The Key dynasty

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, January 14th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: brand key, journalism, Media - Tags: , , ,

Remember when politicians’ kids were off limits to the media? Not any more. There seems to be a bit of an obsession with Stephanie and, in particular, Max Key. An obsession which ONE News takes to a new paparazzi low today:

Max Key plays golf with billionaire ‘King of Instagram’

He’s already played a round of golf with Barack Obama, now Max Key has teed off with the controversial billionaire Dan Bilzerian better known as the King of Instagram.

Max posted a selfie of himself with Mr Bilzerian, a high profile poker player and trust fund beneficiary, and another friend riding a golf cart. The photo is believed to have been taken in Hawaii where John Key’s student son is on his annual family vacation.

This is supposed to be News? It’s as bad as the royal family – are we being prepared for the Key dynasty?…

[This is a post about the media, not about Key’s kids, comments focusing on them personally will be moderated / deleted.]

63 comments on “The Key dynasty”

  1. CnrJoe 1

    John Key has used his kids alot. I recall this back when…
    “Anonymous smears” (
    February 24th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar
    ……Now not only has McCully behaved entirely appropriately, the value of his shares turns out to be $31.63. McCully has followed the PM’s lead and mooted giving the shares to the young Max Key. Poor Max must be wondering why he is becoming the target of unwanted share parcels. He should suggest to his Dad that he would rather have one of those Ministerial credit cards that Ministers have been disposing of :-)……

  2. hoom 2

    I presume its a part of ‘connecting with the yoof’?

    That &/or the NACTS can’t help themselves but behave in a crony/nepotist manner…

  3. I think it’s also a reflection of the realities of social media. Previous Prime Ministers’ kids, even if they’d been in the public eye more, would’t have public Instagrams or Twitter accounts which would provide instantaneous – quotable – reporting on where they are and what they’re doing.

    And I wonder if the fascination with Max Key is really more about the tension between John Key’s “look at me, I’m such a normal average guy” image and the reality – he is a multimillionaire, his kids do holiday with 1%ers in Hawaii.

    (The fixation on Stephanie Key sadly seems to be a lot more basic: “look here’s a pretty young woman and we have a vague excuse to show you pictures of her boobs”.)

      • You’re right, she was totally asking for it. 🙄

        • Colonial Rawshark

          For an artist, no publicity is bad publicity. Stephanie Key wanted maximum mainstream media and social media coverage of her work, and she got it. Which artist wouldn’t want international coverage. So in that sense, yes she asked for it, and I am sure that demand for her work as an artist went up accordingly when she got it.

          • r0b

            Please let’s leave this line of argument here – too close to the individual herself – let’s focus on media matters.

            • Tracey

              you mean that John Key feeds the media stories about his children so they and therefore he, is constantly in the news cultivating his image?

              • r0b

                No, I’m not for a moment suggesting that Key is pushing this. It seems to be a media driven thing (and I’m guessing Key is happy to go along with it, or he would have made some comment by now).

                • Tracey

                  if he werent happy, or even propagating it… then his son’s facebook would be private and he wouldnt use twitter etc…

                  planking shot wasn’t just media trawling max’s facebook surely?

                  we shall have to agree to disagree, I think Key has such an easy ride with the media this is an extra avenue for his image builders, believing it can never backfire, cos the media and the lelft won’t go near children.

                  for those who say the “left do it too”, this is an area that is simply not true… Peter Davis was constantly having his sexuality undermined etc by right wing blogs, Clark’s too.

                  Key and his handlers have deliberately cultivated a certain image of Key, including his family (Katy Perry photo example). It is cynical and the media use it cos Key lets them and it looks like it isnt his idea.

                  • Rosie

                    And I can’t help but wonder if the kid has been groomed for his brighter future. A little notoriety, hanging with a “bad boy”, can’t do any harm to his reputation. Gives him a touch of rogue glam. The children of the elite can always benefit from a dangerous edge in their social life. Get a bit of cred and then do a heart felt exclusive at an opportune time about the wild influences in their youth and how they “learned from all that, and look at me now”.

                    Got the whiff of PR to me, with out putting Key right in the middle. How convenient.

    • Olwyn 3.2

      And I wonder if the fascination with Max Key is really more about the tension between John Key’s “look at me, I’m such a normal average guy” image and the reality – he is a multimillionaire, his kids do holiday with 1%ers in Hawaii.

      Those two aspects pull together in Key’s favour, among those who buy into the hype. It’s “look at me, I’m just a normal average kiwi, living the dream.” The people that most strongly identify with Key tend to see hobnobbing with celebrities as a measure of success, and they lap this kind of thing up.

      • This is true, but there’s still a tension between “I’m a regular guy who drinks beer and orders pizza” and “my natural social circle are American billionaires”.

        • Murray Rawshark

          my natural social circle are criminal American billionaires who apparently throw women off roofs………my new mate’s not sorry for being a man

          The press wouldn’t go near FJK’s progeny unless he’d either suggested it or given permission. He loves it. He’ll use his kids as much as he uses his state house story.

      • it should be pointed out to all that Key is also the Minister of Tourism and instead of promoting our great tourist sights he promotes Hawaii.It needs telling that whilst our PM and his spoilt family are living in plenty hob- nobing with the filthy rich some NZ citizens are so hard up they leave their kids in the WINZ office.While his privilidged children are playing golf with the rich and famous a huge number of our citizens are homeless and living in the streets.
        What the hell is happening to once proud egalitarian society .Which was the envy of the world.
        Did Michael Savage and his mates live in vain. ?

        • Olwyn

          I agree with you entirely. The fact that he is Minister for Tourism and doesn’t holiday here looks like disdain for the country he is meant to be representing. However a goodly portion of middle class climbers don’t seem to mind. To them, he looks like a glamorised version of themselves.

          • Tracey

            a glamorised version of themselves…

            yup, they wont condemn him for holidaying overseas because they do and he is everything they want to be…

  4. Truth Will Out 4


    The only thing Key will leave this country with is dysentery.

    With friends like him, who needs enema’s?

  5. Paul 5

    It’s intended as a distraction.
    In case we talk too much about the economy.

    • disturbed 6.1


      Max Key playing with this bomb maker?

      “Instagram playboy Dan Bilzerian was reportedly arrested at Los Angeles Airport on Tuesday following claims that he tried to make a bomb.
      The professional gambler and actor, 34, was being held without bail before being released on 11th December 2014 Wednesday, L.A Weekly said.”

    • mac1 6.2

      The same- who else could be described as a billionaire, poker player and worse yet, as a trust fund beneficiary? A noble profession.

      Mind you, PG Wodehouse wrote about people like this.

    • Sanctuary 6.3

      “…Prior to his arrest, Mr Bilzerian had been in Miami to attend Art Basel and celebrate his birthday. But he was forcibly ejected from a nightclub on Saturday night, after he allegedly physically assaulted a woman by kicking her in the face…”

      Such lovely people, the entitled billionaire trust fund brigade.

      I wonder if Paddy Gower has the guts to ask John Key what his relationship with Max Bilzerain is, and if it is a good look for the PM of a country to hob nob with convicted criminals like Max Bilzerain and undesirables like Dan Bilzerain?

      And one other thing – what sort of idiot father allows his impressionable son to hang around with the likes of Dan Bilzerain?

  6. Sable 7

    I suspect this is all about building the kind of public identification with the Keys family we see in US politics all the time. The Bush’s are probably the most notable contemporary example I can think of. The Kennedy’s also come to mind. Know us, like us, vote for us.

  7. Karen 9

    Well spotted joe90. I noticed the Cook Islands are one of the places that Paul Bilzerian was stashing his ill-gotten gains. Seems unlikely Max would come across the son all by himself, so the family friend suggestion is not unlikely.

    I always thought currency trading was just another form of gambling, albeit with much better odds than at a casino..

  8. aerobubble 10

    Kids,food wastage and school canteens. Take food from supermarkets that has not yey gone off, and feed kids in schools, why not? sorry wrong thread, we’re talking about Key and media distracting us from something.

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 11

    have we heard anywhere of Keys children having a JOB?

    [r0b: Please let’s stay away from a focus on them directly, this is about media / image making.]

    • Colonial Rawshark 11.1

      jobs are for suckers and serfs, mate.

    • idlegus 11.2

      i recall a few years back key was talking about his son getting a mcdonalds job over summer between school & university, & of course the media just reported as if the suggestion was true, as fucking if!

  10. Shorts 12

    Key will use anyone to enhance his image – cue extensive wife mentions and now increasingly children….

    Max seems to be moving in and cultivating a socialite image (example his ‘dj’ persona, ego driven styles) and the likes of glucina are all over him. And we know where she fits in the dirty PR machine. The daughter seems not so inclined to court attention, other than the pathetic sexist stories her art gained.

    It’s all very boring and I’d say strongly calculated.

    • Tracey 12.1

      cf to the references to Clark’s childlessness, sexuality… and the suggestion her husband was gay, including alleged photos of him at a nightclub?

  11. Anne 13

    They’re courting the obsession – the entire family. They love being the centre of attention. They’re pathetic!

  12. greywarshark 14

    I guess the media like the sound of the name Max Key. And yek would hardly call his boy Minor Key. Bum note!

  13. James 15

    It was a prank – the photo was a hoax.

  14. Shona 16

    ‘showbizzness kidz making movies of themselves ya know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else…’ Donald Fagin Steely Dan circa 1971 (Countdown to Ecstasy)

  15. Agent orange 17

    James… A hoax…. Oh no.
    It is unsurprising that despite R0b’s pleading, most of the comments were about Key’s children and not on the “media”

    • Tracey 17.1

      Because some of us consider the media are gobbling up what Mr Key feeds them, and that dish includes his children. RoB started with an assumption that the media hound the family like papparazzi, when there is no evidence they hound them at all…Key family stuff is fed to them like sharks at a fun park

      Master Key thought it funny, it seems, to post a picture of himself with a supposed felon and possible bomb maker…

  16. greywarshark 18

    @ James
    If everyone knew it was a hoax, how is it that the media chose to give it prominence? That media we rely on to tell us what is really going on, or perhaps what is really being said about what is really going on, as they are not quite the same thing.

    The hoax is really on us expecting some gravitas to be shown by media, who often are breaking the law by broadcasting at all. And that law is the consumer law that says an item sold should be fit for its purpose. And our news medium should have new information or stuff that we need to know, that they know and pass on to us, not some so-called hoax about somebody well known’s children.

    Do you see now why merely saying it was a prank is inclined to rev me up even more? You are indicating that our national news media can be so soft in the head that they think that sucking up to celebrities is satisfactory in preference to living up to the expectations of their role and status?

    • Tracey 18.1

      and publish with no work… phone the chap he is supposedly with and say “hey, were you with Max Key in Hawaii?” Or ask John Key if his son was with the other chap… like, well, proper journalists

      • SHG 18.1.1

        Yeah, it’s just laziness/unprofessionalism on the part of the journalist. Journos get labelled as “repeaters” and this is an example of why.

        If Max Key had posted a picture of himself with a bearded guy holding a cigar and titled it “check out Fidel Castro!”, TVNZ would have instantly run a story about Max Key holidaying with communist revolutionaries, instead of checking to see if the guy in the photo really was Fidel Castro.

  17. Truth Will Out 19

    Interesting contrast between the way the Herald has treated Max Key and the Maori King’s son.

    Must be because of Max’s six pack rack.

    Yeah….that’ll be it.

    • SHG 19.1

      Well there’s always the fact that one is a convicted criminal and the other is not. That can often lead to a difference in treatment.

  18. it’s a hoax..

    ..the photo is a fake..


  19. Sanctuary 21

    Well the Herald got trolled good and hard. The LOLZ are on them. Not that they care.

    Lesson: Don’t believe a word you read in that sad rag until you’ve had it verified by a REPUTABLE media outlet.

    • DavidW 21.1

      “Don’t believe a word you read in that sad rag until you’ve had it verified by a REPUTABLE media outlet.” BUT where can you find one?

      Better to “believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see”

  20. Incognito 22

    Keeping up with the Keydashians.

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