John Key likes to tell people what they want to hear. He’s less good at keeping his word afterwards. This story appeared in The Press on Saturday:
PM sidesteps quake promise
Prime Minister John Key is refusing to reveal what assurances he gave grieving families of Christchurch earthquake victims soon after February’s disaster.
Comments Key made at private meetings after the quake have led to him being dragged into the furore over legal funding for the families at royal commission hearings. Quake Families group co-chairmen Dr Maan Alkaisi and Brian Kennedy maintain Key gave face-to-face assurances the Government would do everything it could to assist the families. Key met the families in the days after the quake.
Yet the Government refuses to underwrite the cost of an independent legal team to represent the group, which comprises about 50 family members and survivors of the February quake. …
The Press asked Key’s office to confirm what the Prime Minister had told the families and in what context his remarks were made. A spokeswoman said: “… out of respect for them [the families], we won’t be commenting on the details of the meeting.”
Out of respect for the families Key should keep his word to them.
Alkaisi said Key had met families twice in the first 10 days after the quake. Alkaisi’s wife, Dr Maysoon Abbas, who worked at The Clinic on the fourth floor of the CTV building died as a result of the building’s collapse.
“I personally stood and thanked him for coming, because it was really very touching to see the Prime Minister coming himself and addressing us,” Alkaisi said. “In the actual meetings he, for sure, said that he will give all his support [to] the families of victims.” …
Kennedy said Key had mentioned that the Government would do everything in its power to assist the families. “I think you’ll find there’s plenty of people who will confirm that.”
It doesn’t just come down to what Key said in meetings with these families. It comes down to what he promised the nation in his speech of February 23rd:
On behalf of the Government, let me be clear that no one will be left to walk this journey alone. New Zealand will walk this journey with you. We will be there every step of the way. Christchurch; this is not your test, this is New Zealand’s test. I promise we will meet this test. …
As we look to the future, New Zealanders should know that the Government is going to do everything we can to support the recovery and rebuilding of Christchurch.
There are echoes here of Pike River, where families accused Key of breaking his promise to them (as the government later broke its promise on a stimulus package for the West Coast). Why anyone believes a word this snake-oil merchant says is a mystery to me.