web analytics

The states of John Key – The Salesman

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 am, July 24th, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: john key - Tags:

Third of a series by Guest poster Blue.

An old post of Marty G’s on the Standard says ‘One of the stories from John Key’s days as a currency trader is that he was always more of a salesman than an analyst. He wasn’t good at picking markets and investments; he was good at getting people to trust him with their money.’

The deal-maker is at home in the MMP system, despite the National Party’s ideological aversion to it. Key stitched up his coalition and confidence and supply partners quickly after the election. It surprised many that the Maori Party was included, and the Herald even wrote a worshipful editorial likening Key’s actions to those of God as it pondered if this was a new era for Maori politics.

Not so. The salesman had simply moved in for the kill, with classic negotiating tactics. Give them something they want that you don’t care too much about, and get them to give you something in exchange. Giving away the position of Maori Affairs minister and a few associate positions wasn’t too much of a hardship. Neither was promising to ‘look at’ the Foreshore and Seabed legislation, given that National didn’t like it either (though for different reasons).

In return, Key got the support he needed to pass legislation that the Act Party disagree with such as anything to do with climate change. It neatly avoided him being too beholden to the extreme right-wing demands of Act, which would have tarnished his popularity with the electorate if he gave in too often. Under MMP, it’s often the bills from the minor parties that cause the most controversy such as the ‘anti-smacking’ bill from the Greens in the last Labour government, and the ‘three strikes’ bill for the current Government.

The deal-maker was at his best with the foreshore and seabed issue. Key recognized early on that the Maori Party value style over substance semantics and how the deal is done is of more importance to them than practical outcomes. He put this to good use in instances such as signing up to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while inserting a caveat to make it useless in practice. A clever rebranding of Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act, with the term ‘Crown ownership’ replaced by ‘public domain’ and a recognition of the ‘mana’ of Maori over the foreshore and seabed, and a contentious issue that plagued the Labour Party for years was resolved.

Being able to make the backroom deals is a key political skill for any leader, and Key is outstanding at getting what he wants while giving very little away to those he deals with.


Series posts

The states of John Key Quantum uncertainty
The states of John Key The drivers
The states of John Key The Salesman
The states of John Key – Flexible in telling the truth

18 comments on “The states of John Key – The Salesman ”

  1. loota 1

    A clever rebranding of Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act, with the term ‘Crown ownership’ replaced by ‘public domain’ and a recognition of the ‘mana’ of Maori over the foreshore and seabed, and a contentious issue that plagued the Labour Party for years was resolved.

    Makes you wonder why Labour couldn’t have pulled this off at the time.

    • BLiP 1.1


    • Ari 1.2

      Labour certainly had a lot of people yelling at them that confiscating land for the crown was a bad way of doing things.

      I think it’s actually reasonably significant as a change because it addresses the concerns about the act without changing its function significantly

  2. Santi 2

    Key is shonkey but it’s about time you get another obsession. This hate affair is getting you and Labour no traction at all.

    • loota 2.1

      Oh Santi, we’re not worried about not getting any traction right today, undermining a shonkey castle wall takes time and effort before it will come crashing down, and we’ve got a year to do it in.

      • luva 2.1.1

        Loota ,you have been doing it for the past 3 years with unbeilivable success. His popularity has only increased with each undermining post. Keep it up.

        One would think left leaning people would be more interested in promoting their own side. Imagine what would happen if as much effort went into telling us what Labour/Greens stand for and how they will change things. I am not sure I have ever read a series like this on Phil Goff or a proper analysis of him, where he comes from and what he wants to do.

        Imagine that….actually knowing what Phil Goff is all about. If his own side spend all their time telling us about Key, who is left to tell us about Goff.

        • Doug

          Phil Goff’s problem is that even Labour supporters don’t want to know him, he is Mr 5% Irrelevant. Labour are waiting to get next year’s Election over with and wait for a TXT from New York then all will be sorted.

    • Fisiani 2.2

      This is the comedy gold channel Santi. Next episode is John Key eats babies.

  3. Galeandra 3

    A very interesting series of analyses,Blue,well done. The reactions of the likes of Santi, Doug and Luva suggests that the posts have got under their skin. They probably know that the teflon is wearing off Key and that the u-turning inaction of the Government is being watched with more attention in the media. While the Nacts will find another term to be a very bumpy ride, I think NZ will be on its knees. Of course, that won’t worry the rich or the trolls.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    I think the biggest problem for Labour is that Key is such a good salesman. Good selling not only involves selling products and services. It also includes selling ideas, getting buy-in from various groups etc. His standing in the polls suggests he is very good at it.

    • TightyRighty 4.1

      It also involves a relationship built on trust for longer term sales relationships. John Key’s standing in the polls also reflects the level of trust new zealand has in him, his beliefs and his ability. Obviously the flipside is that should that trust disappear, John Key will start polling like Phil Goff.

      • loota 4.1.1

        So far Key’s marketing collateral looks good, but we should remember we’ve only just started to test drive the product.

        He is using a classic corporate sales technique – positioning himself to be the guy who fronts the good news about the product package being sold, Brownlee/English/Tolley et al can front everything else.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      There’s the ethics of selling faulty goods though and that’s what Jonkey is doing. We find it so distasteful that we have laws against it.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Those of us who have some depth of experience with these corporate ‘suits’ first hand have seen through the real John Key from the outset. But most people don’t have that direct experience and are not aware of just how very good they are at the ‘high functioning sociopath’ act these people are.

    Key’s career tells us that he had 20 plus years to perfect it; he was so good at it he climbed right to the very top of the banker’s greasy pole with the Federal Reserve. It’s inevitable that such a polished act will have taken in the large majority of ordinary New Zealanders who have little idea of what is being done to them.

    • joe90 5.1

      With first hand experience of a corporate ‘suit’ during the Max Bradford electricity sector reforms, my experience with the ‘high functioning sociopath’;.

      1, Gain entry to all levels, factory floor/decision makers/recreational settings and make empathic noises.

      2, Select group of ‘must have’ decision makers/workers/objectives.

      3, Identify potential ‘troublesome’ decision makers/workers/objectives..

      4, Empower and elevate ‘must have’ /decision makers/workers/objectives.

      5, ‘Must haves’/decision makers tasked with bettering the enterprise.

      6, ‘Must haves’/decision makers target ‘troublesomes’/objectives.

      7 Rinse and repeat until ‘high functioning sociopath’ achieves objectives.

      Result,enterprise bettered, high functioning sociopath’ emerges shit free, moves to new task..

  6. maui 6

    .. in other words, he is nothing but a used car salesman. Don’t be too over-awed.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago