The last two weeks have been pretty tough for Key.
Nicky Hager was vindicated:
Yesterday, the New Zealand Police informed Nicky Hager through their counsel that they are electing not to appeal the decision of the High Court given in December last year. That decision held that the Police’s search of Mr Hager’s home had been “fundamentally unlawful”.
The Jihadi brides lie was exposed:
The jihadi brides affair is extremely damaging for the Government. It raises serious questions about the accuracy of claims made by John Key, SIS boss Rebecca Kitteridge and Security Intelligence Minister Chris Finlayson.
Key paid out Bradley Ambrose:
Anyone who thinks John Key’s backdown over the teapot tapes isn’t a huge deal to him personally clearly can’t have been on the election trail at the time.
Key yesterday admitted he was wrong and agreed to pay Ambrose’s legal costs.
So why are we still paying Key’s legal expenses?
However – and fatally for Key’s position – that clause 5(d)(ii) also says that the following do not count as valid parliamentary business :
(ii) work directly related to the administration or management of a political party; or (iii) electioneering
Which is what the Tea Party meeting was more about, and what Key –wearing his hat as leader of the National Party – was actually engaged in doing.
Yet here’s the core problem : to allow Key to put this defamation case on the public tab, the Speaker would, in effect, be condoning the use of the leaders’ parliamentary budget as an electioneering slush fund.
Key’s systematic attacks on the media were questioned:
But there has been an edge to the PM’s attacks on freelance journalists Bradley Ambrose, Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager, and the NZ Council for Civil Liberties sees a trend. Incidents involving the three freelancers questioning the Government have led to costly legal action. Ambrose took a defamation action against the PM and Stephenson sued the head of the Defence Force. Private individuals have had to pay heavily to fight the power of the state, which is funded by taxpayers.
“The Government is putting journalists on notice,” said Council for Civil Liberties chairman Thomas Beagle. “If they say the wrong things or follow the wrong stories, the Government will attack them in the courts and in the media to undermine their credibility, attack their character, and damage their livelihood.”
A Roy Morgan poll put Winston as Kingmaker:
“Today’s Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll shows the lead for National 46% (down 2.5% since February) at its smallest over a potential Labour/ Greens alliance 42% (up 0.5%) since September 2015. As the results tighten, this brings the centrist party, NZ First 9% (up 3%) into the equation as potential ‘king-makers’ able to determine who would form New Zealand’s next Government and be Prime Minister after the next New Zealand Election – due late next year.
Key lost the flag referendum:
Prime Minister John Key says he is disappointed New Zealanders have voted to keep the current flag but has promised his Government will not revisit the issue.
The world noticed:
After $17 Million, Ponytail-Pulling New Zealand Prime Minister Loses Flag Referendum
And just to cap it all off, Duncan Garner pointed out the difference between popularity and significance:
The flagging fortunes of a leader chasing a legacy
For all the talk of nanny state and voters eventually turning toxic on Helen Clark she can look back on her time in power with pride. She set a clear path and used every inch of her formidable personality to make things happen.
John Key may still be swamped with selfie requests in shopping malls, but that’s not the definition of a great leader. Key has enjoyed a tonne of political capital and the disappointing thing is that he hasn’t used it for any meaningful, lasting project. Surely that’s not good enough for a man driven by a deep ambition.
Almost enough to make me feel sorry for the man.