Witnessing the slow decay of a government past it’s Use-By date

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There is something unpleasantly familiar about the recent appalling events surrounding the current National government and it’s embattled leader, John Key and his strange relationship with Cameron Slater.

Searching my memory, it dawned on me: I am witnessing a replay of the closing years of the Shipley Administration, before it was eventually turfed out of office in November 1999.

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The Shipley-led minority-National government was racked with crises.

One such was the Saatchi Affair, where then-PM, Jenny Shipley, was found to have lied about a dinner engagement with Saatchi & Saatchi boss, Kevin Roberts. Shipley’s recall of that dinner engagement – and the topics of discussion – were at variance with what Roberts had claimed took place.

Shipley had misled public; the media; and the public. The headlines at the time pilloried her;

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shipley-on-the-run-nz-herald-23-february-1999

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Sound familiar?

To call the National government of that time a “decaying government” would be a gross under-statement. As well as beset with scandal after scandal; cuts to the budgets for police, health, education,  etc; deeply unpopular measures such as state house sales, and a crazy, hundred-million-dollar  plan to move/demolish the Beehive (and extend the original Parliament Building); there were other events which drew a rising chorus of criticism and condemnation from a wide sector of society.

On 27 November, 1999, New Zealanders had had a gutsful and threw out the National government.

The recent “txt-gate” scandal is simply the most recent scandal to envelope the current Prime Minister, John Key.

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In terms of past events; past scandals; and past instances where the PM has been caught out – it is by no means the worst.

This time, however, matters have reached a critical flash-point. The media has awoken to a smell of a government on the defensive and where Dear Leader has pushed the envelope once too often. Journalists and media commentators are no longer as tolerant;  no longer awed; and no longer willing to be mollified by a popular prime minister.

The Shipley Factor has kicked in.

At this point, nothing that National does will counter the  same style of growing clamour of criticism it’s predecessor faced in the late ’90s.

Even the distractions of a costly flag referendum; growing ‘softening’ of the public for a New Zealand  presence in Iraq; or another bout of bene-bashing will not work to deflect attention from an increasingly embattled PM. Such distractions will be quickly revealed, and dismissed,  for what they are.

If National’s current problems translate into public odium, the upcoming flag referendum may well become a referendum on Key’s administration – much like the  September 1997 referendum on compulsory retirement savings became a referendum on the National-NZ First Coalition government.

An extraordinary 80.3% of voter turn-out resulted in 91.8% voting “No”. However, the wisdom at the time suggested that the massive “No” vote was more of a reflection on the National-led government of the day, rather than the actual issue of superannuation.

Perhaps the clearest indication that the tide has turned against Key (and his government) is that the most trenchant criticism has come – not from the Left; nor from the Parliamentary Opposition; nor even from Key’s nemesis, Kim Dotcom – but from the Right and a previously compliant media.

On 25 November last year (2014), John Armstrong, from the NZ Herald wrote;

The Key administration has plumbed new depths of arrogance and contempt for the notion of politicians being accountable for their actions in its response to today’s hugely embarrassing report by the independent watchdog who maintains oversight over the Security Intelligence Service.

Rather than take the findings of the report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn on the chin, National sought to bury the report.

[…]

John Key may have effectively been cleared by Gwyn for having only a “very limited” involvement in the disgraceful release of information by the SIS to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

That gets Key personally off the hook. But that does not absolve him of ministerial responsibility. In fact. he is doubly responsible both as the the minister-in-charge of the intelligence agencies and as the person responsible for the behaviour of his Beehive office.

This morning’s statement by the Prime Minister in reaction to the Gwyn report places all the blame for this shoddy affair on the SIS.

Key’s statement unsurprisingly makes no mention of an email revealed in the report from one of his political advisers, Jason Ede, the man who Hager cites as central to the dirty tricks campaign being run out of Key’s office. In the email to Slater, Ede said that “he might be in the shit” over the way he has used SIS information. Slater replied that he would simply state he had a source within the SIS – a statement Gwyn took to mean that Slater was seeking to protect Ede.

No heads will roll. Most of the participants in this unsavoury episode have since moved on or retired, while Key gives assurances that lessons have been learned and a more effective oversight regime is now in place.

That is not good enough. The public need an assurance that nothing like this will ever happen again…

Four days later, Armstrong offered yet more trenchant criticism of Key’s administration;

The subsequent fibs, half-truths, memory blanks and – worst of all – the misleading of Parliament on the Prime Minister’s part in the wake of the report’s release has so far not seen the electoral ground that Key has so successfully occupied for so long shifting from under him.

Key has been his own worst enemy in seeming to be in denial of Gwyn’s confirmation of the dirty tricks operation run out of his office and first exposed by Nicky Hager in his book Dirty Politics.

[…]

Key then topped that by misleading Parliament by not fessing up to his text conversation when specifically asked whether there had been any such contact.

Such reckless and consequently self-incriminating behaviour left most observers and voters completely gob-smacked. So gob-smacked that the torrent of criticism raining down on Key went into temporary abeyance.

When it came to trashing his credibility, Key seemed to be doing enough on his own without assistance from outside.

Armstrong continued by really putting the boot firmly into Key’s backside;

But the absence – so far – of any public backlash against the Prime Minister bar those who already detest him is a source of of intense frustration for Opposition parties. And more so the more Key’s memory lapses impede on serious matters of state.

What began with a failure to recall whether he was for or against the 1981 Springbok Tour was followed by forgetfulness over how many Tranz Rail shares he owned.

Then there was the inability to remember how he voted on the drinking age, along with the sudden case of amnesia surrounding the identity of the passengers who flew to New Zealand aboard a mystery CIA jet.

Things started to get even more worrying when Key confessed to being unsure if and when he was briefed on Dotcom by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

They got even more dodgy when Key professed he could not remember whether he had phoned the brother of an old school pal urging him to apply to become the director of the GCSB.

This is the power and collective memory of the media at work. Citing past instances which paint a consistently negative picture of a political figure is something usually left to bloggers these days. One of the best examples was a list of lies, half-truths, broken promises, etc made by Key and compiled by a writer-known-only-as “BLiP”.

No doubt that list will be much lengthier, nearly two years later.

It will prove to be a valuable resource for any journalist digging back into Key’s track record since 2008.

Meanwhile, the media are running stories openly questioning Key’s integrity, such as this piece by Hamish Rutherford, in November last year;

Prime Minister John Key is fighting off accusations of lying, claiming confusion about his contact with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater stemmed from wanting to give a “general” answer to reporters rather than a specific one.

Yesterday he was forced to admit he had corresponded with Slater on several occasions since Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics, was published.

On Tuesday, Key told reporters that Slater “sent me a text one time, but I can’t remember when that was”.

It later transpired that Key and Slater had corresponded by text message the previous evening, in what Key has now described as a “gossipy” exchange.

The details emerged after Key admitted he had misled Parliament on Wednesday, when he denied having corresponded with Slater about a report by Justice Lester Chisholm into the conduct of former justice minister Judith Collins and the intelligence watchdog report on disclosures of SIS information.

Key claimed he misunderstood the question, citing noise in the debating chamber, leading him to believe Labour MP Megan Woods was referring only to one report.

In fact, Woods asked two consecutive questions about both reports.

This editorial in Rotorua’s Daily Post, was unequivocal;

 You would think that with the stench of Dirty Politics still lingering in the corridors of power after this year’s madcap election build-up, Mr Key would know better than to conduct a text conversation with the figure at the centre of the controversy.

Mr Key, who gave Mr Slater his new cellphone number after he changed it during the election campaign, says he is “fundamentally not” in contact with Mr Slater, and hadn’t rung him or “proactively texted” him.

Though according to at least one report he also said he phoned Mr Slater on Wednesday to confirm his recollection of what they discussed in their text exchange on Monday night as he’d deleted the texts.

On Wednesday night he had to back down on his earlier claims he’d had no contact with Mr Slater ahead of the release of Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn’s report into the SIS’s role in Slater’s 2011 political attack on former Labour leader Phil Goff.

[…]

Earlier news reports say Mr Key refused to answer questions about his contact with Mr Slater, saying it was in his capacity as National Party leader, not as Prime Minister.

That really doesn’t cut it. When you’re Prime Minister, everything, even dropping your kids off at school, is done in your capacity as Prime Minister.

Fran O’Sullivan was equally scathing;

There is considerable angst that Key is continuing to engage with a high-profile blogger at the expense of his own reputation as Prime Minister. The texting bout episode when he responded to a communication from that particular blogger when prudence would have dictated that he should have just blanked Whale Oil is a case in point.

Key’s failure to realise he would be likely to be filleted when it was inevitably leaked defies credibility.

But trying to mask the obvious backtracking was a step too far.

[…]

There are many inconsistencies in the Prime Minister’s response to the inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of information by the Security Intelligence Service to a blogger.

A simple apology on behalf of his office for the obvious black ops would have done a great deal to defuse the issue.

But Key has simply resorted to semantics and tried to hold his ground.

NZ Newswire political columnist, Peter Wilson, described Key’s actions as “causing more trouble than the dubious tactic was worth“, and wrote;

Key’s assertion that he was acting in his capacity as leader of the National Party when he spoke to or texted Slater is raising issues as well.

Radio New Zealand pointed out that the High Court has ruled Slater is a journalist.

That being the case, in what capacity does Key interact with press gallery journalists?

Winston Peters is wondering whether Richard Nixon would have been allowed to escape responsibility for Watergate if he’d argued that he was acting in his capacity as leader of the Republican Party.

And Slater suggests Maurice Williamson should ask for his ministerial job back, because surely he was acting in his capacity as an electorate MP when he called the police to ask about a court case.

Brent Edwards, from Radio NZ, injected a large measure of sarcasm into Key’s denials of reality;

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, apparently wrote two reports into the way the SIS released information embarrassing to former Labour Party leader Phil Goff in 2011.

There is the report Ms Gwyn released publicly on Tuesday which found the Security Intelligence Service had released inaccurate and misleading information leading to unfounded criticism of Mr Goff.

This report also found that staff in Prime Minister John Key’s office had passed on information to right-wing blogger Cameron Slater about briefings the then SIS director, Warren Tucker, had said he had given to Mr Goff about speculation Israeli spies had been caught up in the February 22 earthquake in Christchurch in 2011.

The other report – the one Mr Key apparently received – does not find that his staff played any part in feeding Mr Slater information or in helping the blogger make his Official Information Act request to the SIS.

John Key is adamant the report finds no such thing. It’s a line repeated by his ministers, including the Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.

Yet on page 63 of the report Ms Gwyn states: “I did, however, find that Mr Ede provided the details of relevant documents to Mr Slater and was in fact speaking to Mr Slater by phone at the exact time that Mr Slater submitted his OIA request.”

When not publishing pieces by right-wing columnist, or editorials, all attacking this government that they are supposedly friendly to – there are other stories appearing which also paint a less-than-rosy picture of Key’s administration.

This op-ed by Bruce Bisset, last September in Hawkes Bay Today,  outlined hard facts that have rarely been published in msm papers – and usually more the province of  political blogs. Bisset wrote;

Back when Labour was in power we had constant carping about Clarke’s “nanny state” and how welfare and social reforms were running up debt like there was no tomorrow.

Still we hear that mantra repeated – and surprisingly, most of the time it goes unchallenged.

But it’s pure myth. New Zealand’s national debt was less after nine years of Labour than when they were elected. The Clarke government was fiscally ultra-conservative, because the books really did balance.

Contrast that with debt under Key’s government. Starting at around $18 billion, it has blossomed to a staggering $86 billion today. That’s a five-fold increase, in just six years.

Yes, we’ve had the global financial crisis and Canterbury earthquakes and tax cuts for the wealthy that have to be paid for somehow. We’ve also had record commodity prices, significant departmental cost-cutting, and the sell-off of major state-owned assets. Plus very little new spending.

Yet we’re running up debt at more than $13 billion per year – to merely tread water.

It doesn’t add up. These guys are supposedly the whizz-bang flash moneymen. So how come we’re so indebted it now costs over $4 billion per year just to service the interest?

Truth is, the economic recovery is itself a myth.

Since last year,  the noise surrounding Slater/txt-gate/SIS report  all but died down. They have become largely forgotten by the public who are fed a daily diet of dumbed down “news” on TV1 and TV3; puerile garbage as entertainment, but precious little serious current affairs analysis; and a dazzling, mesmerising, cornucopia of ever-increasing consumer-goods dangled in front of their slack-jawed faces.

Radio NZ temporarily joined the mind-numbing dumbness of commercial radio’s ranks from December 24 to January 19. Insight, analysis, and commentary were on temporary hiatus for nearly a month.

If the last six years have shown us one thing, it is that the next scandal and revelations of dodgy ministerial practices and inept Prime Ministerial behaviour is not too far away.

The media are alerted. The public now have some awareness of dirty politics behind the scenes. And journalists are starting to exercise a form of collective memory.

It is said that the public no longer care about politics, and that Key has “de-politicised” it. But, like the continuing bad stories that finally destroyed Jenny Shipley’s government, continuing negatives stories can have a corrosive effect on this government.

The more times Key is caught out lying or being tricky with the truth or breaking promises – the more that the public will slowly but surely distrust his “brand”.

Even four years ago, a sizeable ‘chunk’ of the public were suspicious of Key’s honesty;
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John Key - Safe hands, forked tongue
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It will only get worse for Key and his cronies. Especially as social issues continue to dog this government.

Housing is fast becoming a real problem in this country as more and more New Zealanders find themselves locked out of the market and forced into a lifetime of renting.

Housing was also a critical issue during the dying days of Shipley’s government, as they enacted an unpopular policy of selling state houses.

New Zealanders may have surrendered their Citizenship in preference to becoming zombified Consumers – but housing is a commodity, and Consumers will not be denied the opportunity to acquire said commodity.

Even if it means a change of government

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References

NZ Herald: Shipley on the run

MKiwi: Beehive Parliament Buildings Wellington

Wikipedia: 1999 General Election

Fairfax media:  Key claims confusion over texts with Slater

NZ Herald: John Key defends cost of flag referendums

Radio NZ: PM spells out IS deployment dangers

Wikipedia: Referendums in NZ

NZ Herald: John Armstrong – National’s response not good enough

NZ Herald: John Armstrong – Outrageous behaviour leaves Key on the edge

The Standard: An Honest Man?

Fairfax media: Key claims confusion over texts with Slater

The Daily Post:  Editorial – Key’s whale of a tale

NZ Herald: Fran O’Sullivan – Key’s choice: bloggers or business community

NZN: Key’s question time tactic goes wrong

Radio NZ: POWER PLAY with Brent Edwards – PM’s over-sight not very intelligent

Hawkes Bay Today: Bruce Bisset – Nats have buried us in debt

Dominion Post: John Key – Safe hands, forked tongue?

NZ History: The state steps in and out – State housing

Previous related blogposts

Are Cameron Slater and Judith Collins bare-faced liars?

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

Teflon Man No More

When the teflon is stripped away

Letter to the editor – Witches, foreign fighters, and other bogeymen

Associated groups

Facebook:  Housing NZ Tenants Forum

Facebook:  Tamaki Housing Group- Defend Glen Innes


 

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27 COMMENTS

  1. The most recent poll in January has National at 52% and the next closest at 26% so the decay if any has yet to show up.

    And this is the difference between the 90’s and now is that National did not own the media then and there was no careful painstakingly cultivated myth like John Key as leader.

    There was no rampant run away ego’s like apparent “Political Editor” Patrick Gower who has “JK on Speed Dial” to inflate his own self-importance and Newstalk ZB was still vaguely listenable before they got in behind the National Party for good. Or the wannabe Radio Live and sadly it appears that RNZ is heading that way too. As for TV!/3 news, it’s so bad and so dumbed down and so non enquiring that I ceased watching it years ago. And God help the NZ Herald. But combined they happily carry out the propaganda functions for the rich men of National and their well-connected friends so it’s worked thus far. That and the most liberal interpretations of statistics to paint a rosy picture that doesn’t really exist.

    Yes National is sleazy and very dishonest, it has racked up astonishing debt and failed to balance the books ever, the PM has taken the goodwill of a century of previous PM’s and set fire to that with lack of honesty, his dirty shoulder tapping appointments and deal making, smear campaigning operated from his office using privileged private information, his empty never to find fault investigations into a plethora of MP’s and ministers who have well and truly overstepped the boundaries of their positions for personal gain but worst of all they have set the country up for a horrible fall with their visionless future and are left with asset sales as the only resort.

    They deserve to go tomorrow but I think you are hoping beyond hope that this is at the same stage as when Shipley was PM!

    • So true, what can we do? it’s like living in the land of IDIOCRACY! The media today is an insult to our intelligence, i actually find this situation frightening with so many people complicit. I expect Key thinks he’s won. The whole lot should be sacked, they sound ridiculous acting cute and happy happy joy joy while fucking the whole country over.

      • Perhaps he really has won.Perhaps the difference between Shipley’s day and Key’s is that the ordinary voter has become more apathetic, supine and stupid. It seems to show in the voter turn-out figures.

      • It must be terrible knowing you are so clever and right all the time yet a significant amount of people don’t agree with you and won’t listen to your well thought out and supported arguments trying to convince them why they are stupid. Wouldn’t it be much easier if we lived in a benevolent dictatorship where you didn’t have to worry about convincing the wider public at all?

  2. Labour or national? Both are traitor’s working hard to return the biggest dividend to the new zealand government ltd sharehaolders! It’s only time that will find the majority have realised keys true intentions!

  3. John Armstrong and the MSM generally re reporters getting tough with a wounded jonky ; there are not too many rats who would choose to sink with the ship .

    It’s interesting that you used an old campaign poster showing Keith holyoak .

    We Kiwis need/deserve/should demand a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the personal and business relationships of our politicians and Big Business spanning the last seventy years . You would be amazed , dismayed and horrified and all those little Kiwi kids on , or below, internationally established poverty levels would suddenly be wading knee deep in Russian caviar .
    Phil Goff ? Fuck phil goff . I think he’s worse than jonky in effect . At least one can see a jonky as a Right Wing , Neo Liberal , money fiddling, corporate American quisling . Goff’s just a rat in the wood pile waiting for the kitchen door to be left open .

    The reality is that our Governor General should have stepped in prior to the last election given Hagers book ‘ Dirty Politics ‘ and the reasons for why he didn’t should be asked of him .

    I also think there should be a delegation of opposition politicians sent to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen to ask Jerry why he sat on his hands and did nothing at all as that significant shit storm swept over New Zealand . He didn’t even have the grace to address the country ? Why are we paying him ???

    If the Governor General can’t see a jonky led government embroiled in corruption and in fact can’t see the government at all then why are they there ? What do they do ? Why are we paying them ? Who are these people ? I would suggest that any employee who refuses to leave his workplace could be trespassed surely ? So, when one of our employees , in the form of a government minister who’s clearly not working for his employees refuses to go ? Lets dismiss him , trespass him and have the police remove him from the premises ?

    • Good one CB.

      I have had my doubts about the Governor General as well. For quite a while now in fact.

      Having closed his eyes and ears to events over the past year, re Dirty Politics, all involving Key and his henchmen/women, I’d say Sir Gerry could be part of the deceitful game, initiated by Key.

      The present incumbent GG was Spook Director, when Key picked him up, grabbed him, shoved him aside and placed him in the vice regal role. A position I don’t think Sir Gerry particularly wanted at the time. Childhood chum of Key, Ian Fletcher became the head Spook!

      The GG has been caught up in the filth and is too far in now, to the extent for some reason or other, he is reluctant to challenge the PM! I’d even go so far as to say, Sir Gerry just might feel quite intimidated by Key!

      Not a good or safe situation for any country to be in, when the PM is seen as likely to be manipulating the Queen’s vice regal representative!

      But that’s only my take on the issue, for all it’s worth.

      • These have been my thoughts too for some time, Mary_A. I have no doubt that JK would rig a general election if he thought he could get away with it, although I don’t believe it has happened… yet.

      • I cant agree with this line of argument. I dont wish to support the GG but as far as I know he can only intervene if he thinks the country has become ungovernable and then his (or the Queen’s) only remedy is to prorogue parliament and call an election. We were already in an election and the outcome (a clear majority) suggest that the country did not think there was a crisis. Sorry folks.

    • Housing, like interest rates, is a double-edged sword. There are those who can’t afford them and those who have bought one and are terrified the price will go down. The project, then, is not just to build more houses, but also price controlled rental flats on the rail loop (Phil Goff should probably stand for Mayor), for younger people who don’t want or need gardens, a multi-headed revolving credit building project undertaken by iwi, and housing charities yet to be formed, as well as the government. Young aspirational people should be encouraged to live in rental accommodation and buy in the provinces, while businesses should by financially induced to relocate to smaller towns.

      The Auckland University might be permitted to increase their charges, as they wish, however a free university should be started in Huntly or Whangarei or Cleveden to cater for the tens of thousands who don’t want to pay the higher fees.

      The meltdown of this government, however will be more likely to come from specific events on the horizon. The TPP will be a major embarrassment, given that it is certain to hit our ability to access cheap medications. Does any one really believe that we will refuse to sign whatever deal the big interests agree? Another big hurdle will be actually sending troops to Iraq. There will be more and more stories showing the dodgy moral equivalencies in the region while we “pay the price of being in the club” possibly in body-bags. The State House sell off will be an uncomfortable period. Bad pictures on the news. Then there is the Northland by-election where there will be a potential turn-around of the Queensland type. By the way, when did New Zealand go to the right of the Banana-benders? We always used to read sniggering newspaper stories about those dumb-ass rednecks. Come home Joe Bjelke, all is forgiven.

      Meanwhile the media are developing a new narrative. (Has anyone heard Barry Soper eulogizing Andrew Little, recently? He seems a new man….) The kingmakers are breeding in the hills. The storm is gathering and the battle of the Five Armies will soon be renewed and the side of the angels may well have some new allies – The Sleepy Hobbits. Well, maybe. But there is certainly a sneaking feeling of optimism creeping in.

      I’m betting that Key does not lead the Nats into the next election, unless they want a demolition of Labour proportions, and they may get that anyway. So The Left had better think hard about which new faces they want in Parliament next time round.

      • Thinking of hope from next election is no use ,the real damage ,TPP will have ruined NZ entirely by then ,we need action now.
        I have spoken to a few Key supporters, not one of them will read Dirty Politics saying its a left wing smear, with blind moles like this believing everything Key says, its an uphill battle,all ten bob millionaires with closed minds.
        With Labour rolling over what hope have got .We need a brand new party with people with fire in their bellies and the money to promote themselves.

    • Governor General is John Keys lacky ,Key chooses people who will do his own bidding
      The Governor General should be removed, in fact the whole National government should be removed.
      The referendum on the flag change is a farce ,when did Key ever listen to referendums, he ignors them if he dosnt like the result.
      The state house sales will be prizes for his rich mates to manipulate, saying the salvation army is to assist with the results are just hogwash trading on the good name of the sallies to fool people into thinking they will be looked after.
      The manipulation of university entrance is to clear out students to make way for overseas students from wealthy families who pay to attend universities that the public has paid for in tax’s over many years.

      The influx of immigrants parking their money in land and real estate, are pushing up prices of houses out of the reach of ordinary NZs,as a consequence rentals for students and lower paid workers are so scarce its impossible for them to find somewhere to live ,thus driving out people from the city to make way for wealthy migrants and speculators.
      Rates in the city are driving out the elderly and low income people who have lived in their homes for many years again freeing their houses for wealthy people.
      Many wealthy overseas people are buying islands ,coastal properties,farms and businesses to apparently avoid the trouble that is building in the west.
      How much more chickanery do we have to put up with before we get rid of Key and his mafia.
      Key has arranged everything so that nothing can be done to stop him,
      his arrogance is astounding.
      Andrew little has conceded before the event the bye election for Northland will go to National.
      Labour has dismissed Northland as unwinnable in the past spending very little on elections.
      Little is just handing us over, some leader he is,we need someone to work his butt off to get rid of National, not help them succeed.
      Something big must happen to get rid of Key because ordinary events wont do it.

  4. Good analysis Frank. Thanks for the effort put in.

    It’s so important to keep these contentious issues out in the open for scrutiny. We must keep hammering them.

    MSM have been compliant in Key’s deception for over six years now, so they have to stand accused of promoting his deceitful and suspect behaviour over that time.

    MSM’s Armstrong, O’Sullivan’s et al articles are all well and fine, now. However, why did they wait until after the election to begin to question Key’s obvious grubby activities? In this regard, their actions indicate they had acted in Key’s best interests to get him and National re-elected for most of last year. A blatant attempt at manipulating an election process!

    The Sabin case is another which needs scutinizing. Not so much the alleged assault, but the time frame in which Key become aware of the issue and why his refusal to discuss it, which is in the public interest! If he knew Sabin was under investigation prior to last year’s election, then he has lied and misrepresented his position as PM. Surely enough to charge him (Key) with an offence!

    Msm at the moment should be pumping the PM about this, demanding answers as to his compliance in keeping Sabin’s investigation quiet. Instead msm seems to be concentrating on Russel Norman stepping down as co leader of the NZ Greens. Obviously a ploy to keep the heat off Sabin and more so, Key!

    Then there is the Ian Fletcher situation. All very hush hush there as well. MSM instructed to keep this one low key (no pun intended there)? I think so.

    Fletcher, Sabin, both from the same side, resigning for family reasons? WTF? Pull the other one, please!

    Something very rotten and rancid in the putrid state of NZ methinks!

    Yes, msm have been bought and paid for by Key to keep the vile game going. A good reason to push for alternative broadcasting and print news media sites.

    What I think will happen is Key or someone involved in his corrupt brand, will slip up. It will be minor, but it will be there, enough to bring down Key and govt! It’s coming.

  5. The similarities between this government and the Shipley government are well made Frank. 3rd term governments the world over become arrogant, and out of touch, this has become apparent this week when John Key stated that there is no housing crisis – clearly he is continually putting his head in the sand. Let us not forget that many of the State Houses sold by the Shipley government did not go to struggling first home buyers, but to investment landlords, who put the rentals up and made them unaffordable to low income families – the is exactly what will happen this time – watch this space

  6. Hopefully the NZ lefties will learn from Alexis Tsipras on how to practice an effective politic of hope rather than the discredited tired neoliberalism of the last 30 years.

    • Citizens tried to make a citizens arrest on Henry Kissinger for crimes against humanity , John Mc Cain had them thrown out and called the intended arrestees ‘low life scum” that’s what the crooks at the top of the pile think of ordinary people it seems.

  7. Have these criticisms been consistent, or merely one offs – followed the week after with more of the usual pandering (i.e. only to demonstrate to their ever decreasing number of readers just how “fair and balanced” they are)? I’ll believe the media has turned on John Key when I hear Mike Hosking start to question Dear Leader’s credibility to run this country. In other words, when hell freezes over.

  8. National is dirty, National is dishonest and National is corrupt. But unfortunately most of the country simply doesn’t care. They have grown so used to it that it seems like normality now and there is little use in stating the obvious anymore when no-one cares. The electorate is so dumbed -down that they haven’t got the mind to object or even question what their political masters are doing. There is one thing that has grown in the last decade even faster than poverty or inequality – and that is apathy.

  9. If this malignant regime is ever brought down a truth commission with immunity from prosecution to all minor players will be needed to out all this dirty politics business. A knighthood for Mr Hager wouldn’t go astray either , although I seriously doubt he would accept such a poisoned chalice.

  10. The trouble is you’ve thought that this government has been past it’s used by date shortly after it was elected in to power back in 2008. You may well had a case just prior to Xmas when John Key was under a lot of pressure. He seems to have bounced back quite well at the start of the year though. Still it is early days and you may be correct. It is not unusual for ruling parties to lose their mojo in their third term. With Little moving to the center this makes the electoral chances of the alternative much more achievable.

  11. The rot is certainly starting to become more obvious. It’s always been there but now has reached a level that it can no longer be hidden.

    I believe many are very suspicious of Key, but propaganda works well, and being a bunch of Lemmings, most prefer to be seen to be part of the crowd rather than against it.

    It will only take a strong personality to stand against Key, and the left will re-unite and put national back in their natural habitat at the bottom of the pond with the rest of the scum eating amoebae. Let’s hope we have just that person in Andrew Little.

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