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Teapot tapes – Key backs down over Parliamentary Services payment

Written By: - Date published: 2:08 pm, March 22nd, 2016 - 66 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: ,

KEY1

The focus group results are in.  John Key is backing down from trying to get Parliamentary Services from paying the agreed damages to Bradley Ambrose.

From the Herald:

Prime Minister John Key will not pay his “teapot tapes” settlement with public money, his office confirmed this afternoon.

Mr Key said yesterday that it was “pragmatic” to pay a small settlement to freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose out of his National Leader’s Office budget.

However, his office said today that after taking advice from Parliamentary Service, this would no longer take place.

The settlement costs, which have not be disclosed, would be met by the National Party or by private contributions.

“The costs involved in the settlement with Mr Ambrose will not be met by the taxpayer,” a spokeswoman said.

The legal costs which Mr Key had incurred so far in the case had already come out of his leader’s budget.

This was probably motivated in part by the failure to obtain prior Speaker’s approval.  A refusal would have been much more embarassing.  And the bad publicity would have swirled around while a decision was being made.  Best to end it now and bite the bullet, so to speak.

The whole incident suggests that National’s normally impressive handling of potentially bad news is floundering.  There is a difference between the state paying for the legal expenses when a Member of Parliament is sued in a representative capacity or for something that occurs while they are performing an official function and what occurred here, where a vendetta waged by Key against Ambrose and the rest of the media was motivated purely by political considerations.  To even think about using public money to settle this showed that Key and his office were severely out of touch with the predictable public response.

It is only fair that Key and the National Party should pay this bill.  But the same principle applies to the legal fees that the state has paid.  These should be paid back as well.

Meanwhile the masters of diversion are hard at work.  Giving the Herald the inside running on the story makes you wonder why …

Key letter seeking donations

 

66 comments on “Teapot tapes – Key backs down over Parliamentary Services payment ”

  1. ianmac 1

    ‘ But the same principle applies to the legal fees that the state has paid. These should be paid back as well.
    Hear Hear! Why should Parliamentary taxpayers money pay for a personal vendetta? Probably cost many thousands to be told that he had no defence.

  2. Jenny Kirk 2

    “The whole incident suggests that National’s normally impressive handling of potentially bad news is floundering. ”

    Do you think that the sheeples are finally beginning to wake up to Shonkey and his shonky ways ? or has Crosby Textor abandoned Key ?

    • TC 2.1

      Were CT consulted on this or is it all their own work as its been messy from the start with the cons outweighing the pros.

      Methinks shonky couldnt recall the exact chat with banksy so overeacted.

      CT would be reluctant to upset their message carriers.

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        Nah this u-turn has all the whiff of some Farrar emergency polling.

        • Chris 2.1.1.1

          Yes, but key and his minders will be annoyed they walked into it in the first place.

        • TC 2.1.1.2

          I reckon that to. However was this whole saga the type of event CT would approve and supply lines for ?
          CT rely on a compliant msm, shonky just poked them In the eye with his and the nz polices behaviour.

          • Gristle 2.1.1.2.1

            Either Key is exhibiting damage control or ethics. Damage control by swiftly fixing the cock-up and extinguishing a potential ignition point. (Little should take note.). Or ethics, by reading the rules and following them.

            Either way it is spun the saga is not being given the glee/viciousness that the msm dished up to Little last week.

            It will be interesting to hear commentators next week if they draw a narrative linking:
            – Lowering poll results for National
            – Losing to Ambrose in a defamation claim
            – losing the flag referendum
            – Whangerai (speculatively) going NF.
            And what they see as a trajectory.

  3. TC 3

    More needs to be made of shonkys attempt to use public money for a national party issue.

    Opinion polls have probably driven this with the usual bs reasons trotted out as cover.

    If the tapes prove to be nothing more than a mangled chat between 2 right wing pollies about nothing special then he looks quite the drama queen.

  4. Murray Simmonds 4

    Its was “pragmatic” to pay . . . ”

    Great word, that . . “pragmatic” . . .

    Actually it would be “pragmatic” for me to go out and rob the bank right now, ‘cos I’m a bit short of cash at the moment.

    But then again it might be equally pragmatic for me not to, ‘cos I don’t think I’d enjoy the jail term much.

    Still, its a GREAT word. Right up there with “akshully” and “you know . . . “

    • Raf 4.1

      Indeed, but “small” is also interesting. I wonder he means by “a small settlement”. What’s small in his bankster eyes? Half a million? one and a half …?

      • Hami Shearlie 4.1.1

        If the settlement is so small, why was “fund-raising” mentioned in a news report about it? Key knows that no-one is allowed to divulge the amount under the terms of settlement, so he feels free to say it’s “small” without fear of the truth coming out. Small to him may in fact be a large amount of money, why else would fund-raising be mentioned – we know the Nats have deep coffers, so the idea of fund-raising to pay this is quite telling.

    • Anne 4.2

      @ Murray Simmonds
      You forgot “at the end of the day”.

  5. Richard Christie 5

    The police shuld also fork out for slandering Ambrose by stepping beyond their place and saying that he was guilty of an offence.

  6. Richard Christie 6

    Meanwhile the masters of diversion are hard at work.

    Patsy get rewarded for delivering (as per her off-record brief) the GCSB and SIS review.

  7. weka 7

    Can I just say schadenfreude?

  8. maui 8

    How’s he going to pay then?? He donates all of his salary apparently.. Seriously worried now the PM may be in serious financial trouble!

    • Chris 8.1

      Don’t know why key didn’t just fork out himself to avoid any of this sort of bs. Even if it were a decent sized amount wouldn’t put a dent in his mooyens. Just a stupid strategic blunder I’d say. And one that sadly won’t cost him a single vote, to boot.

    • Sacha 8.2

      “He donates all of his salary apparently.”

      Have we ever seen any evidence for this other than fanboi reckons?

      • TC 8.2.1

        Shonky considers the national party a charity

        • Kiwiri 8.2.1.1

          He considers himself a charity!

        • Lanthanide 8.2.1.2

          Hmm, it would seem like a pretty good strategy to actually do this, and let the National Party leadership know that he’ll only be donating his PM salary (the entirety of it) as long as he stays PM and National’s leader.

          Good way to dampen down caucus spill attempts before they get off the ground.

      • Hami Shearlie 8.2.2

        He said that he donated “a portion” of his salary to charity – a portion could in fact be $1NZD – he regards the National Party as a charity remember, I wonder who the lucky recipient of the chocolate fish bought with the money is? Maybe Steven Joyce?

  9. Ad 9

    What an idiot

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    Flippety Flop

    Flippety Flop

  11. Mrs Brillo 11

    “Private sources” will pay?

    Not “from his own pocket”?

    So will it be the National Party itself, or one of its rich friends, that funds this payout?

    And if the latter, what will their reward be?

    Watch this space.

    • Chris 11.1

      Key’s become so untouchable this is a non-story – so much so it even missed the attention of his advisers.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Oddly out of touch decision by Key to use public money in the first place. His advisors are off the pace at the moment.

    Assuming the settlement is in the $20K to $30K range (I have no idea) Key would have got brownie points simply by paying out himself.

    His advisors are off the pace at the moment.

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      Let’s hope they stay there.

    • Stuart Munro 12.2

      I imagine he REALLY doesn’t want to talk about it. Maybe he could wave a flag or … darn! Throw Paula under a bus? The way things are going it’d probably break an axle…

    • Chuck 12.3

      Agree, the “safe” option would of been for Key to pay it him self…heck that could of added an extra 1 or 2% to the next poll result for National.

      Just shows his advisors are humans after all!

    • Sacha 12.4

      Joyce was always oddly hysterical about this matter – and Fisher’s article today reinforces that.

  13. Gabby 13

    Pet columnists to tell us what a manly wee Ponyboy it is, making the right decision after misspeaking and being misquoted.

  14. NZJester 14

    It just shows his arrogance that he originally wanted the taxpayer to pay for his mistakes just like they are doing with all his parties other mistakes. If they got forced to pay for all the mistakes they have made we could pay back that big international debt they have run up.

    • Expat 14.1

      NZJester

      “It just shows his arrogance that he originally wanted the taxpayer to pay for his mistakes just like they are doing with all his parties other mistakes”

      My sentiments, exactly, it’s like he thinks the public purse is his purse to use on what ever he likes.

      Having watched the interview of Key in Whangarei last week, the body language is quite telling, the spring has gone from his step, I feel that the “tide” is turning , finally, and there is room for the opposition parties to make as much political capital as they can while he’s on a down slide.

  15. I just wish the media would stop calling John Key’s settlement over this as a “backdown”.
    It is nothing of the sort.
    While he may have settled, he refuses to pay for it himself. If he wanted to get it out of the way than why not pay for it himself – he can afford it easily. Instead he first wanted taxpayers to pay for it. Then he wants the National party to pay for it or from private donations.

    For him to pay for it himself would be an admission of guilt. His language during interviews also indicate that he does not want to make any such admission. I.e. he is not sorry he did it – he still thinks the recorder was left on purpose.

    • Stuart Munro 15.1

      There’s also the possibility that he’s a bit stretched at the moment – surely he wouldn’t have gone long on dairy futures with all those extra Chinese babies expected as the one child policy expires… would he?

  16. Nick 16

    He has fudged whether he will pay costs already spent…. Seems odd he can differentiate.

  17. Expat 17

    Mickysavage

    Love the Key email, lol.

    I believe charity begins at home, so no donations from me, not $1.

  18. mary_a 18

    Oh well FJK is heading off to Washington at the end of the week (after the preliminary flag results are announced). So no questioning, no accountability.

    No doubt when he gets back in the country, he will be hoping all the “unpleasantness” against him will have disappeared and the world will be rosy once again on Planet Key.

    He could be in for one nasty big surprise though! Showtime hopefully!

    • Hanswurst 18.1

      Hopefully John Oliver will be waiting with a crowd of people dressed as ponytailed dildos to welcome him at the airport.

    • mickysavage 19.1

      How about you provide some context? Clark made a comment as PM and was sued on that basis. Key made a comment as the leader of the National Party and went on a rampage against the media afterwards.

      Please explain how they are the same?

      • SurelyNot 19.1.1

        Both were respective leaders of their party, both had legal action taken against them during their time as PM, both for defamation. I am sorry for having to point out the obvious – National and John Key were first elected to government in 2008.
        The tea-pot incident happened in 2011.
        Ergo, John Key was Prime Minister at the time.

        Heres the difference: Key has realised that his initial thought on the payment was wrong (and I agree it was wrong) and done the bigger thing to determine that it will be paid by the National Party. Helen Clark did not.

        • mickysavage 19.1.1.1

          Did the NPRU supply you with the words to use?

          Being PM at the time does not mean that your actions were as PM. Did you not hear Key talk about his many hats? Otherwise he can answer the many questions he has refused to answer on the basis that he was not acting as PM at the time.

        • framu 19.1.1.2

          when electioneering you current role doesnt actually have any bearing on it. Your not working for the tax payer when your asking them to vote for you

          thats the difference

          you talk of pointing out the obvious yet fail on the actual context of the event in question

  19. Corokia 20

    Key played the “Labour did it too” card on RNZ news this afternoon when he brought up Helen Clark. Unfortunately the sound bite will linger in the ears of listeners as the unedited clip is played where Key tries to present himself as being better because he has backed down on making the tax payers pay.
    Excuse me,yet again the slimy behaviour of our PM and the unquestioning acceptance of the MSN makes me want to be sick.

  20. Corokia 21

    Key played the “Labour did it too” card on RNZ news this afternoon when he brought up Helen Clark. Unfortunately the sound bite will linger in the ears of listeners as the unedited clip is played where Key tries to present himself as being better because he has backed down on making the tax payers pay.
    Excuse me,yet again the slimy behaviour of our PM and the unquestioning acceptance of the MSM makes me want to be sick.

  21. Observer (Tokoroa) 22

    Hi SurelyNot

    Will you and Bronagh put well bandaged Boxing Gloves on our John Key – with a sign in Bold saying: “Not to be removed until Broanagh and SurelyNot meet him at Auckland HAirport on his return.

    We pratts, the New Zealand voters, do not want any more humiliations from this sad man known as our leader, the disastrous Prime Minister of NZ. We are exhausted.

    The gloves will ensure the he cannot shamelessly tug the head and hair of USA blonde children. Not will he be able to tug the hair of President Obamas’ daughters.

    That will mean that Obama will only have his WhiteHouse finances to worry about. Our Prime Minister bludges everything he can from New Zealand voters. Just today he was going to steal from us – to pay for a defamation crime that he committed. About $1.5 million apparently.

    We New Zealanders Mr President have been through every gutter My key can find for us. We are exhausted.

  22. Molly 23

    From the start, I think Key’s personality type gave him an initial WTF? reaction, when he realised that the device was on the table. Given the mediocre conversation that was recorded, he didn’t appear to be truly engaged and was probably concerned that in this fugue state he may have let something “real” and truly indicative of his feelings slip while in the presence of another narcissist.

    Now.

    This is the point that my son refers to as the “point of no return.” It is when he realises that the level of fuss he had made is not in proportion to the injury he has perceived. In fact it is completely OTT. However, if he admits that – then he is in the wrong – and has lost his rag for no reason. So, he has a choice – admit an overreaction – OR – ramp it up till it seems like a major incident has occurred.

    We all know the route our PM chose. Ever the opportunist, he managed to get a lot of political sympathy for the “deliberate” spying that took place at a staged media event. Oh, horrors! the dirty politics of the left!! Bring me my smelling salts – Jason…. (The irony is strong in this one.)

    (Note: My son no longer uses this technique, has grown out of it since he is no longer ten years old).

    • Puddleglum 23.1

      A plausible explanation Molly.

      Unsurprisingly, Tracy Watkins goes for what she sees as the “simplest explanation:

      When the recording later emerged it seems that the simplest explanation was also the right one since there was nothing particularly inflammatory about the conversation. Key was genuinely angry and affronted.

      So, either Key was expressing a moral outrage on behalf of all decent human beings (Watkins’ version) or, as you and your son suggest, he was taken off guard and was in a panic that he had said something that might burst the bubble within which his mythical political persona and personal ambitions flourish.

  23. Now wait for Mike Hosking to do a little spiel on how Mr Key has made the right decision yadda yadda yadda. Turn it into a positive.

    I don’t watch him on tv so may have already done it.

  24. Observer (Tokoroa) 25

    Apology
    .
    Apologies for the grammatical errors in my piece above. My computer failed to let me go to Edit.

    John our strange Prime Minister, will no doubt give you a new Flag, Mr President.

    With his usual lack of attention to detail, he got four or five cobbers together to design a new flag for some unfortunate country. He appointed no trained or practising designer to the brave, if stupid, lil group. Just buddies. The Country turned out to be ours. ! God help us.

    You will recognise it Mr President. It has a long white feather on it. With a daggy black panel and a few strange dots.

    Most of us in New Zealand are hoping the gift of a white feather will not be bestowed on us bewildered citizens. A white feather is the accoutrement of a coward.

  25. North 26

    It’s the emperor with no clothes that just routinely had it thought that public funds should be utilised. Then, come to senses……..do the proper thing…….what a fine chap ! Soper will drone, Henry will squeal virago-like, Hosking will lament on how “poor me me me…….” is abused. One consolation…….the stench is more and more detectable.

  26. peterlepaysan 27

    Actually the rules governing mp’s expenses expressly forbid using tax payers money for damages in defamation cases.

    Key should have known that.

    MP’s are able to use tax payers money to pay lawyers to defend themselves in defamation cases.

    Key would have assumed that.

    The Nat/ Wall street “born to rule” arrogance is breathtaking.

    Ambrose is hardly the “anti jk Nat” type.

    I suspect his microphone was blue so no one noticed it.

  27. Observer (Tokoroa) 28

    Profile of National
    .
    Yesterday John Key wanted to steal money from us – to pay for his Defamation Crime. Possibly up to NZD1,5 Million. Who knows?

    He will be visiting Mr Obama very soon. I hope he won’t attempt to steal money from him ! But again – who knows?

    Also, do you think he will keep his creepy hands away from Obama’s daughters? Anybody’s guess I expect. He harasses girls in his own suburb, with impunity.

    How gutter low the National party of NZ really is. Mismanagers; bullies; self centered; arrogant; thieves – stealing assets from the common man; secretive over stupid TPPA negotiations; flogging off NZ land and resources to foreigners (to get kick backs for national party funds); callous about jobs and workers conditions. And so on and so on …

    They say Piggy Muldoon another national politician was bad. At least he was not evil like Key and English.

    • mary_a 28.1

      @ Observer (Tokoroa) –

      NatzKEY profile spot on there.

      FJK might have to explain to the hierarchy in Washington this week why Kiwis voted to keep the NZ flag, after his (expensive) attempt to change it.

      Bet the thieving slimy little reptile won’t be wearing his favoured tea towel flag design lapel badge when he steps back in NZ again, with his tail between his legs, after receiving a good telling off in the USA for failing part of his masters’ grand plan!

      Not such a good year for FJK so far is it? Losing to Bradley Ambrose. Failed flag change. And then next month there will be the “prominent NZer’s” court case beginning Monday 4 April. However to protect beloved leader, there could be a media blackout as well as no public admittance on that one!

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