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The mannequin candidate

Written By: - Date published: 12:23 pm, March 20th, 2011 - 35 comments
Categories: brand key, john key, spin - Tags:

Key was full of excuses and vague promises for Christchurch on Q+A. He ruled out a levy and indicated the rebuilding would be funded out of savage cuts to our public services. He stuck to his script. Maybe the earpiece he was wearing helped. I wonder what was being whispered in his ear. And who was telling our PM what words to mouth.

I’m surprised Q+A let Key wear an earpiece or, if there was an innocent explanation, didn’t tell us what it was.

35 comments on “The mannequin candidate ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Perthaps Heston Blumenthal was streaming live updates of the menu for the $7000 a head dinner Mr. Key will be having next Saturday at Cape Kidnappers?

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    An earpiece ???.
    Maybe he believes Ken Ring and he needs to know immediately to get out the door

  3. Johnno 3

    I didn’t see the interview, but an earpiece is usually given to guests to allow them to hear comments and introductions and taped pieces from other parts of the country. As an example, if the interview was in Auckland, but a commentator was in Christchurch, an earpiece would be required so that the guest can hear questions.

    • Eddie 3.1

      They’re in the same studio

      • Johnno 3.1.1

        The earpiece would have allowed the PM to listen to the live interview with the journalist in Japan that preceded his interview. A courtesy that isn’t always necessary.

        • felix

          Nah, there was plenty of time to remove it between the interviews. It’s wireless, so it’s just a matter of pulling it out of his ear. Literally 2 seconds max.

          If it was there it was there because someone wanted it there.

          • Johnno

            I’ve spent quite a bit of time on tv studio floors (11 years), and there would be no reason for the floor manager or floor sound assistant to wander on set in a live show simply to remove an earpiece when there is less than 1 minute between lives (the cable is in the ear, and attached to the back of the jacket/shirt, and usually run down inside the jacket, and either connected to an audio cable, or a wireless receiver. If you were desperate, you could remove the whole thing in 15-20 seconds, but it would require the guest to standup and hunt through their clothes seconds before they would go live). My only criticism of the earpiece is that its in the wrong ear (the generic type he has in his ear is easily changed from left to right ear, and vice versa, unlike a moulded earpiece.)

            • felix

              I’m familiar with the gear you describe, but have you watched the video yet? There aren’t the usual visible wires, even in shots showing the side/back of his collar/hideous neck.

              I think he’s wearing a wireless in-ear device. And I don’t think it’s a piece of tvnz kit.

              ps I’ve done a bit of tv too and fucking around on the floor to sort things out at short notice isn’t as unusual as you suggest.

              • Johnno

                “I don’t think it’s a piece of tvnz kit.” Sorry, I used to work with these all the time, and it is. It’s an industry standard in New Zealand television. It’s also definitely a wire earpiece. A “wireless in-air device”, as you describe it, wouldn’t go over his ear like this one does. It would simply just sit in his ear. A “wireless in-air device” would also attract a lot of attention in a television studio, for a number of reasons. First, from a technical standpoint, the Suite 3 sound operator would be all over it like a rash, because it might cause interference in the studio. He/she would want to know what it was and whether it the associated transmitter was transmitting on a frequency that would affect any of the mics or R/Ts that are being used in the studio.

                Second, if it wasn’t a TVNZ earpiece, the interviewer and producer would want to know what the earpiece was for, and would definitely call attention to it during the interview. The suggestion that the PM might be getting his lines from someone else would be a great story. It’s pretty hard to miss.

                Your comment that quick action does happen on the floor is correct, but its only done when things fuck up in a big way. You don’t play with things that aren’t broken.

                • Tigger

                  Aha Johnno, so the conspiracy theorist in me says TVNZ were in on it, allowing Key’s people to use their earpiece (and a booth)…

                • felix

                  Ah yeah I see it now, I was watching the low res clip before and couldn’t make out the wire over the ear. That’s why I thought he was using an in-ear system.

                  And yeah, it would strike terror in the hearts of most tv studio soundtechs (for no good reason though, it’s a technical triviality) ill-equipped as they tend to be.

                  So why does he have an earpiece? To listen to an interview? I still don’t get why he would and I don’t believe that’s normal practice.

          • travellerev

            Wasn’t Bush caught several times doing the same thing?

  4. A forecast as low as 600 million dollars to spend mainly on education and health in the budget was telling. Cabinet ministers are currently compiling proposals of where to cut spending. English saying on 17 February 2011 that borrowing cannot continue and then Key on Q & A this morning says more borrowing (5 billion) as this is the quickest method to get Christchurch up and running.

    The look on Guyons face at times during the interview told me that all Key is doing is digging the country down deeper in debt.

    Three options to get Christchurch up and running: borrow, a levy and cut spending. Key was tight mouthed about flogging off 49 % of some SOEs. How popular will the Key government be after the mid May budget?

    • todd 4.1

      My guess is not very… We’re getting poorer, more in debt and more unemployed. Hocking off the family silver isn’t going to help. I guess the earpiece was to Merrill Lynch who would be saying “good job John Boy, you’ll get a big bonus this year.”

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 4.1.1

        Probably less healthy and poorer educated after this year as well.

        Seriously though don’t you get sick of the government’s self-deprecating way it keeps talking NZ down. They keep comparing us to Greece and Ireland where there is no need. There is no need to panic about the earthquake reconstruction either. Its going to be phased in over ten years. 94% of teh population still have jobs, why do we have to put up with these panic-merchants like Key and English who say get rid of our social infrastructure or else!

    • Kevyn Miller 4.2

      There is a fourth option. Realise that at least half the reconstruction cost is being funded by global reinsurers and that unlike other sources of foreign currency such as dairying most of the money won’t be going straight out again to pay off debt to foreign banks. Ipso facto, over the rebuild period the government will recieve as much as $2bn in GST which was not included in fiscal forecasts prior to Feb 22nd. The tax consequences of the Christchurch earthquake weren’t directly adressed in the lastest MEI forecast. Treasury merely observed that the tax impact of the reduced economic activity from all causes is expected to be slightly negative. That sounds very much like Treasury is expecting the reduced tax revenue from slower than expected growth in the global economy to be largly offset by increased tax from the rebuild.

      The $5bn cost to the government includes the liablities of ACC and NZTA of $1bn even though that money is to be funded from the existing cashflows and reserves of those two organisations.

      Ergo the government only needs to find an additional $2bn at most, assuming that the impact on company tax and PAYE is neutral.

    • Jum 4.3

      Treetop, I hope Espiner feels at the very least partly responsible for what damage is being done to this country because and his other media mates did nothing but talk up the Key mantra prior to the 2008 election.

      • Lanthanide 4.3.1

        I’m sure Espiner et al feel that they’ve only done their jobs and they’ve been fair and balanced at every point.

  5. Peter 5

    Q & A.

    This is the first time I have heard Key actually suggest that Government spending should be reduced because of the private sector being “crowded out” by the public sector. There will be better qualified people, following this site, than me to talk about so called “crowding out” but it is interesting to read the following on Wikipedia.

    “However, this crowding-out effect might be moderated by the fact that government spending sometimes expands the market for private-sector products through the multiplier and thus stimulates – or “crowds in” – fixed investment (via the “accelerator effect”). This accelerator effect is most important when business suffers from unused industrial capacity, i.e., during a serious recession or a depression.”


    This seems to support the view that increasing Government jobs in a recession actually helps to increase the number of private sector jobs. (David Hall, Director of the Public Services International Research)

  6. gobsmacked 6

    I didn’t bother watching the interview because John Key’s “answers” are entirely predictable …

    Tick the boxes … “haven’t had any advice”, “take a step back”, “working on that”, “hubbadeeflubbywubb”.


    It’s like wrestling with blancmange.

    The most revealing comment was the “positive” result of Japan’s quake/tsunami/nuclear nightmare. Classy.

  7. seeker 7

    “Artful Dodger” springs to mind – ‘ear ‘ear mate.

  8. flipside 8

    I would prefer if the PM and whoever the “we” he refers to does a lot more than just “look” at the issues as he states, very frequently, is happening. Perhaps “we” could analyse, investigate, or examine. When he says we’re looking into it, I just think of when parents tell their children “we’ll think about it.” It means nothing.

  9. Rob 9

    You really have to wonder what is the point in having a politician appear on TV when they are just being fed lines as they talk. You could just read out the preprepared script from them instead and save yourself the cost. I wonder why Key isnt being trusted on this any more…

  10. Anne 10

    It was Key’s press secretary Kevin Taylor feeding him what to say? He’s made so many muck-ups now they can’t trust him. What’s the bet he’ll have an earpiece for every Q&A interview from now through to the election. And they call him a prime minister!

    • Rowena 10.1

      Under a tree of violets and honey blossom
      A baby was born, dark eyes, white lights burning
      He grew up in a mountain amongst the wolves, hidden from sight
      Till one day came, a present, a magical gift, given under the full moon
      A silver sword gifted from the Angels – used for evil or good.
      The baby blessed with violets and honey blossom,
      Was also blessed with the love of a red rose.

  11. ron 11

    The absolutely best thing about the whole programme is Holmes’ intro. He looks like David McPhail doing his Muldoon impression. I know there’s not much money for current affairs these days but they couldn’t get him a suit that fits?

  12. Gail Lees 13

    I’ve never seen such a poor and abhorrent liar as I’ve seen in Key, rebuilding of Christchurch YEAH RIGHT just as he said “we’ll recover the men of PIKE RIVER, YEAH RIGHT, I had no knowledge of the BMW Contract YEAH RIGHT so on and so forth. How can we ever trust Key NEVER and we’re just lucky he didn’t sell the Canterbury plains to overseas, there may have been a nuclear power station here !!!!!

    Let’s stay strong and try to open peoples eyes to the Nats and enable them to vote on election day

    Have sent the following, personally I do think they should rebuild the Cathedral, as a very lucky twist of fate no one was killed in the Cathedral, this makes it an exceptional place for people to go, so many other areas of the Garden city just bring memories of tragedy.


    Responding to Margaret Harris DomPost 17.3.11 whereby refers to Christchurch cathedral as “pseudo-Gothic Victorian monstrosity”. Saddening for Cantabrians, numerous visitors who’ve gazed in wonder at this beautiful Cathedral, people such as myself who, hold dear to memories, a first kiss under the Cathedral and running up the spire.

    What does Ms Harris make of 17th Century, historic monuments and incredible feats of architecture in the UK and Scotland? Rubble? UK and Scottish Historic Societies highly fund preservation of heritage.

    For Cantabrians the Cathedral will be rise again, a monument, a place of familiarity, a place they can go for respite, a place to worship and a place for all to privately grieve their devastating losses, utmost import to aid people with the emotional recovery process. Wellington will be proud to help and Brick by brick the Cathedral will be rebuilt.

    [lprent: Please keep the SHOUTing down. ]

  13. freedom 14

    a small point but i believe it speaks to the quality of the people operating this puppet . . .

    Why wasn’t it put into the ear that is out of shot?

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