Still nothing personal

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 am, September 29th, 2008 - 15 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, national, slippery, spin - Tags:

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.

15 comments on “Still nothing personal”

  1. insider 1

    You are pretty much right. If what he says is contradicted by his actions then that should be exposed. And yes his CV should be open to review.

    Equally I think Key had a very valid point that while all this examination was going on the PM did nothing about reviewing Peters and whether his words matched his actions, and then trashed the process that actually did end up doing the work.

    But that doesn’t give you the right or the responsibility to propagate baseless rumours about Key (and the same goes for others on Clark) in the hope that something sticks and the Standard has done it before. Otherwise you end up looking like a pink reflection of whaleoil.

  2. randal 2

    that mini diatribe said nothing. National are trying to install a prograame on Kiwi’s without anyone seeing the specs or the box it came in. That is just not good enough and the people of New Zealand deserve better than a cardboard cutout come to life like a frankenstein monster

  3. Quoth the Raven 3

    Personal attacks are like one National MP calling Cullen a homosexual and another (John Key) saying he doubts Helen Clark is a woman. Having a look at someone’s dodgy share trading is not a personal attack.

  4. the sprout 4

    yes the “the mean people are all picking on me” line only works for a while. sooner or later you have to do a bit better than that if you want to be seen as a leader.

  5. Hamish 5

    Firstly, blaming John Key for the collapse of Meriyl Lynch and for the the crash of the entire global markets definitely has to be construed as a personal attack.

    However on the other hand, I must admit that looking up his share dealings from five years ago is in no way a personal attack. Those claims were made on substance, as desperate as they were.

    Moreover it’s actually quite hard to believe you when you make comments about how biased the media are towards JK. Simply enough, it’s hard to take you as a reliable source knowing how stretched you are to the left and bent towards ensuring Helen & Co get back in. But your comments about the media do work both ways; on many occasions I have heard right wing commentators moan about how biased particular media articles are to the left. And some of the stories they present are. Recent examples include TV 3’s coverage of the secret recordings business and kiwibank and TV 1 last week with the story on John Key’s shares. They certainly can’t be accused of favouring John Key. It all really balances out in the end.

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Firstly, blaming John Key for the collapse of Meriyl Lynch and for the the crash of the entire global markets definitely has to be construed as a personal attack.

    This is a good example of the way the media bent the actual statements from Cullen into what you have put above. So, interestingly enough, the error in your first statement demonstrates the error in the third. I thought they went pretty softly on Key over the shares issue.

    Cullen said that someone with that kind of attitude, a short-term profit attitude as I recall, is not the best person to run the country. The media turned it into a personal attack. I don’t think questioning whether Key is fit to be PM can be considered a personal attack.

    Cullen’s actual comments are contained here if you’re interested in comparing what he actually said with the impression of them you gained from the media.

  7. Akdnut 7

    There is nowhere in the following that I can find anything supporting the righties claim that Cullen is blaming JK for the Merril lynch downfall, the attack comes in the fact that he is using a failed major corporation as as a credible reference in a public forum – real clever for a wannabe P.M.

    Why didn’t he get his spin doctors going.
    If he or his party can’t employ a decent PR firm how can they expect to lead a nation – I don’t want them in control of my purse strings.

    Quote from paper “This is probably the worst financial crisis for a very long time indeed,” Cullen says.

    But he wasn’t above making political capital out of the financial turmoil, including the forced sale of Merrill Lynch, a giant international investment bank that used to employ National Party leader John Key.

    Merrill Lynch has been bought out in an emergency sale aimed at preventing an imminent collapse. The fire sale to the Bank of America and the collapse of massive investment bank Lehman Brothers have sent world sharemarkets tumbling.

    “Mr Key has put forward his Merrill Lynch credentials as an important part of his narrative his story if you like – ‘here I am, I have this international experience as a Merrill Lynch person.’ Well that doesn’t look such a good qualification any longer for running the New Zealand economy…because Merrill Lynch has just gone down,” says Cullen.

    BTW thanx Mathew

  8. Phil 8


    Given the events of this political term and the conclusion you’ve reached above, is the following statement then a ‘personal attack’?

    Someone without children is not the best person to be making laws relating to how others treat theirs

  9. Hamish,

    In 1987 Alan Greenspan brought out an old instrument, it was called a derivative. This financial tool was banned in 1933 because it was this tool that caused the financial collapse of Wall street.
    In 1987 the new boss of the Bankers Trust, Charlie Sanford said, “Right we are going to make loads of money.” He opened banks in Australia and New Zealand and they started trading in Foreign currencies and became specialised in “product innovation”.

    What they became were “specialists” in the “nascent derivatives business”. In fact they became acknowledged leaders in risk management.

    The bank collapsed in 1995 because they were sued successfully after tapes revealed that they were ripping of their costumers with untransparent derivatives. In fact they had a term for that; ROF or Rip of Factor.

    In the NZHerald John describes leaving Bankers Trust as follows:

    “Then everything turned to shit and I said right, I’m out of here.”

    He went on to work for Merrill Lynch and what were his jobs?
    According to his own website he was global head of Foreign Exchange and the European head of bonds and derivatives. He had an office in the headquarters of ML in New York and lived there off and on for his entire tenure with ML according to a speech he made on the 11th of September speech to the American/ New Zealand friendship thingy. That makes him well connected to Wall street.

    Added to that he was one of only four upon invitation only advisors to Alan Greenspan and the privately owned Federal Reserve of New York from 1999 until march 2001. He represented Merrill Lynch, the others represented Lehman bros, Citicorp and UBS Warburg all these banks are either gone or on live support because they were all heavily involved in the derivatives trade.

    John Key was the managing director of debt in 1999 and this is what he had to say about that time:

    “I had a whole lot of people working for me who were at the cutting edge of delivering quite complex and new and innovative products.”

    And than the the NZHerald goes on with this beauty:

    The products which underpinned the sub-prime boom – then bust – were hatched in 2004-2005, long after Key had left Merrill.

    Warren Buffet said in 2002 that the derivative trade was a weapon of mass destruction and in 2003 the FBI was warned that the derivatives and fraudulent mortgage trade was getting out of hand so it is save to say that the derivatives trade was already getting out of hand and had been for quit a while.

    Based on all these facts I can only conclude that John Key was trading the self same products that are now collapsing and if so is he the man we want leading this Nation through the depression his and that of other Wall street chomps have helped creating?

    Especially when he tells us he wants to borrow loads of money and hand it out as tax cuts euh, no, no, no, invest it in infrastructure?.

    The man who worked with the same scheisters who pulled a whopping $ 125 billion of liquidity out of the system last week in order to create a crisis which will now cost the US taxpayer a whopping $700 billion. And that is only the beginning, it could cost the US tax payers closer to US$ 5 trillion.

    And I haven’t even started about the Asian Crisis, the collapse of Russia in 1997 and the false timeline he gave about working with Andrew Krieger who almost collapsed the NZ economy in 1987.

    What did you say again about accusing John Key?

    We’ve got it from the horses mouth as it were. No personal attack needed, he’s told us himself. I reckon he thought that nobody would understand and gave us the dirt on himself.
    I also think he didn’t think it would all go to shit this fast, his kind never do.

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    Phil, ask yourself, is having a child a ‘quality’?

    If it could be shown that Clark was bad with children then the statement might have some merit and not be a personal attack I suppose, but even then it would be a stretch.

  11. Roby110 11

    No, Phil, it’s not. Clearly. The judgments being made about Key are based on his actions (for me his complicity in nearly destroying the NZ economy in the late eighties is the most concerning).
    The spurious charge that the PM is somehow incapapble of making sensible decisions that will have an effect on parenting behaviour because she herself is not a parent is just that – spurious. Just as it would be to say that a non-fisherman couldn’t make sensible decisions on the quota system or someone who is not an artist couldn’t make a decision changing the funding arrangements for the ballet.

    Face it. Key was a wide boy and still stands by his past wide boy behaviour. Like many of his colleagues still working in that financial system, he’s a con-man

  12. Robe110,

    I like that term “Wide boy” and yup it describes him well.
    He was a Wall street hustler alright and the street is coming down as I write this byt hundreds of points and the crash is world wide.

    The house voted the bailout down and I’m sure there will be a lot of bullying to get them to vote for it in the next vote planned later today but the Americans are waking up big time.

    Captcha: Highest Savings. I swear this captcha thing is alive. LOL.

  13. the sprout 13

    “Someone without children is not the best person to be making laws relating to how others treat theirs”

    oh so true Phil. and we should only have convicts making criminal law, after all what would law-abiding people know about crime?

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    LOL, sprout 😀

  15. nommopilot 15

    “Someone without children is not the best person to be making laws relating to how others treat theirs’

    not to mention Helen Clark doesn’t “make laws”. it’s done collectively by parliament and in this case was widely supported by most members

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