Brian Edwards Media

Photo-Op PM

Photo: Michael Field

Photo: Michael Field

Recently I bumped into Paul Henry having coffee with his daughter in trendy Herne Bay. He’s really very nice when you meet him in person off the box. Or maybe it was the civilising presence of his very nice daughter.

Anyway, we got to talking politics, as you do. He was enthusing about John Key whom he’d interviewed that morning. ‘The thing about him,’ he said, ‘is that he just answers the question. You ask him a question and he just answers it. ‘

I’d formed precisely the same impression watching Key on television. He seems natural, unaffected, nice. There’s no sense of the wheels going round in his head as he searches for a clever, stay-out-of-trouble answer. Nothing obviously  Machiavellian. No evident side. ‘He just answers the question.’

I’m inclined to think that this is the real John Key, just as the niceness is the real John Key. I’m a Labour man from way back and I’m saying this – Key might just exemplify the core advice we give to all our clients: In your dealings with the media, be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes.

Trouble is, Key isn’t the government. If any one person is the government, it’s Bill English who doesn’t ‘just answer the question’. Ideologues never just answer the question. Ideologues always have a hidden agenda.

Key’s role isn’t unlike what David Lange’s role was – to be the palatable face of the government’s free-market agenda. His role is to be nice, just as Lange’s role was to be the lovable raconteur, the engaging comic, the avuncular Methodist defender of the welfare state. Nice, warm, not scary.

Key is and Lange was the frontman. Whether Lange knew it when he was first chosen as leader is open to question. I doubt that Key is so naïve.

So, as the Government slowly but surely rips the heart out of the welfare state, rewarding the rich and punishing the poor, Key’s job as frontman is to be the ultimate populist PM. His numerous U-turns on policy are a reflection of that. If he had an embroidered sampler above the desk in his Beehive office, it would read IF THEY DON’T LIKE IT, CHANGE IT. Despite all his protestations, I’m willing to lay odds that that will be the fate of the misnamed Anti-Smacking legislation. They really hate that.

My sense is that being nice comes easily to Key, because he’s at ease with himself and with other people. Which makes him the ideal candidate for the photo opportunity. They’ve been proliferating recently, these photo-ops: Key dancing, playing footie, on the end of a rope in a tug of war. And lots more. Unlike Brash and Clark, Key can do these things and not look silly or undignified. That may be because he isn’t all that worried about his dignity. He just does it.

Meanwhile the government can get on with the real business, while the country is distracted by its frontman – that nice Mr Key.

If I were Phil Goff, I wouldn’t be too worried about this. I’d be biding my time. After a while, people really start to take notice of the U-turns, to weary of the distractions, to see past the frontman to the real show that’s going on behind the scenes.

That’s what happened to poor David, who was indeed all the lovely things we thought he was, until he came to understand that he really was just the frontman. And by then it was too late.

I doubt that Key is either as naïve or as easily bullied as Lange, but there are some uncanny similarities between the Lange/Douglas show and the Key/English show. And that will eventually spell trouble for Key and the National government. Trouble with a capital T.

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57 Comments:

  1. Your summary of John Key’s position fits well. It will be interesting to see that if Steven Joyce does replace Bill English as Dep PM, will the “secret agenda” continue?
    I suspect that they have a list in order of priority those rats/items that can be swallowed. Repealing the repeal of S59 would be one. (We agree that this may happen.)
    Thus when an issue crops up check the list. John says can we change position on this and gain popularity? Yep. Meanwhile back in the jungle….
    Conspiracy theory?

    • Your summary of John Key’s position fits well.

      Conspiracy theory? Maybe. But just remember the old adage: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

  2. That’s just wishful thinking, isn’t it Brian?

    From Labour’s point of view, I hope you are right, but given that National are very popular in a recession and things can only get better from here then we may be in for a very long period of National led governments.

    • That’s just wishful thinking, isn’t it Brian?

      If you recall, the Lange/Douglas government was into its second term before it started to fall apart. I think the same may be the case with the Key/English adminsitration. It may well have two terms, but I doubt there’ll be a third. As for Goff, his only option at the moment is to sit tight.

  3. Where is all this ripping out of the welfare state and punishing the poor? I have not seen much of it lately. It may yet come but compared to the actions of Ruth Richardson what has happened so far has been fairly benign.

    As for ‘ripping out’ the welfare state I am coming to the conclusion that there is more ‘ripping off’ than ‘ripping out’if today’s headlines in the DomPost are to be believed or if one believes that there is a couple with 10 kids who have not worked for 15 years drawing $1200 a week courtesy of the taxpayer. However as a media person yourself, you would know the difficulty of separating fact from fiction in media reports. Whilst your clients may follow your advice to tell the truth, I am not always sure that the media follow their own advice.

    Phil Goff should be very worried because there is a large proportion of voters who rightly or wrongly feel that as taxpayers they have been shafted. Those who rely on the welfare state are natural Labour supporters. Those who do not rely on the welfare state and feel they have been taken for a ride may go on supporting JK and co for longer than you think. I would suggest PG’s chances of being PM after the next election are just about zero, and I say that as a lifelong Labour supporter, whilst not blind to their many faults.

    • Where is all this ripping out of the welfare state and punishing the poor?

      Well, you’re right that we haven’t yet got as far as Ruthanasia, but we’re on the way. Haven’t you lbeen listening to Paula Bennett and Tony Ryall and Bill English and Phil Heatley and… Obviously not. But you may have heard about ACC reducing its funding for physiotherapy. That will impact more on the poor than the rich and it’s just one example of this assault on welfare by stealth.

      And if you’re a Labour man and you’re coming to the conclusion that there are more people ripping off the welfare state because a tiny proportion of beneficiaries get $1,000 or more a week, then Paula’s propaganda is working pretty well.

  4. …there are some uncanny similarities between the Lange/Douglas show and the Key/English show. And that will eventually spell trouble for Key and the National government. Trouble with a capital T.

    Yup. Had the same thought.
    I remember Prebble’s calculated impertinence: Describing how cruise ships often had a “show captain” (Lange) to wine and dine and otherwise impress the passengers and a “real captain” (Douglas) who steered the ship and kept it “on course” behind the scenes… shortly after telling that fairy tale, I recall, Prebble was sacked from cabinet.

  5. “No evident side”, I’d suggest that is the problem; omission is what Key is guilty of, and I think deliberately. He is well schooled in the art of obfuscation, not the complicating aspect but vagueness. This is pragmatism & its cousin ‘lack of courage’ combined.
    On the other hand I think Lange was truly hoodwinked, not because he was stupid, but because he was simply distracted in his own legacy, this made him an easy patsy – he seemed a very sad & lonely man without a deep understanding of what he was part of, then the realisation dawned on him, which was always going to happen eventually; this is what undermined Douglas’ mission. If Douglas had been smarter he’d have waited for a more sincere communicator with a clearer understanding of the mission; a big picture spokesman if you will.

    • “No evident side”, I’d suggest that is the problem; omission is what Key is guilty of, and I think deliberately.

      As I said, I don’t think Key is as naive as David was. And I agree with pretty well everything you say.

  6. Brian, perhaps the smile is worth something at the moment. However I take issue with the perception of him telling it as it is.
    You only need to go back to the questioning of the family trust share holding in Tranzrail. He couldn’t give a straight answer and with extra questioning, changed his answer repeatedly. Then there was the question of the visit of Lord Ashcroft and Key’s initial uneasiness in answering. Our difficulty here is that the press have gone soft on asking him the right questions…

    • Brian, perhaps the smile is worth something at the moment. However I take issue with the perception of him telling it as it is.

      Well, maybe I went a tad too far there. But the general ‘frontman’ theme still stands. The media may also be finding it difficult to attack such a nice guy.

  7. It is really quite sad that such a large proportion of the population have been indoctrinated to think that Key is Richardson in a suit. Despite what Labour have told us all for years i think he is huge disapointment to the left and to the right but normal people in the middle are really quite happy.

    • It is really quite sad that such a large proportion of the population have been indoctrinated to think that Key is Richardson in a suit.

      Interesting take, David, and possibly quite perceptive.

  8. Nice piece – didn’t know Lange at all – but did meet him once – and he knew where Prestonpans was. Never met anyone else in NZ who did, or cared for that matter. Lange did both.

    As for John Key – you might be right – but how come he was so good at playing the markets and making loads of dosh! Must be some hard arse capitalist steel in there somewhere?

    Last – nice point about Paul Henry – he is a engaging guy – would be even more effective broadcaster if – in a bit of Key reverse engineering – he listened to the answer.

    • Nice piece – didn’t know Lange at all – but did meet him once – and he knew where Prestonpans was.

      I knew where Prestonpans was. Is it still there? Nice to hear from you, Mr Website-designer.

  9. The last traces of doubt are erased: I always thought you were a media trainer whose coaching transcended party lines. But I was wrong. You’re still very much in the role of being the staunch Labour Party enabler, an advocate for an – expired – philosophy that’s fast disappearing into the ether. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

    On the one hand, you pay a kind of grudging respect for John Key, and the manner in which he is – refreshingly – “natural, unaffected, nice” when being interviewed on television. But, on the other hand – and with barely-disguised alacrity – his friendly and transparent persona should only be regarded as ephemeral. Because, he’s made a pact with the “devil” in the guise of the “ideologue” Bill English. And the devil will demand his dues. And to validate your acute prescience, this doomed detente has been replicated before, in the form of the ill-fated Lange/Douglas partnership. This will, tragically (sniff, sniff), be a case of history repeating itself. If you’re going to offer a discourse on John Key and one of his top aides, it might be best to do so a little more dispassionately — that is, without salivating over the prospect: that the “Key/English show” will, inevitably, morph into the fractious, tearful breakup not unlike the Lange/Douglas one; but whose ghosts are securely confined within Labour’s sepulchre.

    And I’d be mindful with your advice to Phil Goff: that if you were him, you’d “be biding my time.” I mean, he can only “sit tight” for so long, before people will start to wonder if he’s frozen in a kind of political stupor that he can’t be stirred from. Though, to his credit, Goff is well regarded for his unimpeachable integrity and an honest work ethic (he’s become more his own “man” now that he’s the leader).

    And, lastly, being a renowned media trainer, I most certainly would not advise Goff, along with his colleagues – to be filmed inside a travelling roadshow bus, singing brightly to John Denver’s ‘Country Road’ – or, the like – replete with their resident guitar strummer. It’s not the greatest of looks for this clutch of “wannabe” government aspirants. Not so much a case of a travelling band of yodellers, as a bunch of country yokels.

  10. I haven’t met John Key but the impression I get is he does answer the question but, and perhaps this is the nice or politician aspect, the answer will vary to suit the audience.

    He is not alone in that but it’s the flip flop aspect that I suspect will eventually catch him out.

  11. Brian, interesting point about reducing the subsidy on physiotherapy. When I injured my back I had the greatest difficulty in extricating myself from the clutches of the physio long after my back was better. He saw my back as a little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Regrettably as soon as you make something free it gets abused. Yes I have been listening very closely to English, et al, and so far have not been terrified.

    And no, I am doing my best to avoid being sucked in by PB’s propaganda. I read; I use my eyes and ears. In spite of what I said, I accept that the majority of benficiaries are not ripping off the system, but there is a substantial minority that has made welfare a lifestyle choice.

    Although I may be a Labour supporter I am not prepared to issue a blank cheque.

    • Brian, interesting point about reducing the subsidy on physiotherapy.

      Fair enough. But since I’ve never come across any of these beneficiaries who are ripping off the system, I don’t really feel entitled to talk about them. And if you’re right, and if they are “a substantial minority”, the abuse which you say invariably accompanies anything free, must in this case at least be non-representative.

  12. Is it just me…or do others have a difficulty separating the ex candidate for the National Party and the enthusiasm over the leader of the National Party ?

    John Key would look more dodgy if the media actually asked some more penetrating questions and were averse to being put off by some hokey grins and faux candidness.

    I am still waiting to find out just what Key’s bottom line is for having confidence in his ministers. We know he has one…a minister was sacked for breaching it…but we don’t know what it is. How will we know if others are breaching it? Key refuses to say and the media would rather be beguiled and redirected.

    I’m not sure if that sort of attitude is honest at all.

  13. I’d forgotten the Prebble story about the show captain and the real captain – like all the other stories about David Lange’s role as a hapless frontman it dates from after his falling-out with Douglas. Nobody said anything like it in 1984 or 1985.

    I don’t know Key or English but the dynamic between them looks different. They are not on the same page but but this could be explained by the obvious history of jealousy about the leadership and the unanswered questions about English’s ambition. If I had to make a comparison I would say they’re more like Blair and Brown – not much hope there for Goff. The point about David and Douglas is that they liked and agreed with each other – their falling-out was the result of disagreements about policy which took a long time to play out – they weren’t David’s coming suddenly to the view that he had been duped.

    Denis Welch’s biography of Helen Clark asks but does not answer the question why Clark, political manager par excellence, did not manage her way out of the revolution of the 1980s, but preferred palliatives. Who knows, but one possibility is that she didn’t really have the choice – the reality of politics is always far more complex than the personalities who inhabit it.

    • I’d forgotten the Prebble story about the show captain and the real captain…

      Thank you Margaret. I’m certainly not game to debate this with you. That would be presumptuous, to say the least. I’ll simply relate my own experience. Just after Muldoon called the snap election in 1984, I was asked by Roger Douglas to attend a meeting to discuss what David should say in his television response to Muldoon’s televised opening. At the meeting, I was asked if I would write the piece for him. I said that I would and suggested that everyone there say what they thought David should say. Douglas, Prebble, Simon Walker and others contributed. As a result I wrote an 8 or 10 minute television address which was pure Michael Joseph Savage stuff. That was what the future architects of ‘Rogernomics’ wanted and David was ideally placed to deliver the message. He believed in it. I’d find it very hard indeed to accept that Douglas, Prebble and the rest believed in it. Friends or not, it remains my view that Douglas saw David as the palatable face of Rogernomics. Around 1987 Margaret Wilson asked me to go and talk to David, who, she said, was in despair. That was the state I found him in. The issue was of course asset sales and privatisation. My strong impression was that this was a man who was simply not prepared to front for these policies any longer. That he had come to that realisation. That, essentially, is what I was trying to say in the piece. However, I will happily bow to your infinitely greater knowledge of the true facts.

  14. “I accept that the majority of benficiaries are not ripping off the system, but there is a substantial minority that has made welfare a lifestyle choice.”

    Hi Merv

    I don’t get where you are getting a ‘substantial minority’ from. In the NZ herald article, 307 people were getting over $1000 a week. Given that the total in the benefit recieveing population is 309,360 (June 2009) according to MSD* we are looking at less than 0.1%. That total includes 168 mothers on the DPB, out of a total of some 104,000**, roughly 0.16% of the total.

    Seriously small fractions. The system may not be perfect, and I am all for efforts to maintain the system’s purpose by internal monitoring to prevent fraud, but is it really being that abused? As for anyone wanting to make a lifestyle out of being on a benefit, I would have thought that the inherient restrictions in that lifestyle would be disincentive in itself.

    *http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/2009-national-benefit-factsheets.html
    **http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10591226

  15. There is one other aspect of Key that the left has had trouble grasping. And that is how aspirational he is for the white middle class, how representative he is of the 3B’s that are Kiwi nirvana – Bach, boat and BMW.

    Where the intelligensia see a tacky pink box in Omaha “middle new Zealand” sees one finsher of their life’s trifecta. Where leftist’s see a money speculators ill-gotten Parnell mansion, bright young things in their shiny new suits see their urban housing goal. When Key goes to Hawaii, I might think it obscene our countries leader decamps to a gated community when so many are being made jobless, but Joe Six Pack sighs that all HE can afford is a bi-annual holiday at surfers and admires someone who can go to Hawaii twice a year.

    And that is why, to me, it is so hard to attack Key right now. To many of aspirtationally brain washed identify with him.

  16. nice post Brian

  17. 17

    michael keir-morrissey

    A glance through Hollowmen will show that Key is following the Ronald Reagan line more than anything. The Crosby-Textor types who are running the whole Key shebang adore the successes they achieved with Reagan. A nodding, grinning populist, who oversaw the trashing of almost all social regulation, that eventually turned into the present financial crisis. An actor who played the popularity game while the dukes of greed ripped the guts out of their own society for personal gain. I think the English/Key antagonism is overplayed, this Government has got it just right; the clown at front and the bastards, led by English, beavering away in the back room

  18. michael keir-morrissey? THE michael keir-morrissey?
    Mate, how the hell are ya? Keeping well? The last time we saw each other, you were loitering – rather abjectly – in the foyer of the Glen Innes WINZ office, waiting to be seen. Was it last Friday or was it the Thursday?

  19. Merv: I used to read you on the Espiner blog via the Dominion. You wrote the most appalling personal insults directed at any left leaning person attempting serious discussion during the election. Tell me that that Merv and this Merv are not the same.

  20. Interesting post BE. But I see English very much playing the Cullen role in this government. You get your influence and some policy without having to be the face for everything. That is perfect for English. English may not have the wit or the clever intellectual ability of Cullen. But on the whole he knows the game. Suggestions Key is simply a frontman in this government is simplistic at best. Key is far more a Clark type leader than he is a Lange leader.

    As for how many terms. History says there is likely a second term. But as with Labour after 2002. Its hard staying up high. Labour scraped back in in 2005. I just hope National can do the same in 2017.

    • Interesting post BE. But I see English very much playing the Cullen role in this government.

      We seem to be saying the same thing: It suits English to have Key as the palatable frontman. As to Key being more “a Clark type leader” than a Lange type leader, there’s a hell of a big divide between the two. You could fit 50 politicians in that gap. Clark’s leadership was never “nice”; she was never just the “frontwoman”; she was the Government and much closer in style to Muldoon or Thatcher. Key doesn’t seem to have a Muldoonist bone in his body. He’s a populist and, I suspect, assertive at best.

  21. A good front man is a great asset, no doubt about it. Key and Bennett are both able to draw the attention of the populace with open smiles and attempts at in yer face frankness. But how do we know it’s the ‘truth’, and whose version of ‘the truth’ for that matter?
    I guess it’s a breeze to be ‘at ease’ within your comfort zone … for example, I’ve got an ugly old billy goat down here you might call The Great Leveller, JK is welcome to wrangle with him anytime for a photo opportunity.
    I’ve really got this thing about folks being ‘normal’ – and not really ‘nice’, smooth, over-groomed, deadpan, and cool under pressure (high self-monitoring?)… we can’t all think on our feet, we’re not all searching for clever “stay out of trouble” answers, surely?
    Is this really something so admirable? I guess it’s good ‘spin’ and creates a good impression for TV. Anyway, how come politicians are mostly unable to anticipate the tough questions? I agree with Logie97, let us not forget the artless dodging, I could almost like JK for displaying fallibility. Sadly, despite a renovation of National policy under Shipley, and subsequent shake-ups to bring National into the modern era, the law’n'order/beneficiary bashing Open Season is once again upon us, and JK is the frontman. Following Shipley’s act, I’m waiting for him to show us all how to eat, dress, heat, communicate, travel, seek work, and pay rent on UB$190.39 per week while smiling unaffectedly into the camera. Sigh.

  22. OK, Dude, since you ask: “Hand on heart, an emphatic NO!” And, Mikey, hasn’t been insulted: it’s English’s – acolyte – “bastards” who have been. Might pay you to re-read his musings again. Who knows? You might gain some perspective.

  23. This government has a free-market agenda?

    Really?

    Can someone please point me to it?

    • This government has a free-market agenda? Really? Can someone please point me to it?

      Maybe we could start with Rodney and his plans for the Supercity. Anyway, I think I used the term “hidden agenda”. The thing about hidden agendas is that the people who have them try not to unveil them too quickly. Don’t want to frighten the horses. I didn’t say Bill and John were stupid, just that Bill was devious.

  24. I am far from convinced on the Key/Lange comparision. First I think that Key has more inner steel and substance. I always felt with Lange that he was a ‘lightweight’ behind the genial facade and I think events bore this out.

    Secondly Key has as his 2 IC a failed and sacked leader and I do not think that Key would tolerate the nonsense that Lange tolerated from Douglas and Prebbble. Key gives me the impression that whatever English might say, that he, Key, calls the shots. I never got that feeling with Lange. Brian, presumably you knew Lange so perhaps you could say whether this is or is not an accurate summation.

    However I do think that you and others under estimate John Key, and you do so at your peril. Time will tell.

    As an aside this is an excellent blog and the contributions are generally rational, apart from the occasional indignant Irishman (another joke, Don!)

    • I am far from convinced on the Key/Lange comparision. First I think that Key has more inner steel and substance. I always felt with Lange that he was a ‘lightweight’ behind the genial facade and I think events bore this out.

      I knew David reasonably well. I thought he was a lovely man, far too good for politics.

  25. Maybe we could start with Rodney and his plans for the Supercity.

    Maybe you could — if you could.

    What plans can you actually point to, outside Phil Twyford’s imagination, showing any evidence at all of a radical privatisation agenda for Auckland?

    Or even a mild free-market agenda?

    I for one would be very happy to see them.

    I didn’t say Bill and John were stupid, just that Bill was devious.

    And I agree with you, he is. But there’s precisely zero evidence he’s devious in the laissez-faire direction, and abundant evidence for deviousness combined with wetness.

    • “Maybe we could start with Rodney and his plans for the Supercity.” Maybe you could — if you could.

      Well, Rodney. the architect of the ‘supercity’ telling John Campbell how he just loves privatisation and selling governmetn assets might just be the start we’re looking for.

  26. I have been hoping since before the election that National has a hidden agenda because their current one isn’t very exciting. I am kind of hoping their secret agenda resembles the one that Peter Cresswell has written up on his laptop :-)

    • I have been hoping since before the election that National has a hidden agenda because their current one isn’t very exciting.

      Hope springs eternal!

  27. So, BE, are you now saying that the story of “the government’s free-market agenda” is something you just made up without any evidence at all? Or is there actually some evidence you can point to?

    Even “hidden” agendas would have “back-bearings” wouldn’t they? And if they don’t, wherefrom then your claim?

    • So, BE, are you now saying that the story of “the government’s free-market agenda” is something you just made up without any evidence at all?

      Didn’t say that at all. Why don’t we just agree to differ and come back to this topic in 18 months. No evidence of privatisation or asses sales then and I’ll eat my hat, or at least humble pie.

  28. One would hope they had a secret agenda to shrink government spending, abolish the central bank and reduce heavy taxation; that would be an actual free market agenda. But that is got to be wishful thinking.

    I can’t understand how people believe that National is any more pro-free market than Labour.

  29. It did occur to me that you are certainly right in one respect; the governments plans to get rid of all community education using the patronising and dismissive commnet, ‘hobby classes’. it is a piece of educational vandalism that will save peanuts.

  30. Brian, it’s not a matter of “agreeing to differ.” You can agree to differ on matters of opinion, but not on matters of fact.

    And let’s face it, you’ve hung a whole theory here on the supposed FACT of National’s supposed free-market agenda, of its supposed plans to rip the heart out of the welfare state, of its supposed plans for privatisations and asset sales.

    And now you all but admit that you’ve no more evidence for any of those claims than the religionist has for her God.

    That’s just shameful.

    • Brian, it’s not a matter of “agreeing to differ.” You can agree to differ on matters of opinion, but not on matters of fact.

      What is or is not “fact” is more often that not a matter of opinion, Peter. This conversation is assuming all the tiresome characteristics of debates I used to have in Philosophy 101. Enough already!

  31. BE, it does seem that you backing out of this argument rather quickly; rather than answer Mr Cresswell. Is that what you were taught in Philosophy 101 i.e., retreat?

  32. “And that is why, to me, it is so hard to attack Key right now. To many of aspirtationally brain washed identify with him.”

    Yes, if people would just stop having aspirations, they’d be soo much more amenable to the ways of the left. Trouble is, if we ALL stopped being aspirational, there’d be no one to pay the tax that your giant ponzi scheme requires.

  33. Russell: re “Is that what you were taught in Philosophy 101 i.e., retreat?”

    Nope, BE knows when the discussion’s on a circuitous route to Nowhere. And he knows when it becomes less about edifying a pov, than indulging someone’s tedious conceit. He learnt that in Philosophy 201

  34. Detra: And here was me thinking Mr Cresswell was simply asking Brian to demonstrate evidence on his ongoing view that the Nats are on a privatisation mission (shame they aren’t); seemed a pretty straight forward request to me.
    But obviously philosophy, numbered 101-201, has a component, called either, “oops I’ve been sprung, pretend you’re tired”, or in your case “call the other guy conceited” when your doyen is caught out.

  35. I must say you have disappointed me lately, always been a fan of you but your facial expressions cant hide your distaste for the present situation re the govt.
    Im not a huge fan of the way things are right now ,but thats democracy.
    I thought you could deal with the fact we lost because we went too far, but your face doesnt lie, your struggling and it shows.
    I have to acept thats the countries wish,I dont like it but they have spoken, you seem to think they made a mistake and in 3 years we will be back in power, but unless we adress major policy decisions we wont be back for many years, hope Im wrong.

    • I must say you have disappointed me lately, always been a fan of you but your facial expressions cant hide your distaste for the present situation re the govt.

      Is this addressed to me, Terry? I ask because it doesn’t reflect my opinion at all. I have a very clear idea of why Labour lost the last election and part of it was certainly failing to take the pulse of the electorate, getting out of touch. As for the Key government, I find it refreshingly proactive, though I clearly disagree with several of its policies. It’s also my view that, unless this government takes a major hit, there’s very good reason to believe that it will be given a second term.

  36. One of the comments alluded to Key’s previous life and his accumulation of wealth. One could say the same about Joyce.
    While Key made his, clipping the ticket and working hard. Joyce may have made his by working hard then selling out as so many Kiwi’s do unfortunately. Do they get tired and then find they are bored with their new unproductive lives? and these two at least have sought a role with a lot more power. do they really have the substance behind them to be controlling or directing us as a nation of people with lives and futures ahead of us and our ofspring?

  37. This topic simply incomparable:), I am very interested.