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The media prepares for Key’s final hurrah

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, March 19th, 2017 - 65 comments
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Now that the political career of John Key is in its final stages the main stream media is preparing for the obituary.

An example appeared in Stuff yesterday written by Tracey Watkins.

It was meant to sound upbeat and positive but much like Key’s career when you strip out the fawning PR cliches and concentrated on the substance there was precious little to celebrate.

Her summary of his achievements during his time as Prime Minister show how little he has achieved and why he will be forgotten rather quickly.

Watkins provided a synopsis of what Key achieved each year.

For term one she noted the following achievements:

  • He promised a brighter future.
  • Convened a jobs summit, and saved it from irrelevancy by using it to promote a national cycleway (remember that?).
  • Unveiled a package of measures to support business and workers through the crisis made easier by the headroom provided by Michael Cullen paying off debt.
  • Was hard on ministers who erred, or at least some of them.
  • Took part in many photo opportunities provided by the Canterbury earthquakes and the Pike River mining disaster. Watkins is dreaming if she thinks that “Key’s response cemented his love affair with voters”.  He benefitted from having good public infrastructure in place to deal with natural disasters.
  • Cut taxes and raised GST and drove up debt.
  • Restored knights and damehoods.
  • Stopped contributions to the Cullen pension fund (which we are now regretting).
  • Introduced the 90 day fire at will bill the benefits of which we are still waiting to see.

For Key’s second term he:

  • Attacked the freedom of the press following Teagate.
  • Sold off shares in the State owned power companies and Air New Zealand which has already caused the Government to lose nearly as much it gained from the share sale.
  • Oversaw the arrest of Kim Dotcom.
  • Was responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau which illegally spied on Dotcom.

The third term was particularly disappointing.  Watkins notes that Key:

  • Pushed for a change in the New Zealand flag which was rejected in a referendum.
  • Harassed a waitress by pulling her pony tail multiple times over several months.
  • Used his international platform to push the Trans Pacific Partnership deal and its hoped for $2.7 billion pay off for New Zealand although the deal was derailed the US within months of getting it over the line.

Her list is underwhelming.  Never has so much political capital been wasted on so little.  No wonder Key plummeted to 2% as preferred prime minister following his announcement.

Don Brash summed up Key succinctly.  He was reported to have said this:

Former National party leader Don Brash says John Key has enjoyed being Prime Minister and ego-boosting meetings with world leaders but he has been guilty of tinkering rather than making major changes.

He says Mr Key has not dealt well with crunchy issues of narrowing the wage gap with Australia, superannuation and housing.

Mr Brash gave him a five out of 10 for his time as Prime Minister, saying he had not done anything that Helen Clark would not have done.

No doubt National will be attempting to put a gloss on history and rely on gushing bollocks like this piece.

But if the real issues are considered such as child poverty, the housing crisis, New Zealand’s response to climate change, our rivers not being wadeable and the general worsening of the quality of life for ordinary people then Key’s reign must be considered to be an abject disaster.

65 comments on “The media prepares for Key’s final hurrah ”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    They dont remember this before the Crash

    Most of the story is just a puff piece but some gems have a huge relevance
    “http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/politics/from-the-archives-north-souths-first-interview-with-john-key/
    2006:
    Key believes New Zealand could make a niche for itself as an offshore banking centre in the same manner as Ireland and Luxembourg. He sees no barriers to becoming a South Pacific leader in global banking and insurance businesses, with our British legal system, stable political environment and surfeit of lawyers, accountants and bankers. Large insurance companies and foreign trusts, for instance, could base their administrations in New Zealand, given some fine-tooth combing of tax legislation and labour laws.

    The bit about him wanting to become like Ireland is forgotten but the foreign trusts thing is much much more relevant- he clearly dreamed it up and engineered it.

    • saveNZ 1.1

      Yep, he fulfilled his vision as NZ as an off shore tax haven. But the lauded economic benefits to NZ – even the right wingers could only stutter out a measly $50 mill to John Key’s own lawyers…

      …and the negatives of money laundering, corruption, theft and NZ’s international reputation, mired and hidden deep in the swamp

  2. saveNZ 2

    Key’s obituary – He sold us out!

  3. dukeofurl 3

    It allways puzzled me why the journalists gush so much. Most of them are hard bitten enough and have heard all the lies and cliches from politicians.

    Then it struck me. Its projection. His fabulous wealth and lifestyle matched to his ‘kiwi ordinaryness’ gets internalised, to the writer thinking -this could be me, and they do the story accordingly.

    • Keith 3.1

      Key did simple things that got ordinary tired journo’s out of their miserable meaningless lives and took them on a trip on “Airforce One”. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/77155256/life-on-air-force-one–fine-wine-nice-food-and-lots-of-face-time.

      Tracy was positively gushing and John Key had a friend more faithful than a bogans Rotty after that one. On that trip Trace got to rub shoulders with the likes of National Party cheer leader/Xero’s CEO, Rod Drury, beneficiary of tax payer backed risk ventures with billionare and how the hell to this day he became a New Zealand citizen, Peter Theil. Pete by the way made shit loads at our expense. Great for some rich people is it not? http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/02/labour-national-trade-blows-over-peter-thiel-deal.html.

      And in the run up to the 2014 election I wondered why the hell it was that Drury was such an unabashed Nat supporter but I guess access to very cheap risk free capital funded by you and me was a good reason.

      And Max was there too of course, cute isn’t he?

      It is the logical inference that this kind of attention Key targeted on select and very malleable personalities guaranteed him all the right media attention. In fact he played them like a violin. Shamefaced yep, but a free feed on the taxpayer at 31000 feet, who gives a shit anymore!

    • esoteric pineapples 3.2

      I remember how professionals I knew including one journalist liked LA Law. It was like they liked to think that was the same world as they inhabited.

  4. Keith 4

    The loyal dear NZ Herald’s irrelevant “Spy” brand, once championed by the ghastly creepy washed up Rachael Glucina today has its eulogy, “10 years of partying with John Key”. You sad bastards.

    I note they don’t include the partying donor dinners that we weren’t supposed to know about either, you know the ones that brought favours from National, you scratch my fat rich back and i’ll scratch yours….

    But don’t underestimate Key. That man worked very hard behind the scenes and intentionally well out of the limelight to enhance things for the 1% around the world. So give him a break please!

    Still, I would love to know why he really pulled the pin.

  5. Smilin 5

    An old pub saying
    If bs was truth we would have been millionaires years ago
    Instead Key has done everything you would expect of a tory
    Come down hard on the poor and the workers and lowered taxes for the rich and further shined the seats of the employers
    And made us a US base in the Pacific as well as involve us in wars that we should have had no part of
    Also the blatant crime of how he dealt with Pike river and got his third term in office
    He put spin on everything hence the bullshit and we are paying for it with immigration and loss of our sovereignty to his corporate masters

  6. Tamati Tautuhi 6

    Now he is going down the philanthropy route?

    • Barfly 6.1

      Seriously? As likely as a snake becoming a vegetarian

      • rhinocrates 6.1.1

        Well some people become vegetarians because they hate plants.

        • There’s a great quote in one of the Discworld books along those lines, unfortunately I can’t remember which one. (I think it’s one of the Rincewind ones?)

          The gist of it is “vegetarians are terrible people because instead of eating food that has a sporting chance of getting away they like to gang up on plants.”

          • rhinocrates 6.1.1.1.1

            I can’t remember where this Pratchett quote comes from, but I rather like it: “Build a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.”

            • Matthew Whitehead 6.1.1.1.1.1

              That one I know, it’s from Jingo. Appropriate reading for those who haven’t yet devoured all of Discworld, given Trump.

              But of course, Standardistas will probably want to read all the books featuring Vimes first. There’s a lot of good populist/leftwing rhetoric in Terry’s writing of Vimes.

              • rhinocrates

                Yes, I think Pratchett should be on the reading list of all left wingers and especially the Vimes stories, as you say. Mind you, I have quite an affection for the Witches and Unseen University.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.2

      Yeah, might donate a gold caviar dish to his local golf resort maybe

  7. JustMe 7

    Here we have it and again I will be repeating myself. John Key happily told all and sundry that he regularly pees in the shower.
    As if that ‘gem’ of information over-rode the true reality of life amongst NZers many of whom are in deliberately kept low income jobs. Many of whom live in vehicles, garages or on the streets. Neither John Key or now pm Bill English had or have any caring or interest in what one National Party supporter happily referred to as the ‘Shaking Hands with the Great Unwashed’ when it came to being in contact with NZers outside of election time.
    But these are the NZers John Key never associated with or wanted to know about. The ‘Instant Kiwi” NZers Key and co preferred to associate with were those with enough money to donate to the NZ National Party. The very people that are buying up large in mostly(from all appearances)in areas like rich white population mainly Queenstown. And perhaps the very ‘business people’ who pay little or no tax to the NZ IRD.
    And so the Apple of the eye for this government is in whomever donates to their political party whilst they allowed advertising by the NZ IRD for NZers to dob in NZ tradies doing cashies in return for tax breaks/evasion/avoidance(you name it and this government probably allows it). So we have it here i.e chase the small fry whilst letting the big fish like Apple get away with daylight robbery. But is Apple the ONLY offender here in NZ? Or are there others mostly based in the very country John Key just loves everything about i.e America; that has partaken of tax evasion/avoidance whilst this government has turned a blind eye???!!!!!
    John Key wanted to leave a legacy as his time of being part-time, freeloading, self-serving and money hungry pm of NZ. His legacy is that of someone with an ego so large he referred to toilet-free Planet Key in one of his numerous childish speeches. His legacy is he wasted over $26million of NZ taxpayers money on a vanity project. HIs legacy is he thought he was Captain of the All Blacks and thought being seen swiling beer with Richie McCaw would gain him Brownie points.
    All in all John Key failed abysmally as a NZer because he hardly spent much time in NZ once the money started flowing into his personal bank account(s).

    • mosa 7.1

      The shower was not the only thing he pissed on. Most of them already mentioned in the other blogs on this post.

  8. Wayne 8

    Just one issue (since there is little point debating John Key with the zealots of the Standard).

    “Oversaw the arrest of Kim Dotcom” is surely not remotely correct.

    Although the arrest occurred while John Key was PM, the police act entirely independently of the executive when it comes to their enforcement role. In no meaningful sense did John Key oversee the arrest.

    • Cinder 8.1

      Well, he was the Minister holding the intelligence portfolio at the time. The GCSB report to them…

      So, it’s his responsibility – Because it’s his goddamn job. One he was supposed to do properly along with a lot of other jobs he didn’t really do that well. (See above)

      • Forgive me for siding with Wayne, but he’s right. Not only was Key likely not involved, it would have been improper for him to interfere in any of the process, even though several parts of it were unjust and legally questionable.

        • Keith 8.1.1.1

          Since when did doing anything improper ever worry anyone from this National government?

          • Matthew Whitehead 8.1.1.1.1

            Oh for sure, but you can luck into doing the right thing simply by following political expediency from time to time. Key wanted the prosecution to go ahead because it was good for him politically and because he wanted the suck-up points with the USA, but that also doesn’t mean it’s right to imply he personally should have thrown his weight around to prevent it.

      • Dv 8.1.2

        thats too hard for Wayne

    • Ad 8.2

      Don’t just stand there Wayne, outline his achievements.

    • Chris 8.3

      “Just one issue (since there is little point debating John Key with the zealots of the Standard).”

      Why do you fucking even bother posting, then, Mr Spray-and-Walk-Away-Wayne? You’re the biggest coward ever fucking seen on this site.

      You say: “Although the arrest occurred while John Key was PM, the police act entirely independently of the executive when it comes to their enforcement role. In no meaningful sense did John Key oversee the arrest.”

      Explain this then, Mr Spray-and-Walk-Away-Wayne:

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11293403

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11294047

      And if you can find a link to this, this too:

      http://www.newshub.co.nz/tvshows/campbelllive/who-knew-what-about-kim-dotcom-2012050216

      Your cowardice knows no bounds.

    • Anne 8.4

      Wayne is right. Another good example was the Urewera arrests by the police. God knows how many people (including some here) charged Helen Clark with being responsible for those arrests. As in the case with Kim Dotcom, all the police did was to advise the respective police ministers (Annette King in Labour’s case) that the arrests were about to take place. The police do act independently of the executive.

      Having said that: I still wonder what pressure they were placed under when they chose to raid Nicky Hager’s home and timed it when they knew he was going to be away in Auckland. There was something ‘fishy’ about that affair.

      • Chris 8.4.1

        The police will always be able to say that they acted independently. That is the theory, and regardless of what influences are at play the police will almost always be able to say that with impunity. That doesn’t explain precisely what did in fact happen and the role certain political influences had on the police acting “independently”. Your example of the raid on Nicky Hager’s home is a good one, and where there’s no difference between that and the Dotcom situation, as David Fisher, John Campbell and others have shown.

        • Anne 8.4.1.1

          Yes. I do agree Chris. Strictly speaking the decision to raid Kim Dotcom’s home rested with the NZ police and in that sense Wayne is correct. However, (and its a big however) we know pressure was brought to bear on the NZ Police by the FBI and that John Key knew exactly what was going on from Day One. His puerile attempt to claim he didn’t know who Dotcom was until the time of the raid only served to make it all the more obvious.

          • Chris 8.4.1.1.1

            Yes, and which means that Wayne is not correct or, at the very least, is correct only in an extremely narrow and superficial and meaningless way – so much so that he might as well be wrong.

          • Wayne 8.4.1.1.2

            On what basis would John Key know of Kim Dotcom prior to the raid?

            I used to visit friends who lived directly opposite KDC. They talked about a flamboyant German, but beyond that seemed to have no more information than that. I didn’t put two and two together until after KDC was arrested.

            There is simply no reason why John Key would know about him. No-one in Hollywood would raise that sort of issue with the PM. Neither would the Police.

            Prime Ministers are simply not informed about such things. Just as PM Clark was not informed about the Urewera raids.

            As for the pressure of the FBI on the police, New Zealand has legal obligations to assist an extradition under the extradition treaty between NZ and the US.

            Think of the counter factual. What if the the NZ police had declined to assist?
            That would have been a beach of the extradition treaty. If we refused to assist how much assistance would we get when we asked for an extradition from the US. It would be a diplomatic crisis if NZ decided to act in breach of treaty obligations. Of course some Standardnistas would love that, but it is not how governments usually operate in their international relations.

            I have no doubt the FBI emphasised how bad KDC was when they briefed the NZ police, but they would have anticipated full co-operation since that is what is envisaged by the extradition treaty.

            • Chris 8.4.1.1.2.1

              So Key didn’t know about Dotcom because your friends who lived opposite his mansion didn’t know about him? Well that certainly wipes the floor with what David Fisher, John Campbell et al. You’ve certainly learned them.

            • Anne 8.4.1.1.2.2

              I have no quarrel with your arguments above which I agree are the normal course of events. But the Dotcom case in many respects was NOT normal. It would likely be true John Key was not aware of the imminent raid until shortly before it happened, but to claim he had no knowledge of the extensive GCSB/NZ Police/FBI investigation that preceded it is laughable in the extreme. And that, from memory, is exactly what he did try to claim.

              To begin with, the ‘larger than life’ individual lived in his electorate. He was Minister for the GCSB/SIS at the time and they must have given him a heads up about the investigation. After all, isn’t that the point of the regular meetings the Minister in Charge has with these agencies? To be kept informed about what is going on?

              • Chris

                It’s even more laughable that Key didn’t know about Dotcom because Spray-and-Walk-Away-Wayne’s mates didn’t know about him.

            • WILD KATIPO 8.4.1.1.2.3

              Soooo… THIS is how you believe in treating a man, his pregnant wife and 3 small children , is it , DR WAYNE MAPP?

              You really are an arsehole, mate.

              More so , that like Key and co- you didn’t even have the balls to speak out about all this shit.

              And to think that’s how you would condone and carry on to the rest of the NZ populace who weren’t National party voters.

              Despicable.

              Kim Dotcom raid video revealed – YouTube
              Video for john campbell documentqry on the kimdot com raids you tube▶ 10:23

        • Rightly or wrongly 8.4.1.2

          I do agree that it is difficult to see true independence from the very group that provides your funding and makes decisions about any/no increases.

    • Ma Rohemo 8.5

      I think JK was out of the country at the time of the raid.

      Very timely if one didn’t want anything to stick if it all hit the fan.

  9. He was a bully, and a waste of space, and nobody’s really even noticed he’s gone because almost his entire legacy was in banking away his political capital to preserve his brand.

    End political obituary.

  10. Ad 10

    Since it’s a Sunday, and Wayne is too chicken to mount a defence of his own Prime Minister, the task falls heroically to me.

    John Key was essentially a Labour Prime Minister, keeping almost all of the previous lots’ policies, and in many cases was more economically interventionist with specific industries than Labour was.

    John Key and his team rescued Christchurch – and then Kaikoura – from the most devastating earthquakes since Napier with the largest rebuild effort New Zealand has ever seen.

    John Key is a spectacularly good politician for exactly the same reasons Jacinda Ardern is a reasonably good politician.

    John Key oversaw the longest sustained set of quarterly economic growth figures since Holyoake was PM.

    John Key was the most consistently popular Prime Minister we have had since M.J.Savage himself. (Mickey I just knew you’d love the comparison).

    Under John Key sustained overall unemployment was below 6.5% for three terms, and usually below 5.5%.

    John Key’s political skill has made it highly likely that National will have 4 consecutive terms in government. When did we last see that?

    John Key was lucky, and attracted luck.

    Under John Key, our economy became far more resilient.Tourism, wine, construction, inbound immigration and inbound investment boomed. Auckland boomed on top of that. Together, those massive expansions counteracted the dairy decline.

    Despite the GFC, massive earthquakes, and managing a razor-thin Parliamentary majority, John Key led and leaves a very stable government, a renewed and well funded Party, and huge momentum.

    He made leadership look far easier than Helen Clark did, remaining in full command of his briefs, signed off squad loads of major Treaty claims, spent political capital only when he really had to, and left at peak.

    • Hanswurst 10.1

      Despite […] massive earthquakes […]

      Or, indeed, because of them, if many of your previous postings are to be taken seriously.

      […] remaining in full command of his briefs […]

      As evidenced by the number of times he didn’t turn up to be interviewed, the number of times he had to admit (well, state nonchalantly) that he didn’t have the information to answer a question, and the amount of his pure (and often contradictory) waffle that was inexplicably allowed to stand unquestioned.

      • Ad 10.1.1

        Definitely because of them as well. LIke I said, he was lucky, and attracted luck. Which is not a weird thing to say politically about an earthquake.

        You got the point there using the word ‘nonchalantly’.
        He made it look so easy, so good.

        • Hanswurst 10.1.1.1

          Well, if not being bothered while not bothering the electorate is your metric, then yes, he was indeed “so good” in a distinctly favourable media environment. I don’t see how that squares with your claim that he was “on top of his briefs”, though, unless you consider his only brief to be staying popular, or you literally mean his underpants.

    • Ian 10.2

      Must of that is untrue. Particularly this part:

      John Key was the most consistently popular Prime Minister we have had since M.J.Savage himself. (Mickey I just knew you’d love the comparison).

      There is a graphic somewhere about that came out recently from one of he main polling agencies that showed Helen Clark consistantly out performed Key in both approval and disapproval ratings at the same time in their administrations.

      Wonder what other myths you have been sucked into.

    • Keith 10.3

      Unemployment fell to some extent after taking off under National and for some dubious measurement adjustments it went lower (unemployed but not under National if looking for work on the internet) but it never went as low as under Labour.

      Key didn’t save Christchurch, insurance and EQC did and to a lesser extent prudence from Labour gave National room to move. Tough shit on the next government with debt as high as it is now. In fact you could well argue Christchurch has been hindered by National.

      Selling assets and state housing and walking away from social accords is nothing like Labour. Oh and the terribly minor (in a National supporters eyes) but irritating nonetheless is the issue of the homeless and working homeless. And those assets would have paid about the same in dividends now as the sale price and from here on in we lose. Absolute genius.

      And National have only made a couple of questionable surpluses all these years despite “record quarters of growth” although such growth based on immigration and cheap money funding a housing bubble can hardly be called sustainable and or resilient can it because the thing is National are hooked on housing speculation. Hence they have done nothing to change the basic fundamentals of what is driving it.

      And heres the kicker. If we are such a vibrant legendary economy why is it wage growth non existent and why can basic public services like health, police and education and even the most simplistic things like public broadcasting not be funded properly. Is it there is no money?? And why do government ministers fail to front for questions anymore from RNZ for example if everything is so damn amazing (exception is for patsy’s like Hosking).

      Sorry mate, National were pure hard right who have done an amazing job of shutting down bad news along with a docile well connected corporate media or failing that, pure lies and from using a conman to front it, thats all! Honestly if he walked on water like you think why is he not the PM now?

      • Keith 10.3.1

        This morning proves my point.

        For such a rockstar economy we don’t have the money to properly fund the police. RNZ reports this morning 5, yes ONLY 5 police officers on duty in the mid far north, none in Kaikohe that was the victim of a crime spree by youth, something that is not unusual.

        One of those officers was operating alone, a lethal risk carried by that officer alone because the police don’t have the money to fund its operations properly. Last night it was the pathetic number of 3 (three) officers.

        This is on the back of similar shortages in Waikato rural areas highlighted last week and is evident in all police districts. Those tax cuts cost us dearly!

        Our so called growth and rockstar economy is a facad, read bullshit that does nothing for ordinary Kiwi’s.

  11. Tory 11

    At least John Keys final speech will be far more interesting and factual that the latest instalment from “Prune Face” and his “Deep Throat” buddy.

  12. rod 12

    Tory, you really shouldn’t call Hosking, Prune Face or Gower Deep Thoat Buddy, it’s not nice.

  13. Paul Campbell 13

    I felt that Friday night’s Seven Days’ homage to Keys legacy was, um accurate, and hillarious

  14. J Keys self professed hero was one Keith Holyoake.
    They both turned out very similar , rather useless and both with massive ego.

    I have always thought that history will not look kindly on Key and that he was only in the job for what he personally could get out of it.
    He loved to sucker up to the big names internationally.

    But to the average kiwi, he has been a fraud really.

  15. esoteric pineapples 15

    I would so dearly love to be at a protest at his send off in Parliament. However, I don’t live in Wellington and don’t know if anyone is planning one. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away scot free and without knowing how people feel about him

    • tc 15.1

      Royal commission into SCF would create a nice buzz about the place while it grinds through the details.

      NZ deserves to know how 1 finance company got what none of the others got.

      Especially the retirees whom I golf with that lost alot with hotchin, bryers, Petrovic and good old nat boy graham etc

  16. veutoviper 16

    Yesterday I came across this Newstalk ZB article last week by Felix Marwick on Key and his (and other senior Ministers’) contact with bloggers.

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/opinion/felix-marwick-no-sunlight-no-disinfectant-political-machinations-remain-behind-the-veil/

    I found it interesting and relevant to this post.

    My apologies if this is old news and someone has already posted it here. Due to other commitments these days, I only have time for flying visits to TS these days and unable to read all posts and comments fully.

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