Brian Edwards Media

On the uncanny resemblance between John Key and Sergeant Schultz

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In the 30-odd years that Judy and I have been providing media advice and training to prime ministers, prostitutes and pretty well every profession in-between, our teaching mantra has remained the same: “Be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes”. It’s a practical rather than a necessarily moral slogan. Being straightforward with the media, telling the truth and admitting your mistakes is quite simply the only strategy that works. Everything else will get you into trouble or more trouble than you’re already in.

Our experience of our elected representatives – left, right and centre – has led us to the conclusion that most are reasonably honest and that the lying politician is a much rarer creature than the general population appears to think. Persuading MPs, Cabinet Ministers and the men and women who held the top job to be straightforward and tell the truth has not been a difficult or even a necessary task.

But will the buggers admit their mistakes? No way. To avoid the usual accusations of left-wing bias on my part, I’ll cite two examples from my side of the house. Helen Clark and the painting which she signed but didn’t paint; Helen Clark and the police car speeding her to Eden Park to watch the rugby.

Neither of these were hanging offences and reasonable explanations (or excuses if you prefer) could have been offered for both: PMs put their moniker on all sorts of things with charitable intent; the New Zealand Prime Minister arriving late for an international footie match isn’t a good look. And anyway, these cops are brilliant and safe drivers.

But Helen, who had been brought up in a family where lying was just about a capital offence, was unwilling to own responsibility for either of these relatively minor transgressions. She was reluctant to admit that she’d made a mistake or even that she’d failed to prevent others making mistakes on her behalf.

The outcome in terms of public and press reaction was extremely negative in both cases. Simple concessions, perhaps with a touch of humour, could have avoided all the fuss: “Well, I sign a lot of things for charity; but maybe I didn’t make it clear that I hadn’t actually painted the picture. I couldn’t paint like that to save my life; Yes, not a good look, I’ll admit, and not a good example to other drivers. Guilty as charged, I’m afraid.”

The problem with denial when you’ve done something wrong is that far from making the issue go away, it amplifies and protracts it. Admitting your mistakes tends to have the opposite effect. Your opponents may have a field day of self congratulation, but it will at least be brief.   

This is the advice that John Key’s advisors should have been giving him ever since the publication of Nicky Hager’s book. Had he been given that advice he would not have found himself in the position he found himself in on television last night: being called severely to account by both right-leaning Mike Hosking on TV1 and liberal/left leaning John Campbell on TV3. The Prime Minister sounded increasingly like Sergeant Schultz, his repeated “I know NOTHING” denials  less and less credible or convincing as the interviews proceeded. He looked irritated and out of sorts, frustrated by the inability of these idiots to see his point of view that, though he was Minister for the SIS, he could not be held responsible for the actions of people in his department that impinged on the impartiality of the Service. It had nothing to do with him.

This morning’s papers would have brought him no relief. No-one had a good word to say about John Key. John Armstrong, the Herald’s traditionally considered political correspondent, opined that Key “would do himself and National a power of good if he dropped the feeble charade  which sees him in denial of the dirty tricks operation that was run out of his office.”

Armstrong was no less condemning of the Prime Minister’s performance during question time in Parliament which he dubbed “breathtakingly silly”:

“It involved either not answering the questions raining down on him from the Opposition or flinging red herring after red herring at his inquisitors in a vain attempt to divert debate away from what had been going on in his office. It was a display unworthy of the Prime Minister.”

“An apology for the whole episode,” Armstrong suggested, “would, in contrast, make up for the absence of heads rolling. It would show Key took ministerial responsibility seriously.”

Amen to that!

But it’s too late now. Key’s credibility is shot. His defence of the indefensible began with the preposterous distinction he attempted to draw between when he was speaking as the PM and when he was speaking as the Leader of the National Party.

Inspector General of Security Intelligence  Cheryl Gwyn’s report, which upholds many of Hager’s claims of “dirty politics” during the Key administration, has drawn the Prime Minister into ever more fanciful and unconvincing denials. Calm, quiet, trust-me, no-worries John has gone. He looks and sounds uncomfortable. He looks and sounds like a man in trouble. He looks and sounds desperate and dishonest. Perhaps for the first time in his term as Prime Minister, John Key is sweating it.

And as if that weren’t enough there’s this fellow on the other side of the room who has a reputation as a straight shooter and an honest broker.

And it was all going so well.

I’m wary of predictions. I’ve got a few wrong. But I think we’re at the start of a political sea change. I think National and its motley bedfellows are going to lose the 2017 election to a revitalised Labour/Green coalition.

I may be proven wrong of course. But, if I am,  I’ll take my own advice and admit it.

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113 Comments:

  1. Hear hear. Plus, I think there will be an injection of very disaffected and angry babyboomers into both parties.

  2. Interesting comments Brian I would add that Sergeant Schultz made us all laugh because his character actually was funny.

    John Key is no comedian and certainly not funny. He is though, a rather sick joke. Those voters that elected him back to office obviously have a warped sense of humour and unfortunately the sick joke is now on the entire country for another three years.

    My question is how does 47% of the voting electorate keep getting fooled by this type of self serving and shallow politician. A David Frost type TV expose on this could be very enlightening.

    • If no David Frost around how about a Royal Commission? Since the Collins affair and the SIS ones were so very very narrowly focused they were not able to investigate the PM’s involvement nor any of his officers. And the lawyers were on hand to make sure that no difficult quest

    • It’s called democracy!

    • Now listen here, Kat. I know little about politics but have HUGE affection for comedy. For a politician, John Key is a VERY funny man. Hate his politics if you like, and maybe the party IS a sick joke (somehow I wouldn’t agree but Key is a quick-witted humorous man, no matter how you slice him.

      That comment about his proposed advice to the Peruvian PM was actually hilarious – inappropriate? Certainly, but very, very funny!

      Lighten the eff up! Laugh a little, or die young of Misery Cancer. Look for the funny side of life, and lower taxes and starker benefit payouts will fade into insignificance.

  3. “14. I have not found any partisan political motive on the part of the NZSIS or its Director. I have found, however, that the Director made a number of serious errors of judgement in dealing with the controversy that arose over his consultation with the Leader of the Opposition over the Israeli investigation.”

    Exactly what in the report findings is indefensible and Key’s responsibility?

  4. And:

    “17. I have not found any political collusion by or direction of the NZSIS in its disclosure of information, or any unauthorised disclosure of information by NZSIS staff, as had been alleged. I did find that NZSIS information was disclosed by a member of the staff of the PMO to Cameron Slater for political purposes, but that disclosure did not breach any obligations of confidentiality owed to the NZSIS on the part of that PMO staff member.”

    • In this, as in so many other contentious issues, you pays your money and you takes your pick. Key’s critics can’t prove that he knew about or was party to the ‘dirty politics’ that Hager describes in his book; nor can his defenders prove otherwise. Unlike quite a few commentators I actually read the book from cover to cover. It’s strength is that it relies almost entirely on the participants’ own words – what Slater, Ede et al actually said. None of it inspires confidence in the morality or credibility of these gentlemen. To date the only valid critique of Hager arises from how he obtained the information that appears in ‘Dirty Politics’. I have yet to see anything that casts doubt on the accuracy of his reporting or, for that matter, any denials from the “offended” parties.

      • 4.1.1

        Hang on, I understand David Farrar has refuted everything untoward insinuated in the chapter on him, likewise Judith Collins and several others.

        http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/08/the_hager_book-2.html
        http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/08/ive_either_been_hacked_or_spied_on.html

        The issue was never about the accuracy of reporting since it was based on the huge cache of stolen emails. The issue was always about the insinuations made on the basis of limited and one-sided information – as the Collins investigation has just illustrated.

      • If you inadvertently create what could technically be labelled a forgery, or a team Cubans are caught committing a crime such as burglary you apologise – straight away.

        But if it is “In this, as in so many other contentious issues, you pays your money and you takes your pick” then it is not so clear-cut – especially with a public fatigued with scandal-politics.

  5. “On the uncanny resemblance between John Key and Sergeant Schultz.”

    Well, if we’re going in for far-fetched comparisons between New Zealand politicians and famous Germans, Andrew Little’s ranting, flailing, foaming, gesticulating performances in the House yesterday and today reminded me of nothing so much as Hitler at a Nuremburg rally.

    See, two can play this silly game.

    • Not sure you’ve got the flavour of the original post right: those of us who grew up with ‘I know nuzzing!’ will see the humour in the comparison between Scultzie and Key’s denials; whereas there’s an arm-waving, hyperbolic overstatement in your comparison of Hitler with Little.

      10 minutes on the sideline for that foul play, sorry…

    • Excuse me? You have a moral human being performing accurately against a reprehensible creep and you want to play the dumbest card available. I thought you were a punter. Piss off you moron.

      • 5.2.1

        Hmm, obviously a Lefty. I detect the sweet smell of informed logic and balanced absence of ad hominem abuse. Not.

      • 5.2.2

        You’ve entirely missed my point. I’d explain it to you, but frankly I can’t be bothered.

      • 5.2.3

        It’s true that I don’t have a high opinion of Andrew Little, but I wouldn’t call him a reprehensible creep.

  6. The Keyhole should resign.

    That is all.

    • The normal prerequisite for apologies and resignation is to identify exactly what the individual has done wrong. I’m still waiting to hear what that is. Or is that a step you are happy to skip?

    • Why? You prefer a party schooled in political theory to run the country rather than a party of experienced money men?

      Would you prefer the All Blacks selectors choose 15 men who studied the RFU Rule Book to Master’s level but never kicked a ball in anger, or to select 15 from New Zealand’s vast stock of seasoned, up-through-the-ranks, grass-ready hard men?

      Keyhole had better stay, or we’re all going to get thrashed by the Hamburg Police First (and only) XV.

  7. Brian you are right. The tide is turning. I am so pleased with Andrew Little! He will LEAD.

  8. Pity that Phil Goff, so worried about breaches of confidential information, did just that when under confidentiality himself.

    • Given that National had set him up and the media had colluded with them to potray him as a liar when he in fact was telling the truth, it’s no wonder he was not going to wait to let National and their lap-dog journos run how the report was going to be portrayed in the media this time.

  9. It is indeed a curious pantomime being played out at present. I doubt even Key’s harshest critics would accuse him of being politically cloth-eared; indeed quite the opposite.

    Key has got where he is today by mimicking the everyman persona, and the average Noo Zilund bloke is inclined to say “Cripes, sorry mate… here, have a beer” and not “I may or may not have run over your dog, depending upon your definition of ‘run over’, and my culpability is in any event moot because the GPS told me to keep going straight ahead”.

    So why this slipping of the mask? IMO, same reason as Clark: overweening hubris. We have reached the point in NZ politics where the elected leader of a small South Pacific nation which more than half the world couldn’t locate on a map needs a staffer whose job it is to whisper in their ear a memento mori.

    While the more harmless manifestations of this trend make the victim seem merely a buffoon, there are of course more serious repercussions when the power they hold – or, all too often, assume to themselves – is misused.

    So I believe we need, as a beginning, a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, as practiced in the UK(1) for many decades now, recently appointed in the ACT(2) and mooted for NSW(3) and Victoria(4).

    As an aside, and with no wish to thread-jack… but I can’t let such statements go unchallenged:

    “And anyway, these cops are brilliant and safe drivers.”

    No, they are not(5)(6)(7).

    1. http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/pcfs/

    2. http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/members/commissioner-for-standards

    3. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/AParliamentaryCommissionerforStandardsforNewSouthWales/$File/Paper+-+By+David+Blunt+-+A+Parliamentary+Commissioner+for+Standards+for+New+South+Wales.pdf

    4. http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Standing_Orders_Committee_-_Parliamentary_Commissioner_for_Standards_k3WnjJHW.pdf

    5. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9581994/Police-car-crashes-chalk-up-11m-bill

    6. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10639523

    7. http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/damaged-police-cars-17m-bill/

  10. I recall you have made similar predictions before the 2011and 2008 general elections. I recall that on the appointment of DC the result of the 2014 election was in your view a foregone conclusion.

    I fear your soothsaying powers are not much better than those of Mystic Meg. I think Mr Little should be worried at your prediction; as a Labour Party supporter I know I am.

    Sadly the NZ public paid little attention to Dirty Politics before the election and given that there is close to three years before the next election I doubt whether the electorate’s attention span will last that long.

    Labour’s best chance is for BE to announce he is supporting National.

    • 10.1

      That would really be dirty politics!

    • Did I make similar predictions before the 2008 and 2011 elections? Just asking.

      • As I recall before both elections you predicted the downfall of Key. And certainly when Cunliffe was made leader you were clear that he would be leading Labour to victory.

        • 10.2.1.1

          GeraldineRadovanovich

          Its only a matter of time. I’d like to predict there will be a vote of no confidence in The Key Regime before long and there will be an early election. B.E may well be right.

  11. Once again Key -The Teflon Pm holds his finger up to us.In 3 years this will be forgotten.What worries me is this is what has been discovered ,what else has happened that few are privy to.This is becoming the worst government I can remember.

  12. “Calm, quiet, trust-me, no-worries John has gone. He looks and sounds uncomfortable. He looks and sounds like a man in trouble. He looks and sounds desperate and dishonest. Perhaps for the first time in his term as Prime Minister, John Key is sweating it.”

    Exactly what I though while watching the news and dining with some somewhat right leaning friends. I pointed this out to them, but do you think they could see it? What I’ve noticed about these highly partisan types is that they seem to know stuff all about the activities that have lead the PM to look like a possum in the glaring spotlight of a lock and loaded pest exterminator.
    More obfuscating waffle will be dished up in the hope that the Public will tire of the matter and want to move on and forget about this rather perfidious development in New Zealand politics. Somehow I don’t think this is going to happen and Key’s third term will be shortened because his lying will catch him out just as John Banks’ did.

  13. The irony is Key began his third term with an admonishment to his administration on avoiding the perils of hubris and arrogance. It seems the rot has started from the head.

  14. Well said, Brian.
    And I’m glad you included Helen Clarke’s gaffes, as well.

    Since the election I have been in despair, both at the results and credulity of so many in this nation, as well as contempt for the missing million who didn’t vote.

    I concur with your prediction of a sea-change. It has to happen…even the dumbest Kiwi must be seeing through the lies, damned lies and statistics.

    Cheers, great writing.
    Kathy Lafferty/Himiona

  15. Nice one Brian – yeah 2017 can be done – here’s hoping.

  16. Good stuff BE. But will NZ wake up in time? Before the Corporates take over completely and leave us with a USA type quasi ‘government’?

    • 16.1

      NZ is awake now. Unfortunately it will be asleep again in a few weeks, lulled by John Key’s spin doctors and sycophants.

      • 16.1.1

        You mean Key has a better class of spin doctors than the opposition?

        Parliament is full to the brim of people on taxpayer-funded salaries working full time for their party political interests, spreading information and comments to whoever they think will be useful to the interests they promote.

        And the media and opposition pretend that Jason Eade was doing something out of the ordinary that does not happen in Wellington a hundred times every day. The hypocrisy is simply stunning.

        • Apparently it is a matter of degree. Which loops around to the point that has been made a few times on this blog, that it comes back to your political biases.

          But from a purely political management point-of-view you could argue Key has, courtesy of the Hager expose, breached an unspoken compact between the public and politicians. The former know the latter are continually trying to spin their version of reality all the time. That is why politicians, like lawyers, journalists, advertisers, used-care salesmen and any form of propagandists are generally despised. They don’t tell you the unvarnished “truth”, or at least they are continually advancing a self-serving and biased version of it.

          However, as the public have precious-little of substance by which to actually judge the true competence of politicians, they are left relying on peripheral stuff like how they present on TV, how well they campaign, and how effectively they keep from view the puppet strings that constitute their spin (apologies for mixed metaphor). So politicians are respected for their political management ability to project their version of reality as long as it isn’t obviously a departure from reality and their plans to spin are not exposed. Which is no longer the case with brand Key.

          I think that is why Andrew Little’s tenure as Labour leader has opened with an even-more ferocious amping-up of the Dirty Politics strategy. He is ultimately aiming at the secret of Key’s success – his perceived competence.

          I say that because surely they are not trying the death-by-a-thousand-cuts strategy after the bizarre campaign and election result this year?! Then again, Clark eventually succumbed to that at the end of her third term (as the 1990-99 National Government before her), so time will tell if that is the basket where Labour is placing its eggs…

          • Ha! Are you saying the perception has been created that Key is competent, hence his fooling of the 47% that voted for him, and that perceived competence is therefore a reality so Little appears to be aiming to remove that perception?

            If so I would agree!

            • Almost.

              In the interests of trying to make for an intelligent discussion which both sides of the political divide might like to contribute to in a co-operative rather adverserial fashion, I suspended judgement on whether Key was competent or successful at fooling 47% that he was (which, btw, actually implies a certain level of political competence).

              But far be it from me to stop your usual fun.

        • 16.1.1.2

          Key does indeed have a better class of spin doctors than the opposition. But then, he needs them.

  17. Akshully… John Key bears a striking physical resemblence to Colonel Klink.

    http://www.google.co.nz/images?client=safari&rls=en&q=Colonel+Klink&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&hl=en&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=ZSF2VOKzB4a8mAWrsoGoDA&ved=0CBMQsAQ

  18. “The problem with denial when you’ve done something wrong is that far from making the issue go away, it amplifies and protracts it. Admitting your mistakes tends to have the opposite effect. Your opponents may have a field day of self congratulation, but it will at least be brief.”

    Yet Key apologised yesterday for misleading Parliament, and has given an explanation that you will either believe or consider a lie based on your political predisposition…and he is still attacked by his opponents, as reported in the media, in the hope of dragging it out.

    • Key apologising for misleading parliament regarding contacting Slater does not absolve him from the more serious issue of his setting up a political smear campaign from the PM’s office and using the SIS as pawns against his opponents.

      Oh! hang on, that sounds just like another leader in the good old USA back in the 70’s. Whatever happened to him.

      • 18.1.1

        The smear campaign that consisted of the SIS showing Goff had lied? That Key supposedly orchestrated by remote control while on an overseas trip representing this country to other national leaders?

        Nope, Goff had obviously annoyed Tucker with his false claim he hadn’t been kept informed and reaped what he had sowed to the point that Tucker somewhat overstepped the mark in response.

        Goff was the first to try to use the SIS as a pawn in political games and it backfired on him.

      • Are you alleging a criminal act such as obstruction of justice as per Watergate…or trying to turn politics as usual into the hyperbole Andrew Little has been enggaing in during Question Time? I thought the poor man was going to burst a blood vessel.

        Kat, I’ll help you and all the rest of the John Key lynch mob: If you are going to get him you have to answer precisely (dates, times, specific statements and acts)

        1. When did the Prime Minister know?

        2. When did he know it?

        3. How is it a criminal act?

        • Kimbo, I am not interested in “getting” John Key. He is fast becoming irrelevant. I would suggest the left would be better off just ignoring Key, and his ‘crap’, and generally concentrate on the complete debacle that is this National govt.

  19. So no-one here can actually identify what Key has done that requires apology/resignation. Why am I not surprised?

    I used to be amazed at the proportion of people who have strong opinions yet lack any factual basis for them. No longer.

    • (Alan, have you ever considered the possibility that some of us could be unwilling to engage with the way that you argue your case, rather than the case itself?)

      It seems to me that he either didn’t know what was happening in his own department with its unethical practices and improper use of government agencies, which would make him an incompetent leader – especially since his role of security leader should not be shared in the precedent-setting way it has been; or he has taken pains to distance himself personally from what he has been aware of and implicitly endorsed, which makes him unworthy of the role he has.

      In either case his hubris, arrogance and unfailing belief that he can always ‘manage’ public opinion by telling the electorate what to think is showing in a way that he and his team would rather it didn’t.

      • 19.1.1

        What did the department do that was unethical? The inquiry found errors of judgement, not ethical breaches. Same with the earlier illegal spying for the police.

        Yes, I’ve considered all the possible excuses for failure to justify assertions and dismissed them.

        • Section 150A of the Crimes Act from memory. The illegal use of Government information for partisan ends. You might have to look it up yourself you officious twat.

        • This isn’t terminology I use much, but…LOL.

          • 19.1.1.2.1

            The usual content from the Lefties – none.

            • Weather finally come right up in the Bay eh!

              • 19.1.1.2.1.1.1

                Been good but weekend looks like relapsing. I see the traffic zombies are going to start collecting fines for 1 kph over the speed limits just in time for Christmas. Bring on the revolution. Enough of this insane police state.

  20. I have yet to discern a gap between politicians and prostitutes.

  21. I agree with BE that Helen could have avoided a lot of grief if she had apoloigised for those two trival events. However I think Kimbo has touched on the difficulty Key faces. Politics is all about spinning your side and catching your opponent out. Goff tried it on Tues by releasing the Glyn report early. That was cynical. National do it as well and, I expect want to keep doing it. There’s is no point in Key apologising for something that may happen again next week. That would aggrivate the issue. Personally I think jumping on your high horse over this might come back to haunt Labour unless they stop generating ‘convenient leaks’ and briefing bloggers.

  22. What hasn’t been considered here is the attitude of John Key’s fellow MPs. Up to now they’ve been happy to swing on his coattails; he’s been their overwhelmingly popular, hail-fellow-well-met, no-nonsense regular Kiwibloke mascot. Which is odd, because, to be honest, does anyone actually know what John Key stands for? He’s a sort of hobby prime minister, the affirmation of the little boy made good; money was one ambition, prime ministership has been the other. Has he ever detailed his political principles or ethics, or what direction he’s trying to steer this nation? Everything about John seems short-term, shallow or opportunistic, allied to a nasty neoliberal dogma in the party as a whole. How much stupidity do we get from John Key before his fellow MPs start to worry? There must be a few honourable MPs in National, surely, who will be extremely uncomfortable with this display of arrogance and deceit? If John Key continues to behave in this way, and I think he will, because it is a deep seated character flaw (as noted by many rather more in NZ for a long time) then the alarm bells are going to start ringing in National. Be prepared for the glint of long knives and blood on the floor. The widespread assumptions, by those that should know better, of yet another term for National on the basis of the results of this last election, and the appalling result for Labour, were always rather naive and simplistic.

    • 22.1

      I don’t think National Party MPs will be stropping up their knives because the National Party IS John Key. Even its supporters threaten us with the likes of Stephen Joyce as PM if we call for Key’s resignation. I’m afraid we’ll just have to sweat out the next two and a bit years and hope he heads to Hawaii. After that, National will collapse.

  23. Brian – you have already long warned yourself about the dangers of trying on irony with New Zealanders Why did you try it with the the Key/ Schultz comparison? Surely you understood that it would be immiately misunderstood (deliberately?) the usual right wing crowd

    • 23.1

      Crowd? Just two of these comments refer to the Schultz comparison – ironic, denigrating or both. One from each side of the political divide by my reckoning.

      So was this your own contribution to irony?

  24. 24

    “On the uncanny resemblance between John Key and Sergeant Schultz’

    Sorry, but I don’t see any.

    • Try the inexpensive ‘readers’ from the Warehouse and other retail outlets, $10 should get you up to speed with seeing the resemblance.

    • Alan’s right, if you get the blue tinted ones everything will be very, very dark. If you happen to have already been using the blue tinted ones be aware that when you try the red tinted ones you will instantly flash on Johnny Nash’s old song “I can see clearly now”.

      • 24.2.1

        Yes, when you wear the red ones, every Nat will look like a Nazi and the Left will look like saints. With the blue ones politics will just look like the murky mess that it is and you will prefer to get on with your life, friends and family.

      • Don’t forget to g”nash” your teeth when you listen to that song, because you can’t see clearly on his self proscribed medications. One of the curses of modern humanity, piss and pills mixed with fame and fortune and a moronic audience willing to lap it up.

    • I took it from the outset to be a reference to the Schultz catchphrase “I know nothing”

      • 24.3.1

        Obviously a play on that but with an associated poke at stupidity and Germanic villainy too. As per the photo.

  25. Good post Edwards, but nobody knows whats going on in beltway or cares, how he got there. Its beltway, we don’t care.
    Many people have criticism of your advice to Helengrad.
    We are obsessed by Islam terrorism. Telling the truth, invites the question, what is the truth? Your truth is similar to mine but different .

  26. Many people have heard or read about these communications John Key has had with Slater and Farrar, and find it hard to understand.
    Did the Prime Minister think these bloggers have such influence that they could be fed info as to influence the public. For me Cameron is really a destructive misguided low life and I am sad that the PM did not see this.
    Why didn’t Key have a tough guy advisor, as Helen Clarke had Edwards. To me all this stuff was like ringing up a soothsayer. Farrar himself is suspect, and on a trip.
    Instead of Key saying well I trust my own instincts;
    it appears he did not and now we have this kind of fake PM
    A man, who moves with the local mafia if you like.
    They have lost a lot in face, it makes no sense to be a Prime Minister and shoot from the hip into the pork barrel, then miss.
    Between them also; Slater and Farrar have lost a lot also, through greed , and self advancement.
    There is still time for NZ Nat to recover,but the black operations from our side was a bad business

  27. “However, as the public have precious-little of substance by which to actually judge the true competence of politicians”
    .Anyone on a benefit knows the extent of politicians incompetence.

  28. I get the reference to the old TV favourite – although the context I put in is “You may know nothing, my dear PM, but I know something – I know you’re a lying bastard.”

    The tv personality who has comes to mind more though when I have seen the PM on various issues, (nothing personal Brian), is Judge Judy. On so much of the stuff around the GCSB she would have listened to him, watched the body language and concluded “Absolute bunkum. You’re making up a story of convenience.” Which of course is a family time TV way of saying, “lying bastard.”

    The disconcerting thing is of course that even when Mr Key is talking about ordinary, not-sensational stuff I have cause to wonder if he is telling it as it really is.

    • 28.1

      The Left do hatred so well it is quite psychotic isn’t it?

      • Try not to be so one eyed Alan. Just a sampling of one day’s offerings from Whaleoil should make you think again. Brian has a convenient link to Cameron Slater’s site on his blog roll. Why on earth he does I can’t imagine.

      • Ironic that my hatred of having a Prime Minister who is a psychopathic liar draws use of the word psychotic.

        • 28.1.2.1

          Not ironic, just appropriate I regret to have to tell you.

        • 28.1.2.2

          “Psychopathic”? Surely you mean “pathological”? Although, given your penchant for paranoid hyperbole, perhaps you don’t.

      • 28.1.3

        You need to see someone about your paranoia.

        • 28.1.3.1

          I think I’m one of the least paranoid people I know, Lee. So no chocolate for that fly by.

          • 28.1.3.1.1

            Given your constant implication that the Labour and Green Parties are the public face of some sort of neo-bolshevik movement, the average person would differ.

            What happened to you? You’ve moved from mere old guy blowhardery into full on conspiracy theory in the last couple of years.

            • 28.1.3.1.1.1

              Pathetic effort, Lee. “Given your constant implication that the Labour and Green Parties are the public face of some sort of neo-bolshevik movement.”

              Where in any of my comments on this thread can you justify that silly nonsense?

              And supposing we ignore that “constant implication” demonstrable falsehood, where have I ever implied anything other than the fact that Norman was previously a communist and that specific policies have been discredited by the universal failure of communism?

  29. I have yet to see communism actually in practice.Please provide an example of true communism not the corrupt governance that masqueraded as communism.

    • 29.1

      You obviously believe that when something fails the proper solution is more of it. Since every attempt at communism has led to failure in the range disastrous to catastrophic the rest of the world has become understandably wary of it.

      • …and yet the same premise is applicable to neoliberalism and giving ‘the market’ a free run at it. History has shown that it leads to greater social and economic inequalities and a concentration of wealth in a very small group of people. So after a brief derailment in the GFC, we help to put the same train back on the track. Many of us are not just wary of it, but weary too.

        • 29.1.1.1

          Tell that to the Chinese, Koreans and eastern Europeans, Nell. Equal grinding poverty is not much fun. I don’t care if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Elton John are far richer than I am because their work has made all our lives far richer. As for the GFC, it was created by Government interference and mismanagement. The markets merely forced them back to reality as they always will eventually. Because the markets consist of real people doing their best in the real world, not the dream worlds of socialism and bureaucracies.

          • 29.1.1.1.1

            None of the countries you mention are communist. They are run by the rich and powerful for their further enrichment at the expense of the poor.
            Sound familiar? Probably not, you can’t or won’t see what’s going on in your own country.

            • 29.1.1.1.1.1

              Way to miss the entire point, John! These people have direct knowledge of both options and they certainly would tell Nell which direction they prefer.

              • 29.1.1.1.1.1.1

                Based on your comments, I didn’t think there was a point. Just slagging off at anything not extreme right.

                • 29.1.1.1.1.1.1.1

                  Heaven forbid that I disturb your beliefs with facts and logic, John. Apologies for that oversight.

          • Don’t twist what I’m saying to what you want to say, again, Alan.

            The market is not a paragon of economic virtues, and ‘real people doing their best in the real world’ is far too idealistic to be real in any useful sense. It’s not noble as your hokey phrase suggests; unfettered market ideology is inherently amoral.

            That doesn’t mean that totalitarian governments like North Korea are the other only other option to corporatist global free-marketeering. That would be a specious argument…

            • 29.1.1.1.2.1

              Actually, Nell, if you run a business you discover that is exactly what the market is. The market is amoral but the participants are human and judge each other accordingly.

              As for the extremes, I think you began the references. In any case that is really the choice of direction: towards equal poverty or unequal wealth. Make your choice.

    • After some 150 years since communism was first formally proposed as an historic certainty for future history, and given numerous purported attempts during the 20th Century doesn’t the fact you have yet to see it “actually” practiced indicate it was an utterly unworkable ideology all along?

      Or does that question earn a spray?

  30. “You obviously believe that when something fails the proper solution is more of it.”
    Its neither obvious or what I believe.
    Sorry not sure of what a spray is, please enlighten me.(Hopefully not by example)

  31. In reply to Alan Wilkinson, December 5th, 2014 at 23:09 –

    Your diabologic is disturbing but your “facts” are quite amusing.
    It must be very lonely up there on Planet Wilkinson with no one your intellectual equal.

    • 31.1

      Oh no, plenty of company though not nearly so many Lefties. But there are a few capable of sensible and/or witty debate including our host and our old sparring partner Kat here.

  32. Perhaps Kiwis are finally realising that a trader with $50m in the bank doesn’t represent most of them. Wealthy Chinese, Poms, Americans… sure.

    But not the average person on low wages, living in a high cost city.

    Have noticed that a lot of NZers are very naive about the Govt. They’re so trusting, determined to be independent, even when being sold up the river! Must’ve read too many surveys telling them how there is no corruption in NZ.

  33. Nobody in their right mind wants a socialist Labour/ Green Government. There are about 10% votes which went NZFirst and Conservative. Most of these are Centre right votes. Socialism just means even more control and more tax and even more Maori power. It won’t happen.
    Of those who do not vote Green, most will actively vote against Green and for good reason.
    New Zealand’s major problem is the massive social welfare and health spend.
    Labour party ideas:
    #1 Lets let you pay other people to have babies, in a hugely overcrowded world
    #2 Les then lets you pay to educate, and look after these kids, pay their University fees. Why should parents look after their own kids
    #3 Lets build a train set in every City
    #4 Lets create money by QE [ Green policy }
    #5 Lets tax the rich like Brian Edwards more, even though they already contribute half the income for New Zealand …
    and so on.
    #6 Lets live in a closed socialist world that ceased to exist sometime in the seventies.
    #7 Lets stay with the RMA so nobody can even build a bloody hen house

    Ad so on. And it won’t happen because it is absurd.
    There are ways to sort this Government out but Labour and Green don’t know how, and do not have the guts
    It could start with an equalitarian Society where Maori do not have race based privilege. New Zealand despises race based privilege.