

    Your moderations a bit over kill. Get a sense of humor friend & shave off your beard – makes you look 40.

  41. Tim Ellis. Don’t call me a liar or an anti-Semite if you want to be welcome on this blog.

    No-one’s saying it was a clever dog-whistle, it was a sexist man dog whistling to other bigots with a crude joke (and if you don’t laugh you’re probably a fag hahaha).

    My analogy is consistent – both Key’s comments and the hypothetical ‘joke’ about Key’s Jewish ancestry attempt to derogate the target and by extension all members of that group by appealing to a bigotted stereotype.

  42. NX. It’s my greying hair that makes me look 40. And I need the beard, without it I look like a 14 year old with lots of silver glitter in his hair… that’s not a popular look with the ladies.

  43. monkey-boy 43

    Comedy gold – and I thought I had a perverse sense of humour. Thank you all for a deliciously funny tea-break. Tane – you won the chocolate fish with your ‘dogwhistle’ post.

  44. Joker 44

    [lprent: Attacking a writer without what I consider a good cause. Take a 4 month ban. ]

  45. J Mex 45

    Someone takes to take a break, SP. Does this really make your stomach turn? Really? You need to take a step back or your co-contributors need to tell you to pull your head in. It’s becoming a bit silly.

    I tell you what, it must be fun hanging with you. Never made a joke about an Australian? an Irishman? Never made a joke about mans preoccupation with sex, or womens preoccupation with talking on the phone or the thousands and thousands of other observations in the world. Heck – In the SP world, Sienfield must make you want to vomit up your entrails.

    It’s quite clearly a joke. It’s a joke because Key is connecting two completely unrelated things. People do it every day. The people listening laugh or smile. I would hate for our politicians to become so sanitised that they don’t utter a work unless it would be misconstrued.

    You are also beginning to lose credibility on the “dog whistle” thing. Hell, anything can be attacked as being a dog whistle. Just find some hidden meaning behind anything and, if it suits the picture you are trying to paint of your opponent, claim that it is a hidden message.

  46. Tim Ellis 46

    SP I did not call you a liar. I am surprised you deleted my post, because I did not call you a liar or an anti-semite. I invite you to point out where in my comment I said you were either. You don’t have to be an anti-semite or racist or bigot to dog-whistle against jews, Asians, or gays.

    I did say you can’t just say: “If I said this, you would be angry”, does not excuse the fact that you say those things. I’m not going to lower myself to raise the example of the Prime Minister, but suffice to say that she has been the victim of personal smears over the years. Repeating one of those smears, hiding behind “If I said this…” is cowardly. You did the same thing with John Key. As for your “and if you don’t laugh, you’re probably a fag hahaha”, that is a dog-whistle on its own.

    I do not believe that somebody who can openly call another blogger “Ol Fatso” can get wound up about John Key pointing out that the last time we won the world cup, we had a male prime minister. You could have countered that the last time we won the rugby world cup, we had a Labour prime minister, or that we’ve lost just as many world cups with male prime ministers than we have with female prime ministers.

    I wrote to Tane saying I disagreed it was a dog-whistle, since if you believe Chris Trotter National already has the bigoted vote sewn up. It doesn’t have the female vote sewn up. Why would John Key risk offending half of the voting population by dog-whistling to people who are going to vote National anyway?

    I think you need to lighten up, and while you can put anything you like on your blog, I do take offense at you saying I said one thing, when I didn’t, and then delete the evidence. I said nothing of the kind. I was not disrespectful to you. I would ask you not to be so disrespectful of me as to delete something I put up under my own name, which you do not do, and then characterise it as a slur when it is not.

  47. Quoth the Raven 47

    I’m sorry to threadjack but did anyone see this from Duncan Garner’s blog:
    …And what a debacle. It goes like this. On Monday John Key’s diary was released. I read it – it said he was speaking to the Orewa Club. Great. Let’s go.
    Scotty, (Campbell, 3 News Political Reporter) this one’s for you, I said. But what a fuss. The Nats spent two days trying to hose us down. Don’t bother, they said. We aren’t saying anything new, they cried.
    But we wanted to check out what the important Oh-rewa Rotarians had to say – what they think of Key compared to Donny Brash.
    But they didn’t want us there. Seems the Nats didn’t either. They didn’t want Key to be in any way associated with Brash and his race relations speech from four years ago.
    Key put it right in the end – says he had no problem with us being there. He had no option. But the damage was done.
    Oh-rewa Rotarians you stuffed up. With friends like that in the Silverdale valley Mr Key, who needs enemies?

    Probably trying to avoid another policy slip or “We would love to see wages drop” debacle.

  48. vto 48

    SP, did you bite off more than you can chew with this one?

  49. Tane 49

    Y’know, standing back and observing here, the ones really taking offense appear to be our friends on the Right – against any attack on their beloved and flawless leader who is about to lead them home after nine years in the wilderness.

  50. vto 50

    Offense at several things I would surmise tane, including the usual bigoted commentary against male national voters in general. Just like (in Standard words) kiwiblog commenters on the female labour voters.

    Its like two screaming kiddies on either end of the see-saw.

  51. Pascal's bookie 51

    You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. GOP strategist Lee Atwater

    Have ya’ll heard “the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die?”

    “When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, “Where is that marvelous ape?” John McCain 1986

    “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.” John McCain 1998

    “The only time we’ve won the rugby World Cup we had a male Prime Minister.’

    No one is saying that if you laugh at Key’s joke you are, like, totally, a misogynist. If you are a misogynist however, you will, like, totally smile knowingly at John Key’s joke.

    This may or may not be deliberate dogwhistling. That’s unknowable. The question is, is it ok? Which is a matter of opinion.

  52. gobsmacked 52

    No, it isn’t “sickening”. It’s just … feeble.

    Come on, be honest now, political allegiances aside, who saw the “joke” and laughed? Who thought “Ha! Good one!”

    I’ve seen funnier stationery orders.

    John Key can make sexist jokes if he wants. But for God’s sake get a new writer, John. That was like something from an old TV sitcom, the ones where your toes curl.

    If you want a laugh from the pollies, listen to the Hide-Peters-Wilson show in Parliament this afternoon. Much funnier.

  53. ChocolateMustBeLiquid 53

    You guys are way too precious, much like your reaction to my login name ChocolateMustBeLiquid. Perhaps I will change it to VanillaMustBeLiquid, no doubt that would be fine. This post smacks of desperation.

  54. Ben R 54

    “The only time we’ve won the rugby World Cup we had a male Prime Minister.’

    The thing is that the connection is totally illogical which makes it a joke & a relatively harmless one. You could switch the word male for female, Maori, gay, or whoever & it would still be a relatively harmless joke. I think you’re being a little too sensitive (although it’s the pov of female posters that counts).

    The example about when Vogel was PM we got into debt is more serious because the PM does have some input into the economy.

    Also if that’s offensive, then you must have been quite offended by Judith Tizard’s comment about women being able to multi-task? I mean that actually invokes a common (and quite possibly true) stereotype.

  55. Tom. I didn’t delete your comment, it’s still there.

    vto. “btw, I didn’t actually say rugby would be helped by having a male PM, I invited you to consider the possibility”
    – after that, maybe I should give serious thought to whether the Moon is made of cheese.

  56. Anita 56

    Ben R,

    I think you’re being a little too sensitive (although it’s the pov of female posters that counts).

    Actually it’s the POV of female voters that matters, and as we have recently seen National is doing much worse with women than men. I would’ve thought that they’d be making an effort to woo female voters at this point, not make them think “yeah, he’s a bit of a dick”.

    Which, incidentally, is pretty much my POV. I looked at the quote and thought “John Key, leader of the Nats, makes poorly thought through sexist joke – who’d’ve thought?” I didn’t expect any better, I’m not really disappointed.

  57. Oh my, the Joker got a 4 month stint in cyberspace lock up, and sexism is rampant amongst vengeful and vindictive government agencies. Radical feminists are everywhere.
    Hit me girls – hit me slowly – hit me quick !

    [there’s a school of thought that D4J is a real-world surrealist art project. Evidence for that opinion mounts. SP]

  58. Ben R 58

    “Which, incidentally, is pretty much my POV.

    How can he win you over?

  59. Blar 59

    I was more outraged when Clark called Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett dogs.

    [If you’re referring to the PM’s comment about ‘Key’s dogs’ the other day, she was referring not to his few female MPs but to his sniping backbenchers in the sense of King Lear (Act III scene VI : “KING LEAR – The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me.”, the classic conservative Edmund Burke famously quoted that passage when under attack in Parliament) SP]

  60. Anita 60

    Ben R,

    How can he win you over?

    Into thinking he has a handle on women’s issues? Or just not thinking he’s a bit of a dick? I’ll focus on the latter, the former is probably too hard at the moment.

    Firstly, quit with the retro-sexism, no point making things worse. Secondly consider getting more senior women in National, it makes a difference that all the mates he’s shown with on the telly are men. Thirdly, pick a couple of relevant issues and get someone (a woman in fact) to work out a womans-eye-view of them, make sure Key gets that view and can talk it well, reflect that view in the relevant policies.

    A good example of the latter was the ECE policy – it doesn’t touch the issues that women with children would want to see in an ECE policy, his rhetoric at the time didn’t include their view.

    Anyhow, I think it probably relies on have some senior women in their team, valuing and listening to them and making them visible.

    I seem to remember that The Hollow Men has a chapter which includes National’s focus group findings on how to make women more pro-National – do you have a copy around or shall I go dig one up and type in the highlights?

  61. vto 61

    Anita, You basically said above that Key should be trying to woo female voters. Is that not sexist in exactly the similar same way?

    I do get confused as to when something is bigoted or not, racist or not, prejudiced or not, sexist or not. It all seems to turn on the sex or race of the person who says it AND the sex or race of the person who it is about. Depending on those factors, which is inherently racist and sexist itself, the statement can be deemed to be good or bad. And so the allegation of racism or sexism simply fails through the allegor’s (such a word?) own sexism or racism.

  62. Anita. I should be able to get hold of that passage of the Hollow Men for a follow up post – i’ve recieved a few bits of info on similar comments from Key in the past.

  63. ak 63

    Speaking of jokes, just saw this on Stuff:

    The oldest British joke dates back to the 10th Century and reveals the bawdy face of the Anglo-Saxons “What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before? Answer: A key.”

    Aye. If Key gets in we’re poked.

  64. vto 64

    SP, your definition of ‘bigotry’ aimed at me further up applies completely and totally to Anita’s post at 4.18pm, in particular

    “Secondly consider getting more senior women in National,”

    “and get someone (a woman in fact)”

    Best you haul her up SP. To be consistent of course.

  65. Anita 65


    Anita, You basically said above that Key should be trying to woo female voters. Is that not sexist in exactly the similar same way?


    Realising the poll splits show poor support from women, or PI people, or Māori, or south islanders, or public servants, and then working out how to address that is not sexist/racist/*-ist.

    I do get confused as to when something is bigoted or not, racist or not, prejudiced or not, sexist or not.

    Hm… the first thing to do would be to look for the implicit value judgement or stereotyping – if you find that it’s probably -ist.

    So, for example,

    Providing toilets for women is not sexist. It recognises women as a part of society with equal value to men.

    Providing sanitary disposal bins only in women’s toilets is not sexist – it recognises a genuine difference without implying a value judgement.

    Providing baby-changing tables only in women’s toilets is sexist – it incorrectly stereotypes by assuming that men will not be providing solo care to babies.

  66. Anita 66


    SP, your definition of ‘bigotry’ aimed at me further up applies completely and totally to Anita’s post at 4.18pm, in particular

    “Secondly consider getting more senior women in National,’

    “and get someone (a woman in fact)’

    It is not sexist to be aware one needs to ask a woman to get a woman’s POV, or ageist to ask a child to get a child’s POV, or racist to ask a refugee to get a refugee’s POV.

    But yes, it would be bloody dubious if Key promoted two female MPs if it was only so he could show a commitment to promoting women. I was asked what would work, not what was right 🙂

  67. Daveski 67

    SP – acknowledging your comment

    For me the issue is a sideshow – I could be proved wrong of course.

    I do agree with the comment that accepting it is a joke he definitely needs better gag writers.

  68. ak 68


    If the All Blacks play like men with a male PM….

    and like women with a female PM…..

    does that mean if Key gets in the game will be cancelled due to slippery conditions and a lack of balls?

    (genuine enquiry)

  69. Ben R 69

    “consider getting more senior women in National, it makes a difference that all the mates he’s shown with on the telly are men.”

    That’s probably right. People tend to identify with people who appear similar to them. But would you really have a different view of National if Jenny Shipley was leader & Ruth Richardson was deputy with their women’s-eye-view?

  70. Anita 70

    Ben R,

    That’s probably right. People tend to identify with people who appear similar to them. But would you really have a different view of National if Jenny Shipley was leader & Ruth Richardson was deputy with their women’s-eye-view?

    My view would be different, yes. That doesn’t mean I’d vote for them tho 🙂

    But seriously, I honestly believe that a Key-Rich combination with both being visible would be getting higher poll results from women than Key-English (or Brash-Brownlee).

    Ditto Key-Collins for what it’s worth.

    Seriously, if you have a chance read that chapter out of The Hollow Men. You don’t have to end up hating National but their gender analysis is fascinating.

  71. Draco TB 71

    Just as many women have liked the idea and reality of a female PM, so too do, I imagine, many men like the idea and reality of a male PM.

    Only those with a really limited imagination and an extreme lack of depth would think so. Personally, I want the best person for the job and JK obviously isn’t it.

    Might sound harsh (not) – but go against earth’s spin at your own peril.

    If you want to change the world then going with the flow isn’t going to cut it.

  72. weka 72

    “The only time we’ve won the rugby World Cup we had a male Prime Minister.’

    The last time we won the rugby World Cup we had a female Prime Minister:


    I think Anita’s pretty much covered it.

    I can’t understand how Key could be so stupid to not understand how that comment would come across to women voters. Even if you can excuse the dickhead sexism, why would you want someone running the country who is so ignorant or dismissive of such a large proportion of voters?

    It cheered me up to be honest. More of this kind of thing and hopefully we’ll not have the Nats in power.

  73. vto 73

    Anita I don’t disagree with what you have now said, which is slightly different.

    My problem arises in the unequal application of those principles from time to time, and with what I said here(conveniently ignored)

    “It all seems to turn on the sex or race of the person who says it AND the sex or race of the person who it is about. Depending on those factors, which is inherently racist and sexist itself, the statement can be deemed to be good or bad.”

    I think very dangerous territory is being trodden when it is suggested that getting women in to do blah blah blah is ok but it is not when it is suggested that getting men in to do some different blah blah blah. eg, rugby as an example.

    (bit of a confused poor and rushed post sorry)

  74. Tim Ellis 74

    Anita those poll results are interesting but I interpret them very differently to you. National has traditionally done much better with male voters than female voters, even when the Nats had a woman leader. This is the first poll I have seen where National has a higher proportion of women voters than Labour has. John Key’s National Party is doing much better to attract women voters than any of his predecessors. More women support National than support Labour. Is it a problem that a very, very high proportion of men support National? Not in my view. It could equally be argued that Labour is doing very badly in attracting male voters–they are doing much worse than they have in the past. I wonder why that is.

    It doesn’t have a lot to do with the Labour leadership, in my view, because Labour has a high proportion of male senior cabinet ministers. It might have something to do with a perception that the Labour Party is anti-men. You might argue that that is just because Labour has a woman leader, but when National had a woman leader its male vote did not drop away.

    Paula Bennett has been doing much of the work on the ECE policy and has been going up and down the country promoting it. I don’t know what else you could ask for. National has several high profile women in the caucus, and obviously John Key is doing his best to make sure more senior women join the ranks. There are a lot of women candidates in winnable seats for National this year: Amy Adams in Selwyn, Louise Upston in Taupo, and Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central are all likely to win their seats.

    There are others who will almost certainly come in on the list, including Hekia Parata and Melissa Lee.

    I don’t see National’s problems attracting women voters as really any different from attracting more diverse voters generally. National hasn’t done well in the past in attracting Maori or PI voters either. One step to achieve that is to have people from those communities representing the National Party. National has a high number of highly credible Chinese, Korean, Maori, PI, and Indian activists to name just a few. Much of this has happened on John Key’s watch.

    National needs more women, and it is doing a lot to achieve it.

  75. Ben R 75

    “But seriously, I honestly believe that a Key-Rich combination with both being visible would be getting higher poll results from women than Key-English (or Brash-Brownlee).”

    I know, women are so shallow(kidding). Will have a read at some stage.

  76. vto 76

    Hey Draco, re the earth’s spin. Going directly against or with it wont make two hoots of difference in trying to change the spin. Best to go with it and adjust the weight balance to throw it out of whack.

  77. djp 77

    while we are telling jokes.. at least the guys at PA have a sense of humor => http://www.publicaddress.net/default,5189.sm#post

  78. lemsip 78

    Umm Key’s comment was ENTIRELY factual. It in no way suggested that NZ could only win if there was a male PM but simply pointed out that this only been the case so far i.e. if you want to increase your chances of winning look to what has worked previously. Fairly straightforward.

    It will be horrible day when we can’t speak the truth… SP seems to wish that day on us sooner rather than later

  79. Anita 79


    Umm Key?s comment was ENTIRELY factual. It in no way suggested that NZ could only win if there was a male PM but simply pointed out that this only been the case so far

    Why did Key say that factual thing?

    He could have said “my socks match today” he could have said “we have only bought a govt trainset when we’ve had a female prime minister” he could have said “the only time we won the world cup we had a Pakeha prime minister”.

  80. Billy 80

    Actually, we had a male PM when we lost in 1991 and 1995. So that’s two losses under male PM and 3 under female PMs. Maybe we have to consider that the two things are not correlated.

  81. Anita 81

    Tim Ellis,

    Many good points!! Nice to see National making an effort to get some diversity in caucus.

    My question in response, however, is why so little diversity on the front bench? Why so few highly ranked women?

    We have a problem, in New Zealand, with a glass ceiling in business. The National Party appears to have a glass ceiling in caucus.

  82. randal 82

    hs I suggest you are taking life far too seriously and are losing all perspective and judgement about day to day life. I suggest you go to a health spa for afew months till you calm down become and bcome rational again…oterwise take three thorazines and go to bed

  83. Julie 83

    I’m being lazy and I’m not wading through this comment thread (might do so later if I get time), but thanks Steve for calling this. I just don’t find sexism funny, and I don’t think saying “but it’s a joke! OMG you haz no soh!!” actually magically changes something from being sexist to being harmless.

  84. Blar 84

    SP, it was a reference to King Lear in much the same way this was a joke.

  85. QoT 85

    Do I think Key was being serious with this comment? Nope.

    Do I think this comment shows Key to be the kind of casually-sexist rugby-culture-dog-whistling wanker who’d crack jokes about a high-powered woman picking out new curtains in her office? Yes.

    It’s not so much angry-making as predictable and annoying. Woo, Key’s a boring yob.

  86. vto 86

    well that’s settled then – both ends of the see-saw are still as equally dismissive, arrogant, bigoted and ignorant of each other as they have always been.

  87. RedLogix 87

    It will interesting to see how politics changes John Key.

    For much of his life he has focussed on getting rich, and like most self-made people he has achieved wealth by obsessing about little else. And this why he likely comes across as mostly well-meaning and affable, but also a shallow, clueless yob from time to time.

    But politics is not just all about making money, and if he is to be PM he will be pushed way out of his currently quite narrow comfort zone. His Crosby-Textor minders can only protect him just so far, and past that he will be exposed.

    Maybe he will rise to it, and for the sake of NZ I would have to hope he can…. but I’m not about to put money on it.

  88. lemsip 88

    “Why did Key say that factual thing? ”

    Umm cos he’s running against woman, there’s a world cup looming, and it’s TRUE. He didn’t say we could only win the world cup with a male prime minister. He implied it was much more likely. I know it’s tough to spot the subtlety.

    Afterall we lost the world cup when we had a male prime minister. That is also TRUE but doesn’t make for a good joke.

  89. randal 89

    cut to the chase…keys will never be PM. he doesnt have the “Right” stuff for a start and being a big swinging dick at a New York boiler room is hardly a qualification for running a modern democracy.

  90. vto 90

    ha ha randal, your colourful but somewhat useless prose and winnie-loving nature are almost one and the same. You sure you’re not winnie himself?

  91. gobsmacked 91

    The next Rugby World Cup is in 2011.

    So Key obviously wasn’t talking about himself.

  92. randal 92

    what the hell has the world cup got to do with anything except for n intellectually challenged beancounter trying to be smart. if that is Keys level of deate then he should get a job on radio spud calling basketball matches

  93. “Umm cos he’s running against woman” – he’s running against another politican, a highly competent and experienced one, the fact that she’s a woman should not be her defining attribute, it should not be what he considers makes himself more qualified to be PM than Clark.

    And as Weka quite rightly pointed out, we’ve had no trouble winning Rugby World Cups recently, if you remember women’s rugby

  94. lemsip 94

    Steve only you could draw such a long bow as to suggest Key was stating Clark’s defining attribute is her gender. You remind me of the cigarette lobbyist in “Thank you for not smoking.”

    On any reasonable measure, whether it be revenue earned, viewership, history or players salaries, when compared to the Rugby World Cup the Women’s World Cup ranks a very very very very very very distant second in terms of importance. It has next to nothing to do with gender. Trying to compare the two is bordering on the absurd.

  95. lemsip. It’s you that’s saying ‘um, he should attack her on her gender because she’s a woman, it’s funny and its TRUE’

  96. Maybe the women’s world cup squad could be coached by Henry and Company Ltd, while the Labour Party could do the make up and eye liner stuff and Robbie will coach the Ockers’ to another men’s final world cup.

    Edit – In a deep voice, is she really a woMAN?

  97. Dad. Are you Mike Moore?

  98. Jon 98

    Actually I’ve just heard who will be the All Blacks new kicking coach. Any guesses ..?

    ( ..Tony Veitch)

  99. No, but Mike Moore told me that Labour have a great queer-leader squad for all the sideline antics.

    Mike also said; Veitch should be employed as a tackle bag for the prison team and the TVNZ boss as the goalposts set in concrete.

  100. Sam Martin 100


    I have a horrible feeling Helen Clark and Labour’s ‘money trader’ attacks on Key are dog whistle politics for using his Jewish ancestry against him. Can you rebutt?

    [lprent: Actually the only people who have made suggestions like that seem to be some of our occasional visitors from the blogosphere sewers. You are welcome to try and develop this. However I’ll clarify my level of bigotry.

    I like being bigoted against people promoting bigotry. This may be someone talking like yourself (the blackshirt style) as well as the brownshirt style. I dislike flamewars and I’m intensely bigoted against people starting them. I’m obscenely bigoted against people who attack the writers here. I positively love being bigoted to people who try to tell us what we should do on our own site.

    I banned one person until after the election that went too far in accusing our writers of bigotry. They also had a crappy track record for offering any useful comment.

    Perhaps you should check our About and Policy sections before proceeding too far along these lines?]

  101. lemsip 101

    Its not really an attack Steve – it’s a humorous observation – lighten up. You’re the one trying to suggest Key is singling out Clark’s gender as her only notable quality. Quite frankly that’s pathetic.

    There are plenty of jokes which could be made about Key’s wealth. He’s rich – it’s a fact. I’m sure you’d laugh.

    We could joke about his tubbiness – the same way as you joke about David Farrars. They are both a bit porky – its a fact. I’m sure you’d laugh as you laugh about Farrar.

    We could make jokes about Key being a man – women make jokes about men ALL the time. Hell you might even laugh.

    You’re just being precious because you treat politics like its warfare. Everything is about attack and defense. Frame things a certain way so the other side looks worse than you. Shit we could even make a joke about that.

  102. Razorlight 102

    SP “he’s running against another politican,”

    Fair enough, so why if we are blind to gender should people like Anita be calling for National to promote more women to the front bench? Surley promotion should be based on merit and merit alone

  103. Swampy 103

    Mr Key is very wise with that comment. Is Helen Clark going to cheerlead New Zealand to the next world cup, in fact has she had any sort of leadership in anything sporting since 1999?

  104. Swampy 104

    “Key is saying that a man, any man (but specifically him) is better than any woman as PM. It’s not funny, it’s bigoted.”

    That may be your point of view but anyone is entitled to hold and express similar views to Key, and I am sure that numerous women would also agree.

    We’ve only had two female PMs so far and neither of them has impressed me.

  105. Dean 105

    SP, I look forward to a similarly outraged post on the topic of “haters and wreckers”.

  106. lprent 106

    Personally I wouldn’t give a penny to sport past the school levels. Sport is something you do rather than something you sit on your arse and watch. If you’re an adult then pay for it yourself. My neo-con streak is showing…

    Frankly who cares if some idiots want to batter themselves around a field?

    Well actually I do – they block Auckland traffic. Worse than those bloody stupid international conferences. Thank god the V8 (or whatever it was) racing went to Hamilton.

    Bah humbug….

  107. Tim Ellis 107

    Anita said: “My question in response, however, is why so little diversity on the front bench? Why so few highly ranked women?”

    National has two women on the front bench of ten, Anita: Judith Collins and Anne Tolley. Labour also only has two women on the front bench of ten: Helen Clark and Annette King.

    I could make a cheap shot and ask what value Judith Tizard, Sue Moroney, Lynne Pillay, Jill Pettis and Lesley Soper bring to Labour’s caucus. They’re never going to be front-benchers are they? Actually, I suppose even saying that is a cheap shot, but I will live with it.

    All of the new women candidates National has selected for this election have the potential to become front-benchers. Will they become front-benchers? Potentially. Only time will tell.

    Both Labour and National have failed in the past to select significant numbers of potential women front-benchers, or even “diversity” front benchers. Labour has certainly selected people who are little more than lobby fodder for their caucus. It may be that somebody like Louisa Wall, if she survives this election, will be on Labour’s front bench some day. Moana Mackey maybe, and Maryan Street definitely. But only if they survive this election, and that is a big IF, because they are all list MPs and are very vulnerable when Labour’s poll results drop as they are dropping at the moment.

    National suffered similar losses because of a bad result in 2002: a lot of diversity MPs who were list MPs, who would be front benchers now if they had survived the 2002 rout, lost their opportunity. Labour has the same problem this time. The only new Labour woman MP in 2008 is likely to be Claire Curran. Very hard to promote people to the front bench if you don’t have credible new people coming on board. Even harder to do it if you’re losing the current people who might make it.

    Labour could have bitten the bullet this time and got rid of some of the dead wood, like Harry Duynhoven and George Hawkins, and promoted competent women into one of those roles. They missed the boat on that, and won’t be able to do real renewal until 2008.

    John Key has the luxury of being able to bring in a new crop of MPs this time, whereas Helen Clark doesn’t. He’s followed a strategy of diversity. Several of the new diversity MPs will pick up safe National seats. In the long run, that’s the only way they will make it to senior cabinet level. It’s just too hard to do as a list MP because your position is so vulnerable when the tide goes out.

  108. Tim Ellis 108

    Hey LP how come my comments are being moderated? Did something I write look like spam?

  109. Rx 109

    Another good post Tim.

  110. Edosan 110

    We ‘haven’t won’ the world cup four times, the only time we actually lost the World Cup, we had a male prime minister. A National male prime minister.

    I’m just saying.

  111. dave 111

    People make fun of my beard too, I don’t care.
    You call that a beard? Actually, last time we won the W0rld Cup you couldn’t even grow a beard. Still cant – but at least you can now grow hair.

  112. First let’s clarify something about Judaism. Judaism is a religion not a human species. A Semite is someone who speaks a Semitic language. This includes Hebrew, Arab, Iraqi Arab and the list is very long. Since John Key calls himself a non believer and in all likelihood does not speak any Semitic languages he is neither a Jew nor a Semite. He is a descendant from a line of people who at some stage practised the Judaic religion, that’s all. For him to present himself as a Jew when it suits him is therefore is as disingenuous as presenting himself as Christian or religious in the first place.

    About slippery John’s sexist remark the following: John Key worked, hell he was a CEO at one of the most sexist banks in the US history; Merrill Lynch. Read about here, here, here for starters.
    According to a female banking friend of mine (yes, I actually know and love some bankers) sex club visits are used to keep female bankers out of big deals.

    In the last whitewash piece in the NZH John Key was actually lying about his visits to stripclubs

    I am a women with pretty liberal views as far as sex is concerned and everybody makes silly remarks but John Key has survived and thrived in a hugely sexist and cynical industry for 21 years and come home with 50 million to his name.

    I put it to you that a man who has thrived in that environment and who thinks it’s OK to make remarks like that about a powerful, intelligent and hard working woman (and no, I won’t be voting for her. I come from a country were I can trust the multi-party system and it’s great because you can vote according your heart) has very little respect or regards for decency and civility.

    Is this someone you would like to be your PM?

  113. Ben R 113

    “First let’s clarify something about Judaism.”

    Well, there is a distinctive genetic profile amongst the diaspora population. See Abraham’s Children by Jon Entine, or this article by Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman.

    “but John Key has survived and thrived in a hugely sexist and cynical industry for 21 years”

    This could apply to any number of industries. Is there any evidence of him treating female colleagues in a disrespectful manner?

  114. Paul Robeson 114

    Well at least that prick didn’t say ‘the last time we won the world cup was under a prime minister who had children’…

    Yeh, particularly when it is used by a deranged coot like Garth George in this apalling article, even for an old fart:

    He might have missed 91 and 95 perhaps? (when was potato nose rolled?)

    You are on the money Steve it is a National cheap shot, and an attempt to show ambition by wishing the country was in the 1970s.

  115. Paul Robeson 115

    I know we might get done for libel and all…what with the 4th Labour govt being what it was…but surely

    ‘Last time we won the world cup we had a Labour Prime Minister.’

    In fact in triplicate-

    Hosting rights



  116. Ben R,

    I can’t believe we are getting into John Key’s genetics but here you go.
    It seems we all stem from app.550 individuals in East Africa. So would I call myself an African?
    John Key could call himself a Viking or Norman too since his father is from England. Genetic testing has showed that many English people can trace their origins back to those groups too.
    This is what Orthodox Jews have to say about it.

    As I said, A female banker friend of mine told me that going to strip clubs was an active act of her colleagues to keep female bankers from joining the old boys network. The fact that John Key took clients to strip clubs implies that John Key did not refrain from this sexist behaviour. Judging by his history, the amount of females in the top of national, the remarks he has made about young single mothers (DPB mothers breeding for business) and the fact that he is dogwhistling with regards to Helens gender I would have to conclude that he is a sexist and as such not deserving of female votes.

    Maybe you as a man think that that kind of behaviour is OK in the man who wants to be our PM, but as a woman I know only too well what it means to have guys like John Key and Bill English get into power.

  117. Rx 117

    What does it mean Eve?

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