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Transcript proves Key is lying

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, February 25th, 2008 - 70 comments
Categories: john key, national, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

finalWhen it was revealed that John Key had told a business leader he ‘would love to see wages drop‘ it undermined everything he’d told national media about wanting to lift wages. It also had the potential to do irreparable damage to his rhetoric on tax cuts and to show him as being less than honest with voters.

National’s response was interesting. First, we had Key’s telling silence in Parliament. Then we had the excuses that John couldn’t recall the exchange, that he was misquoted, that he never said it and even that he was joking. When those lines failed, National changed tack and claimed Key had been talking about Australian wages all along.

Now the Northern Advocate has released a transcript that proves not only was Key lying, he is now on the record telling a business leader he wants to give working New Zealanders a pay cut.

The transcript has Key’s full quote as well as the question he was answering, and it clears up once and for all what happened:

During a Northland meeting on his Heartland tour, John Key met Kerikeri District Business Association president Carolyne Brooks-Quan in a café with a journalist present. Key seems to have taken little notice of the journalist, referring to him in a later media interview as ‘a young guy’.

During the meeting Brooks-Quan expressed to Key her concern about calls for employers in New Zealand to pay their workers more:

‘There’s been a lot surrounding the exodus of people to Australia that are lured by higher wages. There are some calls here for employers to pay more. What’s your take on that?

John, ever the business-friendly politician, replied:

‘We would love to see wages drop. The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more. Not just inflationary reasons, otherwise it’s a bit of a vicious circle as it comes back to you in higher interest rates. We really want to drive that out.’

So there you have it. John Key says his party would love to see wages in New Zealand drop – no ifs, no buts, no maybes.

Note that ‘we really want to drive that [wages rises for ‘inflationary reasons’] out’ is also a call for people’s wages to stagnate or fall while inflation decreases their buying power.

There is no plausible way in which Key’s comments could be interpreted as wanting to see wages fall in Australia.

Key has been caught lying, plain and simple. Now he has some explaining to do.

70 comments on “Transcript proves Key is lying”

  1. the sprout 1

    excellent. so now will the msm take this story up? some how i doubt it – not because it isn’t real, not because Key didn’t say or mean it.

    our msm won’t take it up because it would damage Key – who they see as representing their interests.

    after all, who cares about informing the public, all that old Fourth Estate stuff is really just a marketing gimmick these days, right?

  2. James Kearney 2

    So Colin Espiner says he wants corroboration before he runs a story on this. Well here’s his corroboration- you reckon we’ll get a story?

  3. insider 3

    It’s already appeared in the Herald and in the Dom Post. I don’t think there is much life left in this dog. Most journalists are smart enough to see there is a contradiction between two sentences and that Key accidentally left a word out because otherwise the thing just don’t sense.

  4. Santi 4

    “our msm won’t take it up because it would damage Key – who they see as representing their interests.”

    Ah, I understand now: it’s a terrible conspiracy against socialist Labour.

    The Sprout, do you always wear a tin-foil hat?

  5. Tane 5

    insider, in the same sentence he rails against ‘inflationary’ wage growth – a direct call for real wages to be eaten away by inflation.

  6. Daveo 6

    I think what this shows is a media far too willing to accept excuses from Key even when they’re demonstrably false.

    Hey, today Tracy Watkins is even making up John’s excuses for him-

    When it’s Labour they’re not quite so forgiving.

    The media have been talking a lot recently about “Teflon John” – what they’ve got to realise is that the teflon is them.

  7. He says in the next sentance that “the way we want to see wages increase…”

    And then goes on to explain that they want wages to go up naturally rather than being forced up by government (that causes inflation).

    Either Key meant to say increase instead of drop, or (just as likely) the newspaper made a typo.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    Insider, that type of denial just doesn’t wash and is very weak.

    Analyse it word-by-word if you wish, and there is nothing to indicate that he was referring to Australia, nothing to show that it was a light-hearted off-the-cuff comment and nothing showing an implicit contradiction. Nothing.

    What further backs up the comment is that he proposes ways in which he would possibly like to have wages grow (presumably after they have dropped, if he had his way), by increasing production – this is not a bad thing in any way, but there’s no reason to cut wages first.

    So he’s attacked wages rising for any reason apart from the largesse of employers I guess, which is on a par for a pro-business guy.

    I say good on him – this sort of truthfulness can only help people to understand what it will mean to voto for a National government; we’ve got some idea of what he wants to achieve now.

    John Key – keep up this honesty and truthfulness please!

    Santi – that’s a great comment there. I’m not sure about the “I understand” comment though, that’s doubtful at best.

    So what do you think about John Key thinking wages should drop? Do you agree with him that people should earn less? Got anything on-topic bud?

    Cap: soloists life – Haunted by the spectre of Perigo maybe?

  9. Daveo 9

    Peteremcc- the transcript was made from a tape (any word on whether this exists) and the newspaper has come out backing the journo to the hilt. It’s not a typo.

    Key says he wants wages to increase if it’s driven by improvements in productivity but not if it’s just to keep up with the rising cost of living. That’s what right-wing economists call ‘wage inflation’ and it’s something they “really want to drive that out”.

    Net effect? John Key doesn’t want inflationary wage increases. He wants wages to drop. They can rise when productivity increases. For you and me that means a pay cut.

  10. Oh and what National have said since the issue came up actually support the idea that this is a simple mistake, not deliberate.

    “First, we had Key’s telling silence in Parliament.”

    Maybe because he’s confused because he doesn’t think it happened.

    “Then we had the excuses that John couldn’t recall the exchange”.

    Makes sense if it was just a misplaced word.

    “that he was misquoted”

    Possible, this could still simply be a typo by the newspaper.

    “that he never said it”

    Again,makes sense if it was just a misplaced word – he wouldn’t think he had said it.

    “and even that he was joking. When those lines failed, National changed tack and claimed Key had been talking about Australian wages all along.”

    These were actually the same thing… Key clearly doesn’t remember the incident, and (because he doesn’t beleive actually it) thinks he must have been joking if he did say it.

    Perhaps if the Labour hacks had released the ‘transcript’ right at the start, instead of keeping it hidden to try and create fake controversy, then National could have come out straight away and said “oh, no that was just a misplaced word” but that doesn’t suit your agenda.

    I’m still waiting to hear the tape to see whether its a misplaced word or a typo by the newspaper…

  11. You guys are really experiencing KDS badly today.

    Do you perhaps think that the reporter missed one little tiny word “their” as in Australia’s?

    Then the sentence makes sense with the following sentence.
    “”We would love to see “their” wages drop. The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.”

    Funny how you pounce on the first sentence but have only now published the second sentence where JK says “…we want to see wages increase…”

    No of course not it wouldn’t suit your KDS and party speaking lines would it?

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    r0b – I see one of the lines as something somewhat different:

    Key says: “The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.’

    Key means: Workers will get something as good as a wage increase if they produce more stuff, so stuff is cheaper, so they can buy more.

    I’d take it to mean that if productivity increases, employers could pay people more, so they could afford to buy more stuff.

    Petermcc – I think it is more likely that he wants to see wages drop when they are inflated by a non-market factor such as minimum wages, union barganing and so-on. Then he would like to see productivity-driven wage growth.

    The latter is all very well, but for many people with little option but to perform menial or simple tasks, you can’t increase productivity ina meaningful way. This implies he’s not too concerned with the lower earning spheres of society as the former idea will, of course, be disasterous for them.

    More likely that a cock-up or a typo anyway.

  13. djp 13

    Do you guys mentalaly delete this part: “The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.”

    Key is clearly advocating greater purchasing power via greater productivity.

    Once again… wage increases are useless if not accompanied (caused by?) by productivity increases. Otherwise we may as well all just write an extra zero on our banknotes.

    Of course maybe the idea is that wage increases for workers are to be sustained by the bottom line of employers? Do the authors of the Standard advocate more wealth re-distribution?

  14. the sprout 14

    SlaterWhale, stick to the kiddy pictures – linguistics is not your forte.

  15. IrishBill 15

    Unlike some of my colleagues here I’m not so certain the MSM is dismissive of this for partisan reasons. I suspect the reason they are viewing it rather cynically is because of the way it came out in the middle of the Owen Glenn beat-up. However, even if it is a “slip of the tongue” I would expect it to be followed up (especially in light of the varying denials from Key’s office) and at the very least I’d suggest that it should lead to some kind of a discussion on what concrete policy National has around the issue.

    Whale, I published the story with the second par in it when this story broke. It’s in the PDF. I think you need a new conspiracy

  16. Steve Pierson 16


    a) National has never claimed that Key mis-spoke. That’s watkins’ excuse, not Key’s.

    b) he mis-spoke for two whole paragraphs? The second paragraph backs up the first: we would love to see wages drop and we don’t think wages should rise to mathc inflaiton, wages should only rise again following increased productivity.

    insider. John wants your wages cut. How much do you think your cut should be?

  17. James Kearney 17

    Perhaps if the Labour hacks had released the ‘transcript’ right at the start

    If you’d be following the story you’d know the transcript has only just been released by the Northern Advocate.

    Do you perhaps think that the reporter missed one little tiny word “their’ as in Australia’s?

    Attacking the integrity of the journalist again? That’s pretty weak, especially after the paper came out backing him.

  18. AncientGeek 18

    It also means that there is no real incentive for employers to really raise productivity. That involves capital investment and a lot of hard yakka by managers. They have to train employees to be more effective. Have to put in the capital plant and software to allow them to be more effective. Have to design and implement the operational systems to make them more effective.

    It is a lot simplier for employers to just keep pushing for lower wages from increasing immigration and reducing employees ‘power’ in negotiating contracts. This is exactly what the Nat’s did in the 1990’s, and a major reason why there is a wage gap with aussie.

    It is a short-term fix for employers, but a long-term disaster for NZ. That is however the Nat’s operational philosphy – live for the short-term.

  19. insider 19

    According to David Slack who has spoken to the reporter the recording no longer exists – it was nearly 3 months ago and in my experience it was common to reuse old tapes unless it was something significant (usually with legal implications).


    I’m not denying Key said it, just that in context it makes no sense so my best guess is Key left out a word.

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    WhaleOil – the whole thing has been in at least one other Standard post – but reality can get in the way of your trolling can’t it?

    Nice desperate attempt though, it looks worse each time a RWNJ tries to cover for John Key, I love it 🙂

  21. Steve Pierson 21

    Whaleoil. So now we’re back to the he was talking about Australia excuse? Its round and round in circles with you isn’t it?

    Look. Greg Roberston is a professional reporter. He recorded the conversation and both the Bay Report and the Northern Advocate are standing by the transcript, unless you have any evidence to the contrary, you should stop attacking the journalist and deal with the issue.

    But, then, you are ok with wages dropping aren’t you?

  22. pete 22

    This looks to me like a slip of the tongue — cf “I will lead the next Labour government”. The transcript makes sense with “rise” instead of “drop”; as it is Key’s 1st and 2nd sentences are a non sequitur.

    National know that they need to talk in dogwhistle-code about wages and employment — there is a “tight labour market”, we have “insufficient spare capacity”.

    But the headless-chicken excuse-making by National makes it clear that they’re worried that Key might have said that and meant it.

  23. IrishBill 23

    DJP, as a nation we currently have around $12bn lost overseas as profits. I’m sure there’s some room for some of that to go toward higher wages. And yes I do advocate greater wealth distribution. It’s New Zealand’s workers who are helping create those profits through their labour and through their consumption.

  24. Steve Pierson 24

    djp. you are happy to see your wages fall or hold steady why inflation ablates your buying power?

  25. No tape, no surprise so now we are relying a transcript of a tape that no longer exists so that we can prove the veracity of the transcript with sound analysis.

    Straws, clutching, invent another beat up to try to distract the public who are no longer listening to either you or to you wonder infallible leader.

    There are only so many polls that you can dismiss as being extreme before you start looking quite deranged.

  26. Tane 26

    Interesting comment over at Public Address:

    Why must this be cast as a personal attack rather than a policy attack?

    The problem with all these “it must have been an error” parses is that in the entire response as transcribed, Key is making a consistent argument.

    It just happens to be one that the majority of NZers do not want to hear, and would not support.

    He states — in several ways — that the only way wages should increase is to reflect increases in productivity. Otherwise, they should not be increased automatically, even in line with inflation, because that would add to the inflation. Thus Key “would love to see wages drop” because he believes they’ve been raised too much under the current government without productivity increasing.

    Never mind that we will obviously be seeing real and continuing increases in cost of living, largely as a result of fuel prices (with increased transport costs then being reflected in prices of most food items). If Key would refuse wage increases under those conditions, he is condemning the majority of NZers to a decreased standard of living.


  27. Finn Goode 27

    How would i go about posting an image response to the meme comparing key to obama. An iwi/kiwi style, titled ‘ambitious’.

    barrack obama’s “If you work in this country, you should not be poor.” against
    Keys “We would love to see wages drop’.

  28. I guess it’s akin to campaigning on the platform of a maximum of 5% of taypayers at the 33% threshhold, then letting that creep out to 15% before you notice it’s election year again.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    I guess it’s akin to campaigning on the platform of a maximum of 5% of taypayers at the 33% threshhold, then letting that creep out to 15% before you notice it’s election year again.

    So you agree Key meant that he wants wages to drop then. How much do you think they should drop Inventory2? Do you think (as I do) that it’s more likely to affect the people who can least afford it (minimum wage earners and the like) as opposed to people in the top tax bracket?

    P.S haven’t Labour won two elections since then, boss? Slip of the tounge there eh?

  30. Steve Pierson 30

    Inv2. No it isn’t. Bracket creep does not make anyone poorer, you have a higher net income on $60,000 than you do on $59,999, whether or not there the 39% bracket is in place.

    Cutting wages would actually reduce most people’s net incomes.

    Bracket creep affects 10% of taxpayers, making them pay 6 cents in the dollar more on an average of less than $10,000 than they would do if bracket creep had been eliminated. Cutting wages affects everyone deeply.

  31. Steve Pierson 31

    Inv2. Good to see you are conceding that those are John Key’s words, and he does mean that wages should drop.

  32. Steve Pierson 32

    Whaleoil. If you knew anything about journalism you would know that a transcript by a professional journalist is regarded as as good as a tape. Journalists regularly rely on transcripts from other journalists in their reporting.

    And, who knows, the tape might still be out there.

  33. djp 33

    IrishBill, thanks I am just trying to clarify. Why don’t you start a company based on the philosophy of profit sharing and collective ownership or something. The reason employers get the lions share of the profit is because they take the lions share of the risks. We all want financial security but if you start a company it is a very big capital risk. Surely there needs to be a reward for assuming that risk?

    Steve, I am not happy if inflation effects my purchasing power negatively. In saying that I do not blame my employer if dairy products or oil is more expensive nor expect them to fix the situation for me. I work with the situation that life gives me (for example cheese is not very healthy anyway so I am happy to give it up). If my employer does not pay me what I think I am worth I will find a better deal elsewhere (supposing I wasnt so lazy 🙂 or figure out a way to better my situation by enhancing my skillset.

  34. Billy 34

    How do you reconcile the following apparently entirely contradictory statements:
    1. “We would love to see wages drop.”; and
    2. “The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater.”?

    They seem to reveal a desire for both increased wages and decreased wages. One of the statements muct have been wrong. What possible motive could you guys have for suggesting it’s the second?

  35. Tane 35

    How do you reconcile the following apparently entirely contradictory statements:
    1. “We would love to see wages drop.’; and
    2. “The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater.’?

    1. Key doesn’t want to see wage increases unless they are directly linked to productivity.

    2. Wage increases above that (like to keep up with CPI) are inflationary and he wants to drive that out.

    3. NZ’s wages are artificially inflated and should drop.

  36. r0b 36

    OK, so this is getting interesting, a tape exists too. The words cannot be disputed.

    So does Key really mean it? It seems so hard to believe. I’ve been trying to work through what he meant line by line. My translation is below. I’d be interested in any alternative translations that allow alternative conclusions to be dawn:

    Key says: “We would love to see wages drop.”

    Key means: We would love to see wages drop.

    Key says: “The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more.”

    Key means: Workers will get something as good as a wage increase if they produce more stuff, so stuff is cheaper, so they can buy more.

    Key says: “Not just inflationary reasons, otherwise it’s a bit of a vicious circle as it comes back to you in higher interest rates.

    Key means: Wages shouldn’t just rise because that is inflationary and creates a vicious circle.

    Key says: “We really want to drive that out.’

    Key means: We really want to drive out the inflationary effects of wage increases.

  37. sweetd 37


  38. IrishBill 38

    DJP, I don’t see how you can make a jump from me saying there’s room for higher wages in the profit many firms are making in NZ to the idea I want collectivist-run companies. It would be the equivalent of me assuming your position on productivity mean you secretly yearn for a Malthusian capitalism in which those that can’t compete starve to death and I’m sure you don’t.

    Billy, I read this as “wages are too high at the moment, they need to come down and then only go up as profits increase due to productivity.”

  39. djp 39

    IrishBill, I am not saying that that is your view. I am saying that *you* should start a company that that adheres to your ethos.. I guess rather then just telling us how a company should share its profits, show us how it could work by leading the way. I would be cool if it worked out.

  40. Mike 40

    I think there’s a typo in the headline of this post – It should read
    “Inflammatory rhetoric proves The Standard is desperate”

  41. James Kearney 41

    Mike- are you saying John Key wasn’t lying when he said he was talking about Australian wages?

  42. James Kearney 42

    Or are you saying that he never said he wanted wages to drop, despite it being clearly on the record that he did?

  43. Steve Pierson 43

    Thanks, Mike. We’ll get right on correcting that.

    Actually, no we won’t. Because there is nothing inflammatory or incorrect about saying Key is lying when he has consistently denied saying that “we would love to see wages drop” or, bizarrely, claimed that he was talking about Australia, only for a transcript of the interview to prove that he said exactly those words and he was talking about New Zealand.

  44. IrishBill 44

    DJP, I’m not known as a man who likes having words put in his mouth and by attempting to (incorrectly) determine my “ethos” for me you are doing so.

    You should realise companies already “share their profits” by paying people. I’m suggesting that when the profits are as good as they are now they could “share” a little more, at no point have I suggested they should be run collectively. Given your attempts to misrepresent my point I can only assume that you are either incapable of understanding my position or that you are being deliberately disingenuous.

  45. djp 45

    IrishBill, I am sorry that I offended you.

    I get that you are suggesting that companies can afford to “share” some more of their profits. I think that the owners response will be that they pay their staff a fair wage commensurate with the value that the employee gives to the company.

    Hence my suggestion to you that you would get better results if you started your own company (which can reflect your particular ethos whatever that may be).

  46. Mike 46

    I’m saying this is a lame diversionary tactic and the kind of crap the Labour Party has to resort to because they chose to abdicate any moral high ground they had on party financing with the Electoral Finance Act.

  47. Glenn 47

    “Stop! Stop! He’s already deeeead!!” (The horse you’re flogging, that is.)

    Look, there’s no gotcha here and it’s laughably desperate. You dwell on one line in an obscure provincial newspaper where there’s nothing to suggest that Key isn’t light-heartedly referring to Australia’s wages and, if taken as you claim, is immediately contradicted by the subsequent sentence.

    This has about as much traction as “the Iraq War is over”. All we’ve learned is that you have to be painstakingly clear in politics as some nutjob will always take your words, rearrange them, add or drop a few letters, and Google translate it to Bulgarian and back again to suit their own purposes.

    It’s actually wilfully dishonest of you. I suspect you know that Key doesn’t mean to cut wages, but this won’t be what you represent to the members of the Labour movement.

    But, in the final analysis, these tactics are exactly why National will win the election. You guys need new material if you want to reverse those poll results.

  48. Tane 48

    Ah, it all comes back to the EFA. I thought better of you Mike. As it stands I can assure you it’s not a diversionary tactic, at least from our end.

    Let’s lay it out:

    * National has a history of attacking wages.

    * Now they’re complaining about a wage gap with Australia that they created and trying to get political traction from it.

    * Then their leader comes out saying he’d like wages to fall, can’t get his story straight, is caught lying and attacks a journalist’s credibility.

    Don’t you think this is worth an explanation? Maybe some hard questions?

  49. whoah mike, step into the new year bro

  50. Pablo 50

    “IrishBill, thanks I am just trying to clarify. Why don’t you start a company based on the philosophy of profit sharing and collective ownership ”

    DJP you muppet, that is exactly the ethos that Fonterra is built on, New Zealand’s largest company.

    As for the bullshit line that the owners of capital take the most cos they take the risks – without workers the capital owners would be fucked. Workers create wealth. Workers are also consumers, so without the money they earn your capital owners would have no-one to sell their goods to.

  51. Tane 51

    I suspect you know that Key doesn’t mean to cut wages

    No we don’t. The policy, and the history, suggests that’s precisely what he’d do. It would be nice if he explained his comments honestly and told us exactly how he would lift wages.

  52. “I suspect you know that Key doesn’t mean to cut wages”

    is that like, wages will drop under Key’s National but he won’t mean it – like when Key says he’d “love to see lower wages” in NZ but doesn’t mean it, or like when wages and conditions have historically been attacked by National but they didn’t mean it either?

  53. djp 53

    Pablo, yes I am a muppet.

    Good point, Fonterra. Is it a success from the dairy farmers point of view?

    You are right that without workers the capital owners would be… unable to leverage their capital. There is also another vital piece a plan (business plan, direction, leader.. whatever).

    You have to admit that a capital owner willing to take risks with a good plan is in scarcer supply then a basic worker however. After all our government would not function without us taxpayers to support it yet Helen Clark earns alot more than I do. Does she provide more value to the country that deserves a salary that far outstrips mine or should we engage in some wealth re-distribution?

    Answer me that 🙂

  54. Ben Marshall 54

    Haha, Tane, no-one actually cares. Next, please.

  55. outofbed 55

    I think people would care immensely if their wages were cut

    Or don’t you want to debate policy ?

  56. Pablo 56

    “You have to admit that a capital owner willing to take risks with a good plan is in scarcer supply then a basic worker however.”

    So what? His plan is shit without someone to do the work and with no-one to sell the goods to.

    “After all our government would not function without us taxpayers to support it”

    I don’t really understand your point. The concept of income tax is about as old as capitalism, from memory. Maybe slightly younger? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax#History

    (Pitt’s income tax was introduced to help fight Napoleon, a permanent income tax wasn’t implemented until 1841)

    “Does she provide more value to the country that deserves a salary that far outstrips mine”

    That’s an easy one – yes (and I don’t even know you 🙂 )

  57. Billy 57

    Tane said: “Now they’re complaining about a wage gap with Australia that they created and trying to get political traction from it.”

    So you are seriously suggesting that, although their policy is to reduce wages, they are attacking the government for the wage gap with Australia?

    Wouldn’t that be a little silly?

    Maybe they arent’t the evil geniuses you guys think they are.

  58. “Maybe they arent’t the evil geniuses”

    well… you’re half right there Billy

  59. Tane 60

    although their policy is to reduce wages

    That’s not their official policy – the official line is that they want to lift wages. That’s why Key’s statement that he actually wants to see them drop is so interesting. It completely undermines their rhetoric on wages, tax cuts and the ‘exodus’ to Australia.

  60. Draco TB 61

    The one thing that comes across from JKs comments is that its fairly obvious that he (and National?) has absolutely no clue as to how the free market works. Although productivity is important it is far more important that costs be returned with a reasonable profit. As costs increase then income will need to increase as well. If it doesn’t then the market will not supply the required labour to keep that business going. This isn’t really a problem as the market no longer wants that business.

    …but if you start a company it is a very big capital risk. Surely there needs to be a reward for assuming that risk?

    If you’re talking supplying financial capital and or physical assets rather than any actual work in the company I’d say that they’re entitled to their money back plus the agreed upon interest and no more (if the business doesn’t work and then they’re entitled to the risk part of it :p ). They are not entitled to any form of control/ownership as they’re not actually working for the company.

    If you’re talking about the actual administrative work of the business then they’re entitled to the market rate of a CEO (or other administrative position) for a business of that size in that industry.

    If both then they’re entitled to the money back plus interest and the going market rate for the administrative position.

  61. Tane 62

    Sprout, word around the traps is the tape was erased months ago (as you’d expect), but the transcript was checked against it at least a dozen times for accuracy given the prominence of the quote in the article.

    It’s common practice for journalists to treat a transcript as as good as a tape.

  62. i agree a checked transcript is sufficient.
    but that link seems to suggest to me that Allan Kelly at VerbatimIT still has a copy.

  63. djp 64


    >”Does she [Helen Clark] provide more value to the country that deserves a salary that far outstrips mine’

    >That’s an easy one – yes (and I don’t even know you 🙂 )

    Well my hypothetical answer to you (presuming that you believe that companies should share more of their profits with the workers) is:

    “We are sorry but the management of Capitalists-R-Us provide a far greater value to the company than the general workers and are thus deserving of their eye watering salaries”

  64. AncientGeek 65


    It’s actually wilfully dishonest of you. I suspect you know that Key doesn’t mean to cut wages, but this won’t be what you represent to the members of the Labour movement.

    This is exactly the same level of ‘mistake’ as the Owen Glenn saga. In that case in phase 1, we had a casual conversation written up as a labour/government policy. In phase 2, we had a lack of knowledge of technical donation (interest) written up as lying to the media.

    However one of them the MSM has chosen to blow into a ‘scandal’ and the other has been ignored. I wonder what that says about the MSM…

    Now to me, Key’s ‘mistake’ sounds far more likely to be a party policy as it was exactly the type of policy implemented in the 90’s. In the absence of the Nat’s actually putting out a policy on wages, I’ll believe what Key says is policy.

  65. higherstandard 66


    John Key has no idea how a free market works …….. please as your esteemed Deputy Leader (Gollum) stated quite rightly he is a rich prick therefore quite clearly has a better understanding than the members of the current government a large number of whom have never had paid employment outside the public sector

  66. Pablo 67


    Forgive my jocular riposte to your question. I don’t know who you are or what you do. You could be Johyn Minto for all I care and the answer will be the same.

    Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree, because I believe there should be a more equal share of the profits between owners of capital and owners of labour.

    At the moment, with a labour shortage, the owners of capital have to pay more in wages to get quality staff, therefore they have to put up with lower salaries thmselves. It is basic supply and demand. In times of worker over-supply – apparently a goal of Key’s in order to bring down wages – workers have to work harder to justify a higher wage. It’s called capitalism.

    We could argue about redistributing the wealth, but we won’t agree, so why bother?

  67. djp 68


    >Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree, because I believe there should be a more equal share of the profits between owners of capital and owners of labour.

    That is a fair enough ideal.

    My point still stands however.. from the point of view of wealth re-distribution why should the prime minister of this country get.. well it must be something like $400,000 a year?

    If we justify it using an argument like “Well the job justifies the salary” then is that not the thin end of the wedge for justifying any corporate salary or dividend or whatever.

  68. K1 69

    djp, yes, $400k or so is a lot of money – and I’m not top of the list in the Helen fan club by any means – but it’s still much less than the amounts earned by several useless bastards I’ve worked for in my time.

    What astounds me about this issue is not that it’s a non-story – Key is undoubtedly on the side of business, and the transcript doesn’t show anything I’d be surprised to hear him say. (It is a little, well, *honest* though, and I don’t think he is, really, being more of a populist bent – but that could reflect his audience at the time). The surprise is the reaction from the blog-right, which largely seems to be composed of “oh noes, he couldn’t have said that, must have been misquoted, etc”. Which shows how much the strategy must be to emulate Labour in order to get the win (and consequentially how much will later be reneged upon or be seen to be “misunderstood”).

    This next election is absolutely a game of picking the lesser of two evils. In my mind the greater evil is lying so as to appear less evil!

  69. Pablo 70


    I’m still struggling to see your point, or am I falling for a red herring?

    “If we justify it using an argument like “Well the job justifies the salary’ then is that not the thin end of the wedge for justifying any corporate salary or dividend or whatever.”

    Not at all. The PM is not David Beckham, whose job is to generate income for his employer. Her job is to lead the government. You are comparing apples with oranges.

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