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Unauthorised, unimpressive, unquestioning

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, July 22nd, 2008 - 94 comments
Categories: john key, slippery - Tags:

I’ve finally got through part 1 of the Herald’s deification of John Key and it’s surprising how boring and mediocre he comes across.

Impressive contortions too. How three senior reporters with six months to write an article managed to avoid asking how Key could have both talked politics over the dinner table and not have an opinion on the Springbok Tour is beyond me. But the kicker is the line: “He is decisive and appears genuine, but at the same time does not like giving offence – it’s this aspect of his character which, as we shall explore in part two next week, provides the ammunition for his political opponents to label him “Slippery John”

Turning Key’s attempt to be all things to all people into a virtue is impressive.

Now, I’m not a fan of ‘yeah, right’ jokes but T-Rex’s is brilliant:

94 comments on “Unauthorised, unimpressive, unquestioning”

  1. Nick C 1

    What amazes me is how happy you are to ignore everything in the article about how hard he had to work to get to where he is. He lost his father at a very young age and went from being poor to being wealthy, largely as the story emphasizes through hard work. But I guess that makes him a class enemy to you, more then being something to celebrate.

  2. rjs131 2

    Maybe you can refer to the inspiring stories on Labour MPs who have obtained similar degrees of international success?

    I personally am looking forward to the publication of Dianne Yates biography

  3. T-rex 3

    Nick – let me reply with a comment I made previously but led to an abrupt ceasure of discussion:

    Brett – Honestly, yes, that occurs to me frequently [that key is actually not that bad a guy].

    I just think he’s fallen in with thieves, and I think they’re going to use him to screw us.

    I don’t dislike Key. I dislike the policies he’s an advocate of, and I dislike the fact that he’s not smart enough to see that his ambitions are going to sell our country up and down the river.

    I dislike the fact that he grew up “wanting to be the prime minister’. You don’t want to elect someone who grew up “wanting to make a million dollars, and wanting to be the prime minister’. That’s not vision and ambition for the country, that’s just the musings of a 12 yearold.

    I don’t like Clark a hell of a lot, I think she’s arrogant and self righteous. But I like her values (or at least quite a few of them), and the fact that she really is an advocate of our country, rather than just trying to collect the position as some sort of f*cking boyscout merit badge. I mean come on – wanting to be Prime Minister when you grow up is about as valid a qualification for the role as wanting to be an astronaut is adequate credential for flying a space shuttle.

    I reckon Key should think a bit more carefully about who he asks for advice. That article makes a big deal about how he “always sought out those who could help him’. Oh good! In a 9 year old, that’s kind of cute. Now though, I think he should be a bit more discerning.

    Key’s musings:
    Hmm, I wonder what NZ could do to improve its accident insurance system. I know, I’ll ask some accident insurers, they’re sure to know all about it. Oh gee wow, they think it should be privatised! Who’da thought it! Well I guess they’ve got no reason to lie, and they’re sure to have my best interests at heart, privatisation it is!.

    He’s either hopelessly and indefensibly naive, or he’s an idiot. Or he’s actually out to screw us (though I honestly don’t think that’s his plan).

    Did you even read Key’s response to the “what would you do with a billion dollars?’ question? Buy a private jet?!? Can you even conceive a less imaginative answer? Where the hell is the vision and ambition in that?

    Hell, if I had a billion dollars I’d fund a space program in NZ.

    So in closing – fine, celebrate his success (if you can reconcile the gross immorality of how he made all his money). But, for f*cks sake, don’t make him the bloody prime minister!

  4. mike 4

    Yes Nick, unfortunately being a pin-up boy for successful self starter’s puts Key on the lefts most hated list.

    Steve your claim Key is boring has a frustrated ring to it?

    [mike. question marks go at the end of questions. SP]

  5. sally 5

    What astounds me is that the biography is supposedly “unauthorised” yet the journalists obviously sought a significant amount of information from Key and his family.

    Besides, who cares if it’s unauthorised? Since when did the media need to be authorised to write anything about a politician?

  6. higherstandard 6

    I was most interested in the piece on his Mother, clearly a fairly remarkable woman.

    Apart from that there appear to be no skeletons in the closet and a picture of someone who’s fairly driven, can lead and create a team and isn’t scared to seek out and take advice…… sounds a bit like Lange.

  7. bill browne 7

    Around a third of the way through chapter 1 of this clip is a more “realistic” view perhaps?

  8. Bill 8

    It’s a couple of days since I struggled through that article (puke bowl at the ready) and I can’t remember any reference to ‘others’ in all the fifteen pages.

    It was all me, me, ME! The picture I got was of a mediocre, emotionally crippled individual who has replaced empathy with the pursuit of personal financial gain and power. No second thoughts spared for anyone around.

    Now, in’t it funny how a speculator just happens to have left any financial institution prior to any dodgy dealings? Is the implication meant to be that John is a veritable angel in a pool of thoughtless and vicious financial sharks (apologies to sharks)? That if only honest John had stayed on and as long as you weren’t Polish…

    And he’s so ‘normal’..he had several parties when his parents were away! Apparently some joiners turned up to fix the neighbours fence. What a party! Nice guy who obviously has a correct appreciation of private property.

    NZ Ltd will be just fine.

    The captcha be sentient $2,510,276 / wines

  9. T-rex 9

    “Asked how allegations affected Mr Peters’ credibility as a minister Mr Key said: “It’s certainly dented”.

    However he would not rule out dealing with NZ First after the election.”

    Awww, look everyone! Good old slippery sensitive John!

  10. Lew 10

    Actually, I found this bio disposed me much more favourably toward Key as a person, and gave me much more respect for his leadership style (be a big-picture thinker rather than a detail man, surround yourself with specialists, take advice from them, then make the decision yourself). To an extent it does give some good arguments as to why people should entrust the leadership of the country to him – but they all come from his friends and family. It’s not an unbiased picture – it’s basically hagiography in that it presents Key in an unequivocally positive light – growing up in a poor immigrant family, not being a natural genius but succeeding through doggedness, moxie and decisiveness, at home with his wife and kids. So in a sense it disposes me favourably toward Key because that’s what hagiography does.

    The question for me is: why is it hagiography? It shouldn’t be – the Herald would reap a great deal in reputation and controversy by publishing a happy medium between a hatchet-job and the puff-piece this is, so logic would suggest that they should have. With 15 person-months worth of senior reporter time, could it really not manage to find any warts for its warts-and-all bio? Is John Key really that squeaky-clean? All those years in the dog-eat-dog currency trading game, and nobody has a bad thing to say? Did they not ask?

    I wait with interest for the second part, but I’ll say again: I think this’ll be enough to win Key the election.


  11. randal 11

    the mark of a man is those he has around him.. so for keys its gerry brownlee and nick smith and maurice wiliamson and the other febrile lightweights who believe they can get what they want by taking it off some one else. thats what bankers do! its always someone elses money that they take their “turn” on.

  12. Rob 12


    I agree with you I think it was a great article for Key and just made him out to be a normal Guy.

    What I think infuriates the left with Key more than anything else is the fact that he came from Humble beginnings and maybe also that his Mother is Jewish.

    They have definite bend towards Muslim and Arabs rather than Jews.

    I also believe they hate his success story I mean if you come from a one parent family in a State House your not meant to be successful you are supposed to be on the Dole where we can control your income and thought processes and make you welfare / Labour dependant.

    Key I believe given time will be a great leader for New Zealand yes he will stumble along the way he is Human but its that Humanity / Humility that attracts people to him.

    He isn’t egotistical he doesnt have a ideological bent to him.

    He clearly wants Mew Zealand to do better and be more productive and believe you and me we have to.

    If you look at where he is now as preferred Leader compared to where Helen was before Labour got in Key is streets ahead.

    Once he is in he will become more and more popular that is hwy the left don’t like him and are trying to attack him so much now, He is a very Real threat to them!!

  13. gobsmacked 13


    They have definite bend towards Muslim and Arabs rather than Jews.

    Fuck off.

  14. Lew 14

    Rob: I was wondering when the ludicrous allegations of anti-semitism would come out.

    In the spirit of Godwin: you lose.


  15. Rob 15

    I just haven’t seen Helen or the Government giving any money to open synagogues at our universities but they have given money to build mosques.

    I haven’t seen Helen with her Head shrouded opening meetings for the Jewish people but she did do it for the Muslim association with people who are banned terrorists in other Western Countries invited to New Zealand and allowed in by our Government,.

    I would be interested to see since Labour has been in how many Jewish people have immigrated to New Zealand and how many were turned down versus how many Muslims were allowed in.

  16. higherstandard 16

    Odd very odd.

    Lew I think you’ve hit it on the head again.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Rob, you are an idiot, and I won’t waste my time on you.

    Except to introduce you to the previous Labour President


  18. T-rex 18

    Rob – maybe it’s because nobody in NZ (except yourself) gives a damn about whether people are jewish or not anymore, but Muslims still face significant xenophobia, aided no doubt by unbelievably retarded comments such as yours above.

    Show me a Jew being attacked for their religious beliefs in NZ and I’ll defend their right to freedom of religion. But at the moment all I’m seing is an attack upon Arabs (‘Arab’ is not a religion, you retard, and not all Arabs are muslims, nor are all muslims Arabs) so I’ll defend them. Especially since your accusations aren’t even founded in religion, but race, and that’s a much harder thing to keep a low profile on if discrimination DOES develop.

    You stupid, worthless, bigot.

  19. Ben R 19

    “Rob: I was wondering when the ludicrous allegations of anti-semitism would come out.”

    Lew, I agree that anti-semtism is unlikely to be behind the comments here. But the disgusting history of prejudice & stereotypes about the immoral Jewish moneylender or banker goes well before Hitler. And comments about “that’s what bankers do” could be seen as some kind of dog whistle.

    Admittedly, I doubt that’s the motivation here, but I don’t think it’s a totally unreasonable point for Rob to suggest. Especially when you think about some of the other long bows others seem to draw occasionally.

  20. higherstandard 20


    While I’m no fan of the Prime Minster, I think you’ve lost the plot.

  21. Stephen 21

    There must be what, 4,5 jews in NZ anyway..? Gotta FIND them first.

  22. Rob 22

    T- Rex why do think Helen would give money to build mosques in New Zealand when our School Teachers are being told they cant talk about Christmas in class because they might offend other religions!! Seems a bit odd doesn’t it and skewed in one direction 52% of New Zealanders have a Christian belief. I am a great believer of not giving away your beliefs just to accommodate others who have migrated to our Country. I am not a bigot just a realist people in New Zealand are getting sick of this sort of PC BS

    Stupid I am not either because of the above Helen did do I notice you haven’t contested that fact.

  23. Rob 23


    Get him back to add some more balance to the party has turned 360 degrees since then

  24. Lew 24

    Ben R: “the disgusting history of prejudice & stereotypes about the immoral Jewish moneylender or banker goes well before Hitler.”

    Quite right; Julius Streicher, Mjolnir, and their ilk were simply appealing to preconceptions already held by the people whose support they wanted. However in 2008, you appeal to anti-semitism, you infer a comparison between those who are anti-semitic and the Nazis. Or the terrorists, but there’s no Godwin’s Law for terrorists 🙂

    “And comments about “that’s what bankers do’ could be seen as some kind of dog whistle.”

    They could be; what I’m questioning is whether it’s reasonable to do so. I think the more obvious dog-whistle is the dog-whistle that supporting Muslims’ inclusion in society is anti-semitic. It’s a plain and blatant false dichotomy.

    “when you think about some of the other long bows others seem to draw occasionally.”

    I reckon that if you object to people tarring an entire group with the same brush, or drawing long bows, it’s not really consistent to do so yourself, or to defend those who do, just because they happen to favour your side.


  25. Tim 25

    I think John Key’s clearly an intelligent, highly ambitious and successful businessman.

    However, I don’t see how that would make him a good PM. He just seems to want the job so he can put PM on his CV. What does he stand for? What is his vision for the country? What are his principles? What are his party’s policies? The biography left me clueless. I have to say I think he will make a terrible PM or statesman.

    Actually, anti-semitism is certainly still around. Look at the Madmen ad campaign and the attacks on the Jewish cemetary a few years ago.

    Agreed his mother was a remarkable woman, and she voted Labour!

  26. Stephen 26

    There’s a bit on publicaddress too


    There is a link to footage of ’80s John Key’ through the show ‘An unauthorised history of NZ’, will certainly take a gander when i get home…

  27. Lew 27

    Tim: Yeah, I’m certainly under no delusions that anti-semitism isn’t about. I just don’t think it rests where Rob thinks it rests.


  28. T-rex 28

    Rob, you are more stupid than a paramecium.

    Try turning 360 degrees and see which direction you wind up facing.

    You are a great believer in not giving up beliefs yet you intend to persecute those with other beliefs unless they change/hide them?

    You wouldn’t know reality if it backed a truck over you. I welcome the fact that HC went to a mosque – again, these people ARE negatively perceived, and it’s because of retards like you! Are you Jewish? Did you just want some sort of monopoly on oppressed-person status? No one denies the horror of the holocaust you gibbering tool, and the only person connecting Jews and Banking is you. Meanwhile, you’re happy to imply that all Arabs are terrorists!

    Your ignorance and self-righteous persecution disgust me.

  29. Vanilla Eis 29

    Get him back to add some more balance to the party has turned 360 degrees since then

    So… they’re facing in the same direction?

    Edit: Soundly beaten to it by T-rex.

  30. T-rex 30

    Tim – my view exactly. Like I said, it’s a 12 year olds ambition and about as valid a qualification for the role as “I want to be an astronaut when I grow up!”.

    Of course anti-semitism is still around, so is anti-everything if you’re prepared to consider a small enough sample size significant. I deplore the attacks on the cemeterys. I just can’t believe Rob is pointing the finger at people who generally preach acceptance and mutual rights.

  31. Rob 31

    T- Rex are you also happy that all our kids cant be told about Christmas and the magic of it by Teachers in their classes because it might offend one or two Muslims in the Class get real!!

    Do you think they wouldn’t talk about Mohammad in their classes in any Muslim Country because it might offend one Christian in the class . This is the PC BS I am talking about Blair brought it in in the UK and look in what direction they are heading in. People are clambering to get out!!

    If I am ignorant you are blinded by ideology

  32. gobsmacked 32

    Rob’s anti-Muslim rants do sound kind of familiar though … ah, yes, here we are:

    The [immigrants’] agenda is to promote fundamentalist Islam – indeed these groups are like the mythical Hydra, a serpent underbelly with multiple heads, capable of striking at any time and in any direction

    Rob is Winston Peters!

  33. Bill 33


    What does JK stand for?

    It’s in the article…”In pursuit of his goals, Key will not hesitate to seek out people he thinks are best-placed to help him.”

    Note. Goals are HIS goals. (power, wealth, influence?) and not goals in the broader context of ,say, improving society.

    He seeks out people placed to help HIM. (achieve power, wealth, influence?)Not people to help develop or implement a policy or idea.

    The guy is a desperate mediocre egoist. As such he stands for nothing and has no principles. The (selfish) end will justify the means.

    I don’t think he is deliberately malevolent or anything of the sort. Just, as I commented earlier, that he’s an emotional cripple wrapped up in his own diminished ideas of what it means to be a successful human being. (Achieving a self gratifying level of wealth, power and influence)

  34. higherstandard 34


    While there are undoubtedly vile left wing nut jobs such as …


    (one wonders if this site is actually a piss take as it’s so appalling)

    …and their equivalents on the other side. I don’t think the present mob in power are as bad on the antichristian side as you make out.

    In terms of the school issue my youngest is in the last year of primary school (public school on the NorthShore) and they still have a XMAS and Easter production every year with kids of other religions being allowed to opt out if they want.

  35. T-rex 35

    I would resent Teachers using christmas to push christianity – but would have no problem if they used it to push those christian values generic to almost all religions.

    I also welcome education on religion in schools, just BALANCED education. You just hate the balance. PC bullshit would be pandering to the interests of the likes of Destiny Church because they cry about ‘kiwi values’ whenever anyone mentions Mohammed. Extremism can appear if you go to far in any direction – remember the crusades? The only defense is to keep an open minded and balanced view of the world, which is precisely what you’re protesting.

    Uhhh…. you don’t want to end up like the UK, yet you’re saying we should display the same degree of tolerance of difference as, say, Saudi Arabia?

    No, you’re just ignorant. It really scares me that you talk about “our kids”, as it implies you have some. Otherwise I’d assume you were 14.

  36. Scribe 36


    thats what bankers do! its always someone elses money that they take their “turn’ on.

    That’s what politicians do, and the “someone else’s money” is yours and mine.

  37. T-rex 37

    Bill – thumbs up. As I said further up. Reckon we could get a full page of the weekend herald for an actual analysis? I’m picking probably not…

    Hey… idea… what if we bought it as advertising? Maybe Owen Glenn would give us the cash 🙂

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    I am a great believer of not giving away your beliefs just to accommodate others who have migrated to our Country. I am not a bigot just a realist people in New Zealand are getting sick of this sort of PC BS

    Rob has made at least one of Trotter’s points seem spot on from his last piece, caling religious tolerance PC BS – didn’t Trotter say that they’re they type who think you’re too PC if you won’t laugh at a racist joke?

    Rob the Reactionary!

    Oh but of curose you’re right, Helen probably hates Jews because she “gave money to build mosques” (can you at least substantiate that? right now you are making it sound like she donated at a personal level, which sounds pretty nice to me…).

    Tell me, how many other types of worship structures has Helen not paid for? Any Hindu temples, perchance? No? I bet she hates those Hindus. How about the odd Greek Orthodox Church? I bet she hasn’t given them any money, probably hates ’em too.

  39. Daveski 39

    One of the issues that is being overlooked in the War Against Key is the different styles of the leaders.

    You are attempting to paint Key as being undecisive.

    On the other hand, there is growing resentment among many voters about the perception that HC is too decisive and has fixed views on what should be done. Clearly, most here agree with her views so won’t find fault with them.

    The Nanny-state perception has been damaging for Clark and Labour.

    My experience is that there are few if any “good” or “bad” qualities. Rather people have traits that have both positive and negative implications.

    You highlight HC’s traits as positive and Key’s as negative. It’s not fooling anyone.

  40. Rob 40


    You are exactly right my point indeed she favours the Muslims and gives money to them to build a Mosque in Auckland University. I think its sets a dangerous precedent unless you are prepared to give to all!!

  41. T-rex 41

    “Clearly, most here agree with her views so won’t find fault with them.”


    Way wrong dude 🙂

    Just because I love quoting myself so much:

    I don’t dislike Key. I dislike the policies he’s an advocate of, and I dislike the fact that he’s not smart enough to see that his ambitions are going to sell our country up and down the river.

    I dislike the fact that he grew up “wanting to be the prime minister’. You don’t want to elect someone who grew up “wanting to make a million dollars, and wanting to be the prime minister’. That’s not vision and ambition for the country, that’s just the musings of a 12 yearold.

    I don’t like Clark a hell of a lot, I think she’s arrogant and self righteous. But I like her values (or at least quite a few of them), and the fact that she really is an advocate of our country, rather than just trying to collect the position as some sort of f*cking boyscout merit badge. I mean come on – wanting to be Prime Minister when you grow up is about as valid a qualification for the role as wanting to be an astronaut is adequate credential for flying a space shuttle.

    Key has qualities for sure, I just don’t think they’re ones you want in a prime minister unless they’re accompanied by others which are conspiuously absent in his case. Where are Key’s ideals? Where is his vision? He’s a bloody facilitator with no moral compass.

  42. Ben R 42

    “Teachers in their classes because it might offend one or two Muslims in the Class”


    In terms of the UK I think a more serious issue is the difficulty teachers are having teaching evolution because of people with fundamentalist faiths, Christian & Muslim. Pretty sad really.



  43. mike 43

    Thanks for the link HS. The left is getting nastier by the day

    That site is in fact a warning of what a true Green/Labour NZ could look like…

  44. “I am not a bigot just a realist people in New Zealand are getting sick of this sort of PC BS”

    One man’s PC BS:

    Is an overwhelming majority of our country’s access to human rights, freedom from discrimination, promotion of acceptance rather than tolerance.

    Despite the votes of the bigots, I am glad their social vision will ne’er be realised. Now for their economic vision.

  45. Ben R 45

    “Teachers in their classes because it might offend one or two Muslims”


    I think a more serious problem is the difficulty teachers are having trying to teach evolution to those with fundamentalist faiths, Christian & Muslim.

    “There is something very, very odd about American fundamentalism, and it’s spreading to this country. I am frequently hearing of science teachers who have problems teaching evolution, mostly to Muslim students.’ At this point, Dawkins lapses into a “let’s-not-go-there’ silence.”


  46. T-rex 46

    I wondered the same thing initially HS, but sadly I think it’s real. Like you say, there’s always psychos at the fringes, no matter which direction you look in.

    The left has armpitfacewoman, the right has whaleoil (with an honourable mention to D4J’s new ‘jugs for justice’ initiative). I rate them roughly equally – by the time you’re that much of a d*ckhead it’s not really a question of degree anymore. In armpits defense though, I think whale is probably more evil.

    Mike, you’re a gibbering moron. Do you actually think anyone who reads your comment will take you seriously? Except maybe Rob.

  47. Felix 47


    Jews don’t celebrate Christmas any more than Muslims do.

    You really are being terminally foolish.

  48. Bill 48

    Not that doggerel comments on anti-Semitism be an example of diversion or anything of the like chappies.

    Because what would it be diversion from?

    Finding the ‘real’ John Key is akin to listening out for the sound of one hand clapping. Nothing there.

    Oh, pardon me. There is an element of pointless flapping in common to both. Just slap some gold rings on the fingers of the hand and you have JK the man.

    Although, given the wrong circumstances (like a constituency unwittingly wandering within reach) and those rings become knuckle dusters.

  49. higherstandard 49

    Mike I think after an initial smirk that most of the Green and Labour MPs who be horrified by the Armpitted one.

    I think it’s to the Standard credit that they don’t line to the site.

    [lprent: I think we do – under ‘other’. I have absolutely no idea what to make of it.]

  50. mike 50

    Pre Imprents edit I was going to say there are some standards @ the standard but hey.

    I haven’t been to whaleoil but how could it be worse than that bile.

    [lprent: Sorry – I suspect you got caught while I was restarting a service. The site was starting to slow down. Looks like I should give the server a birthday tonight, the swap space is starting to increase again. I wonder what the next server increment is.
    Actually I can’t tell much difference between Whales site and the Hairy Armpit. Well apart from Whale having pretensions at technical competence. His latest is a screenshot of a browser quirk.]

  51. Mike I think after an initial smirk that most of the Green and Labour MPs who be horrified by the Armpitted one.

    I like Faye. F*ck you lot are provincial…

  52. Ben R 52

    “Is an overwhelming majority of our country?s access to human rights, freedom from discrimination, promotion of acceptance rather than tolerance.”

    I agree with those values. But what happens if another group doesn’t share them?


  53. higherstandard 53


    I do know what to make of it – The vast amount appears to be filth, and here’s me thinking that even Sod had standards – apparently not.

  54. T-rex 54

    I like Faye. F*ck you lot are provincial

    I don’t. She’s not funny, she’s not clever, she’s just obnoxious and deliberately offensive.

    And it’s incredibly counterproductive, which is why I initially thought it was a fake. She’s not going to convince anyone of anything, all she’s doing is giving material to retards like Mike to sway the weak willed and gullible.

  55. HS ” sounds a bit like Lange”.

    As much as I love Lange’s rhetoric, as a PM he was a disaster, his heart was good but he didn’t vision or the leadership to get there. I think Key is our least qualified candidate for PM in modern times, Lange was the second-least qualified.

  56. Phil 56

    “While there are undoubtedly vile left wing nut jobs such as


    I think this site proves, beyond doubt, what I’ve always suspected to be true:

    The centre left and centre right have much much MUCH more in common than either do with the psychotic’s at the far end of their own ‘side’.

  57. Ben R 57

    “As much as I love Lange’s rhetoric, as a PM he was a disaster, his heart was good but he didn’t vision or the leadership to get there.”

    I remember reading Joe Atkinson’s article (which Lange sued him for) on Lange & Clark in 1999. I think Atkinson felt that Clark was far more organised, had the patience for detail & better at managing a party.

    I would have thought that Key at least has some leadership experience at a pretty high level. Lange’s background was as a barrister. He obviously would have been a natural for that with his pubic speaking skills, but I don’t think he had much in the way of leadership experience?

  58. mike 58

    “Mike to sway the weak willed and gullible”

    No T, the core left won’t be moved – I’m chasing the undecided’s

    Although if SP really believes Winnie’s lies he may be swayed.

  59. Matthew Pilott 59

    “Mike to sway the weak willed and gullible’

    No T, the core left won’t be moved…

    heh. The ones that won’t be moved are the weak willed and gullible. You just get better by the day…

  60. T-rex 60

    Well why are you trying to sway them with bullshit Mike? Clearly that nutjob isn’t remotely representative of the lefts principles, people, or policy.

    I don’t try and convince people to vote Green on the basis of WhaleOils bile – why are you trying to trick people into going in a certain direction?

    Phil – no debate from here. Same thing with religion.

  61. mike 61

    T-rex, don’t take all this (and yourself) so seriously.

    I doubt anyone who visits these blogs are likely to be “swayed” by our banter.

    I also agree with Phil.

  62. T-rex 62

    Thanks for the link HS. The left is getting nastier by the day. That site is in fact a warning of what a true Green/Labour NZ could look like

    If you say something with sincerity, then I’ll take it seriously, especailly when it’s patently moronic.

    But yeah, you’re right – pretty much feels like shouting in a vacumn. I just hope that occasionally some journalist will stop by and find something they can use in lieu of doing their own research.

  63. NX 63

    Come on guys… it’s quite apparent from reading the article that John Key is a decent bloke.

    I’m sure you’d find him excellent company to have a beer with.

    Yet you constantly slagging the guy who is likely to be our next prime minister.

    There’s something deeply depressing about politics when a decent bloke’s character is constantly berated for a political end. Mike Moore said something along those lines.

    Anyway, I started reading this blog to try and get a more balanced opinion – but the frivolous attacks on John Key’s character are just getting me down rather than challenge my preconceptions.

    .. perhaps I need to give this blog a rest or find something some other prominent left leaning blog.

  64. T-rex 64

    Oh dear christ that’s NOT THE POINT.

    I’ve got really bad news for you NX – Key is not your beer buddy (unless he is, which would explain a lot).

    You stupid sod. You’re either desperately disingenuous or just thick.

  65. NX 65

    You stupid sod. You’re either desperately disingenuous or just thick.

    ^ I think this says more about you than it does about me.

    Take a chill. It’s Friday & it’s beer o’clock.

    (NB: it’s not actually Friday – just wishful thinking on my part)

  66. Lew 66

    NX: I think the point people are trying to make is that `decent bloke’ isn’t the primary qualification to be PM.


  67. NX 67

    Key has shown good judgment on the smacking bill, & on a number of different issues including race relations i.e. attending Waitangi day and on asset sales.

    He’s been leader of the opposition since 2006 & shadow finance spokesman before that.

    He’s been in managerial roles for most of his working life so knows how to run a team.

    Admittedly he hasn’t had an opportunity to show his nonce in foreign policy – apart from agreeing with Labour.

    Basically if Key isn’t fit to be PM, then who is?

    Also, in the current economic climate Key’s experience in the ‘real world’ actually counts for a lot.

  68. Bill 68

    ‘Real world’?

    That’s the world of financial markets is it?

    Always thought the world of Capitalist finance was at best disregardful of reality when it wasn’t dangerously divorced from it…but hey, that’s just what I thought.

  69. T-rex 69

    Sorry NX, at snapping point for a variety of reasons. If frustration levels drop I’ll reply later, for now consider the following scenario:

    You’re having a heart attack. Two people stand before you. One is a trauma doctor with attending ambulance. The other is a nice guy with some beer. Who do you want to attend to you?

    Next question – why the hell would you use a different process for deciding on who was going to run your country?

    Now consider this, stolen from http://www.idrewthis.org

    Maureen Dowd, not exactly the sharpest nail in the toolbox as it is, posits that Barack Obama takes himself too seriously:

    Many of the late-night comics and their writers — nearly all white — now admit to The New York Times’s Bill Carter that because of race and because there is nothing “buffoonish’ about Obama …

    At first blush, it would seem to be a positive for Obama that he is hard to mock. But on second thought, is it another sign that he’s trying so hard to be perfect that it’s stultifying? Or that eight years of W. and Cheney have robbed Democratic voters of their sense of humor? …

    [I]f Obama gets elected and there is nothing funny about him, it won’t be the economy that’s depressed. It will be the rest of us.

    You heard it here first, folks. It is a requirement for a president to be silly in some way, otherwise he’s “stultifying” in a way that will “depress” comedy writers, and, oh, the rest of us.

    I’m getting a little tired of these oddball ideals that the media considers important for leaders of a nation. Awareness of the issues? The ability to delegate wisely? Keen judgment during crucial diplomatic and economic junctures? No, you gotta want to have a beer with him. You gotta be able to laugh at him. Haw! Haw!

    This lackadaisical attitude can’t possibly resonate with a voter faced with a horrible economy and a spiralling out-of-control war. In 2000, it was easier to be complacent and assume the President was a goofy figurehead who had no influence on the greater power of law. We know differently now. I think more and more voters are willing to skip the beer and laughs in order to point to their broken lives screaming “Fix it!” In order to inspire the confidence of a world-weary populace, you pretty much have to throw away the clown makeup.

    Likewise, there’s a perception that the fact that Key came from humble beginnings has something to do with it. This isn’t f*cking Star Wars, people. If the Heralds article is to be believed (and it sounds reasonable) then Key was an ‘ambitious’ yet not particularly bright student. He went on to make a whole heap of money doing assorted banker/trader type things. So? What does that have to do with his ability to be a good prime minister? If he’d got rich smuggling cocaine would he be a good prime minister?

    Finally (for now) – the thing that really drives me nuts is that people think they should be voting for a prime minister. WRONG. A vote for Key is not a vote for a happy go lucky came from humble beginnings drinking buddy. That’s just what Crosby/Textor want you to think it is.

    A vote for Key is a vote for National, and more to the point National Party policy. Which is predicated on fu*king over most of NZ. People are failing to grasp this, because they’re too focussed on what a good beer buddy he might make, and as a result they more than likely going to vote for shafting themselves.

    Which is why I somewhat unkindly called you thick. Vote for the policy you like, not for the puppet presenting it to you.

  70. I’ve gotta agree with Bill on this – speculation is not about the real world. It’s about a series of narratives of “value” based their position to other narratives. Kinda like Key himself really…

  71. Phil 71


    Exactly, that’s just what you thought. I’m willing to bet all the money in my pockets, against all the money in your pockets, that it never crossed your mind you might have thought wrong.

    There are few careers where the ability to think rapidly on your feet and weigh up competing interests/outcomes/scenarios have such an immediately measurable indicator of your success, as currency trading.

    Can you think of another career where those skills are exceedingly useful?
    I’ll give you a clue; it starts with “P” and Helen Clark does it currently.

  72. Phil 72

    “If he’d got rich smuggling cocaine would he be a good prime minister?”

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say; Yes.

  73. T-rex 73

    Phil – first of all, that doesn’t mean it has anything to do with reality.

    I can think of a whole lot more careers: Paramedic, Fireman, Policeman, Rescue pilot for the obvious ones. Mountaineer. Bartender. In fact, thousands of careers.

    The only thing really special about currency trading is that most of its participants completely isolate themselves from real human considerations. The last thing you want in a Prime Minister. Currency traders make money by rectifying noise and manipulating the system. You don’t need to be smart (as evidenced), you just need to be unscrupulous and be good at judging sentiment.

    That does NOT make a good prime minister. It might make a ‘good’ (in terms of electoral prospects) prime ministerial candidate, but that’s NOT the same thing.

    Key has spent his entire working life dealing with a system which is in the process of losing 100’s of billions of dollars. And you want to put him in charge of our economy? You’re an optimist!

  74. T-rex 74

    Lol – Right.

    Because morals, integrity, respect for law, and an understanding of relevant issues have nothing to do with competent decision making?

    I really wonder about what you think a Prime Ministers job is. We’re not recruiting for MI6 here Phil, Key is unlikely to have to negotiate with the russian mafia with only a wisecracking sidekick for support.

  75. Bill 75

    I think you have no money in your pockets Phil.

    Anyway. I think (how much is this one worth I wonder?) you overestimate the skill necessary to speculate. Like any other gambler, you need money. Better if you have enough of it to cover short term losses. Better yet. Use other people’s money.

    Oh. And you have to let the making of money over ride all other considerations …such as the consequences of your activity for others. Think food crisis here and you won’t be far wrong….unless you think if you plant a feather it will grow a hen.

  76. lprent 76

    NX: An extra decade in parliament would make me feel more assured. At present he looks simply too inexperienced to be effective.

    Parliament isn’t a business and the rules and indeed even the objectives are completely different. For instance if JK had to commit troops at present I’d be terrified that he has no understanding of consequence. Consider what Lange was like when the first coup in Fiji happened – had to be restrained by the senior military.

    Business doesn’t have to concern itself with downstream consequences. For instance a change in housing policy comes with major implications to children. That may cause problems 20 years down the track in say health policy. At present I get the feeling that JK would decide (over a beer) that it is more sexy for the current election to commit to do something stupid.

    That certainly showed up in his commitment to spend money on a “to the house fibre” network. Can’t think of anything more stupid, and that is pretty much what most people around the industry think.

    Inexperienced is bad enough in most politicians, but in PM’s or potential PM’s it is a bit terrifying. English would have been a better choice.

  77. Ben R 77

    “You don’t need to be smart (as evidenced), you just need to be unscrupulous and be good at judging sentiment.”

    Wasn’t Key (looking at Wikipedia) head of Asian foreign exchange, then later global head of foreign exchange, based in London for Merrill Lynch?

    The only people I know who work for equivalent type firms, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital etc in the UK or NYC are super bright. I don’t buy this idea that you could reach that position otherwise. I suspect there is some false modesty in Key saying he wasn’t that smart.

  78. Lew 78

    See, this is the thing – all the Team LPG (thanks 08wire) partisans on this site and elsewhere are now ignoring all the positives about Key that this scandalously soft-focussed Herald bio throws up, and retreating to defend two points which were already known about him: that he was a currency trader, and that he’s politically inexperienced. I get T-Rex’s point that there are any number of occupations well-suited to politics – although having been a barman, I wouldn’t say barman is one of them – if only they are really fucking good at whatever career that was.

    The proposition isn’t that John Key is qualified to be PM because he was a currency trader: the proposition is that he’s qualified to be PM because he was a really fucking good currency trader. The Herald piece makes that proposition very hard to refute, unless you argue that no currency trader should be PM.

    There is another proposition: that Key isn’t qualified to be PM because of his inexperience. This one has some legs, however: 1. many people will see this as a benefit, not a liability, looking back as we do upon our experience with career politicians. 2. I’d say it’s more of a liability for Key than it is for anyone else. If he fails to perform in a Prime Ministerial fashion he’ll get sent back to the kiwifruit orchard, as did his predecessor. There are plenty of possible successors once an election is in the bag.

    So I don’t get how y’all think Key is less able to be PM now than they thought before reading this. if anything, it indicates the opposite. This doesn’t mean there’s no basis to oppose him: ultimately his politics are the same as they ever were, and the extent of those politics may be revealed somewhat more clearly by next week’s sequel. But the person revealed here is one who is eminently electable, and who on paper is entirely capable of running a country with a strong, politically-experienced leadership team around him – which, in Brownlee, English, Smith, Ryall and McCully, is what Key has. I don’t agree with how they’d run the country, based on their prior history – but anyone who considers that they can’t run it is wilfully deluding themselves.

    So far Key’s enemies, and the Standardistas in particular, have been drawing attention to Key’s weak points: his political inexperience, his gaffes, his flip-flops. Although I’m not part of this campaign, a bit of advice to those who are: this approach is misguided. The focus of a campaign which hopes to be successful needs to be less on his failings than on his strengths. Key’s strengths, per the Herald piece, which enabled him to succeed as a currency trader: Decisiveness. Determination. Patience. Ice-cold calm under fire. Willingness to risk it all. Ability to follow through. Remorselessness.

    If you want to attack John Key, draw attention to what might happen under a Key government. Given his history, he’s not some motley fool who won’t make sweeping changes – he hasn’t gotten where he is today by being timid. I think he has the wherewithal to roll out a sweeping programme of political and social change the like of which we haven’t seen since Lange, but I think that, unlike Lange, he won’t get cold feet. If you don’t like Key’s politics, I suggest you begin thinking about what might happen if the guy is given the power he seeks.

    Or you could continue to write him off as an empty vessel. Good luck with that.


  79. Lew 79

    Whee, mixed cases and tenses. Sorry, sometimes five minutes isn’t long enough to proof properly.


  80. T-rex 80

    Lew – what???

    I’m trying to combat the overwhelming mentality that Key will do good things for this country because he’d be a nice guy to have a beer with and made lots of money currency trading.

    I would have thought that this:

    Finally (for now) – the thing that really drives me nuts is that people think they should be voting for a prime minister. WRONG. A vote for Key is not a vote for a happy go lucky came from humble beginnings drinking buddy. That’s just what Crosby/Textor want you to think it is.

    A vote for Key is a vote for National, and more to the point National Party policy. Which is predicated on fu*king over most of NZ. People are failing to grasp this, because they’re too focussed on what a good beer buddy he might make, and as a result they more than likely going to vote for shafting themselves.

    addresses most of what you raise above.

    Also – at what point did you move from advocate to commentator?

    “If you want to attack John Key, draw attention to what might happen under a Key government.”

    You say above that you don’t agree with how they’d run the country – why are you suddenly sounding like a political commentator then instead of a proponent of a certain ideology/party?

    I don’t differentiate between ‘ability to run a country’ and ‘ability to run a country well’ as you seem to be with this comment: “but anyone who considers that they can’t run it is wilfully deluding themselves”.

    Anyone can run a country badly. Whether you run it badly by being a stammering incompetent layabout or by making sweeping, ambitious, yet ultimately ill-advised changes doesn’t change the overall quality of your contribution (though obviously it will change the outcome). If anything, sweeping ill advised change is worse than apathy!

    So, basically my argument is that none of Keys pedigree is proof of his ability to run a country well. It hasn’t given him the right values. He might have the ability to meet an agenda, but that’s even worse because the agenda he’s (by virtue of being the National Party candidate) working to is terrible.

    The guy might be an effective tool, but he’s a tool of the National Party policy framework, which means that it’s just as bad as ever.

  81. T-rex 81

    Oh, and finally:

    “I suggest you begin thinking about what might happen if the guy is given the power he seeks”

    That is precisely what the Standardistas spend most of their time doing.

    “don’t vote for National because they’ll wreck ACC”

    “don’t vote for National because they’ll throw out workers rights”

    “don’t vote for National because they’ll put the nation into huge debt”

    These are far from uncommon sentiments.

  82. Razorlight 82

    SP you questioned how Mr Key could not have an opinion on the Springbok Tour.

    Is that really that unbelivable. The tour was without doubt the most contentious political issue in the past 50 years, but that does not mean every person in New Zealand held a strong opinion on it.

    My mother for example was and is a keen rugby supporter. She did not believe sports and politics should mix. However when she saw the violence that resulted from the tour she thought in hind sight it should not have gone ahead. If you ask her now what side of the fence she stood on she would give an answer very similar to Mr Key’s.

    For a hard lefty like yourself those questions are answered easily. For some moderate New Zealanders they were torn inside between competing values and sat on the fence during that tour. Why could Mr Key not have been one of those people.

  83. Quoth the Raven 83

    Thanks for the link Bill Browne I missed that on Sunday – brilliant.

    “It’s hard to know what Mickey Savage would think of another leader who benefitted from his grand vision of cradle to the grave welfare.” – John Key.

    For all those righties saying he worked himself up from a statehouse try to imagine how hard that would have been if he hadn’t had that statehouse to live in – work his way up from the streets maybe.

    “This documentary was shot just days before the sharemarket crash. It was a heady time when greed was indeed good and John Key was one of the rising stars of this new rising dawn in the moments before it turned into a golden shower.”

    Hilarious I love the unauthorised history of new zealand. I wonder if that was John Key pissing into the bottle it doesn’t show the person’s face. Also where have Key’s glasses gone? It was hilarious to see Key dodging questions way back in 1987. Little has changed.

    “Key was bold and decisive but when it came to question time the answers were somehow elusive”
    “Can you say how many days you’ve lost money?”
    “I’d prefer not to, but it’s relatively low.”

    Question dodging way back in the eighties aye. I wonder what the righties would think of the corporate profiler; “..obsessive yes. Such individuals are often distorted.” It was a good watch thanks Bill.

  84. T-rex 84

    Because, Razor, Key is purported to have been a politics junkie, so the suggestion that he didn’t even have an opinion on what you refer to as the most contentious political issue in the last 50 years is, frankly, ridiculous. It’d be like a political junkie today not having a view on an appropriate response to climate change.

    The idea that sport and politics should not mix is crap. Sport these days IS, to a large degree, politics.

    If you were at school would you let someone who routinely and unapologetically beat up all your friends play soccer with you at lunchtime? If you’d tell them to piss off until they decided to be nice, then you’ve proved my point, and if you wouldn’t then I doubt you’ve got any friends…

  85. T-rex 85

    Um, it’s basically Eating Medoa Lunch quoth, I doubt it’s real footage.

    Though I’m sure they’re bang on the money 🙂

  86. Quoth the Raven 86

    Don’t worry righties there is some in there for you too. Some Japanese television show where they had a whole lot of clips of Helen. The Japanese seemed to have a good laugh at Helen’s expense but they weren’t that funny for them to be laughing as much as they were – Japanese television who knows?

    T-rex – it looks pretty real to me have a watch.

  87. Razorlight 87

    T-Rex, I am not personally arguing that sports and politics should not mix. Kicking Zimbabwe sports teams out of all competitions is something I believe in.

    I am telling you that this is what alot of people did believe in 1981. Hence the violence. Lets not argue the rights and wrongs of it. Those arguments are quite clear.

    All I am saying is not everyone held a strong argument. Even political junkies may have been torn inside between competing values. Is that so hard to believe.

  88. T-rex 88

    True – but I also know they’re very good.

    I agree though, it looks legit. Hillarious stuff.

    I dearly love “But life was not all cocaine and bi*ches”

  89. T-rex 89

    Razor – I can understand someone being really torn over it potentially (even though I’d question the priorities of someone who was – as would you evidently), but as I recall it that’s not what Key said. He said he couldn’t remember what his view was. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t even remember what they thought.

    I think he’s being slippery, because he wants both sides of the spectrum to convince themselves he probably would have sided with them.

    Sorry – I mean he’s being ‘sensitive’, and doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who viewed things differently.

  90. ak 90

    Lew’s right: Key’s “nice guy” image is pretty well unassailable. The media have buffed it to a teflon sheen over many months – only a full-on tantrum on screen would dent it now (and he’s avoiding screens).

    More importantly, that Herald hagiography reveals that he has spent his entire life cultivating the “nice” veneer: every sight reminds me of the old saw; “Once you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made”. A top performer with a lifetime of rehearsal.

    But that other old saw tells us “Nice guys come last”. And Key’s always come first.
    As others have mused, either there are some deeply buried victims of the “smiling assassin” still lurking, or Key has applied himself to his own promotion with incredible zeal over decades: either way, his weakness lies in the record.

    One thing lingers from that Herald article: the picture of a young boy, having recently lost his father and moved to a state housing area in the 1960s with a solo jewish mother, engaged in heated political arguments with that same maternal rock.
    The framing point of his life: the birth of a precocious steely determination to escape the cloying humanity of his mother’s politics and religion (and God knows what taunts and slights – so pervasive in that era and milieu) that would never leave.
    The squash – intensely individual and responsive to training: the choice of accountancy – (and that instantly flicked for the promise of riches): the steady workaholic habits, avoidance of vice and mastery of office politics.

    A picture of a life lived in the relentless, calculated, exclusive pursuit of the material advancement of John Key. The party of individual wealth has found its ultimate practitioner to lead it.

    But not to lead this beautiful country. The gaps in the Herald article mirror the gaps in Key’s CV for PM: where are the acts of charity, the community work, the vision (other than for himself), the jolly anecdotes, the charming fumbles and foibles that make us human and proud New Zealanders? Where is the history to validate the “concern” for the underclass, the community involvement to prove empathy with the middle class, the joining, the sharing, the writing the anything with any class?

    Oh he’s a nice guy alright. Full stop.

    And as with his handlers’ policies, no doubt more will leak out before November. But on the evidence to date, he’s just a competent David Brent.
    Kiwis want meat with their spuds: as Hels noted, blancmange isn’t filling enough from here on in.

  91. Lew 91

    T-Rex: Actually, I didn’t direct this post at you. I think you’re one of the people who’s not misunderestimating John Key.

    Still, a few things to reply to below.

    “I would have thought that this: […] addresses most of what
    you raise above.”

    Yes, I mostly agree with it in principle – but not the bit about how the Nats are intent on fucking over the country. I believe they’re doing what they think is best – I don’t agree that it is, but I don’t ascribe malice.

    “Also – at what point did you move from advocate to commentator?” and “why are you suddenly sounding like a political commentator then
    instead of a proponent of a certain ideology/party?”

    I am an analyst. It’s what I do. At what point was I ever an advocate? I think a National win at present would be bad for NZ, but that doesn’t make me a Team LPG partisan. I’ve argued strongly against some specific points of policy and principle (ACC privatisation, for instance), but not for or against a particular party.

    “I don?t differentiate between `ability to run a country’ and `ability to run a country well'”

    I think it’s important to distinguish between incompetence and misguided ideas about what is and isn’t good. The point I’m trying to make is that a lot of the attacks on Key are focusing on his implied incompetence. I don’t think he’s incompetent; I think he’s potentially dangerous because all those qualities I listed above will enable him to implement a very strong legislative agenda with which I will very likely disagree. This is not an objective science, though – reasonable people can disagree to an extent over whether National policy will be good or bad.

    “The guy might be an effective tool, but he?s a tool of the National Party policy framework, which means that it?s just as bad as ever.”

    From this line it’s clear you understand what I’m saying, though I’d emphasise that he would seem to be an extremely effective tool.

    “That is precisely what the Standardistas spend most of their time doing. [snip ACC, 90-day, borrowing for tax cuts]”

    I agree that they’re doing a good job of covering the policy as it has been released, but that wasn’t my point. I think the focus needs to be on the man’s qualities, and using them to extrapolate beyond these specific policies. I recognise it’s hard going, since Team LPG partisans taking this line sound like tinfoil-hatted VRWC nuts, and National partisans return to the safe haven of `he’s such a nice moderate man’.

    Key says he’s `ambitious for NZ’ and I think that given his history only a fool would believe this is an empty slogan. Since the policies we’ve seen are not at all ambitious, the question remains: what are National’s strategic legislative ambitions? Even the big two issues of ACC and 90-day no-rights are a distraction – predictable stuff which would have left National open to attack even if they’d not been confirmed as policy. In game theory terms, explicit support for these policies is a signal to their traditional lobbying base that National are still on the `right’ side despite all the `Labour Lite’ jibes.

    The picture I get of John Key is of someone who makes fundamental structural changes to the operation of every system he works in. Not to sound overly conspiratorial, I think the overall analysis that he’s keeping his policy in the dark until after the election is right – so the question is: what fundamental irreversible changes does he have in store for NZ?

    I don’t necessarily believe that National wants to abolish welfare, outlaw the unions, implement regressive taxation, dismantle all branches of the state except health, education, justice and defence, privatise everything and generally corporatise the country. But there are people who do, and I do believe that if National does have that agenda, Key is the man with the qualities to implement it. If you want to run an attack line, run an `if you want a vision of the future’ sort of line like this one – `Key will corporatise New Zealand’.


  92. T-rex 92

    Hi Lew,

    Thanks for the response. We agree entirely (with the possible exception of the nature of Keys ambition – you say for the nation, I suspect it may be largely personal) so I’ll leave you to argue the point with anyone who disagrees with you rather than butting in.

    I didn’t realise you were an analyst – I’m sorry for you! I don’t have any professional obligation to remain neutral, so I’m free to do whatever I want, however I try to do so in a balanced manner 🙂 . It’s not my fault that Nationals ideology is flawed 😉

  93. T-rex 93

    Actually I think I just got something new from your post above – cheers.

    You’re saying that people should not vote National on the basis that “things won’t change that much”, because Key will be an agent of change like we’ve never seen. i.e. Be damned sure you want everything National is possibly likely to pursue, because you’ll almost certainly get it.

    Very good point.

  94. Lew 94

    T-rex: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

    Incidentally, I’m free to do what I want too – I just see more value in remaining nonpartisan than I do in nailing my colours to one particular mast. I’m loyal to principles, not to their implementation.


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