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Where were you then (and do you care?)

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 pm, October 15th, 2008 - 94 comments
Categories: john key, youtube - Tags:

Lots of comments continue over the leaders debate. One of the bits that made it through the usual dinner time madness in my household was the section on the Springbok tour. It reminded me of this video clip. In it, Key was all over the place, before adopting that favourite technique, tell everyone what they wanted to hear. And yes, this was from a man who has said he was ‘always interested in politics’

In last night’s debate Key did it again. Despite being at university, intensely interested in politics, the mesage was ‘the Springbok tour just wasn’t an important part of my life’.

For those of you for whom this was not a defining moment – I understand your questions about “why all the fuss?”. But if you were interested in politics, wanted to be PM from when you were a child, told your girlfriend even – wouldn’t you have been at least a little more engaged in the issue that rocked the nation while you were a student on campus?

94 comments on “Where were you then (and do you care?) ”

  1. Mick Wrighton 1

    It’s just poor form – I remember the tour with crystal clarity, and here’s a guy who claims he was ‘always interested in politics’, but didn’t have a strong view on whether racists should be allowed to the country. God forbid John Key should win this election.

  2. milo 2

    I was protesting in Auckland, including outside the third test at Eden Park. I remember the three action squads, although not their names. Biko was one … Everyone was demoralised by the failure to stop the test, but the flour bombing plane raised a cheer each time. The helmets were on, and shields for some of the front line. I remember seeing one guy in Kendo armour, as defence against the police. I also remember the police used giant steel rubbish bins to block streets – that seemed so prosaic to me. Didn’t they have regular barrier?

    That whole tour was brought about by one man who was prepared to create factions in New Zealand, and use that naked factionalism to win an election. His name was Muldoon, and whatever he was at the start, he became one of the most self-serving and bitterly divisive politicians we have known.

  3. r0b 3

    Amen Mick.

    I was in Christchurch back in the day. And yes I care. I marched with the protestors. I wasn’t at the front where the action was, but as I left the protest I was hassled by police. I still have the jacket that was ripped as they pushed me up against a car.

    Defining moments indeed ,with crystal clarity. I used to watch the rugby – haven’t since 1981. I used to trust the police – that’s a little more complicated these days (how easily actions like those of the Red Squad and Blue Squad can squander a generation of trust).

    May we never see the like in this country again.

  4. r0b 4

    Yo Milo – whatever our arguments elsewhere, your words here are right on. If we ever meet I’ll buy you a beer.

  5. milo 5

    Cheers r0b. Keep arguing. And in vino veritas eh? Sometime.

  6. r0b 6

    Sometime perhaps! G’night.

  7. lurgee 7

    It is very nice to know that Helen was so worked up about human rights in 1981. Shame that, in 2008, she signed a free trade deal with the PRC.

  8. Outofbed 8

    I was 21 and in New Zealand at that time as part of my OE with my girlfriend
    (both from UK) As a soccer supporter with No interest in the of game rugby whatsoever, I can distinctly remember how I shocked at the behaviour of the police and Muldoon. .I was strongly anti tour, it is just not credible that Key did not have a strong view on the matter.

  9. I handed out 2000 support the tour badges and battled with the communist sport wrecking shit stirrers at all three test matches.

  10. slightlyrighty 10

    I was 13. Now let me preface my comment with the fact that I am a rugby supporter and that 1981 was a great time to be a rugby supporter in Wellington. We had the shield and had won the championship. The AB’s were stacked with Wellingtonians and the Boks were still the team to be measured by.

    I knew of aparthied and had attended lectures at my school sponsored by HART were South African activists spoke of it’s effects on their own population. I was definitely anti aparthied but also pro tour. It was possible to hold both views. Lets not forget that in 1981, rugby divided this country, but in 1995, rugby united South Africa.

    South Africa has had a difficult re-birth and the country currently sits on a precipice. We do not know which way it will fall but I have great fears for all it’s people. I was in South Africa at the time of it’s 2nd free elections. The direction of the country at that time were causing many young South African’s, including those I would describe as Liberals, to question the value in remaining at the expense of their children’s futures.

    This is a difficult, multi faceted issue and speculation of where a person stood on an issue 27 years ago is next to useless.

  11. DeeDub 11

    “the communist sport wrecking shit stirrers”

    Think I saw them gigging at Mainstreet?

  12. DeeDub 12


    “This is a difficult, multi faceted issue and speculation of where a person stood on an issue 27 years ago is next to useless.”

    Firtsly let me say I was at the time and still am a rabid rugby fan….. so at least we have that in common.

    The point is though, that 27 years ago it really wasn’t a ‘multi-faceted issue’ was it? You cannot argue (at least with any credibility) that supporting a tour by a racially selected team representing a regime where 95% of the population were actively denied human rights in any form on the basis of race was in ANY way justifiable!

    We all know at the time you were really only one of three things: you were either pro-tour or anti-tour or you didn’t give a rats about rugby and/or politics. I think the point here is that it looks like Key’s ‘lifelong political interest’ spin is just that. Bullshit. At BEST he didn’t give a rats…. . or was he a tour supporter …otherwise what would be the harm in just saying where he stood at the time?

  13. Akldnut 13

    slightlyrighty ‘This is a difficult, multi faceted issue and speculation of where a person stood on an issue 27 years ago is next to useless.’

    Unless that person is running for PM ard he is deliberatly being vague (To the point of lying) so that he can get more votes. (Slippery as an eel).

    I was 22 and living in Aus. Everyone (including the aussies) had an opinion, whether it was pro or anti dosn’t matter but they did have an idea of where they stood on the issue. Whereas Key “can’t even remember, I don’t really know, I don’t really have a strong feeling of it at the time………..” but he remmembers it being a hot topic at uni in 81.

    In the last week (cant remember which programe) I saw him on TV saying that he was midly pro tour – Huh WTF is that?

    Eel…..Snake Take your choice

  14. ape08 14

    “His name was Muldoon, and whatever he was at the start, he became one of the most self-serving and bitterly divisive politicians we have known”.

    Until he was trumped by the current incumbent.

    [lprent: Not even in the same order]

  15. Dom 15

    Look, we all know what happened here. Key was unprepared for the question waaaay back when it was first answered. So he lied because, as is his way, he wanted to sit on the fence and have a bob both ways rather than make a call that might see some people not liking him (this man is desperate to be loved). Now he’s stuck in that stupid spot. If he’d said he supported the tour I would have far more respect for him.

    Hell, I was 13 years old at the time and had an opinion! My anti-tour stance wasn’t popular at the intensely rugby playing school I was at, I can tell you. A teacher even shouted at me in class because I dared to argue politics with him about it. Ah, the good old days…

  16. Rakaia George 16

    I just don’t see how this is at all relevant. Ok, I’m a Pom and I was 10 at the time, but this is like Gordon Brown asking what David Cameron’s attitude was to the Miners Strike.

    Sure, it divided the nation at the time and it was a big deal for the Labour movement but its relevance to now is what exactly? The only difference I can see is that the lefties “won” the tour argument but “lost” the miners strike so don’t bring the subject up.

  17. Scribe 17


    You cannot argue (at least with any credibility) that supporting a tour by a racially selected team representing a regime where 95% of the population were actively denied human rights in any form on the basis of race was in ANY way justifiable!

    You’re right, of course. But we have, as someone already said, signed a free trade agreement with a country that is, if not the greatest abuser of human rights today, certainly in the top three.

    I thought that was unjustifiable.

    (On the tour, I was 4 at the time, so can’t speak to that point.)

    Captcha: Opera Transferred (where to?)

  18. higherstandard 18

    I was just finishing up at high school.

    We had the All Blacks train at the school grounds – in the greater scheme of things was the tour one of the more important episodes in my life – not even close.

    I watched the tests on TV as well as the antics of the fervent pro and anti tour protesters – I found the behaviour of both groups to be fairly disgusting.

  19. Ianmac 19

    It is great to read the experiences of people who had strong views above. But don’t lose sight of the issue that a would-be PM is less than forthright. I don’t care if he was pro or anti. That doesn’t matter now. Its how John fails to answer credibly. The same is the issue over his denial over the Maori seats issue with Peter Sharples. Upfront? Honest? Credible? PM?

  20. appleboy 20

    well said lanmac..the answers key gave in that first audio interview were inane..he’s truely spineless. Key has flopped on so many policy areas, it’s just incredible. mcCully and the backroom dead rat brigade must be pinching themselves people still buy his shit.

  21. Tripod 21

    “I watched the tests on TV as well as the antics of the fervent pro and anti tour protesters – I found the behaviour of both groups to be fairly disgusting” – Nelson Mandela didn’t find the behaviour of the fervent anti tour protesters disgusting. The protesters were right to resist. A defining moment in our nation’s history.

    Whether Key’s stance on it makes a difference is another matter. I thought he deflected the question quite well. I suspect he was pro tour but doesn’t want to say it. I didn’t think it was a particularly good tactic to try to attack him on this though, most younger people are more worried about the future than the past.

  22. maxg 22

    And what the fuck has this got to do with 2008?

    Get with the program people.

    [lprent: Looks like another troll. I think I’ll preemptively stash them in moderation because I’m short of time to explain the facts of this site to them. Read the About/Policy at the top of the page.]

  23. maxg 23

    Now, lets talk about Helen Clarks “wife bashing” smear on John Key shall we?

  24. milo 24

    Well Ian, Tripod. If you want to make this about current leaders, then the next time I marched in protest was 26 years later, against the Electoral Finance Act.

    John Key’s memory is irrelevant against this piece of legislation, which sees radio talkshow hosts breaking the law if they say “vote for Labour”, employer advocates liable for jail for running an ad against kiwisaver changes, and the Electoral commission threatening Tui over a piece of great Kiwi culture.

    All those who gave reassurances about the EFA have been proved dead wrong. And all the parties that voted for this law have broken it. Meanwhile, the head of the Electoral Commission accuses it of a chilling effect on our democracy. It shattered the bipartisan consensus on electoral law, and in doing so undermined one of our most important political conventions. The musings from the Prime Minister are now to add government controls on the press.

    Forget freedom in South Africa. They’ve got it now. Defend freedom in New Zealand.

  25. Dom 25

    Really, not a good tactic to attack a politician on where he stood on a major political issue – remember, Key is the one saying ‘he can’t remember’ (which is a lie, of course he does and all this talking about it would have jogged his memory)? I would say it’s a great tactic.

  26. randal 26

    It seems the only principle Keys has is the principle of compound interest and the debtors ledger. His house is a square box so there is obviously no aesthetic principle. So we are being asked to give everything to a big swinging dick from a defunct brokerage with posibbly a palstic septum. nada.

  27. QoT 27

    Not a glimmer in my mother’s eye in 1981, me, and *I* have strong views about the Tour, for God’s sake.

    The thing that pisses me off about this, though, is not that John Key probably supported the Tour (because I can’t see him being this cagey if he’d been anti-Tour). That’s not actually the issue – anyone voting in 2008 on the basis of a person’s attitude to the Tour needs to get their priorities sorted. It’s that he refuses to admit it, and honestly expects people to believe that he, alone in the entire country, didn’t have opinions one way or the other. It’s that *he* thinks it’s an issue that will turn voters against him (which again leads me to believe that he wasn’t just pro-Tour, he was pro-everything that went along with it).

    If he’d just say, “Well, I was a student, I felt xyz about the Tour, but now I want to concentrate on issues affecting New Zealanders” it would not be the issue it’s become. It’s an issue because HE has made it so with his patently bullshit “oh, I was totes ambivalent, really” lines.

  28. maxg 28

    And Helen Clark owns 5 houses sponsored by the new zealand tax payer.

    I hear peter is a rich man also.

    does that make them both rich pricks?

    Huluns honker aint that pretty either, unless you look at the photoshopped posters.

    Grow up randal.

  29. maxg 29

    why does key have to make an opinion about the tour – its history, its irrelavant, its a diversionary tactic inserted into the campaign by labour.

    only the foolish are diverted by a fools erand.

  30. Tim Ellis 30

    I was living in Australia at the time, and I was puzzled by what all the fuss was about. I was surprised with some of the behaviour from both the protesters and the police. I don’t remember having a strong view either way. I do recall being perplexed that a couple of New Zealand friends seemed proud to have been arrested.

    The Left seem convinced that all their defining moments–and I don’t doubt that the Springbok Tour was a defining moment for the Left–are everybody else’s defining moments. I struggle to recall a defining moment for the Right, since the Right don’t generally tend to advocate social change, but maybe that’s one of the differences between Left and Right.

    I think of myself as quite moderate. I don’t oppose social change for conservative sake, but many of the fights for change that have happened (Vietnam, sporting contacts with South Africa, nuclear-free New Zealand, homosexual law reform) just haven’t been high up on my agenda.

    What I do find appalling is the attempt to demonise people not just for taking a different view during these struggles, but apparently for not taking a view at all.

  31. ak 31

    most younger people are more worried about the future than the past.

    So are most of the wiser people who built this country for you Tripey.

    That’s why we don’t want a slippery prevaricating kid with zero history of public or community service, whose most marked character trait is a narcissistic drive for personal approval at all costs and who has demonstrably lied on several occasions, replacing one of the most intelligent, experienced, diligent, trusted and accomplished PMs we have ever been fortunate enough to enjoy.

    It’s a jungle our there Tripey, and the future’s looking a little shaky right now: a selfish, green rhetoric machine who would have taken us into Iraq and put our kids on terrorists” lists forever, and who can lie at will on random topics and flip-flop the most sacred tory tenets in a blink, is the last person we want in charge of this precious cargo when the wind’s about to get up.

  32. randal 32

    maxg your priciples might be for sale but then they wouldn’t be priciples would they

  33. randal 33


  34. As Jim Boldger pointed out on Agenda, the election has to be about more than just the economy, its got to be about building a nation.

    A defining moment for New Zealand and John ‘as deep as a puddle’ Key ‘cant really remember’ shows his complete lack of depth and appreciation for the country’s identity. And this is what people want from a Prime Minister? Can we imagine John Key at Gallipoli telling everyone it was so many years ago and its no longer relevant?

    But thats to be expected from a man who spends more time being negative about New Zealand than finding things worth celebrating.

  35. randal 35

    I think its known in the trade as selling your country “short”

  36. Gustavo Trellis 36

    Where was Helen when the Black Caps were touring Zimbabwe?

  37. Scribe 37

    Where was Helen when we signed a free-trade agreement with those well-known human rights deniers in China? Oh, that’s right, getting her photo taken in Beijing.

  38. Daveski 38

    I’ve noted elsewhere about the revisionist history we see related to this particular issue. Let’s not forget that Muldoon cynically used the tour to WIN an election so you have to realise that there was no consensus at the time that being anti-tour was “right”. Indeed, the anti-tour movement were seen as the traitors at the time which is why the revisionism is quite amusing.

    I was anti-tour an even marched in Napier during university holidays – the irony was that the Boks played NZ Maori IIRC correctly so you had people protesting about one racially selected team being allowed in the country while the NZ punters were supporting a different team selected on racial grounds 🙂

    Context is important – NZ was at the time incredibly insular and isolated in those days and views from outside NZ had little relevance, hence the surprise to NZers when the African nations boycotted NZ at Montreal (was that 1976?). Likewise, live transmissions of sport were still few and far between – famoulsy the first even live game to be broadcast in SA was the Waikato game that was called off.

    Key’s answers were weak and Helen rightfully played this for all its worth although it was a bit puke inducing when she played the Mandela card (think how the left pilloried Key for playing the Obama card).

    It meant a lot to me 27 years ago and caused massive friction in my family at the time.

    I guess I must have been at AK Uni at the same time as Key – I’ll wait for the conspiracy theory SP! I remember a vote/meeting on the issue with 10% fervently for, 10% fervently against, and the comm students couldn’t care less.

    Key could well have had no interest although his answers aren’t compelling. However, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t select the next PM on the basis of their opinion of events 27 years ago. I do agree that if he was pro-tour he should simply say so – he would have been in the majority at the time!

  39. rave 39

    The only interest John Key has in NZ is how to separate it from its wealth. Apartheid was not relevant. Iraq was. But now that his prized investment banks are bankrupt he is scavenging for the only banks left, NZs sovereign wealth funds, to rob for his PPPs. This shows how desperate Key is. His investments are probably plummeting, and he and his class are facing ruin. He is thrashing about in a totally opportunist way offering this to Maori, faking nationalism to the populists, principles to the Greens, so he can get into power and get his hands on the piggy bank. Now we have the proposal to turn the “commercial” SOEs into a giant PPP as a pension fund for the parasites. This has nothing to do with Muldoonism which was all about state capitalist autarky. Key’s policy is market anarchy robbing the kiddies piggy bank in the name of extreme adventure capitalism. Let him go bust. Put us out of our misery.

  40. Felix 40

    Jesus Tim, for someone who claims to not have a firm view on much you spend an awful lot of time telling everyone what you think about everything.

    Now I can appreciate that you’ve spent most of your life with your head up your arse and haven’t noticed any of the major events of the last 40 years but you do remember Muldoon don’t you?

    Key certainly does, he was Key’s personal Hero. The tour was the defining moment of Key’s personal hero’s political career.

    That alone is enough to tell you that Key (like yourself) is a bald-faced liar when he says he had no view on it.

  41. Tim Ellis 41

    Felix if you want to refrain from the personal abuse, then I will debate with you. But as you’re just trolling behind anonymity, I’m not going to climb into the sandpit with you.

  42. Felix 42


    “it was a bit puke inducing when she played the Mandela card (think how the left pilloried Key for playing the Obama card)”

    I don’t recall Helen saying “I’m a bit like Mandela” 😉

    I agree with you about the revisionism though. Seriously, all Key ever needed to say about this was “Oh yeah, at the time I was pro-tour, as were most of the people I knew and like a lot of kiwis were. In hindsight though, there were bigger issues at stake than rugby and if faced with a similar issue today I suspect my views would have probably changed somewhat.”

    Most people would have been happy with that answer and it has the added bonus of probably being true.

  43. Felix 43

    Tim that’s my name and picture so cut the sanctimonious crap. You didn’t give a shit about anonymity until you ran out of excuses for your own behavior. No-one cares who you are and I’m not asking you.

    You got caught out lying yesterday (again) and frankly it’s just getting boring reading your drivel. You’re a liar and a weasel and it’s plain for all to see.

  44. Tim Ellis 44

    So much rage and venom, Felix. Calm down and behave sensibly.

  45. Matthew Pilott 45

    What I do find appalling is the attempt to demonise people not just for taking a different view during these struggles, but apparently for not taking a view at all.

    It’s actually deomnising someone for lying about not having a view, when it’s obvious to anyone short of a coma that that is not be the truth. How did you miss that, Tim?

    Sure, a fair few people are mocking him for not having a view – fair enough. It would be like me saying I wanted to be an astronaut all my life and…what? They already landed on the moon!? Well call me Nancy, I had no idea. I just wasn’t that interested in the Apollo programme. I’ll be gormed.

    Felix – intersting point about saying Muldoon was his hero, and yet not remembering one of the most improtant events of Muldoon’s era. I hadn’t thought that through as well as you have,

  46. Felix 46

    Oh, Tim you sensible calm rational man. You’re getting me all excited.

    So tell me Tim, are you going to insist that anyone who wants to communicate with you must do so without the “veil of anonymity” that since yesterday has offended you so?

  47. Felix 47


    Absolutely – It’s like saying Nixon was my personal hero but I had no opinions about watergate.

  48. Daveski 48

    Felix @ 11.14

    That’s a first – i think we concur 🙂

    I understood the Mandela comment (as i did Key’s comment about Obama). The tour protest was undoubtedly instrumental in helping the push towards the dismantling of apartheid but it was a long path with a lot of other factors.

    I couldn’t agree more. I have an in-joke about when in doubt, tell the truth … perhaps we could set up a PR firm to compete with CT!

  49. burt 49

    Has anyone here ever dressed up as a clown and been beaten up by unidentified police?

  50. Matthew Pilott 50

    Yes Burt, but it wasn’t the real police. It was the naughty police, and it was more of a “beating” than a beating. It was very expensive, but well worth it. Do you need a recommendation?

    Hmm, Felix – if you were a big fan of Nixon you’d probably try to pretend you’d never heard of that particular hotel.

  51. Tim Ellis 51

    It’s actually deomnising someone for lying about not having a view, when it’s obvious to anyone short of a coma that that is not be the truth. How did you miss that, Tim?

    Maybe I’m in a coma then, Matthew. What I remember of my days at university was that the commerce students weren’t very politically active. Student politics was for the arts (particularly politics) and law students.

    I understand that the springbok tour was traumatic for some people–particularly those who protested, and particularly those who went to the rugby games that were disrupted by those protests, and particularly in the provinces. Muldoon cynically allowed the tour to proceed so that he could maintain swinging provincial seats. If you lived in the city, weren’t very interested in rugby, and weren’t from the Left, then I don’t think it can be taken as a given that you had to have a strong view on the tour. New Zealand wasn’t evenly divided down the middle. There was a large and noisy group opposed to the Tour, a large and noisy group in favour of it, and a large group in the middle that didn’t make much noise at all.

    Another defining moment in New Zealand sport in the same year was the underarm bowling incident. I know that many people in New Zealand–especially cricket fans, were outraged about it. Many others who didn’t watch cricket just didn’t care.

  52. randal 52

    yeah…john keys and now he has permanent amnesia

  53. higherstandard 53

    I could tell you my most resounding memory of the tour but it would probably really get people wound up.

  54. Matthew Pilott 54

    Maybe I’m in a coma then, Matthew

    Point missed again, Tim. What is happening now is that people are demonising (not the word I’d choose, castigating perhaps) Key NOW for lying NOW about the tour. Nothing to do with his thoughts on the tour at the time. It is about his lies here now, 2008, the present, during the 2008 election campaign. Not sure how I can make that more clear.

    In case you missed it, after realising the questions weren’t going to go away during the debate, Key conceeded that he was “slightly pro-tour”. Thus, all prior denials were lies, deliberate, intentional lies.

    The truth, finally battered out of Key, after months of feigned ambivalence.

    I like your cricket analogy. So if Key said he wanted to play Test Cricket for New Zealand and be the captain of the team, would you believe him if he said he didn’t have any opinion about the underarm incident?

  55. Tan 55

    I was too young to even remember it. Soper’s question was totally irrelavent, and clearly he was out to trip up Key. Key was way too smart for him though and he was right to dismiss it. Also, who cares if he didn’t protest, would does that prove anyway? That he’s not a Leftie? Big deal. Also, Key’s response to the ‘being rich’ question was right on, it would have connected with lots of people. Well done John, you are the man!

  56. randal 56

    tan…looks like you are in the post modernistic negotiable priciples bag. how much are yours worth?

  57. Tim Ellis 57

    Matthew, I haven’t got your point.

    Key is saying now that he was probably slightly pro-tour, but it wasn’t a big issue for him at the time, that he didn’t go to the rugby and didn’t protest. What stunning insight into John Key’s mind do you have to say this is untrue?

  58. randal 58

    obviously he was a wishy washy little twerp and he still is.

  59. I lived in Amsterdam, was 25 years and I had a bloody opinion. Hell I think the whole world had an opinion. John Key was “slightly” in favour? LOL. What a wanker. That’s like saying someone is a little bit pregnant.

    Tim you’re such a sad case. “I will debate you but you have to do it my way.”
    Grow up.

    AK hear, hear.

    You too.

  60. Matthew Pilott 60

    Key is saying now that he was probably slightly pro-tour, but it wasn’t a big issue for him at the time, that he didn’t go to the rugby and didn’t protest. What stunning insight into John Key’s mind do you have to say this is untrue?

    That for months he was saying he had no opinion, couldn’t remember, it wasn’t an issue and so on. This is difficult to reconcile with his fondness of Muldoon, his professed interest in politics and desire to be PM, among other stories (I suppose any of those could have been the lie, as opposed to his position on the tour).

    The other stunning ‘insight’ is his admission that he was slightly pro-tour, as seen recently on national television. So either he had a temporary bout of amnesia, or had been lying in order to not tell the audience something they might not want to hear – a fairly common theme with Mr Key.

    You originally said “What I do find appalling is the attempt to demonise people not just for taking a different view during these struggles, but apparently for not taking a view at all.

    I’m saying that the criticism isn’t for not having an opinion, because that’s not the case, as we have heard from the horse’s mouth – it’s that he’s been misleading us all along.

  61. Jasper 61

    Much like one of the other posters, I wasn’t a twinkle in my mommas eye either. However, looking at the history of it, I do have an opinion on it myself now. However, as it has happened, I wasnt involved, that opinion is null and void in this context.

    JK has several keyisms that would make for a great Tui book..

    Q: Should the drinking age be raised back to 20?
    A: Yes… what I supported was a split drinking age so the drinking age on premises remains at 18, but buying it from outlets would be 20.
    I voted in the bill a few weeks ago…or a few months ago actually, 12 months ago. No.. 2 years ago I think it was.

    Q: Would you abolish the maori seats?
    A: Look, no, if we had maori, and um, Im not saying we do (have them), them um, Id want to have reassurance from them they’d be happy losing them. But ahhh, I think I may have um, talked to Pita about keeping the seats so I can get into power and mark it up on my cv

    Q: Do you expect to be PM for the full term?
    A: Yes, um, I think that English may not be happy, but I have a mirror in front of me whereever I go so I can see him coming up behind me to stick a knife in my back

    The man is just… spineless.

    Disclaimer: One or more of these quotes are fictitious

  62. Ben R 62


    ” I could tell you my most resounding memory of the tour but it would probably really get people wound up.”

    Tell it please.

  63. Robin Grieve 63

    1981 was about a rugby tour, nothing more. Everyone in NZ hated apartheid and what it stood for. Some wanted to express their opposition to apartheid by protesting as is their right. Others wanted the tour because it would show South Africa that brown and white can play on the same team. Also they felt politics and sport should not mix because if we took a stand against sport with South Africa it would be hypocritical not to take the same stand against Zimbabwe, Fiji and other Eastern European countries. To support the tour was their right also as we live in a free country. The problem and antogonism started when one group tried with force to inflict their will on others and deny them the freedom to decide whether to watch a game or not. They put glass on the field they invaded the pitch. These protestors were trying to take away freedoms that are our rights as citizens of a democracy.and for that they should always be condemned. Those however who stood with placards and protested peacefully are, along with those who watched the games, were just lwful participants with different ideas. Just as now we have some who support Labour and some who support National and that is the way a democracy is. We support an individuals right to hold a view or a belief and we should never allow protests that invade the rights of others.

  64. lprent 64

    Robin: I didn’t invade pitches. I just stood with placards and protested peaceably in marches and outside the parks.

    It is a pity that the police didn’t follow your guidelines. While protesting peaceably I got attacked at the last test by a baton wielded by a policeman who was apparently not even in Auckland at the time (according to his badge number and Police Complaints). It resulted in having quite a few stitches in my upper lip after my teeth were pushed though it. Perhaps you’d care to comment on the lawfulness of those actions by the police?

    In the end the question during the tour was more about the misuse by the state (ie Muldoon) of force. Of course he did it against the advice of the police to win himself another election . Would you like to comment on the morality of that action by Muldoon?

    It was about far more than a rugby tour, and became more so during the tour. That is just the vacuous smoothing of people who would prefer it to be that way. Most of the political people of my generation got started their political activism during that tour. The way that the state used its powers to stifle peaceful dissent was an eye-opening experience. Moreover they were using my tax dollars to do it to add insult to injury.

    The other thing it highlighted to me was the relative lack of discipline in the police. I was a terrie at the time and the contrast was rather stiking. I realized that what my non-European friends had been saying about the police behavior was probably true.

  65. I was in standard four and thought the tour shouldn’t go ahead, just like Aunty Helen, and in 2008 I dont think we should do a trade deal with China, Unlike Aunty Helen, I guess there is one rule for one country’s abuses and one for another.

  66. Paul Robeson 66

    This is my post from the other SP thread.

    nb Was not old enough to be literate during the tour. It bloody matters to me.

    The Springbok tour is a bit like our anti-Chinese immigration policies, the failure to recognise the treaty as legally valid, our administration of Samoa or any bit of the historical record that implicates us.

    Sir Edmund Hillary is not a man that matters only to old people. We must own our travesties, next to our triumphs.

    The government’s racist policies meant that John Walker’s gold medal was not won against his African rival. The African nations boycotted the Olympics because of our sporting contacts with South Africa.

    It is, of course, particularly partisan. None of those who complain at length about the current election law, will complain about the innordinate power given to the rural marginal seats in the election that followed the tour. They are not likely to complain either about the two election wins by a party that got a minority of the vote.

    It suits the National party to have this important moment in our history down played. It reminds us why MMP is such an important change in our voting system, and it questions the legitimacy of one of their longest serving Prime Ministers. Can you imagine a current politician getting away with giving the fingers to a protesting crowd?

    It is also a quiet but proud achievement of the Kirk Labour government. They, along with initiating our policy of officially protesting nuclear testing in the Pacific, refused to allow a tour on the advice of the police commisioner that public safety could not be guaranteed.

    The tour protest movement is something to be proud about as a New Zealander.

  67. maxg 67

    randal sounds like an ‘intelligent’ system programmed to spout the same shite over and over again.

  68. higherstandard 68

    Paul Robeson

    I am no huge fan of Muldoon – vastly preferring his earlier performances in parliament to his descent into senility.

    But to call the policy of allowing the springbok tour as a racist policy is simply wrong.

    “Can you imagine a current politician getting away with giving the fingers to a protesting crowd?”

    Yes, think about certain politicians response to the EFA protests in particular and some of the vitriol spouted on the S59 issue.

  69. Robin Grieve 69

    I felt sorry for the police, they were the one group who did not choose to be there. The protestors had a choice as did those who went to the games. The police however had to be there regardless of their personal view. The police also protected the rugby supporters agianst thugs who tried to force their opinion on others by bashing down fences and invading the pitch. They did this because their arrogent and bigoted opinion told them that others should not dare to hold an opposing view. The police protected the protestors who invaded the pitch from the angry rugby supporters. If it had been up to me I would have left the arrogent pricks to the mercy of the thousands of rightly angry all black supporters.

    If you had wanted to protest as you had the right to do maybe you should not have been as close to the thugs who had been taking on the police. Then you might not have got hurt. However you need to move on Iprent. You need to acknowledge that you had a right to peaceful protest. The policemen and women did not choose to be there and the pro tour faction had a right to watch a game in peace. Lastly we have to all agree that those who vandalised property, invaded the pitch, put glass on the fields are one and the same with those who spat at the Vietnam Vets, arrogent assholes who are intolerant to diversity of opinion. These people were not needed then and they are not needed now.

  70. randal 70

    robin grieve is putting across the fascist line of do what you are told no matter what. we know whats best for you. In the washup kiwis should have better things to do than get worked up over a rugby game but the fact of the matter is that neither the police nor TV! nor any other institution has the right to dictate to all citizens what they can and cant do. when all dissent is stifled then the state can be said to have collapsed. the protest was about apartheid not rugby and it is indicative of the shallowness of the new zealand electorate that muldoon was able to organise so much ill will, malice and civil disobedience over a stupid game and all the meatheads fell for it.

  71. lprent 71

    Robin: People like you annoy me.Prefer to believe anything except the facts.

    I repeat, I was peacefully protesting. There was absolutely no violence where I was. The police attacked us not the other way around.

    Sure the police didn’t want to be there. But that just moves the issue back to the politicians that actively formented the violence to win an election. They were the ones who were actively intolerant of dissenting opinion and caused the confrontations in the first place. Tell me wouldn’t you consider that the primary role of politicians is to prevent this type of conflict happening in the first place. Having to resort to state violence is the mark of a failed politician.

    I think that you are just a credulous person who will grasp at any story that conforms to your prejudices. In short the type of person that I have problems discussing and issue in any reasonable way with.

    For instance – it always amuses me the way that the spitting at soldiers thing comes up over and over again. You had a couple of instances of people at the edge doing it. So that becomes a mantra to smear on anyone who was associated with the opinions you disagree with. That is exactly the same as smearing all of the ‘right’ bloggers with the moronic rantings of WhaleOil. Hell with the spitting I’m not even sure that it has ever happened to returning soldiers here – I’ve never seen a case documented. I know that there were some instances in the US and aussie.

    The couple of spitting instances wasn’t an issue with the soldiers I served with a few years later. It is just a issue for the types of mindless bigot who prefer to close their mind to thinking. Push them and out pops a predictable tale that bears bugger all relationship to reality, and that they never saw, and they have never talked to the people involved.

    Face it – you’re acting like a mindless dickhead clutching on to stories that confirm your bigoted opinions. It is more comfortable than exercising your brain to actually find out what is actually happening or happened.

    BTW: if you think that I’m coming on strong here, it is because I wnt to see if there is a brain behind the pontificating. I’m not hopeful. If you follow the usual form, then avoidance of the topic is the next strategy

  72. Matthew Pilott 72

    Hey Robin, do you know a group that would have chosen to be there but couldn’t, kind of the opposite to the police?

    Black South African rugby players. Fuck ’em I suppose, eh, Robin? They don’t matter..

  73. higherstandard 73


    I accept that there may have been no violence where you were protesting during the tour.

    But surely you aren’t suggesting that there was no protester initiated violence at the Eden park game – I remember some of the students I mixed with that were going along just to have a bit of biff with the police.

    These were the same dick heads who rioted up and down Queen St after the Dave Dobbyn concert – I still know some of them quite well and if they caught their kids doing the same thing they’d give them a very swift kick up the backside.

  74. randal 74

    speak for yourself hs…why do you never speak for yourself?

  75. lprent 75

    hs: Sure there were people that wanted a ‘biff’, and people that wanted to do peaceful protest. The organizers of the protests recognized that. People were asked what they wanted to do and put in the appropriate type of protest group.

    There are nutters in every social movement. That is the same with every protest action or for that matter any part of society. To smear everyone in a protest with the actions of a few is stupid. A similarly stupid comment is calling all rugby supporters drunken hoons who puke on everyones driveways and only live for vandalism. I’m quoting a homeowner near Eden Park here after he found someone had rammed his parked car after a game – understandable but not accurate. But it is only a few that do those things. That was the same as in the tour protests.

    The tour protests were quite well organized and designed to allow people to do the level of protesting they wanted to do. It also was set up to allow the police to concentrate their peace keeping resources against smaller groups who were after the ‘biff’, which is where they concentrated their equivalents to the current TPU (ie red and blue squad).

    I went into the group that was only there to do peaceful protesting. I wasn’t wearing a helmet or padding that had proved to be required in the front lines of even the peaceful protests (some of the police were total dickheads and should have never been sworn in). The group I was in merely made noisy protests and stood around a lot (and let me tell you it is a bloody long time to be standing up). The worst that happened was some idiot threw a paint bomb at the police earlier in the day.

    So there was no reason to attack the protest I was in. That was simply organized gratuitous use of violence by a ill-disciplined police force. It was quite deliberate and organized on the part of the police because they burst out and batoned everyone chasing them down the street. This was also when some of them beat the crap out of the clowns.

    To date I have still never heard a rationale for why that particular action was authorized by the police command (or even if it was). Similarly there was absolutely no consequences for the police for that action. The police complaints procedures afterwards were a travestry as the police investigated themselves and in my opinion still are pretty useless. Put in a complaint and wait two years to get a two paragraph letter that says you were wrong, a spurious reason, and absolutely no detail. That still goes on today.

    The consequences of those actions almost 30 years ago still reverberate throughout society.

    The police have never managed to regain the same level of trust that they had previously garnered in society. I certainly treat them with a *lot* of skeptism when it comes to any protest action. I also keep a close eye on their continuing efforts to reform themselves out of the 19th century structures that they’re still lumbered with.

    The political structure probably improved eventually. Almost every politician (well apart from John Key) has an opinion of the types of issues that caused that vast division in society. In the end the political structure screwed up big time.

  76. Mike 76

    The thing that got me about the ’81 tour was that so many of the Springbok squad were at the front line of imposing apartheid. Many were policemen.

    The great irony, for me, of the that time was TVNZ (was that it’s name then?) sending a crew to England to look at riots in London and Liverpool. Talk about coals to Newcastle. Here we were having demos and distrubances every Wednesday and Saturday for three months and there was our telly company rushing off to the other side of the world for what…?

    [lprent: fixed up what looked like bad bold tagging.]

  77. I believe most people protesting, believed in their cause, and only a handful wanted a fight, I also believe it was in the protesters best interest, if fights broke out, because it made for better media coverage, so perhaps they did nothing to stop the trouble makers.

  78. lprent 78

    Brett: I think it was more that the cameras followed the action. The vast majority of the protestors did nothing at any of the games. However the cameras tended to shoot the bits where the people were hitting each other.

    The only time that I saw any of the bits on the news that looked like the protests I was in were:-
    1. The evening marches where no-one hit anyone. You saw 5 second clips.
    2. The final test where they filmed the police attacking us. 30 second clip.

    However the Patu group had a problem at the games with having reporters underfoot and that is pretty much what tended to get shown on the idiot box.

    Similarly the games patrons were mostly pretty well behaved. There were just a few dickheads that would trample over the hedges and private property, scream at or thump protesters. Give you one guess who got shots on the news.

    What was remarkable about the whole thing as far as I was concerned was how well-behaved and controlled the whole thing was. Right up until that last test where the police rioted and attacked protesters.

    mike: Yeah, the media are like that. They weren’t getting enough interesting shots here…

  79. Anita 79


    I used to trust the police – that’s a little more complicated these days (how easily actions like those of the Red Squad and Blue Squad can squander a generation of trust).

    Yeah 🙂 Although…

    I used to blame the Springbok Tour for my distrust of the police, but I’ve also been bullied by cops on entirely peaceful legal peace protests (separate the teenage girl and bully her for names and addresses nice!); had the cops do nothing when men swore at us and threw beer cans at marches for the Homosexual Law Reform Bill; lived in a country which allowed the police culture of the Bay of Plenty (among other areas); watched the Police justify pepper spraying someone in a cell; and been appalled by the Police’s actions, before, on and after the October 15 raids.

    So… yeah the Springbok tour was my first experience of just how badly the NZ Police can suck, but it hasn’t been my last.

    Finally, and in case anyone’s misunderstood, I’ve also had good experiences of the Police  they’re not all terrible individuals, many do a hard job extremely well.

  80. Robin Grieve 80

    Iprent you are obviously still quite upset and that is sad for you, and if what you say is true you were hard done by. But again you have a right to an opinion as do I and while I don’t think you and I will ever agree on anything at all I support your right to your opinion as I expect you to respect mine. You had every right to peaceful protest as did those who went to the games have rights. Remember we all hated apartheid but we had different view how to do that. When some protestors tried to stop the games they were no longer protestors, they were thugs trying to impose their will on others. we do not do that in a democracy. Imposing your will on others was what the Africaaners were doing to the Blacks. I gather you were not one of those thugs and should not feel offended by my description of them. Whatever side of the table one was whether protestor or all black supporter one side was not more right than the other and that needs to be remembered now.

    And while I think you may have been hard done by try reconciling with the police for your own benefit. We all saw how difficult facing protetors can be when that labour guy biffed the protestor with a megaphone a few months ago.

  81. lprent 81

    Anita: That has been my experience of the police as well. The quality of officers is massively uneven.

    Some are great and some are crap. Some parts are awesome, others seemed to be designed to infuriate anyone who comes in contact with them.

    I’ve also had a lot to do with various police for a number of other things mostly helping them at the apartment block that I live at. Most have been excellent and they’ve got better at doing their base jobs after the funding and staffing got increased. They actually check burglaries and thefts from cars in the garage now!

    They’ve literally followed blood trails in the foyer (turned out to be some meat someone had brought that they dripped to their apartment) 🙂 Come in and bust the dealers that take up residence (the polite phone call at 3am asking for access to the building). I’m just down the road from K Rd – there is always a clown that thinks that they can deal out of here.

    And of course I know a few police. I’d hate to do their job almost as much as I’d hate to do the protests.


    However there are some cops that are still quite worrying. They always seem to be in the TPU. They seem to have the types of buzzed up personalities that make me wonder if they’re on coke. I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could kick them because they feel like they’re looking for short-cuts. I’m afraid that when I run across them my cooperation levels drop to minimum. These are the types of cops that try to say that megaphones are illegal during daylight hours at protests. You’d think that being in the police they’d at least learn a little law.

    Then there is the TAU. They are the ones that tend to concentrate on the protest groups. I’ve seen some of their legal work in the past with my niece and it is frankly just total crap. It is only there to get search warrants so they have look at and hold peoples gear, and uses the most ridiculous charges.

    For instance “intimidation by loitering” for an animal rights protest. Had to take that to the high court to get the judgment that protesting was not loitering. Unfortunately the judge didn’t carry on to examine the intimidation part of the charge which was just total bollocks. If you ever have to deal with the fine officers there, make sure you send your own people around to secure evidence – the TAU are useless at it. The critical security tapes that would have gotten rid of one whole part of the charges weren’t picked up for 10 days, by which time they’d been reused.

    The TAU are almost certainly the ones behind the Oct 15 raids. It has that hallmark of their style. Any old ridiculous charge to get a search warrant to collect intelligence. Stick everything in court for a freeze out and hope everyone pleads out rather than wastes 18 months plus in the status hearings. Frequently dropping charges just before the actual hearing. At the end there is no redress under the current systems.

    The TAU are the scum of the police. The classic abusers of police powers.

  82. Felix 82

    Forgive my ignorance Lynn but what is the TAU?

    (TPU I am all too familiar with.)

  83. Akldnut 83

    Felix – I think it means Tactical Assault Unit (Guys incognito with guys)

  84. Akldnut 84

    TPU = Team Policing Unit (The old Task Force)

  85. lprent 85

    Robin: I’m only upset with people like you who are so credulous that you believe whatever fable you wish to. The facts about the actions of the government, police, and the protest movement have been documented, filmed, and thrashed to pieces over the decades. Yet we still hear the bollocks that you were pushing in earlier comments. How about going and doing some reading. What I specifically get upset about is that you attempt to inflict your uninformed views on people who were there.

    For your information (because you obviously need it). Almost every protester and protest is peaceful and lawful. It is far more common for the police to be wrong about the legal boundaries to protest, then for the protesters to be wrong. This is evident in the activists being charged many many times and seldom if ever being convicted. You can forget your next bit of crap about lawyers. With few exceptions they either represent themselves of just use standard legal aid.

    Usually violent protests are more in the order of what higherstandard was referring to about the queen street riot in the early 80’s. It is disorganized and largely spontaneous.

    Because the protests in the tour did bring in people that wanted to rumble with the police. They were seperated from the main body of the protesters, which also made it easier for the police to deal with them as a group. That was a lot safer than the alternatives.

    However most of the violence during the tour was either from the police or from the few thugs who went to the game. For instance my old student halls in hamilton were attacked by a group from the pub I worked in during my student years. Of course few of the students had actually been on the protests, but attitudes like yours mean that anyone can be smeared with a brush and made fair game.

  86. lprent 86

    Nope it is the Threats Assessment Unit.
    Ie the internal anti-terrorism intelligence unit.

  87. lprent 87


    Special methods to investigate organised crime

    Threats – The Threat Assessment Unit investigates threats against police staff, judges and court staff and other investigative agency staff. They respond to counter-terrorist threats or situations. The unit also collects and analyses potential threats to New Zealand and visiting government politicians and officials.

    They operate as the police arm of CTAG and focus on internal threats. I really don’t have a problem with that. It is just that their techniques, in particular of dicking around with the legal system offends me a lot.

    Just amongst people I know they have focused on groups that are of no probable threat to anyone and used the most ridiculous charges to obtain their search warrants. The charges seldom stand up but the process of fighting them seems to be designed to suppress the protesters and activists in NZ by leaving them in court fro long periods of time.

    We need to set up a restitution system in NZ whereby the police have to cough up when

    * they take a case all the way through for a year and then drop it. In that case they’d charged a guy with burglary after he handed a receptionist a letter (he didn’t want to take part in the actual protest)

    * where the judge doesn’t to bother looking at the defense, but throws the case out when the prosecution rests.

    * where the police use a law from 1981 that has never been used in NZ and lose because “protesting is not loitering”.

    Frankly dickheads doing stuff like that with the legal system give the police a hell of a bad name. And these are just a few I happen to have looked at.

  88. Akldnut 88

    Felix – I think it means Tactical Assault Unit (Guys incognito with guys)
    guys = guns

    lprent – Nope it is the Threats Assessment Unit.
    Ie the internal anti-terrorism intelligence unit.

    Thanks lynn I stand corrected

  89. Robin Grieve 89

    Iprent you can rant all you like. I have said you had a right to do what you did and I defend that. But you can not defend the thugs who invaded the pich at Hamilton and then were protected from the rugby supporters by the police. When they invaded the pitch they went from protestor to arrogent thugs who mistakenly held the view that everyone who didn’t agree with them was wrong. There are still people like that now, they think those who have a different view are wrong to hold that view. It is called the arrogence of the left.

  90. Pascal's bookie 90

    Robin, would you agree that a lot of our freedoms have been gained via the actions of people that were prepared to face up to the power of the state, break laws and face arrest (or worse) in order to protest what they viewed as injustice?

    Civil disobedience is very valuable tool. Not everyone just rolls over when the State plays hardball. Be thankful.

  91. lprent 91

    Robin: Have you ever looked at the activists that were on that pitch that day? Old ladies, middle-aged men, ministers, young kids, and bugger all people of any kind of military ages. I’ve met many of them over the years and the last thing I’d describe them as are thugs.

    They were people engaging (as PB points out) in an act of peaceful civil disobedience. They didn’t hurt anyone. They didn’t indulge in a random act of drunken vandalism (as happened later that night) They were the foundation of our society. They still are. Because they are the way that you get social change without violence.

    You wouldn’t want my predilections. Because I’m simply not that patient with daft stupidity.

    But never let facts stand in the way of a good story that fits your misconceptions……

  92. Robin Grieve 92

    They didn’t hurt anyone. Are you kidding? They stopped thousands of people from watching a game of rugby. How arrogent is that?

    God help us if they are the foundation of our society today, no wonder the countries going down the plug. Maybe it is time to start a new wave of civil disobedience? We could start with an invasion of polling booths to stop Labour supporters voting as a protest against the Electoral Finance Act’s chilling effect on democracy. Would that be an ok way to fight for freedom Pascal’s bookie?

  93. Pascal's bookie 93

    You are welcome to try Robin. The thing about civil disobedience is the being prepared to face up to the consequences. If you feel strongly enough about the EFA then protest it in whatever way you see fit. If the politics of of it play out in your favour you’ll look like a hero, other wise an idiot.

    One suggestion though, honestly meant. The idea of civil disobedience is to make yourself into a martyr. You have to make the state oppress you. Stopping other people from voting is a pretty stupid message to send out.

    Better would be deliberate breaches of the Act, repeated over time and after warnings. Make the state enforce the Act against you. That way the politics of it are clear.

    The protesters against the tour, thought the tour should not go ahead, so they took protest action to prevent that. See how the action is directly related to the cause? That part is real important.

  94. Robin Grieve 94

    Thanks Pascal’s bookie, I don’t think I am commited enough to be a martyr to this cause. I will roll over to this oppressive regime we have at the moment and hope for freedom on November 8.

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  • Trade and Agriculture Minister to attend World Economic Forum and Global Forum for Food and Agricult...
    The Government is maintaining its strong trade focus in 2023 with Trade and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visiting Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation. Damien O’Connor will travel tomorrow to Switzerland to attend the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government funding relief for flood-affected Wairarapa farmers and growers
    The Government has extended its medium-scale classification of Cyclone Hale to the Wairarapa after assessing storm damage to the eastern coastline of the region. “We’re making up to $80,000 available to the East Coast Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers recover from the significant damage in the region,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago