National desperately wants to portray any criticism of John Key as a personal attack. Don’t be taken in.
Look, PM is a powerful job. We need to have a thorough examination of anyone contesting for that role. As I’ve always said there are three legitimate questions that need to be answered what are their policies? are they competent? can they be trusted? If there are issues around any of these points they have to be uncovered by someone; Key is hardly likely to stand up himself and announce that he misused his power as an MP for personal gain. So, who’s going to do the uncovering?
It’s not always going to be the media. First, there is an infatuation with Key on the part of a large number of commentators. As with any infatuation, this manifests as a sub-conscious tendency to see the best in the person and to forgive their flaws (and ,as with any infatuation, pointing out the flaws to the infatuated person does no good). Case in point is the Herald’s ‘unauthorised biography’ of Key, which somehow managed to miss the Tranzrail issue as well as persistent questions over Key’s involvement in speculative attacks on the Kiwi dollar in the 1980s. Secondly, as journalists will consistently tell you, the media does not have the staff or resources to undertake the investigative journalism and ‘CV-checking’ that we require of someone applying for the top job. For two decades, our media has been asset-stripped by foreign owners who are just out for a profit and commercially-orientated local owners. Disgracefully, Fairfax and APN are sacking journalists, including political staff, in election year.
When the media don’t have the motivation or resources to do this kind of work, groups with vested interests in the information becoming public will fill the void. Labour knows that if it doesn’t reveal the unsavory side of Key’s behaviour that make him unsuitable for PM they will never come to light. Don’t think for a moment that National would not also reveal this kind of shady behaviour by Labour if they found it. They would be right to do so.