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The Political Scientist: Is that all there is?

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, December 10th, 2016 - 131 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags:

Reprinted with permission from the Political Scientist.

Apparently, McDonald’s hamburgers are the result of the best technology that food and taste engineers can provide.

All ingredients and processing events are managed to within an inch – maybe less – of their lives. The consumable item is the culmination of precision engineering in pursuit of that ever so elusive optimal appetitive experience – the one that feels so good just before and then, again, just after the first mouthful gets bathed in saliva. Best of all, the taste experience then sits, psychologically, at the tip of your expectant tongue the next time you feel hungry.

Or, alternatively, there’s the perfect scriptwriting and dramatic engineering that goes into the blob-out ‘box set’ – ideal for that ‘Saturday night in’. Cosy, reassuring with just enough stimulation to absorb you like a paper towel soaking up the week’s spills from your mind and heart.

But then there’s that moment when the burger is finished, and the box-set is finally watched through its seemingly endless episodes.

It’s then that you have a moment sitting, feeling a little empty and with one short phrase waiting to be thought – ‘Is that all there is?’

That’s the feeling now, at the end of the Key years. An interesting feature of the post-announcement commentaries on John Key’s resignation is the odd question of his legacy.

I say ‘odd’ because, after 8 years as Prime Minister you’d think there’d be half a dozen or so achievements that could at least be gussied up and then hauled out for the obligatory redux of his time in office. But no-one seems to have much of a list – and certainly not a generally acknowledged one.

Vagueness abounds as journalists and commentators clutch at the puny straws on offer – or simply clutch at the wind. As during his time as Prime Minister so too at his parting, John Key is the ultimate screen upon which we project ourselves and our concerns.

On the political right Key has been criticised as a ‘do nothing’ PM – or ‘nothing that Helen Clark wouldn’t have done’; as ‘wasting political capital’, ‘visionless’ and a range of other terms of frustration rather than endearment.

Centrists have, unsurprisingly, praised him for his ‘centrism’ and ‘pragmatism’ – code words, it seems, for doing nothing that has caused the commentator much emotional surprise or moral disquietude (government as a pair of comfy, old slippers).

To the left has been the emphasis on a catalogue of ‘incremental decrements’ in statistics on, and experiences of, inequality, homelessness, housing affordability, environmental quality and safeguards, sinking real funding of social services and health, etc.. All the crises that, in classic John Key elusiveness, were never quite ‘crises’ – or not ones his government was ever responsible for.

But, again, the overall pattern is striking.

There’s this sense that we’ve just been roughly shaken out of some kind of lotus-eating slumber; out of a vague, foggy, even drugged era in New Zealand politics. While the world collided and erupted all around us – the GFC, climate disasters, the financial crisis in Greece, yet more Middle East wars, Gaza bombardments and political dramas and upheavals – we ambled along oblivious, led by our amiable Shrugger-in-Chief John Key.

During this time, this eight years, my own sense has been of a long slow draining of energy; like being sucked empty by getting too close to a vacuum. If the Helen Clark premiership ran out of vision sometime leading into its third term, the John Key premiership had the advantage of never having any vision, any definable content or direction, to begin with; how then could it ever ‘run out’ of nothing?

Perhaps the only person able to pull the plug on these odd years was Key himself.

It has been said by Helen Clark’s critics on the right that she and Michael Cullen ‘wasted the Golden Years’, the years of surpluses and fortuitous commodity prices.

In many ways John Key and his government have wasted the years of crisis and upheaval. Those years were potential moments for acknowledging and then vigorously addressing deep-rooted ills – social, cultural, economic and environmental. It was a chance – perhaps our last chance – to have headed towards a truly ‘brighter future’ that was more than soporific election pap.

Now the world – in its much more brutalist 2016 garb – has hammered down our door. We are now going to have to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and look into the harsh light of reality.

I titled a previous post ‘Into the Dark’. I was referring to the then continuing United States Presidential election. But New Zealand had already stepped into a darkened room at least eight years ago – to hide, to pretend that the world would go away if we just joked, shrugged and let out the inner harmless ‘okey dokey’ prankster.

John Key, in the end, played true to the world that created him and which provided the soil in which he could thrive.  Coming of age in the 1980s, Key took to the emerging trader mentality like a duck to water. Of those who have seen it, who can forget the retrospectively fortuitous insight of that 1987 Close Up episode that starred a young John Key as the young and ever so strategically elusive dealer?

Close Up - Big Dealers (featuring John Key)

Here was a man on a solo mission to outsmart the world at its own game.

As it turns out, the world was actually playing a much bigger game than Key imagined so all his premiership ended up doing was marking time as the world – and its major issues – moved on.

John Key has no doubt won at the game he was playing. He became Prime Minister, stayed Prime Minister and departed from the role of Prime Minister all on his own timetable.

Sadly, that’s not a game whose outcome any of us should be particularly interested in. It has turned out to be far too personal a game of individual ambition and achievement.

Our collective ‘game’ – the only important political game in town – is the extent to which we are able to respond effectively to the coming years and decades.

Over the next year, especially, New Zealanders should rouse themselves, look around at the world through honest eyes and summon the courage to begin a job that needed urgent attention eight years ago and should, in reality, have been begun twenty or more years ago.

These challenges are economic – but not in the usual sense of that term (they concern not just the ‘Future of Work’ but the entire mode by which we meet our collective material needs).

These challenges are environmental – but not just in the sense that we need to treat the natural world better to continue to gain its ‘services’. They concern not only conservation but the entire way in which we structure our embeddedness in that natural world).

But, fundamentally, the main challenges we face are social. How we have organised our world – a privatised, individualised world of fragmented and fleeting social bonds that serves the interests of fewer and fewer people – has brought us to the brink of some of the most catastrophic ‘unintended consequences’ that humans have ever known.

One way or another that social organisation will be overturned – but not necessarily for the better.

Over the past eight years, probably more, we have allowed ourselves the indulgence of thinking that all is well. So long as we were being led by someone with a reassuringly relaxed and self-confident manner the challenges of the world could seem less urgent, less significant than they really were.

Just as we turn to fast food, DVD box-sets and the ready bursts of social media-induced dopamine so too we turned to John Key. He came engineered – by himself and others – to provide the optimal electoral experience for we citizen-consumers.

For eight years we blobbed out as we ‘consumed’ him.

Now we pay the price.

And paying it begins with the same question that follows all consumer experiences – ‘Is that all there is?’

131 comments on “The Political Scientist: Is that all there is?”

  1. Nick 1

    What?….. You mean those shiny new clothes were invisible?

  2. Carolyn_nth 2

    Excellent explanation of John key’s stint as PM.

    All that was solid melted in the air.

    The only criticism I have is the use of the collective “we”,a s though the whole country was under Key’s spell. Even at his most popular, he got about 50-60% of the votes from among potential voters in a poll.

    A lot of us have been very unhappy about the developments: the incremental devaluing of social security, and the public good, under Key’s watch; the rise in homelessness, and people struggling to get by day-to-day.

    I also think it was some key voices within the MSM that were most in Key’s thrall – influencing enough swing voters perhaps, to tilt things in Key’s and the Nats favour.

    • Lloyd 2.1

      Carolyn_nth you state that some key voices within the MSM were most in ?/key’s thrall. If you read Saturday’s Herald with four pages of Nat party sycophancy you realise that many in the MSM are still in his thrall.

      Like Muldoon, it will take some years to move to a position where they can even admit that Key could have done a slightly better job.

  3. Ffloyd 3

    I have wondered if this is the photo that galvanised Key. At the end of eight years this is what he is reduced too. Desperately trying to appear relevant while gazing at a tin of baked beans? I thought this was a really sad photo for some reason, and I am no Key follower. Maybe after seeing that he may have realised that he will never be truly one of the ‘world leaders’ he craved to be. Once back home he is relegated to not much at all famous only for acting the clown and trawling the Malls to do selfies and gazing at canned goods Is he now looking for a bigger stage? Maybe in the Trump administration! Lol.

    • Anne 3.1

      That photo… it looks to me like he’s having a moment of reflection:

      did I change NZ for the better? Nah but who cares, that wasn’t why I was in the game anyway.

      The best post I’ve read on the subject.

      • Siobhan 3.1.1

        An excellent post, agreed.
        But don’t you be worrying about John in that photo…he’s thinking about Warren Buffet, G3 and Berkshire Hathaway (owner of Heinz, owner of Watties, of which “Oak” is a brand.). And he’s thinking, yep, I’ve helped create a great World for those guys, hope they return the favour.

      • fustercluck 3.1.2

        To me he is gazing back on his past, the time when he would have been served beans rather than caviar. I seem to recall a story describing the tinned food that was his preferred snack in his private PM’s kitchen. I think we see in this photo a sad combination of nostalgia and self-loathing. There was a time when our sociopath-in-chief was almost human, a time when the love of his mother and the camaraderie of a state house neighborhood was almost enough to keep him from the dark side. Money can’t buy love, happiness or meaningful success and I think that Key is struggling with the internal knowledge that all he has ever done is serve the will of the elite moneyed class. I think the state house child inside of him is disgusted. Perhaps his sociopath ways are an acquired habit, a shell, used to leave behind his modest beginnings but insufficient to shield himself from the internal knowledge that his moral bankruptcy can never be settled in monetary terms.

    • North 3.2

      Audrey Young seems pretty much OK with the ‘nothingness’.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11763876

      An endorsement of the National Party ‘no-responsibility’ ethos I guess. Routine in the ‘nil-journalism’ zone. Audrey and mob really are beneath contempt.

  4. Bill 4

    Thanks for the post Puddleglum.

    I guess what JK might have achieved is a kind of peak managerialism. He didn’t actually have to do a damned thing (Brand bland Key?) because Labour had already been captured (neutralised), meaning all he really had to do was not rock the parliamentary boat. (We, the electorate, were cut loose or thrown overboard a fair while back)

    Looking back. In the 80s, Labour remade itself in some kind of version of (present day) National on steroids. One consequence of that is the past eight years of opposition being marked by Labour essentially trying to convince us to let them do and manage the very things JK was already doing and managing. (Perhaps in a different style, but substantially similar nevertheless)

    So, what now?

    I’m thinking that just as in the UK, US and elsewhere, a ‘circuit breaker’ will disrupt the comfortable careerist/managerial world of present day politicians. In NZ, I’m beginning to reckon that break’s going to come in the shape of Gareth Morgan and his unpolished sojourn into the world of politics. But that’s going off topic.

    JK’s achievement has been a seemingly effortless preservation of a ‘dead’ continuity. Now, hopefully, the continuity itself is dead. We’ll see.

    • Carolyn_nth 4.1

      “Seemingly effortless” – but, that was the public face of Team Key.

      Let’s not forget the two track dirty politics, which began, really, at the end of Clark’s time as PM.

      Dirty Politics: the book website

      The reality is very different. His government has worked hand in hand with Slater and his collaborators in a sustained campaign of personal attacks against their political enemies, a deliberate but hidden strategy to avoid being held responsible for negative campaigning.

      Dirty Politics continues the story that began in Hager’s best-selling book The Hollow Men, investigating the way that underhand and deceptive politics poisons the political environment for everyone. If you care about integrity and ethics in politics, then this book will be disturbing but essential reading.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Sure. There was the ‘dirty politics’ helping to maintain his grip on power or, more precisely, to keep Labour away from power. And my point (one of them), that it’s all been about parties of managers jockeying for position within an exclusive parliamentary context, as opposed to being about NZ and actual politics, I believe, still stands up in the face of ‘dirty politics’ – and anything else that’s currently coming to mind.

        • Carolyn_nth 4.1.1.1

          And a good point that is, too. The whole political MO of both parties since the late 20th century, is to focus on political management. This goes down well with those who keep voting – mainly the middle and upper-classes. but it’s also been a turn off for many of those struggling to survive day-to-day.

          I don’t know if Gareth Morgan would be a break from managerialism. He is trying to lead the debate on tax reform. But his approach is that this is the most rational way to organise the economy. He doesn’t seem so motivated by conviction politics.

          2 track dirty politics: the politics of deception, as written about by Hager, was something the Nats needed because a large number of NZers were more supportive of the welfare state.

          One of the achievement of Team Key, may have been to shift the dominant NZ culture away from the last remnants of the welfare state, to much more of a capitalist, individualistic one – at least for the majority of those who keep voting, and for those basking in the thought of the millionaire homes.

          I would have thought more of a conviction politician would be needed to be a circuit-breaker. Do we have one?

        • Adrian Thornton 4.1.1.2

          @Bill, I agree with your analysis, Labour in their present centrist, free market ideological moment have really nothing different to offer, so are rightly rejected, as the Democratic party just found out, as did the third way Blairites in the UK, and I should also add, all the so called ‘liberal’ media, one and all publicly humiliated in historic proportions this year.
          Most rational critical thinking citizens are coming to the same conclusion, Free market economics whether it is forced from one party or another, ultimately means exactly the same thing.
          And unfortunately it seems the irrational ones feel so disenfranchised that they will even vote for a Trump when left with no real progressive Left alternative.
          This is why it is so important to Turn our Labour Left.

    • North 4.2

      Re Gareth Morgan…….was delicious seeing the cackling snipe Paul Henry getting it straight-up and unabashed. “You’re a selfish person Paul…….that’s why you say what you say”. Rattled was the campervan and everything else hater.

    • Jenny Kirk 4.3

      I agree with Puddleglum’s analysis, Bill @ 4 – but disagree with a part of your analysis of the Labour Party response. You say :

      ” One consequence of that is the past eight years of opposition being marked by Labour essentially trying to convince us to let them do and manage the very things JK was already doing and managing”

      I would say the past two years of opposition has been marked by Labour becoming something essentially Different. And people do need to realise this. Labour is no longer trying to be a lite version of neo-lib, but is intending to take this country back to its roots – a country of people caring for each other, looking after each other, and understanding that it is society’s responsibility to do this.

      • Bill 4.3.1

        And people do need to realise this.

        Well, no. People don’t have to ‘realise’ anything. That track’s sign-posted something like “superior us thwarted by dumb voters” (again) instead of the one marked “we need to change our shit or bail”.

        You might think or believe that Labour’s no longer neo-lib lite (and that’s fine), but I don’t think I’m in any kind of minority if I suggest otherwise. And it’s not that you or I “need to realise” anything.

        For me, I just look at Andrew Little saying that Labour (in relation to the TPPA) has ‘always supported free trade’ to confirm that Labour are liberal and dead to me. There are other nuggets scattered quite thickly around the political landscape of the past couple of years that look just the same as that one (to me).

        A by no means comprehensive smorgasbord.

        No acknowledgement of Chavez’s death. (Didn’t bother to check what was said about Castro.) Negative take on Corbyn (he’s divisive). Zero comprehension of the SNPs ascendancy. Zero comprehension of a need to publicly disavow 1984 and all of that. (Apparently ‘irrelevant’). I didn’t bother to listen out for any position on Clinton/Sanders, but guess it would have been mealy mouthed at best and probably heavily pro-Clinton. The utter rubbish Little spouted around the so-called shift in the burden of proof (he’s a lawyer ffs and yet…).

        I have a horrible feeling that if I was to sit and sift through stuff from the past 24 months I’d wind up with a long list of wtf! But I’ve no inclination to do that. They’re dead to me. And sure, we all live in bubbles, but it’s just a fact that I don’t know a single person in real life (I actually have given some thought to this – I’m not just spouting for effect) who has any enthusiasm for Labour any more. I’m including a goodly number of former party members in that take btw- not just the more radically inclined people I know.

        • gsays 4.3.1.1

          Hey cheers bill for articulating so very well my opinion.

          I do kinda feel that labour are in a crap position: they need to shift left or have a circuit breaker to be relevant, but seemingly clinging to the concrete life saver of the centre.

        • Nic the NZer 4.3.1.2

          Labour are in no way Neoliberal light they are the true believers. Its not about how hard they go at the goal its about the kinds of policy and goals of those policies.

          Deficit reduction is a neoliberal goal. Its a goal theoretically because of the harm theoretically caused by deficits such as inflation, rising interest rates, crowding out and govt defaults. In practice none of the above are able to be observed as a result of govt deficits.

          Which of Labours recent policies deal with deficit reduction or future deficit reduction?
          The Cullen fund, reducing future deficits by creating investments now which can be drawn down in future.
          Kiwisaver, reducing need for pensions so the govt can cut back on them.
          Raising the retirement age, reducing pension obligations.
          Plus every carefully budgeted proposal put forward, because Labour will not allow themselves to say that their proposal will increase the deficit.
          Plus coming soon, the proposal to increase PAYE to pay for spending ambitions.

          We can see from this how wedded to neoliberal thinking Labour are because its the headline ideas.

  5. ianmac 5

    “Elusive” is a great word.

  6. Keith 6

    Whist they appeared to do nothing behind the scenes the National Party became a business vehicle for those who paid and those in the Party.

    Here’s a few examples;

    You dont escape Health and Safety laws as did farming without being part of the relationship.

    You don’t allow contaminated rivers, streams and aquifers and then have no consequences were it not for someone looking out for you.

    You dont carve up Glen Innes, Pt England and Panmure for property speculation unless you create the crisis needed to apparently justify it. The few will be making a killing out of that bonanza.

    You don’t have a failed motorways policy to solve traffic unless those connected to the construction of them were not donaters. The trucking industry and civil engineering (the Fletchers and Fulton Hogans of this world) must have been delighted to have such a backward policy so fervently adhered to, thanks to National. Look at the cluster that is accessing Auckland Airport but the road builders can rest easy that a rail connection, so logical, so simple and such a practical solution has been neatly abandoned.

    You don’t get cheap endless supply of labour that is easy to manipulate were it not for Nationals immigration policies.

    Whatever National claimed to be about it only ever represented the tip of the tip of the iceberg, a bit like the top 5% who have done so well out of them. They pushed the bit that sounded good, the part they wanted the “Muppets” to see. A Brighter Future was never meant to include most, it was for those connected to Nationals business relationship.

    And we could not leave out the corporate media where Nationals well documented connections surely meant burying the bad news and accentuating the positive. Who can remember the PM or a minster get a grilling with the MSM or from Hosking or Henry? And how is Mark Weldon nowadays?

    Honestly those well connected to National have done well and I think that is all National ever really offered although they never publicly said it.

    • Anne 6.1

      Who can remember the PM or a minster get a grilling with the MSM.

      There was one, John Campbell. He – and his show – was unceremoniously dumped.

      • alwyn 6.1.1

        “John Campbell”.

        Is he the one responsible for those disgraceful programs broadcast by TV3?
        The ones that were censured by the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the ones they are currently having to run abject apologies about?
        The ones where the BSA said
        “Broadcasting Standards Authority found the programmes were inaccurate, unfair, based on “a pre-determined, narrow view of Ms Harkema and her practices”, were wrongfully edited to portray Harkema as dishonest and left out important information that was inconsistent with Campbell Live’s allegations.”
        That was the mild stuff. Then they really laid into him.

        Wasn’t he also the one who was taken to pieces by John Key on air? That was the one on the GCSB that even Brian Edwards disclaimed saying
        “Campbell, usually an accomplished interviewer delivered a “graceless and embarrassing performance” according to media commentator Dr Brian Edwards.”
        It was one described as “in an interview that was wildly regarded as a huge win for Key.

        And he was also the one that Helen Clark described as a “sanctimonious little creep”. That program by Campbell was also censured by the BSA and his employers were fined $25,000.

        Is Campbell really the best you have to offer?

        • Johan 6.1.1.1

          Don’t you love it, when one is able to cherry-pick alwyn, and prove nothing?
          Campbell Live’s aim was to show injustice and controversy, over the years, how many shows did John Campbell front, proving himself to be a very effective presenter? Alwyn are you saying John Campbell was 100% responsible for the finished product of each Campbell Live show? If so you are completely mistaken.
          Also, I have a completely different take on the Key interview from you and Edwards.

          • alwyn 6.1.1.1.1

            “I have a completely different take”
            That’s nice dear. It would be a shame if everyone thought the same thing about every topic.

        • Paul 6.1.1.2

          Tory troll.

          • alwyn 6.1.1.2.1

            Never mind. You may one day gain enlightenment and the scales will be removed from your eyes.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle

            • Paul 6.1.1.2.1.1

              If enlightenment = promoting a government with the following legacy.

              Hungry kids up
              Inequality up
              Pollution up
              Debt up
              Housing costs up
              Electricity costs up
              Foreign ownership up
              Corruption up

              No thanks.

              • alwyn

                My goodness that chap pictured in your link brings back memories.

                I think I first saw him when he had a job dressing up as the McDonalds chap “Ronald McDonald” didn’t he?

                Then he was Clint’s (as Blackadder) underscrogsman Baldrick in the later series of the program.
                I wondered what he had ended up doing after all his “cunning schemes” collapsed. Now I know.

                • Paul

                  What does it feel like to support a government that has done the following?

                  Hungry kids up
                  Inequality up
                  Pollution up
                  Debt up
                  Housing costs up
                  Electricity costs up
                  Foreign ownership up
                  Corruption up

                  Enlightened?

                  • alwyn

                    Most of your complaints are simply false.
                    Some could have been accurate if you had worded them differently but you didn’t.but you have referred to something else.

                    For example if you had said “House PRICES up” I would have agreed with you. You do realise that “COSTS” aren’t up don’t you? The cost of buying a house is down.That is because interest rates are much, much lower than they were when Key became PM in 2008.
                    Others are simply wrong.

                    Why don’t you cheer yourself up.
                    Net migration of New Zealanders to Australia. Way down.
                    Average incomes. Up
                    People employed. Up.
                    Unemployment rate. Down.
                    Surgery in Public Hospitals. Up.
                    Spending on Health. Up.

                    There, doesn’t that make you feel a little better?

                • Adrian Thornton

                  National, the Government who gain a surplus by gutting and under-funding spending on Health, Police, public infrastructure, mental health, housing etc and so forth.
                  What a joke, any idiot could gain a surplus in their house hold by starving their kids and letting the house and property fall apart around them.
                  National, by their own admission, can’t even manage social housing, so of course they can’t manage the country.
                  John Key, who appealed so much to middle New Zealand, left them with the highest debt to income ratio in NZ history.
                  Getting greedy Kiwis to stupidly vote against their own communities and country’s best long term interests is John Keys real legacy, and he certainly was very very good at that.

                  • Paul

                    “Getting greedy Kiwis to stupidly vote against their own communities and country’s best long term interests is John Keys real legacy, and he certainly was very very good at that.”

                    Spot on.

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      My rent keeps going up more than my income; plus rises in power and water costs.

                      Been trying to get an ear problem sorted for 2 years – public system so far only investigated enough to discount anything life threatening – GP recommending I pay for private consultation then ask for referral back to the public system if they find anything, said public system is broken. And I don’t have pvte insurance.

                    • Paul

                      Tories don’t care.
                      They only care about their own selfish desires.

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      Well, I think the comfortable property owning classes have no idea what life is like out there for many people – i am one of the better off renters, but can’t imagine how many people on low incomes are coping.

                      Bernard Hickey wrote about it recently:

                      Mr Key’s legacy is sweetest for property owners, who saw the values of their homes rise $NZ400 billion to almost $NZ1 trillion on his watch. Meanwhile, the cost of servicing their mortgages as a percentage of disposable incomes fell almost 40 percent. Renters and aspiring homeowners have not benefited from the Key era. They have gone backwards. The poorest 40 percent of the population had their housing costs rise substantially under Mr Key, and faster than than their incomes, particularly if they are single, on benefits, or have insecure and poorly-paid work.

                      Yep – a divided nation.

                    • Paul

                      And we have to listen to the arrogant self-centred and greedy views of alwyn and the appropriately named well fed weta….

              • wellfedweta

                “Hey Clint. Are we pleased?”

                • Paul

                  Happy with these stats, you selfish Tory?
                  Your ‘ I’m alright Jack’ mentality disgusts me.

                  Hungry kids up
                  Inequality up
                  Pollution up
                  Debt up
                  Housing costs up
                  Electricity costs up
                  Foreign ownership up
                  Corruption up

                  • wellfedweta

                    Housing costs rose faster under Labour than they have under National. Were you happy with that?

                    Power costs rose faster under Labour than they have under National. Were you happy with that?

                    I could go on, but I’d just confuse you.

                    • Paul

                      No not happy with the stats you mention.
                      However, you make an error inassuming I support a party that promotes neoliberal policies.

                      Still waiting on an answer.
                      Are you happy with these stats?

                      Hungry kids up
                      Inequality up
                      Pollution up
                      Debt up
                      Housing costs up
                      Electricity costs up
                      Foreign ownership up
                      Corruption up

                    • wellfedweta

                      “Are you happy with these stats?”

                      I’m happy with the achievements of this government on balance. Your stats are not stats, they are opinion.

                    • Paul

                      They are facts.
                      You are simply a shill.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “They are facts.”

                      No, they are opinion. And they are distorted to boot.

              • NZJester

                To be fair there are a lot of things down also.
                Available state housing to cope with the growing lists of homeless people down
                Education standards down
                Effective buying power of the average Kiwi’s wages down.
                Numbers of solved crimes down.
                Quality of medical care for the average Kiwi down.
                Quality of life for the average Kiwi down.

        • Lloyd 6.1.1.3

          How long was Campbell Live on TV3? Those are the only items you think were not well done, Alwyn?
          Must have been an excellent show.
          Other reporters on TV these days seem, from my viewpoint, to make much bigger bloopers three or four times a week, usually by accepting crap from National Ministers as being the gospel.

          • alwyn 6.1.1.3.1

            I considered listing all the stuff-ups but I am not a very fast typist and I didn’t think lprent would be happy if I took several terabytes of HDD, or whatever he uses, to store the result.
            There were of course lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of them.

            Actually the Friday edition of the show wasn’t that bad I am told. Not really sure why but friends who did watch it told me it generally picked up amazingly on the last day of the week.
            I wonder why?
            Any ideas?

          • wellfedweta 6.1.1.3.2

            John Campbell was never much of a journalist.

            First there was the disgraceful attempt to hi-jack Helen Clark.

            Then there was the way his shallow intellect was exposed by the next PM.

            (that ones a favourite…it made up for the weasel job Campbell did on Clark).

            And finally, this piece of incompetence.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11762508

            In between, falling ratings. He was axed for purely commercial reasons. And no farewell tears shed here.

            • Robert Guyton 6.1.1.3.2.1

              This “wellfedwetra” fella – he’s the relentless,”Nah, you’re wrong” guy here on TS- no matter what the issue, wellfed will take the negative position, saying, “no” to every positive comment from lefty commenters here – it doesn’t matter what it is, wellfed’s assignment is to say, “Nah, that’s wrong, it’s the opposite!!!”. Wellfed’s role is to oppose and create doubt. Look at his claim here,
              ” John Campbell was never much of a journalist.”
              What a transparent fool is the troll who goes by the name,”wellfedweta”.
              I’m certain we all agree 🙂

              • Paul

                He’s a Tory troll.
                Selfish.
                Selfish.
                Selfish.

              • wellfedweta

                Robert it is not hard to prove you wrong, but here’s a challenge for you. My responses include facts/stats/data that is easily verified. If you discover anything you disagree with, rebut it with facts/stats/data and provide references. Then we can have an adult discussion.

                • Paul

                  You talk nonsense.
                  And you know it.

                • wellfed – your use of “facts” doesn’t discount the claim that you intend to erode confidence. Adult conversations that involve the presentation of rational thoughts are my preference – you seem to favour bluster and slighting, “John Campbell was never much of a journalist” being an example of your irrational efforts to undermine the rational views held by many here. Aye.

                  • Paul

                    We’re wasting our time and our breath.
                    Wellfed is a contemptible troll.

                  • wellfedweta

                    I supported my claim with three specific examples. You’re just trolling now.

                    • Pffft! only a fool would believe that.
                      I stated that your ” intention is to erode our confidence”.
                      You countered by saying that, “it is not hard to prove you wrong”.
                      Go on then.
                      Prove me wrong.

                • “Robert it is not hard to prove you wrong…”
                  Go on then.

                  • wellfedweta

                    Easy. Read through my comments. You will find many are not telling people they are wrong. There we are, done. Now to those facts you should be able to present…

                    • That “many” of your comments “are not telling people they are wrong” is evidence that my claim that “your intention is to erode our confidence” is wrong, is a nonsense, wfw. Come on, disprove my claim that “your intention here is to erode our confidence”. You said you would.

                    • wellfedweta

                      “Come on, disprove my claim that “your intention here is to erode our confidence”. ”

                      Done. Many times my posts reflect positively. You have a derangement I can’t help, I’m afraid.

              • Ffloyd

                I know what would happen to a ‘wellfedweta’ in our house.

            • Paul 6.1.1.3.2.2

              You talk nonsense.
              And you know it.

            • North 6.1.1.3.2.3

              Thank you Wellfuckedweta. Like Campbell’s follow-on-figures for 7.00 pm were WAY down on the opposition’s right ? Not. Ye of late entry only just found a troll-role on TS. Whatever spins ya wheels I guess……..WTF are you anyway ? “John Campbell was never much of a journalist”. Huh !

              • wellfedweta

                Yes, Cambell’s numbers were well down on his opposition. That’s one of the reasons the show was axed.

                • Paul

                  Of course.

                • North

                  I stand to be corrected Wellfucked…… I’ll apologise if I’m wrong on that precise point but frankly I think you’re bullshitting. Maybe not deliberately but as part of your broadbrush trollery, your loudmouth ‘master of the universe’ “John Campbell was never much of a journalist” shit. There was at least one very significant area in which Campbell was way ahead of Felcher-Supreme-Hosking and most of the shit TV3 provided. Which of course made Campbell’s decapitation noticeably sus’. Good luck with rewriting history dork !

                  • Paul

                    Wasting your breath on wellfed.
                    He doesn’t care about those without food.

                  • wellfedweta

                    Oh don’t get me wrong, Hosking is no better. But we’re not talking about Hosking, we’re talking about John Campbell. I’ve provided three very specific references to support my argument. You have offered nothing.

                    • But, wellfed, we don’t agree with you. In fact, we think your claims are nonsense. We admire the work John Campbell has done and is doing. Your “facts” don’t move us as we have formed our view of John Campbell over time and won’t change because someone like you, or in fact, you, come onto a blog and declare that our opinions are wrong. As for likening Hosking to John Campbell, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
                      Wellfedweta, you silly-billy!

                    • wellfedweta

                      “We admire the work John Campbell has done and is doing. ”

                      Because he’s a lefty. That’s very shallow. Do you admire his work with Helen Clark? With divulging the name of an anonymous source? Of being caught out by the PM? I notice you haven’t addressed any of those points.

                    • “because he’s a lefty”

                      That’s a statement you threw in for gratuitous reasons, wfw.
                      What an odd way to argue! Peppering other’s comments with claims of your own, then assigning those comments to them. It’s all very transparent and silly of you, really, it is. Plus, I’m still waiting for you to, as you claimed you would, prove me wrong.
                      Waiting…

                    • wellfedweta

                      “That’s a statement you threw in for gratuitous reasons,”

                      Oh, not at all. Your have a bias that is irrational, in fact anyone suggesting Campbell is anything better than a hack can only be doing so because they have a political bias.

            • mpledger 6.1.1.3.2.4

              John Campbell wasn’t axed. His show was but he was going to be kept on but he walked.

              Anyway, he has a way better audience via RNZ – older, more likely to vote and have influence, higher socio-economic status.

              If there was a plan was to sideline John Campbell, the outcomes shows it was a really terrible move.

              • wellfedweta

                Yes I said the show was axed. The show called Campbell Live. The show hosted by John Campbell. The show whose ratings tanking caused the axing.

        • Jan Rivers 6.1.1.4

          To be fair the GCSB interview between Key and John Campbell took place when the Prime Minister had been unwilling to be interviewed on the programme for many weeks and then agreed to appear with, as I recall, less than an hour’s notice. In the interview, there was evidence of intensive preparation on hte part of the PM and he employed variously anger, deflection and belittlement of the interviewer. (The video of the interview has been ‘archived’0
          http://www.newshub.co.nz/tvshows/campbelllive/john-key-defends-the-gcsb-bill-2013081419

          • wellfedweta 6.1.1.4.1

            That makes it worse. This was Campbell’s show. If he was a good journalist, he would have been prepared.

            • Robert Guyton 6.1.1.4.1.1

              Good journalists should be able to counter the behaviour of a Prime Minister schooled in the art of deception, trained to use anger as a psychological weapon and deflection and belittlement as strategies to overwhelm, as well as unravel half-truths and untruths on camera, without the backing the Prime Minister enjoyed in his strategy team of spinners? Really? You give John Campbell a HUGE amount of credit for doing as well as he did, in the face of the concerted, orchestrated, professional snow-job Key delivered, with his signature assassin smile.

              • In Vino

                As Campbell sat there with expressions of utter incredulity, it was up to the public to see and decry JK’s deceit and sophistry. Instead, the majority failed to see through him, and sucked in the rubbishy patter he spouts. Sad.
                That is what happens when mass media get commercialised and dull the public with 9-yr-old ads day in and out. Incredible that the majority of the public could uncritically see that as a win for JK – portrayed as such by those very commercialised media as it was.

                • That particular show was about the last thing I watched on television. I don’t watch now and won’t ever watch again. I reckon…that in a community that seeks to keep its people well adjusted, a single individual would take on the responsibility to “watch the news” – someone robust enough to handle the weight of such a damaging venture, and they would report to the rest of the community only when vital events needed to be shared. That brave and resilient soul, the “news guy”, would wear the depression and the stress that hearing mainstream news brings and would be admired by everyone else for the sacrifice they make.

              • wellfedweta

                There was no deception. There was a well informed PM, and a poorly prepared, and frankly outclassed, journo.

    • Jenny Kirk 6.2

      Yes – these are ShonKey’s “achievements” on behalf of the 1%, Keith @ 6.

  7. ianmac 7

    Bill said there will be some changes. Wonder if that is the actual plot between Key/English. Galvanise the electorate over the next year with sweeping changes perhaps?
    I cannot believe that Key would leave his party without a devious plan in place. The inner circle would know what was coming. The Cabinet is just too smug.
    Placate the Right wing?
    We rejoice at Key’s leaving but…..

    • Rosemary McDonald 7.1

      “Bill said there will be some changes.”

      Yes, and I thought…oh god, he’s done enough damage over the past eight years with his ‘harden them up by kicking them when they’re down’ tactics, even though his REAL ambitions have obviously been stymied by his Former Leader’s desperate lust for public approval.

      Team English up with Bubbles, who has Key’s lust for being perceived as ‘just an ordinary Kiwi battler ‘(a striver rather than a skiver) only without the brains, and I think we have trouble on the horizon.

      English will pull out the stops to complete his avowed mission, leaving Bubbles to front the media and giggle fetchingly.

      Be interesting to see if MSM allows them to get away with it, because I can’t see the people who went soft in the head over Key are going to do likewise over Bubbles.

      • North 7.1.1

        RMcD you make me laugh:

        “…….Bubbles to front the media and giggle fetchingly”. Then ‘felchingly’ I rek’n. “I rek’n”. Another weird word.

        Bennett is the 2017 yell-out for the gauche “Awwh shucks” dork who’s just bailed. Leaving behind cringingly whakama pretensions to a Washington DC “New Camelot” of 50 + years ago. And Churchillian world statesmanship and All Black captaincy. And jokes about child rape and murder. FFS !

    • Ffloyd 7.2

      They won’t MAKE any changes. They will just TALK ABOUT making changes. Been doing it for years.

  8. BM 8

    It’s as if there’s no such thing as elections or democracy in left wing world.

    You become dictator then do as you please, the disconnect with reality is something else.

    • Vaughn 8.1

      What? You really are an odd-ball, BM.

    • North 8.2

      Unwittingly I guess you add to the point BM…….even while indulging yourself with “……left wing world”.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      Representative democracy was designed, by the rich, to prevent democracy.

      Would our assets really have been sold off if the policy to do so was left to the people?

  9. Red Hand 9

    His life so far shows a commitment to embracing risk and belief in diversity and immigration, shared by go-getters in the city of his ancestors.

    “The artistic pioneers of the late 1800s weren’t hidebound by tradition; instead, they were committed to embracing risk. And the city that created groundbreaking art, literature, and music was not homogeneous. Quite the opposite: it was a mix of outsiders—Jews, Czechs, and Hungarians—who created and financed advances in an extraordinary culture. “Diversity and immigration made that age possible,” Bernhard Perchinig, an analyst at the Institute for European Integration Research, told me.”

    https://theamericanscholar.org/vienna-trapped-in-a-golden-age/#

  10. Nic the NZer 10

    I think in fact the basis of Keys resignation is fairly obvious, though this will probably never be substantiated.

    I think there was one think Key was supposed to achieve as PM (for his Key financial backers) and that was the implementation of the TPPA in NZ. Because this was the goal he was able (and needed to make) concessions in other areas things which others (such as Don Brash) would not, so National would stay in office. Probably Key would have stayed in office and gone for a 4th term had Clinton been elected as it would have been anticipated as possible for some form of the TPPA to be signed in some form with her as POTUS. But when Trump was elected it became clear that the TPPA was not going ahead. The result was Key’s backing terminated and without this resource (and this source of party funding) National would be quite a different government. If he had tried to stay its possible he would have been rolled by his party, and so he decided to quit before that happened.

    I think that is about all there is to it.

  11. Karen 11

    Very good post Puddleglum. Sums up Key very well.

    This Graham Adams article is also an excellent analysis of the Key years.

    http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/politics/john-keys-departure-end-of-the-lullaby-pm/#.WEsG6jWKEpk.twitter

  12. Incognito 12

    Very good post, thank you.

    To stay with the McDonald’s analogy for a moment, in the movie Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock consumed ‘the diet’ for 30 days with detrimental effects on his physical and mental health; we have ‘consumed’ John Key for 8 long years!

    In the greater scheme of things, the ‘damage’ is repairable and reversible but we have wasted much time and many opportunities while we were distracted or even seduced by John Key’s side show in which he was one of the main actors.

    John Key was not a visionary or leader and it seems we might be some way off electing such a person according to Audrey Young’s take on it today in Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11763876

    However, I’d like to think that there are signs that there is a growing desire for genuine political and social change, for a different purpose, and there sure is a need for it. As I wrote in another comment this morning, controversial issues are defining issues IMO and it is a pity that the political ‘leadership’ in NZ is marked by lack of vision, courage, and a will to change things and just plays it safe all the time, which comes at the detriment of many in our society. This is the real price we’ve been and are continuing paying if we stay with the McDonald’s ‘life style’ and choices!

  13. Murray Simmonds 13

    “Bill and Ben . . . .Ben and Bill, . . . . ., .Flowerpot men.”

    This was an English kids’ TV show in the 1950’s and 1960’s. First aired (in black and white) in 1953.

    Bill (English) AND Ms BEN(nett). . . . .Who was it that said “History repeats itself”?

    We could make the theme song our new National anthem. (Better idea than a new National Flag!).

    OK, OK, its a bit of a long shot, I admit. (Guess I must be having a “slow” day).

    • Carolyn_nth 13.1

      Someone on Twitter yesterday floated the notion of Bill and Bennett – so you are not alone, or just having a slow day.

      • Murray Simmonds 13.1.1

        Goddammit!

        Since posting that, I just can’t seem to get the “Bill and Ben Flowerpot men” theme out of my head.

        What do they call it? “Earwigs”? No that can’t be right. “EARWORMS” maybe.

        (It doesn’t pay to get old.)

        I know.! I’ll sit down and listen to a bit of Sibelius for a while. That might fix it. “En Saga” might be a good starting point.

        • Carolyn_nth 13.1.1.1

          And so it has been ordained. RNZ headline:

          It’s Bill and Bennett – Paula Bennett likely NZ’s next deputy PM

          • Murray Simmonds 13.1.1.1.1

            Actually (not to be confused with “akshully”), “Pinky and The Brain” from “Animaniacs” may have been a better choice on my part, in some ways.

            (Not as fast on my feet as I used to be, alas).

            “Animaniacs” had a pretty good theme song too, as well as being slightly more contemporary.

            Some of you will remember the white laboratory rat (or was it a mouse?) with a burning ambition to escape the confines of his laboratory cage and “take over the world”.

            Though in some ways, that would have better fitted Simon Bridges, our man from “The Ministry of silly TALKS”. Except that he’s apparently withdrawn, for now. Not prematurely, I hope.

        • alwyn 13.1.1.2

          “(It doesn’t pay to get old.)”.

          In New Zealand it does actually. National Super is very generous compared to most countries.
          However if you are asked whether you mind getting old you should always reply NO.
          Look at what the alternative is.

    • stever 13.2

      Another character in that show was Little Weed…so who might play that role??

      • Murray Simmonds 13.2.1

        Interesting observation, stever.

        Judith C perhaps? Naaah, I don’t think so.

        How about the Attourney General?
        Naaah, too vain and arrogant to be a gardening-type.

        Mr Fixit, who, so far hasn’t managed to fix anything yet?
        Naaaah – that can’t be right. he’s been put in charge of THE ECONOMY – the one thing most in need of a complete makeover.

        (That appointment has got to be the joke of the Century).

        Sorry, stever, I can’t answer your question. But its a damned good question, nevertheless!

      • alwyn 13.2.2

        “Another character in that show was Little Weed…so who might play that role”

        There would be a very easy answer if the Green Party should ever get near the Treasury benches.
        It would have to be Julie Anne Genter.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/87388713/legal-cannabis-in-nz-green-party-offers-green-light-to-pot-smokers

  14. Cinny 14

    Great article, most enjoyable reading, well written, thanks Puddlegum.

    I suspect many whom have been hoodwinked into the now defunked brand, will slowly be ‘waking up’. the next steps in that process are anger and denial, fascinating to observe.
    Is mainstream media reflecting such behaviour with their recent writings? I’m a bit puzzled at their motives of late.

    • Jenny Kirk 14.1

      That’s just what I’ve been thinking, Cinny . The media have finally woken up, and are feeling angry at being fooled for so long – so ShonKey is not getting the legacy of a stream of fluff from them after his departure. Fascinating, eh.

  15. rod 15

    John Key is a typical Tory. Fuck you Jack I’m alright. Unfortunately there are millions of typical Tories worldwide, and most of them give the same message to their fellow human beings. No wonder the world is in such turmoil.

  16. Thinkerr 16

    Key came to us from a senior position in the New Yrork Federal Reserve Bank. Anyone who dismisses him as some kind of Essex-boy risk tradr has undrestimated him, IMHO.

    So, I think there will be people well-pleased with his time as PM, but common, garden variety NZers won’t understand to the same dgree, I think. For example, I guess the interest bill on our overseas loan balance compared to what it was in 2008 will have some people pleased with Key’s management of our economy.

    Plus, our tighter security laws at home are, I believe, part of a multi-country trend, so the other countries will be pleased we didn’t take a stand against them.

    And, there are no doubt many things beyond my simple understanding. But, were I John Key, I might be wondering if my legacy would be more appreciated by my own, rather than an incoming government. Notwithstanding that Key said that things like national honours are unimportant to his own view of his political legacy, I, on the other hand, might see stepping down early as a way for both myself and my Finance Minister to be honoured by our country for the effort we both had made during some difficult years in the country’s history.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 16.1

      JK saved us from the GFC

    • ropata 16.2

      Key is a part of the 0.01% and everything he did benefited himself and his peers in the ultra rich class. Especially multinational banks. The stuff he did behind closed doors that you seem to think is super clever and beyond the understanding of mere mortals is when he sold out NZ to foreign interests. He’s just a greedy vain fucker and he left the PM job because he knows that the MSM were starting to turn against him, and there are some seriously bad skeletons in the closet. The National Party will be shitting itself for 2017, there are some hard questions they will have to face
      http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/politics/john-keys-departure-end-of-the-lullaby-pm/#.WEoxG1Cxmz4.twitter

    • ropata 16.3

      Not sure if this comment was a joke? I have never seen this level of FJK arse licking sycophancy before on this site. Sadly it seems like an accurate reflection of the dullwitted Nat voter’s typical thought process, from some kind of parallel reality where facts do not matter and all that exists is government spin.

  17. NZJester 17

    The so called biggest achievement of John Key’s his supporters kept pointing to was his getting New Zealand through the financial crisis. But that was down to Labour forward thinking and paying off our international debt really and not because of him. That was something in his time in office John key’s government totally screwed up by loaning money to hand out their tax cut bribes.
    The tax switch of GST and PAYE might have insulated a lot of the haves from the financial crisis, but it put a lot of extra burden on the poor, creating ar large working poor class.
    His parties financial miss management has left this country in far worse shape than what it was when they took over from the previous Labour Government.
    When you look at all the biggest achievements in this countries history, they all lead back to previous Labour governments. When you look at all the biggest fails in this countries history they all lead back to National Governments.
    The biggest fails under Labour are from the time the party was hijacked by the ideology of the man who after leaving Labour founded the ACT party to further that failed ideology. That ideology and the National party joined together has been an even bigger train wreak for NZ.

  18. swordfish 18

    Slightly Tongue in Cheek

    Puddleglum “There’s this sense that we’ve just been roughly shaken out of some kind of lotus-eating slumber; out of a vague, foggy, even drugged era in New Zealand politics. While the world collided and erupted all around us … – we ambled along oblivious, led by our amiable Shrugger-in-Chief John Key.”

    “We are now going to have to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and look into the harsh light of reality”

    “to hide, to pretend that the world would go away if we just joked, shrugged and let out the inner harmless ‘okey dokey’ prankster.”

    “Here was a man on a solo mission to outsmart the world at its own game.”

    ____________________________________________________________________

    All of which reminds me of a comment made here around 2010 / 2011. Can’t remember who made it but it consisted of just a single word. And it stayed with me because it was precisely the cultural reference I’d been thinking about over the previous few weeks (ie immediately before the comment was made) in terms of the voting public’s relationship with John Key.

    The word was “Monorail”.

    A direct reference to The Simpsons episode where:

    Monty Burns is caught dumping nuclear waste in the city park and the Environmental Protection Agency fines him $3 million. A town meeting is held so the citizens can decide how to spend the money. Marge suggests the city use it to fix dilapidated Main Street.

    The town’s about to vote in favour when fast-talking salesman, Lyle Lanley, arrives, suggesting Springfield construct a needless monorail … built from shoddy materials . After being swayed by a catchy song and Lanley’s charismatic personality, the now highly enthused townspeople decide to build the monorail.

    However, his slick, smooth-talking salesmanship fails to win over Lisa and Marge, both of whom suspect he’s a con artist.

    Marge learns Lanley’s true intentions: to have the monorail break down and leave Springfield in ruins, while he gets away with the town’s money and escapes to Tahiti, confirming what she and Lisa suspected the whole time about Lanley being a confidence trickster with a lack of concern for anyone but himself.

    At the maiden voyage of the Springfield monorail, Lanley arranges for a well-attended opening ceremony, which will divert the town’s attention while he escapes on a plane to Tahiti. The entire town turns out, including celebrities such as Lurleen Lumpkin and Leonard Nimoy. Lisa refuses to step inside and tries to stop Lanley from leaving by convincing him to jump in the monorail. He refuses by grabbing his money and jumps in a taxi, which takes him to the airport. The monorail takes off just before Marge and monorail expert Cobb arrive in Springfield, since Cobb needed to get in a quick haircut.

    At first the monorail runs smoothly, but the controls malfunction, causing the monorail to speed up and travel at a dangerous speed. Nobody can figure out how to stop it …

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    Lyle Lanley = Shrugger-in-Chief John Key

    catchy song (that casts a spell on townsfolk) = 2008 National Party Election advertisement where Key leans back from front seat of car and talks in intimate, folksy way to the camera positioned in back seat (and, by extension, to voters watching) – a device, itself, copied from a George W Bush Presidential Campaign ad back in 2000.

    Springfield = a little over 50% of New Zealand Voters

    $3 million = Clark and Cullen’s ‘Golden Years’ of surpluses

    Lisa and Marge = Gender Gap in NZ politics – Women generally more likely than men to vote Left, less inclined to vote Right. A little less enamoured of our very own Lyle Lanley.

    Tahiti = Hawaii

    At the maiden voyage of the Springfield monorail, Lanley arranges for a well-attended opening ceremony, which will divert the town’s attention = Flag Debacle

    Leonard Nimoy = Mike Hosking

    but the controls malfunction, causing the monorail to speed up and travel at a dangerous speed. Nobody can figure out how to stop it = our inheritance – deep-rooted crises, exacerbated by Key Govt

    Lanley refuses by grabbing his money and jumps in a taxi, which takes him to the airport = Key’s shock resignation (and his actions over the next few months)

    The monorail takes off just before Marge and monorail expert Cobb arrive in Springfield, since Cobb needed to get in a quick haircut = Labour’s loss at 2014 General Election and what some see as Cunliffe’s (Cobb’s) legendary vanity.

    monorail ??? = Ahhhh, well that’s where the analogy falls down. our own Lyle Lanley lacked a cohesive vision ……. – unless, of course …… TPP ?, New Flag ?, Partial Asset Sales ?, Get-Rich-Quick “Aspiration” ?, …. or simply, Trust in Key’s Personality and Judgement themselves ?

  19. ianmac 19

    Brilliant work Swordfish. Sad too though as the analogy is so true.

  20. mosa 20

    Perfect analysis Puddleglum

    NZ has drifted along like a leaf in the wind for eight years with the captain at the table with his feet up.

    The most popular PM because he never had to do anything unpopular, in other words address problems -long term ones like superannuation, the external debt and its rise that he and his government were responsible for,and the amount they inherited blow out by a massive amount.

    Yet he had huge political capital helped by the media and could have done something, anything and got the credit for it that made a real difference but squandered the opportunity.

    Controlled by vested interests he could not change anything that would be in the public’s best interests or make any meaningful long term changes.

    He cut taxes that was sold to the middle class as the answer to all their problems yet all it did was make the system even more unequitable and as usual give more to the already advantaged.

    Its not about legacy where Key is concerned its what he has accomplished for the people who were always going to profit from his inaction or deliberate action in their favour.

    Warner Brothers and Sky city with changes to legislation in their favour and internal and external interests who continue to prosper to the detriment of most New Zealanders.

    The flag meant so much to him as an identity project and worked as superb diversion to other pressing issues and he sold the whole thing as breaking with our colonial past yet he re instituted the old British honours system and removing the kiwi honours that had been in place for some years.

    He has left the political scene and had most of the media gushing with praise for being popular but remembered for nothing substantial.

    After being in a holding pattern for eight years the wolf at the door is still there and will have to be dealt with by another PM who will have to be unpopular to do whats needed for the good of the country and wont have the luxury of being loved.

  21. Jenny Kirk 21

    I’ve just heard (and I can’t put a link up) on a Facebook page (its a closed political page) that John Key is leaving NZ on Tuesday, for Hawaii. No reasons given, none known at this stage. Whether or not this is factual, I guess we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out – but if it is correct …. goodness me, what a quick departure !

    Does anyone know about this, is it pure speculation …. or is there some reality to it ?

    • NZJester 21.1

      Are you telling me John Key is actually in New Zealand?
      He spent so much time out of this country when there were big scandals or tough questions to ask, I’m surprised he did not leave right after announcing his resignation.

    • fender 21.2

      Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him go home to Hawaii.

      No doubt he’ll be expecting a knighthood in the new year. If he had put the same effort into making a positive change for the country as he did in ticking off his career ambitions he could of had some kind of meaningful legacy.

      • Jenny Kirk 21.2.1

        Yeah – fender – but that wasn’t what he was in for. He was in for getting this country into a pliable state for takeover by the multi-corps aka USA and in a number of ways he’s done that . So now he can leave.

  22. A very belated thanks to all the commenters on the post. Really interesting points made by many people.

    I’ve been out of ‘social media circulation’ a bit over the past month – moved house a week before Christmas, busy at work, etc. – so wasn’t able to respond to comments when the post first went up.

    All things going well I’ll be a bit more freed up this year.

    Once again, thanks for the thought provoking comments. Much appreciated.

    Regards,
    Puddleglum

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  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
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