Clear Superiority: Why does the Left consistently underestimate John Key?


John-Key-August-15UNDERESTIMATING JOHN KEY is a serious mistake. Helen Clark did it in 2008, and Key knocked her out of the ring. He did the same to John Campbell last night.

When is the Left going to come to terms with the fact that John Key is National’s toughest, smartest and most dangerous leader – ever? Defeating “The Candidate from Central Casting” was never going to be easy, but our consistent failure to grasp the brute reality of Key’s clear superiority – when compared to just about every politician the Opposition can throw at him – is turning his defeat into a near impossibility.

Why are we so blind to the man’s qualities? Why do we remain so ridiculously underwhelmed by Key’s unprecedented success?

We are, after all, talking about a politician whose popularity seldom dips below 40 percent in the Preferred Prime Minister ratings. We are looking at a National Government which, in 2011 increased its share of the Party Vote to an unprecedented 47.3 percent. And that was three years after it had been elected with an MMP record-breaking 44.9 percent. Why don’t we “get” how extraordinary this guy is? Since when does a prime minister’s (let alone a government’s) honeymoon last five years?!

A lot of it has to do with large sections of the Left’s plain, old-fashioned intellectual snobbery.

Among the baby-boomer generation who took advantage of the (now despised) Welfare State’s gift of a virtually free tertiary education, there existed a strict hierarchy of university qualifications. At the top were the golden boys and girls studying for a medical degree. One level below them were the students of the law and other professional schools. Science and liberal arts students squabbled over who occupied the third and fourth levels. But nobody doubted which group of students occupied the lowest level of the academic hierarchy: that distinction belonged, indisputably, to commerce students.

John Key was a commerce student – ipso facto, John Key must be dumb.

What the baby-boomer politicians of the Left simply didn’t grasp was the fact that since the demise of the Welfare State (for whose death the Labour Party was, ironically, largely responsible) the academic hierarchy had been subjected to considerable revision. In the golden afterglow of the Neoliberal Revolution commerce students had quite unexpectedly found themselves cast as the new rock stars of the tertiary sector.

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Where, in the 1960s and 70s, millions of dollars had been expended on throwing up huge ferro-concrete monuments to medicine, law, arts and science; most of the (now shrinking) tertiary budgets were being spent on the construction of glittering, swipe-card controlled temples to the needs of Commerce. In these towering structures, thousands of budding Masters of the Universe take instruction in the arcane intricacies of cost accounting, management and marketing.

On the university campuses of the 21st Century, the lowest of the low are, indisputably, liberal arts students.

But, when the liberal arts graduates of the 1960s and 70s hear John Key speak, his words (and the way he (mis)pronounces them) continue to be filtered through what are now thoroughly out-dated academic prejudices. His speech emerges as the language of a stupid, poorly-educated buffoon: someone whom only other stupid, poorly-educated buffoons could possibly take seriously.

But that is not how other New Zealanders – even those with a tertiary education – hear John Key. They hear a man who sounds uncannily like themselves: a man mercifully innocent of the ridiculous linguistic pretentions of Keith Holyoake or Jim Bolger.

And the obvious fact that Key, a multi-millionaire, isn’t in the least bit “like” most New Zealanders doesn’t really register. If the Prime Minister, a multi-millionaire, talks and behaves just like “your average Kiwi”; then, maybe, “your average Kiwi” can, one day, become a multi-millionaire?

Those same snobbish liberal-arts graduates make a further mistake. In their ears, the Prime Minister’s arguments sound like the most arrogant and unforgiveable bombast. Intelligent people know that they do not know. Their opinions are always clearly flagged as such. Wise men hesitate to be unequivocal. The “well-educated” listener’s respect is most readily won by the speaker who openly acknowledges that no one person is capable of perceiving more than just a tiny fragment of the whole truth about anything.

All well and good, but John Key understands that to win and hold the leadership of a democratic state, one does not pitch one’s arguments to the “well educated” listener.

Think about the televised encounter between John Key and John Campbell on last night’s Campbell Live (Wednesday, 14 August 2013) and then consider the Prime Minister’s tactics in the light of the following observations about political debate:

“This is the very first condition which has to be fulfilled in every kind of propaganda: a systematically one-sided attitude towards every problem that has to be dealt with … When they see an uncompromising onslaught against an adversary, the people have at all times taken this as proof that right is on the side of the aggressor; but if the aggressor should go only halfway and fail to push home his success … the people will look upon this as a sign that he is uncertain of the justice of his own cause.”

The source of these observations? Mein Kampf – by Adolf Hitler.

Another politician who was seriously underestimated by his enemies.


  1. Good points.

    I think behind that snobbishness also lies another fact: I hardly ever meet fellow leftists who studied Hegel anymore. Hegel explains John Key and his debating and marketing tactics perfectly. His entire dialectic is one of pure, unadulterated willingness to win. He is the spite-ridden spirit of class-combat incarnate, and he goes about it with a calmly dismissive, methodical precision that suggests that he understands the position his opponents are really in far more clearly than they understand it themselves.

    I can think of no figure in politics who so clearly embodies Hegel’s master than John Key, and people should find that both frightening but also enlightening – the opposition needs to know that he won’t go down politely, and prepare for the debate to get real. Last night, John Campbell joined Helen Clark and Phil Goff on the list of people who should have taken the time to sit down, read some Hegel, flick on the stereo, and sling ‘the Rains of Castamere’ on repeat before they even considered meeting John Key in debate.

  2. “When they see an uncompromising onslaught against an adversary, the people have at all times taken this as proof that right is on the side of the aggressor; but if the aggressor should go only halfway and fail to push home his success … the people will look upon this as a sign that he is uncertain of the justice of his own cause.”

    This echos what I said as a comment to an earlier blog. A great number of New Zealanders (like perhaps everywhere else), like to back the winner in a school yard fight (or cock fight or dog fight). As long as they see Key well and truly pummelling his opponent, they will support him. What will be needed to topple him is some new champion of the opposition who has the measure of the man. This champion will be intelligent, intuitive, respected, a bull dog, and also have a cutting sense of humour to put down John Key with. Someone has to get under John Key’s skin and rattle him. Key is also very lucky (Napolean always asked if prospective generals were lucky) but everyone’s luck runs out sooner or later and his will.

  3. I don’t agree with Chris. 1st: 800,000 who could have voted last election didn’t, if they had Labour would have been elected. 2nd: Key’s support comes from the sector of NZ society that’s doing ok, they see him as protecting their position, e.g. not bringing in a capital gains tax on housing speculator profits. 3rd: He’s been supported by a mainly sycophantic msm. 4th: the opposition is fainthearted as they covertly agree with a lot of what he’s doing. 5th:What’s obvious is we have now a very divided NZ in terms of wealth and income and the well off don’t want to help the less so.6th: Another sad fact is that those who should vote against him are taken in with the shallow flashy spin image he projects. 🙁

    • That may be true, but Key is also a ferociously intelligent psychopath with a pugilistic rhetorical style and an inexplicable popular appeal. Ignoring those things doesn’t make him easier to beat.

  4. Very interesting and in my view correct, I was just on the point of writing something along similar lines on Russell Brown’s Blog Public Address
    Russell went to school with JK but claims to have never noticed him, possibly because he wasn’t as cool or moved in different circles, single parent kids were a rare breed in the 60s
    But as you say the Left have seriously underestimated John Key to many times

  5. What the baby-boomer politicians of the Left simply didn’t grasp was the fact that since the demise of the Welfare State

    You know the government is spending more on education, more on welfare and more on health than at pretty much any point ever, right?

    • Assuming for the sake of debate that you have numbers to back that up, are your numbers per capita and inflation adjusted? Or lump sum?

      I doubt even Paula Bennett would claim that an unemployment benefit today offers the same purchasing power as it did 30 years ago (for example).

        • The term ‘welfare state’ generally means institutional welfare. You are talking about targeted welfare (residual welfare).
          Yes, targeted welfare costs more and is ineffective.
          Targeted welfare is not designed to save money, its goal is to justify middleclass welfare and corporate welfare – which then creates inequality and perpetuates a stigmatisation and oppression of economic victims.

          A welfare state demands full employment, but we do not now, and that is why our current residual system costs so much and delivers so little.

          Its a common misconception, just like the term ‘neoliberalism’. Neoliberalism is not a reduced cost of government, nor even a shrinkage of government. Neoliberalism is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Neoliberalism is a welfare system for the rich

      • given that ruth richardson slashed welfare in the 90s there is no way benefits have the purchasing power of the 80s

      • In 1973 I was on a sickness benefit of $27 a week. In spite of adding to my diet by having hens, and growing a few veg when I could, I still slept on the floor and had no heating in winter in South Otago. My bedding froze from my breath. I had one element working on the stove, and could only grill in the oven as the bottom element had gone. I had no electric jug, as i couldnt afford to replace the burnt out element, and the only toaster was one with drop down sides which burnt ones fingers.
        I had bucket as a toilet which had to be emptied out into a hole in the paddock. The phone was a party line and I had no TV or fridge.

        Full employment was for men – women were still chattels belonging to their husband (a law change removing that was implemented about then.)

        The only assistance apart from the benefit that I had from the government was to put in a bathroom and toilet. There was no other help

        Benefit cheques were frequently delayed when the rail line went out at Kaikoura. I would then go hungry.

        Dont try telling me that things were better then.

    • In real terms, allowing both for inflation and population in terms of pro capita??
      I have my doubts. But you made the statement . Any links?

  6. Damn right. There are a lot of nasty words I will happily use when describing John Key but ‘ignorant’ isn’t one of them. It frustrates me when people call him a moron – of all the things he is, stupid isn’t one of them…

    • Arthur Monteath-Carr, rat cunning is not the same as intelligence, though of course many people either don’t know the difference. However, I do agree with the rest of what you say.

    • He’s certainly very cunning, and determined to get what he wants, but he is also either ignorant of a lot of things very important things in society, or just doesn’t care as long as he has power. I think the latter.

    • I wasn’t aware people called John Key a moron. I think “liar” is the first word they think of when thinking of him.

  7. I think the thing that makes Key most difficult to combat is that he is prepared to tell porkies at the drop of a hat. Kiwis tend to have some innate trust of authority figures and it takes a lot for them to accept that those in authority over them are blatant liars. One example, where Campbell should have pulled him up, is when he said he’d been to Oamaru and people there wanted to talk about snapper. There are no bloody snapper in Oamaru.

    The left in general need someone who can think on their feet, has a good command of the issues, and is not scared of pointing out Key’s lies when he utters them. Shearer fulfils none of these criteria, some fulfil the first two, but of present MPs, possibly only Hone Harawira fulfils the third. The rules of civilised behaviour don’t protect us against someone in authority who is prepared to flout them, and Hone knows this with every cell in his body.

    • Hey Ovicula. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh! If you read Karol’s transcript on The Standard, Oamaru and snapper aren’t linked (unless Karol got it wrong of course). I believe the comment related to being in Dunedin and Oamaru and nowt to do with snapper, so for you to link the two and then say the P.M is lying is very fishy.

      • “JK: Well firstly I’m right. Nothing’s changed about the snapper. Umm. We got a 124 submissions on the GCSB Bill and 30,000 on snapper. You’re going up and down the country this week. Fair enough. Well. I go up and down the country every week. And today was the Waikato. Yesterday was Oamaru and Dunedin and the likes. And people do not raise GCSB. I have public meetings. I have question sessions in everything I do. I probably have half a dozen meetings a day with public, engaging with people.

        There is confusion about the GCSB,. I’m prepared to accept that. But actually people don’t raise this issue. They certainly raise snapper. Secondly. Why did I come on the show. Well I said I probably wouldn’t, but, but actually there is so much in this information and so many things the shows got wrong,[JC going “Well”] I felt a responsibility to come on and try and correct those.”

        The inference is certainly there. Anyway, this is about the GCSB. Do you support the bill?

        • Whether I support the bill or not is immaterial. The point is that you said that John Key had lied as “he said he’d been to Oamaru and people there wanted to talk about snapper” and clearly he did not say that. You state that he was lying because there are no snapper in Oamaru, and unfortunately a lot of readers of the blog will believe you without checking the facts for themselves.

  8. The honeymoon has been grossly abetted by the media. Analysis of Key’s performance over the 5 years has to be seen in the light of a compliant, I would say young and ignorant and egotistical, media that has viewed politics as being all about MP expense accounts and things Labour has done wrong – while they’re not even in power.

    To Key’s “strengths”. He views democracy as a thing that happens for a few weeks every three years, and if they’re tracking towards winning that, he doesn’t care bout anything else – those are the consequences of his actions, not unemployment, not anything real. He is a creature of power poitics and th whole Nat party is geared on this competitive model.
    In discourse he’s vague and self-satisfied, a young John Howard (I lived under Howard then came back to this (sigh). In debate he is rude and obnoxious and amoral, totally indoctrinated in the banker ideology which rules the world, which has worked for him so he thinks should work for all. This gives him megalomaniac conviction and is therefore very effective; and yes, some people like that. I know his thinking and mannerisms well because my father gives the same trancelike stare and shrieking antics when confronted with reason in the same way, and he comes from the same managerial banking class. There is no arguing with this sort of monster.

    In this sense, you can not actually engage with him. Last night was a mistake for Campbell. He was polite and did almost everything he could; but because the PM had outrageously been shunning serious media, by the time he showed up on CL he could adopt an air of grievance, tackling Campbell as if the host was hostile. Use his lingo, his battlegrounds – which includes anything his government is doing – and he will never ever be wrong.

    You actually have to ignore, talk past him try and reframe words for people for what they really want. Create a whole new imaginary constituency. That’s where the media has had Key’s back for 5 years, smothering good alternatives and bad without thinking, and always giving Key the headline.

    • Campbell was too polite, was he ordered to be? or was he ill prepared with the short notice and decided to fight another day?

      Key won because he commanded the battle ground of the debate almost entirely, this was not vintage Campbell and the reason for that is in the top 2 lines of this post.

      To win a debate there are essentials that must be won, the 1st is the very first engagement and the 2nd is the last engagement and if you can win both you are home and hosed, all the stuff in the middle makes very little difference, onlookers or voters only remember in the most part either the 1st or last engagement and that is what they judge the debate on.

      • ! think it’s Campbell’s nature to polite, and I think he was instructed to be – it seemed he wanted to give Key no grounds to be an ass, but then he basically invited Key to stage the whole interview as a grievance:
        “What are the issues you want to address with how we are covering this topic?” was pretty much the opening line. I bet Key & co asked for that opening question as a peace gesture; but then he didn’t hold up his side and continued to disrespect Campbell ‘s role as interrogator, which led to the talking over, rhetorical point-scoring and minutes long digressions.

  9. Get it right, ShonKey is a flabby assed rug wearing bullshitter, an intellectual midget for sure BUT, he has major (i.e. huge, in case anyone misses my point) backup from his finance capital and US imperialist mates that allows him the space to fuck the country over for now.

    It is not about underestimating this pathetic excuse for a 21st century PM, it is about looking at our selves, and organising the population, the disengaged, the 800,000 out there that did not even vote.

    The Aussie sinkhole may slow us becoming a Greece/Portugal/Zimbabwe just now but not for too much longer.

  10. Ovicula,
    you’re right about his lying. Unfortunately, we are a culture very comfortable with lies. Our whole society is built on an architecture of mutually agreed lies, seen easily with the current fuss about Fonterra and 100% pure, but basically any sector. We pump up lies (PR, advertising, doublespeak, euphemisms – derivatives!) then we can go about life, making policy etc, as if they are real. This is the real fear of Western governments and companies about whistleblowers – don’t pull the thread on the lie, the sky will fall down!

    People know this, from their workplaces if nowhere else. Many people know if you pick hard enough, the whole of our Western comfort is on the back of 4/5ths of the world’s hardship. So they will usually take a comfortable lie (“mumblemumble growth business mumble – good for families”) over a hard-sounding truth.

  11. I agree with the question you pose and the analysis.
    Otherwise highly intelligent people are often duped by lying, sniveling used car salesmen, real estate agents, investment advisors and others. You’re correct – Helen underestimated the guy – probably because, although she recognised he wasn’t/isn’t the brains of Britain, he doesn’t fight on those terms.
    Animal cunning (akin to the shithouse rat) quite often trumps intelligence when it comes to survival.
    One thing’s for sure – Shearer ain’t going to cut it!

    • Actually where we part company is with the ‘pecking order’ and its relationship to intelligence. Things have indeed changed in the 21st C and commerce and economics do trump the arts/social sciences, etc. Nothing to do with ‘intelligence’ – it’s just that they are more suited to today’s ideologies, its culture that began with ‘greed is good’, and individualism/’selfishness’ and competitiveness over community and general wellbeing.

  12. You know it’s really not that hard to work out. Whether you agree with his morals or political and economic philosophy or not, John Key isn’t a dumb guy.

    The Left can only win by taking control of the debate. By coming up with facts and figures that PROVE they are right, or are atleast more believable than the facts and figures that National use to tell their story. This is what John Campbell failed at last night. He wasn’t able to disprove anything John Key said. He wasn’t able to score points. He wasn’t able to back Key into a corner, quite simply, Campbell proved he wasn’t smart enough to defeat John Key.

    To win a debate you simply need to prove you are right. This is the challenge for the Left. Find issues that people are interested in and prove that your approach to these issues is better than National’s.

    • Facts don’t matter any more. If the facts aren’t on your side, you simply trot out a more convenient set courtesy of a think tank.

      The left is under a delusion that to win on the facts is to win in politics. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

  13. Ok, we know he’s bad and represents the NWO, but after watching the CL interview where my wife noted his body language indicated he was lying, I felt disheartened that so few seem to care.

    As Reagan said, “How can a president not be an actor?” In NZ our PM is an actor and had this interview been a stage for entertainment I’d love the guy, but I know to much about the NWO and te consequences coming. (

    How do we awaken the 800,00 and create a more equitable world?

    • I would have to say looking at his body language he is very ‘tailored’, he held eye contact, kept his cool head and psychopathic charm. His body language was open (trained of course). Don’t think his spin doctors or ‘handlers’ don’t let anything slip by them. I bet go ol Key would have had verbal and body language training to fool the average working white Kiwi, whether middle or lower class. His rhetoric doesn’t tend to fly as easily with groups from the minorities. My question is who is his little blonde handler who is always in his shots in the background while being interviewed?? Talk about a puppet string handler.

    • I so agree keys body language was at times in great conflict to his mouth, John Campbell if you read this take a leaf out of the old great interviewers, do away with the desk and have the subject in full view seated straight onto the camera

  14. His speech emerges as the language of a stupid, poorly-educated buffoon: someone whom only other stupid, poorly-educated buffoons could possibly take seriously.

    This is not some ill-considered prejudice. It is true. What you aren’t willing to follow through on is the obvious consequence, because John Key represents mainstream NZ, and I say that as someone who would never vote for him.

    With the kind of democracy we have and the decline in non vocational education, John Key or someone like him is the future of politics. It’s all very well to have well-reasoned views, but they count for naught in a modern democracy. The Goths are triumphant and Rome lies in ruins.

    This isn’t going to change any time soon, so you might as well start treating politics as the imposition it actually is, rather than the instrument you fondly believe it to be.

  15. Key is a very well coached puppet and avoided Campbell’s questions.

    OK there appears to be an interpretative problem.

    There may have been some illegal activity.

    Who has been seriously hurt?

    why is there so much urgency to cover up past (possible) mistakes?

    To stop any review ,of course.

    Our Hawaiian PM does not wish to reveal US (probably corporate) connections.

    Wall Street, Hollywood are Key’s moral compass. NZ values are irrelevant (like we LOVE Little League?).

    Actually Key deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance on CL last night.

  16. You say John Key is symptomatic of a new world order starring “everyman” commerce grads pitching to the lowest common denominator. Just remember, the US had George Bush and now they’ve got Barack Obama. These things go in cycles.

    • the US had George Bush and now they’ve got Barack Obama. These things go in cycles.

      But the messes they create tend to persist, Barrack Obama hasn’t repealed the Patriot Act

        • Lloyd – you know that a consortium of newspapers and media companies (not conservative ones) paid for the full recount of the Florida vote after the official recount was stopped by the US Supreme Court in the 2000 US Presidential election and Bush still won – by about 600 votes

  17. Waste of time talking at cross purposes. Key was never going to admit any connection between GCSB and the US spy system. He doesn’t have to be clever its in his job specification.

    Can’t wait for the heavyweight bout between the two multimillionaires with strange accents.

  18. John Key is popular, but I don’t believe his popularity comes from the common people aspiring to, or identifying with him and his status. Quite the opposite in fact. The 1987 crash of the Stockmarket soured kiwis on finance, and Key represents that, embodies it even. Now the thing is, the common people, anti-intellectual in a general sense, associated this negative event with the middle class – it was their non-expert investing that fueled speculation and the downstream effects of recession.
    Key’s popularity with the masses is based on a popular resentment for middle class greed and arrogance. Key is, like the British royals, transcendent of class and politics.

    • Nope, can’t agree with you there. Because he touts his supposed rise from ‘state-house kid’ (technically correct, but he doesn’t mention that his actual background was middle-class and comfortably off until his mother was widowed – a far cry from, e.g., Manukau) to millionaire, many people from modest or underprivileged backgrounds see him as the epitome of what they can aspire to. Of course he never mentions that his ‘achievements’ are based on a complete lack of any morality, empathy, or any other decent feelings.

      • It must have been good to live in a state house in the days before trucks turned up at night to move them. I don’t care where he lived, but I do care about how and where he is making people live today.

  19. We have a very difficult paradox with John Key. That John Key has lied on many occasions in regard to critical circumstance (cf Dotcom sureveillance) is almost without reasonable doubt. But that would be in keeping with politics in general.
    However the fact is that JK is a confident and intelligent politician, and was totally in the winning seat during the Campbell Live interview. JK was in command of a lot of detail and understanding of the nature of the GCSB amendments that utterly flawed JC, who spent most of the time floundering around in a defensive posture. How much of JK’s performance was spin and bland reassurance is open to debate given Mt Keys ability to spin issues of national importance.
    More global dimensions of this bill were circumvented, such as the nature and range of the collaboration between the New Zealand and US intelligence, which has the potential to severely compromise civil liberties in NZ, given regime change in either the US or NZ.
    The interview was a missed opportunity.

  20. I think the responses of obviously left leaning commenters on this blog post of Chris’ rather makes his point. Campbell made the fatal mistake of believing the Edward Snowden narrative on surveillance – that ALL surveillance is illegal and intrusive and that governments (including Obama’s – a darling to the left in all other matters) the world over are lying to the people. Key evaded on operational matters in the precise way that Clark did. Helen Clark in fact NEVER EVER answered a single question in Parliament on the SIS or the GCSB beyond “I do not discuss matters involving national security”. Key has been the most loquacious and detailed PM in NZ’s history in the extent to which he has discussed matters to do with our security agencies. Key disarmed Campbell not because JC was unprepared or failed to read Hagel or was bamboozled by Key’s Svengali like spin as some have alleged. He was undone because the philosophical underpinnings of his arguments against the GCSB Bill were utterly flawed and it was relatively easy for Key to point that out.

    Key also knows what make middle NZ tick and it aint the GCSB, Kim Dotcom or what Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance did or did not email and who sent the emails to the Henry enquiry when they shouldn’t have. These issues exercise the Opposition (because they have been singularly unable to land any other punches of any substance on Key) and the chattering classes whose dismissive attitude to Key was succinctly summed up by Chris. Middle NZ are much more worked up by the seemingly mundane but personal impacts of governmental overreach like the aborted snapper quota revision. Key, despite his wealth, remembers his roots and what life was like when he was raised in a State house. In this regards he is closer to the average kiwi voter than Clark or Shearer or Goff ever were who remained closeted from the real world and economy after a life in academia, politics or the trough of the UN. These skills are not learned from a focus group or a few media prep sessions. If they were then Shearer would be making a difference and equally or bettering Key. All the spin doctors in the world can’t teach natural political instincts that Key has in spades and Shearer can’t learn to save his life.

    Chris has been around politics long enough to know that this is true and it lies behind his campaigning against Shearer on behalf of Cunliffe who he feels would be more likely to match John Key.

    • I don’t know where you get the impression that Obama is a darling of the left in all other matters than surveillance. He is centre-right at best, and when it comes to economic policy, his ass belongs to Wall Street – look at who he appointed to manage the response to the GFC.

  21. To all those willing to vilify John Key, may I pose a question? Please consider, what if he is telling the truth?

    I continually hear many of those of a left wing persuasion screaming loudly that John Key has lied?

    “About what?” I ask.

    “EVERYTHING!” they reply.

    “What specifically?” I ask.


    • Can’t actually give you specifics Bart but its what we read at The Standard and the Labour Party “Talking Points and Letters to the Editor Sheet” says that it is so. It must therefore be true so we will repeat it and repeat it until you get tired of proving us wrong.

      • I see they’ve replaced Gosman with someone who understands what trolling is. I can’t say I liked the guy, but I hope you haven’t done anything *too* sinister with him.

      • Springbok tour. DotCom. There’s a couple to start with. Add his vineyard and Lord Ashcroft while you’re at it. How well he knew the GCSB head and the appointment procedure.

    • Whoops. What Key said on Campbell Live re the interception of everyones emails is not true. There is nothing in the bill which stops the GSCB from collecting such emails and nothing that stops any of the other partners in the Five Eyes group from reading said emails. Key denied that the GSCB had that power on Campbell Live but two days later he admits that there is nothing in the bill that stops the GSCB from collecting everyones emails. Did he forget– Have a brain fade as he is prone to do —or did he just lie to the Nz public. Pretty obvious I would have thought.

  22. “When is the Left going to come to terms with the fact that John Key is National’s toughest, smartest and most dangerous leader – ever?”

    Chris, the first problem is that “the left” does hardly exist in modern day New Zealand, it is only still partly evident in the Labour Party, and they have a leader who will also NEVER be a challenge to smart, calculating and thus dangerous John Key and his government!

    One has to ask almost every day: “Where is David Shearer on this???”

    He is hardly to be seen and heard, and in the meantime we hear media statements coming rather swiftly from Russell Norman or Metiria Turei from the Greens, also now and then from Winston Peters, or even Hone Harawira or John Minto from Mana.

    Ok Grant Robertson steps up now and then, and I notice that as of recent, he seems to be doing it more often. Is this perhaps that the message is sinking in after all, that the absolute reality can no longer be blinkered aside, that Labour needs a “leader”, not a mumbling, struggling, hands in pocket man, who was parachuted into the party from his overseas roles.

    Those on the left, or say we rather say “left of centre” (a “centre” that has been shifted to the right over decades) that take a stand and are following developments, such as the discussion on the proposed, nearly passed GCSB legislation, they know how much a challenge Key is. Sadly they are not listened to, and not taken seriously enough.

    We also have a media, where such liberals as John Campbell get accused by Key and his supporters for stirring up people, while he is simply doing the job the media should be doing. Most media personalities (or journalists as the ones used to take the job serious used to call themselves) are these days in the pocket of the corporate style bosses running their companies or remaining state operated outfits.

    They all depend on advertising revenue, they know that biting the hand that feeds them is risky, and even public broadcasters are treating Key and his government with respect that he may not deserve that much. Hard questions are seldom asked, and he continues to be let off the hook too easily.

    Upsetting Key and his ministers means also they will not give the media interviews, so we have this to consider.

    I have a bad suspicion that Campbell has by his bosses been put into line, and hence his more moderate approach recently. He did not stand his ground against Key, because for one reason Key surprised him with a frontal attack Key-style (distract, discredit, take control), and for the other he did expose himself by not being prepared well enough to stick to his evidence and details that Campbell had been presenting himself, and had guests and others present over weeks.

    It is a learning experience for Campbell. The last senior media person that holds a key position at prime time, he has been taken out by Key, and “the left” have been taken out too long ago, that is the ones that put Shearer where he is, and that dare to leave him and their party exposed for yet another risky campaign and election defeat.

    Sad really, but there would be solutions, if the ones that can bring them about would just listen to the right people and put the right persons in charge.

  23. Not sure what there is to underestimate. He is a devious, self-centred, pathological liar with a superiority complex that blinds him from reality and the needs of others. Comprehend this and how to counteract such character traits, and there will be nothing more to underestimate.

  24. Marc – “I have a bad suspicion that Campbell has by his bosses been put into line, and hence his more moderate approach recently.”

    Of course the owners of the MSM outlets expect their blowhards to follow the party line, reinforce their prejudices, it is a world wide phenomena if you take advantage of what the net has to offer in sourcing prominent media and comparing notes – The Guardian v Daily Telegraph or Democracy Now v Fox News. It also highlights the importance of an independent Public Broadcasting facility as RNZ demonstrates, being the most bipartisan we have in NZ. What I do suspect is neither Mary-Take-No-Prisoners-Wilson, nor Kim Hill would have allowed Key get away with his Rat With A Gold Tooth performance that he did on Campbell Live. Unfortunately TV1 is no longer the independent public broadcaster we once knew except for Q & A which valiantly tries to be bipartisan. Give TV3 its due it does try with The Nation. An interesting, informative point of view Chris along with some superb comments to mull over.

  25. From time to time, TVNZ plays archive footage of that abandoned rugby match at Rugby Park in Hamilton between South Africa and Waikato back in 1981.

    I see the protesters on the park — clergymen, women, children, elderly, and here we have the spectators on the embankment pelting them with bottles, cans, rocks, anything they can get their hands on. It it wasan’t for the police that day that crowd would have torn those protesters apart. That is the impression I got anyway.

    That is the side of New Zealand that John Key plays up to. The side that likes to hiff a half open beer can at a mother and her baby because she is stopping a game of rugby from being played (or in 2013,claming DPB/WFF and stopping him from getting a tax cut).

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