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Yet another thing the PM is “not responsible” for

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, November 1st, 2012 - 26 comments
Categories: afghanistan, john key, war - Tags: , ,

Yet another thing the PM is “not responsible” for – add it to the long list. This time it is his “oversight” of the SAS:

PM denies accountability for SAS actions

Prime Minister John Key says he cannot be held accountable if New Zealand SAS troops sent to Afghanistan to help with logistics and planning have broken their rules of engagement.

Mr Key was responding to a claim by Radio New Zealand Afghanistan correspondent Jon Stephenson that a group of SAS soldiers had gone to Afghanistan to stage an attack in retaliation for the deaths of five New Zealand soldiers.

Stephenson said sources from within the US-led coalition in Afghanistan and the New Zealand SAS community had confirmed it to him.

Speaking to media in Auckland today, Mr Key said … “Anyone in the world can break their rules of engagement but that’s no different from saying that anyone in any job in New Zealand can break their rules of employment. I can’t be held to account for that if they’ve done that wrong, but there’s no evidence that they have – there’s no implication that they have, I’ve had no advice from the military that they have and I don’t believe they have.

“I think that they’re doing exactly what we sent them to do, which is to help with logistics and planning.”

“I think that they’re doing” isn’t good enough. Once again – what is the point of a PM who is never responsible for anything?

And if the well respected Stephenson is right (he has crossed swords with Key before), then Key is just getting his denials in early. Is Key seeking his Obama “gotcha” moment, and a political bounce from it?

Update: Since yesterday the Herald piece linked above has changed substantially, to downplay Key’s denial. You can still find it repeated on other web sites – google the first sentence.

26 comments on “Yet another thing the PM is “not responsible” for ”

  1. One Tāne Huna 1

    Since yesterday the Herald piece linked above has changed substantially, to downplay Key’s denial.

    They just keep on polishing that turd.

    There was a similar occurrence on the Herald’s story quoting the attack on Justice Young.

  2. brybry 2

    “google the first sentence”

    Other, better internet search engines work too. So rather than ‘google’, you can just ‘search’.

    • Professor Longhair 2.1

      “Other, better internet search engines work too. So rather than ‘google’, you can just ‘search’”.

      What internet search engines work as well as Google?

  3. Shane Gallagher 3

    He IS responsible under international law:

    Principle III
    Principle III states, “The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.”


    • McFlock 3.1

      no, key’s defense isn’t that he isn’t legally respnsible due to his position, but that he sent SAS troops back to Afghanistan to coordinate logistics. If they exceeded his order by, oh, taking part in combat, then they are acting illegally.
      But note that he failed to mention disciplining the soldiers for disobeying his orders. So I’d suggest that implies tacit approval, for which he IS culpable. Not to mention the entire “command structure top-down is responsible for maintaining discipline” thing…

      • blue leopard 3.1.1

        “But note that he failed to mention disciplining the soldiers for disobeying his orders. So I’d suggest that implies tacit approval, for which he IS culpable. Not to mention the entire “command structure top-down is responsible for maintaining discipline” thing…”

        I wouldn’t simply suggest this implied tacit approval; the message came over loud and clear that that is exactly what he was doing.

        Dear NZ, “I give you license to do wtf you want; its an open slather free for all now, thems the new rulez”

        Entirely irresponsible

  4. shorts 4

    this doesn’t add to the discussion, sorry, but Key really is a cock… what a sad little man

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    Why isn’t Shearer capitalizing in this?

    “PM admits he is totally irresponsible. He says he’s not responsible for the SAS, Dotcom fiasco, criminal leaks of confidential data, rising joblessness, Exodus to Australia, CHC debacle, etc. Everything else that goes wrong he is not responsible for because he can’t recall it.”

    I read great criticisms in The Standard but the best criticisms in the press are from Peters and Norman.

    How many missed opportunities!

    • Professor Longhair 5.1

      “Why isn’t Shearer capitalizing in this?”

      The problem for Labour on this issue is that it was the Labour government of Helen Clark that was browbeaten into sending troops to Afghanistan. Labour bears as much culpability as National does for the crimes (whether of commission or omission) committed by our troops.

      • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1

        The fifth Labour government committed the NZSAS to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2005. The decision to redeploy them was taken in 2009.

      • Molly 5.1.2

        Helen Clark sent the RF troops in to rebuild and they had good relationship and success with the locals because of it (and no loss of life in active combat).

        John Key committed our troops to active combat alongside the US who have a reputation for arrogance and misconduct. No surprise at the increase in fatalities there.

        He also takes great delight in informing media of names and locations of our SAS troops, putting both them and their fellow soldiers at risk.

        To have such an ignorant and compliant PM who regards our troops as negotiation tools is a tragedy.

        To compound that by having a PM who did not attend the funerals of those killed as a result of this policy adds insult to injury.

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    Is the man at the top responsible or not?

    Key is denying he is responsible for anything that goes wrong. According to my dictionary, that is the definition of “irresponsible.”

    The Opposition front bench is not pressing that point.

  7. Glad to read this article.

    I couldn’t believe the statements made.

    The statements Mr Key spoke with regard to this issue are so clearly worded as to ensure he is at no point accountable for any ensuing information disclosures, or anything that the lawyer and spin doctor he got the wording off is palpable.

    What is the point of having a PM who doesn’t want to take responsibility for anything???

    Unclear why go he doesn’t go and live in his idea of paradise and leave us all alone; he could probably afford to buy or rent a small island and set up a golfing circuit.

    I wish he would.

  8. tracey 8

    I also heard key on the fraud on the court by the police. He said IF the judiciary were right then the police might have to review but there wld be no enquiry. In otherwords the executive branch has just given the judicial branch the finger in favour of the police…

  9. Fortran 9

    I hope that Key is wrong and we do have SAS troops there going for the men that killed our troops.

    • fatty 9.1

      yeah…those cheeky Afgans have the audacity to fight back when foreign troops invade their country.
      There’s no excuse for killing troops in a war, eh Fortran!

  10. tracey 10

    Good lord fortran, state sponsored revenge… How very civilised.

  11. Steve Wrathall 11

    Soldiers go to stage an attack? Outrageous!

  12. “Nice” distractions Fortran & Steve Wrathall

  13. Disco Break

    Dear Mr Key, this song is dedicated to you

    Oh my love
    You’re so good
    Treating me so cruel
    There you go
    With your fancy lies
    Leavin me lookin
    Like a dumbstruck fool
    With all your

    Jive talkin
    Youre telling me lies, yeah
    Jive talkin
    You wear a disguise
    Jive talkin
    So misunderstood, yeah
    Jive talkin
    You just ain’t no good

    Love talkin
    Is all very fine, yeah
    Jive talkin
    Just isn’t a crime
    And if there’s somebody
    You’ll love till you die
    Then all that jive talkin
    Just gets in your eye

    From the NZ population who are enamoured with you.

    Thanks The Bee Gees

  14. tracey 14


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