Two faced too far

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 27th, 2010 - 47 comments
Categories: act, International, john key, maori party - Tags:

There’s no doubt that John Key is a very popular politician. One of the reasons is that he likes to tell the audience what they want to hear. Unfortunately this makes him all too happy to say different things to different audiences — John Key is a two faced politician. This has been obvious to some from the start. Here’s nzpundit quoting Victoria University political scientist, Jon Johansson in 2008:

“He has blurted for as long as he has been leader. He has said disparate things to different audiences not smart.”

Some of Key’s major duplicities and flip-flops are well known. His position on the Iraq war (and his subsequent evasions), climate change (he’s still playing both sides), Working for families (which used to be “communism by stealth”), his religion, a whole range of topics. Other examples have received less attention: his position on the future of families commission, development in Hobsonville, pylons in the Waikato, and so on.

It’s hard to blame Key for his two faced tactics. Sadly, they work very well. The opportunism and duplicity are seldom pointed out, the friendly and affable image is rewarded. That made it practically inevitable that he would go too far. As it seems that he has with the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ever the pragmatist, John Key has (or rather thinks he has) sidestepped this difficulty by attaching a proviso reaffirming our “legal and constitutional frameworks” which “define the bounds of New Zealand’s engagement with the declaration”.

It’s an interesting position he adopts, seeking simultaneously to hold that the declaration is with and without significance, depending on which of his two coalition partners he wants to pacify at any given moment. But it is also untenable.

Untenable is the very least of it. This time the country can’t help but notice the duplicity. Key has set two large bodies of public opinion (represented for the sake of argument by ACT and the Maori Party) on a collision course. This time there are going to be consequences. The situation is potentially explosive.

To be clear – in my opinion NZ should indeed be supporting the Declaration. If it could have been done properly it would have been a positive and significant part of addressing our historical wrongs. “Properly” means a prior process of national discussion, consensus, and agreement on what the Declaration means for our country and how we can (and cannot) respond to it. Key, on the other hand, has committed NZ in the worst of all possible ways, in secret, in ignorance, and (in his usual style) duplicitously. Instead of a healing process, Key may have laid the foundation for further decades of racial tension. Not exactly a legacy to be proud of.

47 comments on “Two faced too far”

  1. Bored 1

    Master stroke again by our National idiot savant. Set up years of continuing racial conflict, the perfect excuse for getting all the dissaffected poor pakeha aligned electorally with the rich buggers who dislike any payments to anybody especially Maori. Great reason also to cast the Maori party adrift after their usefulness is all used up.

  2. But I thought that he was going to be different but the same, National was going to be Labour lite but with the added benefit of a tax cut. All the terrible individual issues that people had with the state, whatever they were, would be solved. Nirvana was around the corner, just after the election. The contradictions are becoming more apparent every day.

    The only people who seem to be happy with Key right now are those that for some weird reason had a pathological hatred of Helen. Thankfully they are few in number and will become less and less relevant as National’s support ebbs away.

    • felix 2.1

      Even the Helen-haters are turning on Key. Have a look at KB – the only real fan he’s got left is the drongo who writes the posts (and he’s just doing his job after all).

    • just saying 2.2

      Same people tend to have a dangerously pathological hatred of Sue Bradford.

  3. Lew 3

    Thanks r0b. This is some criticism of the DRIP that I can get in behind. Sort of. I don’t accept that what was done was worse than not signing the declaration in the first place, but it has been done in poor faith and it will be a source of tension and trouble. But that’s what the left gets when it squanders opportunities to be picked up by the other side, and (as usual) I blame Labour for simply refusing to grasp the nettle, rather than blaming National for cynically claiming to grasp it, but not grasping it really. One party has lived up to (and exceeded) expectations here; one has singularly failed to do so.

    L

    • r0b 3.1

      One party has lived up to (and exceeded) expectations here; one has singularly failed to do so.

      Can you elaborate a bit? I trust you are not giving National “credit” for exceeding low expectations (of damaging, cynical, self-interested behaviour)?

      • Lew 3.1.1

        Not precisely. But in agreeing to the declaration at all, even doing so cynically and with a lack of due care for what might eventuate from it is (in progressive terms) a huge improvement on where that party was just five short years ago (bearing in mind that it’s mostly the same people involved). Whereas Labour’s continued refusal to see the error of its ways represents stagnation, or even a deepening entrenchment on their part.

        So National have exceeded extremely low expectations, while Labour have failed to exceed quite low expectations. I do mean to damn National with faint praise, but I also mean to damn Labour with not-very-faint criticism, because I think both have performed poorly on this.

        L

        • r0b 3.1.1.1

          With the proviso that Labour faced a much more difficult task (with an opposition prepared to play Iwi/Kiwi), I won’t disagree with you.

    • Bored 3.2

      Lew,you are 100% onto it with regard to Labours failure. I said the same this morning with regard to the super city. Maybe its time Labour swept away the old guard and made a bit more noise. Others seems to be working on the assumption that the polls will turn around and Goffs white charger will ride to the rescue. That to me seems to be leaving it to chance, a bloody long shot at that.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    r0b “Untenable is the very least of it. This time the country can’t help but notice the duplicity. Key has set two large bodies of public opinion (represented for the sake of argument by ACT and the Maori Party) on a collision course. This time there are going to be consequences. The situation is potentially explosive.”

    Sure a lot of right-wingers don’t like what Key is doing in respect to Maori issues etc. But that is the cunning part of the plan. Key can afford to do this sort of thing. The right-wingers who get their knickers in a twist about Maori issues are not going to get driven towards Labour. They will get driven towards Act, strengthening a coalition ally. Furthermore, National continues to build mana with the MP. I doubt Act is that concerned in reality either, as they will tend to benefit from disaffected National supporters. So they might bluster about these issues, but I think the bluster is more about attracting support from National rather than any serious threat to the relationship.

    Duplicity it may be. But it is also very cunning politics, as it serves to strengthen Key’s hand on a longer term basis.

    MS: “The only people who seem to be happy with Key right now are those that for some weird reason had a pathological hatred of Helen. Thankfully they are few in number and will become less and less relevant as National’s support ebbs away.”

    You must be reading different poll ratings to the ones I am reading.

    • I said “happy” intentionally. Many are unhappy but it will still take a while for this to be converted into a change in the polls.

      Getting someone to admit to making a mistake with their vote is a difficult thing to do, Kiwis tend to hold out for a long time until an issue that directly affects them occurs.

      The process has started however. The nats have slipped four points in the Roy Morgan poll this year and Labour has improved by three points. On this trend within 12 months they will be level pegging.

  5. Jim Nald 5

    Labour needs to find a balance between old guards and new blood to get into Govt.
    Examine and retain the strengths from both.
    Labour’s campaign can’t be left to chance.
    Timing, building up, momentum, knowing when to peak and catching the tide will be vital.
    The phones are gradually being put back on the hook. People’s attention span vary and that will have to be taken into account.

  6. Neil 6

    the only people with a problem with the DRIP are some at The Standard, the Labour Party, Rodney Hide and the usual suspects on Kiwiblog threads.

    The Maori Party see this as a step forward and I agree.

    There wil be some who want to stir up racial tensions on this and I hope that it’s just Hide and the usual suspects.

  7. just saying 7

    Sigh. I hate to have to agree with you,but I think Key has played a blinder here politically. National feels confident that the (caveat) net they’ve put up to prevent Maori being able to use it to effect change will hold and Maori feel confident that they’ll be able to slip some major advancements under the net over time. For all it’s bluster Act largely agrees with National about the declaration’s puff status, and by the time this plays itself out NACT think Maori will have outlived their usefulness to them.

    Maori have played it even smarter IMO, because even when they are shafted by NACT they will progressively find ways to use the declaration long after NACT lose their usefulness to them.

    I don’t share your optimism that the critical swinging voting group are seeing through National’s duplicity, or if they are, if they really care that much. The rednecks think Key has conned the “dumb Maoris”.

    I do agree with Bored that Labour needs to change personnel and tactics urgently. Clarke was an extraordinary politician. Just because she was able to rise up from margin of error level popularity to PMd oesn’t mean Goff can. The opposition is coming across whakama and that, Clarke never was.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      The opposition is coming across whakama and that, Clarke never was.

      Nailed it.

      National feels confident that the (caveat) net they’ve put up to prevent Maori being able to use it to effect change will hold and Maori feel confident that they’ll be able to slip some major advancements under the net over time.

      In other words they’ve calculated that it’s likely to be a future Labour govt that has to deal with the real issues and racial fallout. At that point they can go back to Iwi/Kiw and milk the game indefinitely.

      Call me cynical.

      • Lew 7.1.1

        I can agree with this, too. But to me, it’s all the more reason why Labour should have done it themselves. If it plays out this way, National has all the glory and none of the responsibility. Labour may always have been burdened with the responsibility, but they could have at least secured some of teh glory as well.

        L

        • prism 7.1.1.1

          Lew good summary I reckon.

        • Neil 7.1.1.2

          why should there be a burden? So ACT don’t like it but that’s hardly of any concern.

          I haven’t noticed any groundswell of public antagonism to the DRIP (nor over plans to repeal and replace the FSA).

          • Lew 7.1.1.2.1

            Neil, nothing’s happened yet.

            L

            • Neil 7.1.1.2.1.1

              I agree that there will most likely be more difficult issue to be faced over decolonisation but the DRIP will not be the cause, the issues that may cause more problems are already in existence. The DRIP will I think make dealing with those issues easier.

              • Pascal's bookie

                The DRIP will I think make dealing with those issues easier.

                I’m not so sure. How do you see it working out that way?

                I can’t imagine people opposed to dealing with the issues changing their minds because of DRIP, but I can imagine them arguing that the way we agreed to DRIP with caveats means that our current laws and set up already comply with DRIP. Because that’s what the Government has effectively said in agreeing to it.

              • Neil

                Pascal’s bookie, people who oppose redressing past wrongs will do so with or with out the DRIP. The DRIP is significant for maori, I can see it playing a positive role.

            • Ianmac 7.1.1.2.1.2

              Maybe when the reality of the SB&F is mixed with the aspiration/reality of DRIP, the froth might yet turn explosive. As Lew says “yet.”

            • Lew 7.1.1.2.1.3

              I should also say that I’m not of the view that the sorts of reforms represented by the FSA repeal and the aspirations in the DRIP should be entirely sedate and tranquil. These aren’t easy issues; they’re not comfortable issues. I don’t think the reforms will be easy, and I don’t think they should be easy, because if it’s easy, then someone’s probably not speaking their mind or getting their needs met. I don’t want an easy life at the cost of one side or the other getting their dreams crushed, because where genuine grievance remains, resistance will inevitably ooze out.

              Neither party should shrink from this debate or the ructions and bitter dispute it will inevitably cause. But it’s crucial that they be handled in good faith, without resort to violence, without resort to legislative “we won, you lost” legislative fiat and the rhetoric of swordright. So in that regard I’m not sure the presence of the DRIP will make things easier, but I don’t think that’s the point. I think it will certainly grant proceedings greater integrity, and make the eventual conclusions and results more robust. For me, that’s the point.

              L

              • Ianmac

                A reasonable fair point of view Lew.

              • Lew

                Shorter Lew:

                The objective is justice within set parameters of peace, not peace at any cost.

                Without justice, there can be no enduring peace. With a requirement of absolute peace, there can be no justice.

                So an amount of peace must be traded off in the interim against justice, to ensure a more complete and enduring peace.

                L

    • Blue 7.2

      Everyone knows JK is a two-faced flip-flopper. The problem is, hardly anyone cares.

      The media praise him for being ‘pragmatic’ and playing ‘smart politics’. The public still give him the big tick on every opinion poll that comes their way. As I’ve said before, they don’t seem to care that they’re being lied to, as long as it’s JK doing the lying.

      I’m still stuffed if I know why. The ‘at least he’s not Helen’ defence should have dropped off a bit by now. Seeing his cringe-worthy appearances on the world stage should have made at least a few people facepalm at what a dork we have as PM. And the flip-flopping should definitely have struck a few people as disingenuous and cynical. I think it has, actually.

      The only thing I can think of is that Labour is not presenting themselves as a strong alternative just yet.

  8. gingercrush 8

    Well race relations aren’t going to get any better if Goff and Labour continue to send out their own increasingly blurred policy and speeches around Maori issues. Something you r0b completely miss and something many of the commentators here are as well. And make no mistake. What we’ve been witnessing by Labour is exactly that. It goes far beyond criticism of the Maori Party. Indeed you’ll recall that one speech that had it been a National speech would have had all types of accusations around dog-whistling. Labour does the same thing and there is mostly silence. Also recall the now different policy around the foreshore and seabed bill and lastly their impressive spin on DRIP. Not to mention yesterday Phil Goff had a speech on Auckland and the super-city and had no mention of Maori Seats.

    By doing what they did in regards to DRIP Labour contributed greatly to the dissent on that declaration and also contribute to the race relation issues.

    Does that mean I excuse John Key’s behaviour or National’s in regards to DRIP. Or quite contrary views just five years ago. No but if both parties were more civil in race relations we wouldn’t have difficulty. Just as both parties came together to prevent real dissent on anti-smacking (arguably had they not the issue would never had been as settled as it is now) there is no reason both parties can’t do the same now. Yet both parties continue to be petty in this regard.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      GC, while their is some substance to some of this, there is also a lot of nonsense.

      Indeed you’ll recall that one speech that had it been a National speech would have had all types of accusations around dog-whistling. Labour does the same thing and there is mostly silence.

      I don’t recall silence. I remember a fair amount of argument and condemnation from many. It was certainly nothing like the roaring approval Brash’s speech got from righties.

      Not to mention yesterday Phil Goff had a speech on Auckland and the super-city and had no mention of Maori Seats

      You know full well that that is not true. It got a mention in the speech. There were questions on it afterwards and Labour’s position hasn’t changed since when their Auckland MP’s joined the hikoi last year.

      if both parties were more civil in race relations we wouldn’t have difficulty

      Not true. You need to think about why the parties act this way. (it’s the people, the people, the people who need to change)

      • Anne 8.1.1

        “You know full well that that is not true. It got a mention in the speech. There were questions on it afterwards and Labour’s position hasn’t changed since when their Auckland MP’s joined the hikoi last year.”

        You’re right Pascal’s bookie. ‘gingercrush’ was told last night on Red Alert.

        An interesting snippet I picked up after Phil Goff’s speech. A Maori lady told me… she was so glad Phil Goff said Labour will include the Maori seats. It transpired that a well known Labour parliamentarian of Maori descent had been reported to her as saying: “that Labour was not going to include the Maori seats”. I can only speculate as to which arm of government has been spreading that piece of misinformation.

  9. Ianmac 9

    I think the Left must be careful to not alienate the Maori Electorate. In being strident about the difficulties with DRIP, the unintended message received, may be that Labour just wants to deny Maori of their rights – again. Many people don’t care about the detail but with the help of MSM they just get a simple “wrong” message.
    The same goes for other issues. In the USA the Republican “against everything” denies them credibility. So here if any party appears to be “against everything” they lose credibility.
    Approve of some things that Nact do. (The Goff praise of the PM threw them.)
    Make an issue just a few major differences. Loss of democracy. Unfair tax. Unemployment.

    • Lew 9.1

      Given the attitudes of some prominent members of the left — including members of the Labour strategy group — I’d not be so sure it’s unintended. I think this is precisely the message they mean to deliver; and yet, at the same time, they claim to be the natural allies of tangata whenua. At some point they’ll need to stop talking out of both sides of their mouth, and it’s then we’ll see which mast they’ve chosen to nail their colours to.

      L

  10. Neil 10

    including members of the Labour strategy group

    most def

  11. the sprout 11

    good catalogue of some of Key’s known lies, but don’t forget the classics:

    “I would love to see wages drop in NZ”

    and

    “I can’t remember if I was for or against the Springbok Tour”

  12. Michael 12

    I don’t understand what this blog thinks it is achieving. If it only wants to preach to the far left and the labour hacks out there, then it’s doing a successful job. But by continually writing blatantly partisan pieces, it isolates any other than those massively on the left. It’s not particularly smart, and it’s not particularly intelligent to read.

    [lprent: It is a partisan blog site. Pretty much the same as every other political blog site in NZ.

    It is a place to spread views and opinions to people in a manner that is more efficient than attending endless meetings. That is why there are the number of authors from all sorts of left/green viewpoints with author rights. We have more than 10x the number of people just reading the posts to every person who comments.

    It is a place to argue/discuss amongst people of differing opinions on the left, right, greenish, ethnic, scientific, religous or whatever. Personally I don’t care what people argue about, in fact we provide a daily OpenMike so they can argue about damn near anything (and so irrelevant arguments don’t spill over into topic threads). All I really care about in my moderator role is the commentator behaviour. In my sysop role, I care about the site running efficiently and not crashing as it did a few weeks ago.

    Occasionally if time allows, I write posts and dip into the discussion. Both are more than you appear to be capable of, based on your previous comment history.

    You opinion is noted, and then pretty much ignored – you didn’t have anything substantive to say, and haven’t in the past either. Sounded like pathetic whining to me or trolling by someone incapable of the fine art. Generally makes you look like a luser.

    Does that answer your ‘question’? ]

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      What it’s trying to do is bring truth back into the political debate because the MSM seem to have lost it in favour of Jonkey’s Smile and Wave.

      • Ianmac 12.1.1

        And as a Community of Interest it gives us folk who are far from the maddening crowd, the chance to read what is going on and even participate at even very modest levels.

        It also communicates all the things that are often unreported on MSM.

        And reading the opposite point of view expressed by some adds another dimension. Worthwhile.

        I guess some supporters of a sports team can see no evil in their team and get angry if someone is critical. Politics is similar but hugely more important.

        Thankyou Iprent and team. (Amazing how much we missed the Standard when it was down! 🙁

        • Mac1 12.1.1.1

          I support your statements, Ianmac, though sometimes I feel the ‘maddening crowd’ is much closer to home, if, for example, we were to contemplate the recent reaction of local farmers to global warming at the visit of the Minister last Thursday in the Marlborough Express.

          Sounds like I will have to find you at your local pub, if they won’t talk to you, and then there would be two of us to drink sense together. Cheers, anyway.

  13. Michael 13

    I could easily respond to the post above, or any of the other pieces posted at the site above, but I choose not to considering I don’t think the quality of the site befits a response. When I look for intelligent intellectual views on the left, I choose to read No Right Turn, which unlike this site actually founds it’s posts on logical reasoning rather than partisian idology. It’s not intelligent or stimulating to contribute to or read posts in the vein of “two-faced Mr Key” or the “National bludger government” every day continually. In fact not only is it not stimulating to read screeching whining pieces such as the piece above, it’s also not particularly smart on this site’s behalf since the tone most of your authors display only achieves in isolating the very people you need to convert to make the overall left wing movement stronger.

    And your description of me as a loser only indicates just how petty and pathetic this site it. I didn’t launch into a personal tirade into this site, nor did I make personal attacks against you or anyone in particular. I simply criticised this sites content and the motivation behind it, criticism that many people would cite as being a valid, and criticism that should be able to be stated on a site that’s supposed basis is discussion. However, your decision to make your reply personal is just indicative of how out of the loop you appear to be from anyone considered mainstream, and how arrogant you are. It must be sad when your life’s work culminates in the running and management of a site that most consider to be a sounding board for a few whining trolls, but it doesn’t justify you calling individuals who disagree with this site “losers”. I would advise you to drop your attitude, drop your blatant personal attacks, because I think you’ll find that other people will start treating you with the disdain you seem to treat others with.

    [lprent: It was luser (not loser), a name with a long and distinguished history in computing circles. It accurately depicts the relationship between a sysop and the users of their systems, from the point of view of a sysop. It appears you can’t read accurately either.

    Part of my job on this site is to do personal attacks because it stops trolls from becoming even more a nuisance than you already are. It is part of the moderators role to be immoderate when we have dipshits attacking the site. I take a great deal of pleasure in doing it. Usually it pays not to attract my attention.

    My point was that you attacked the site without having anything constructive or substantive to contribute. That means I tend to class you as a troll because it is the type of moronic behaviour that they would do. Your reply is notable because it still hasn’t said anything substantive apart from not liking the site and the way I treat you.

    We run the site the way we want to. It obviously seems to work based on the growing readership and comments over the last couple of years. The general answer to your whining is if you think you can do a better job, then go and start your own blog.

    In the meantime, I could help you out by removing your ability to add comments. Then at least I and the rest of the readers don’t have to listen to you whining. Do you want me to do that? Your alternative is to stop snivelling and actually join the debate. ]

    • Maynard J 13.1

      All you’ve gone is attack headlines, made sweeping, thin and shallow generalisations, and ignored the substance of the posts. Why excpect to be taken seriously when your level of analysis is “I don’t like your headlines”? Or “Why is this webiste publishing partisan articles?” What you are doing is by definition trolling.

      I prety much support your comment on the personal attacks though – there’s no need to resort to them and I reckon it’s pretty poor form too.

    • Craig Glen Eden 13.2

      Micheal if you don’t like the site don’t read it. Personally Im not interested in your views, you are a troll and are off topic, I hope we don’t hear from you again.

      Keys Duplicity will only become a issue when journalist wake up and realise that they have aided a conman.

  14. Jim Nald 14

    I’m so very sorry that dear Michael is compelled to keep visiting this site and has so little choice to do anything other than spend his time reading and commenting here. We should feel deeply indebted that he has volunteered to give lessons to The Standard’s website managers and writers about running their site. Even more gratitude should be expressed to Michael especially as his comments have been unsolicited.

    I hope his can deal to his addiction to The Standard. Should he wish to wean himself off, the kind favour of unsolicited advice needs to be returned to him with exceptional grace: Michael, terminate your internet connection.

    Meanwhile, Michael has personally just inspired a piece that will be posted below. Thank you so much for infusing the spirit of the Muse into the following verses. They are neither in iambic pentameter nor are they for the serious elite or intellectuals like those of your ilk. But I hope, to other Standard readers, they aMuse.

  15. Jim Nald 15

    Two timing double speak PM
    slick, smiling and smooth
    such a good hand in the political bed
    and a tongue for the mouth with the head

    While he makes love with one party, the other feels fked
    and voters will be left carrying the baby

    Key and Kerr
    Business roundtable, Roundabout business

    Nat and Act
    Right and Far Right – seemingly so
    But both
    off centre, off note, off key
    Flip Flop
    Far Kerr and Far Key
    Distant from the people’s interests

  16. Anne 16

    Jim… you’re a tonic 😀

  17. Rharn 17

    Yes the tide is turning on Key as NZ begins to understand his machiavellian nature. My worry is that Key, for the sake of a few political points has placed NZ in position where the Rights of Indigenous Peoples generates new claims of a Maori generation wanting to emulate their elders with the achievements of the Waitangi settlements. Key is affable and this is why he is the front man for those that hide behind the National Party with their political donations to ensure that Key and the Nats deliver the ‘goods’ to the detriment of Key’s fellow countrymen.

    The signing of the Declaration of The Rights of Indigenous Peoples without a public debate or consensus is a blinding example.

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