EXCLUSIVE: PM pulled Waitress ponytail ‘at least 10 times’ – why Key’s ‘I misread the situation’ defence doesn’t wash


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To date, the Prime Minister’s defence of why he repeatedly touched a waitress over months and months and months was that he ‘misread’ the situation.

I think we are all gracious enough to give the PM the benefit of the doubt. Reaching out and pulling the ponytail of a waitress at a cafe is the sort of stupid arrogant thing that privileged males do as a ‘joke’. Such ‘jokes’ are technically an assault, but in the interests of giving the PM as much grace as we can, I suppose we could agree that he ‘misread’ the situation the first time he touched her without consent.

His ‘I misread the situation’ defence gives him a free pass on the first time he touched her, but how on earth does the Prime Minister explain at least the other 9 times he touched the waitress?

Again, giving John Key the benefit of the doubt, let’s run through the times he touched and the responses one would give when you heard he had touched her.

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FIRST TIME – Ok, the PM has clearly misread the situation. Let’s apologise and remind him how it’s technically an assault.

SECOND TIME – What? Why did he touch her twice? Remind the PM that it’s assault and talk about the power issues at play here. He’s the PM, she’s a waitress. Draw pictures if you have to.

THIRD TIME – Is he on the spectrum or something? What the bloody hell is he doing? There’s ‘misreading a situation’ and then there’s holding the map upside down. He’s not misreading a situation now, he’s totally not comprehending the situation.

FOURTH TIME – He’s touched her 4 times? For the love of God, someone take him aside and explain how creepy and harassing this is now becoming.

FIFTH TIME – Does he want to get sacked or something? What on earth is going on? Can someone get him off Candy Crush and Facebook private message him that this needs urgent attention and that he’ll have to postpone listening to some beats while chilling with Max to go through issues of consent and power dynamics. Let’s throw in a basic feminism class and explain how primary school children are taught not to touch.

SIXTH TIME – Is he stoned? Is he turning up to the cafe just after 4.20pm each day? Is this the problem? Someone tie his hands behind his back every time he goes into this bloody cafe!

SEVENTH TIME – Start looking for a new Press Secretary.

EIGHTH TIME – Start measuring for new furniture for when he has to clear out his office.

NINTH TIME – Maybe we could tell people he really is a shape changing lizard alien?

TENTH TIME – We ran out of excuses at about the third time.

Beyond the extraordinary amount of times the PM did this, let’s remind ourselves exactly how Key responded every time he was around the Waitress, and you decide if his actions are misreading the situation or sadistically playing power games with someone he saw as a plaything?

  • I didn’t respond positively to his ‘gesture’, in fact I didn’t address his behaviour at all, besides an unimpressed expression
  • Despite my obvious annoyance I didn’t comment on his behaviour. It then happened yet again when he next visited the cafe and again I didn’t respond verbally, but everything about my body language screamed I DON’T LIKE THAT.
  • I began to avoid interacting with him where possible, if he entered when another staff member was also present I would promptly make myself busy somewhere else, I would ask someone to take the beverages or food to his table so I didn’t have to. I kept my distance when I could. It seemed as though the more I disliked it and made myself absent the more fun it became for him, the more he enjoyed the challenge of approaching from behind me, unsuspected.
  • the game continued. He would come up behind me when I was at the ordering terminal, tug on my hair and then pretend that his wife, Bronagh, had done it (much to her embarrassment), and she would tell him to stop it. As he rounded the corner behind me he commented “that’s a very tantalising ponytail”.
  • he approached me from behind, security personnel by his side, as I stood with my back to him filling water glasses, and he pulled my hair before once again pointing the blame at Bronagh. I couldn’t believe it, he was still persisting and by now he had definitely got the message that I was not enjoying it – that seemed to be why he was enjoying it so damn much. It had really crossed the line by this point and I didn’t need to tell him to stop because now Bronagh herself was already telling him to stop what he was doing, and not for the first time I might add. I exclaimed “Really?!!”, to my manager beside me, and shot him a look of utter disbelief and frustration.
  • I told his security that I was sick of having my hair pulled and one day I’ll snap and i’ll punch him in the face. I hoped that maybe they’d tell him that enough’s enough and it’s time to draw it to an end. I posted on the National Party and the John Key Facebook pages a message along the lines of “Stop pulling my hair – I don’t like it!”. Maybe between social media and his security buddies and my body language and his wife’s advice he might finally get the message?
  • Despite my best efforts to avoid the situation, without literally running away, he just couldn’t help himself and still attempted, from directly in front of me, to reach around behind me in search of my hair, as he walked by. That was too much, even for me. I had remained professional for absolutely as long as I could and this time I put my hand out in front of me, a barrier between John and myself, and I said “No! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” as I wagged my finger at him and he reluctantly backed away. During this visit he said to my manager “she really doesn’t like me pulling her ponytail?” and she responded “well, …no!”. He then asked her my name and later, as he passed by me upon leaving, he spoke my name, just that one word, as if a duel like acknowledgement, a standoff.
  • As he approached me he thought it would be fitting to raise his hands high and make scary, suspense sound effects, like the music from the movie Jaws that we all know so well, and still gestured as if to reach behind me. As he towered overhead I slunk down, cringing, whilst Bronagh told him to “leave the poor girl alone”. I looked him in the eye and asked “is it self defence, with your security here, if I have to physically stop you from touching me?” and he countered, with a smile, “defence against what?”. He then changed the topic to the settling of his account and bid me politely farewell, but, as he motioned to leave and I turned towards the computer, he couldn’t resist that satisfying tug and once again he pulled my hair.
  • As he made his way out the door I said after him “Please STOP or I will actually hit you soon!”. He’d made it clear that he just didn’t care. I had made a scene, I had told his security, his wife had told him, I was getting pretty close to physically stopping him given half the chance, and he still didn’t care. Everybody knew that I didn’t like it, I really didn’t like it. I felt powerless and tormented and I stepped out the back and I cried frustrated tears.

The PM tells us he’s the most casual Prime Minister NZ has ever had, and claims ‘it’s a tactile world’. Well ‘casual’ and ‘tactile’ is fine if you are a relaxed 2 year old, it’s not the type of traits you want in a Prime Minister.

This is about a man with huge power bullying and harassing a female worker with almost no power. Tens of thousands of a workers go to work each week putting up with harassment and bullying. The lack of a unionised workforce means the precarious position many workers exist in have no power to complain to their owners about the touching from a rich and powerful client.

This is the 21st Century, surely in NZ, the place where women fought for the vote first, a worker can go to work and not have to put up with being touched by the rich and powerful?

Key’s ‘I misread the situation’ is bullshit. He knew exactly what he was doing. This wasn’t horseplay, this was harassment.


  1. Id like to see a campaign of people pulling keys hair weave or toupee what ever it is off his head and taking a fun photo or video of the hilarity, keys all about context and fun

    • It looks like a dead skunk or beaver tail Jennifer!

      I saw a wig like keys so called hair on beaver trappers while up in Ontario’s North Bay fur carnival back some time ago.

    • Except of course that anyone who makes a move toward the Keyal person will be instantly floored, tasered, handcuffed, probably kicked, thrown on the floor of a paddywaggon, charged, convicted and imprisoned. The fun only goes one way.

  2. Thanks Martyn for giving a second account of the incident(s).

    Key didn’t misread the situation at all. He was enjoying himself, abusing his position, tormenting a young vulnerable waitress repeatedly for months on end. He was indulging himself in an uncontrollable urge to satisfy his sick fetish, obviously giving him great pleasure!

    Casual PM or not, Key’s unstatesmanship behaviour here, is depraved!

    I’m no law expert, but judging by what she has said and what has been witnessed, I’m sure Amanda has more than one case to pursue against Key. Also her employers as well, for not assuring a safe work environment for staff.

    If Key is seeking legal counsel on the issue, then he must realize he’s in trouble.

    • +100…he is a creep…putting it simply

      ….and great Post and analysis Martyn….you really spell it out

  3. Gosh…when re-reading that again in the above bullet form, it really does show how bad all these incidents were. Not that I didn’t think so before, this just confirms it.

  4. “Is he stoned?” should be “Is he pissed?’

    It’s usually drunk males who abuse waiting staff. Non-alcohol drinking dope smokers are usually pretty sensitive to other people. In fact, they have a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings.

    • @ esoteric pineapples – re Key’s smart arse, insensitive behaviour at the cafe being similar to that of someone pissed.

      Not sure whether or not you watched Parliament last Tuesday afternoon, 5 May. Could hardly make out what Key was saying. His speech was so slurred to be virtually incomprehensible, indicating to me he could have been under the influence of something. A liquid lunch maybe. Probably to get him through Question time that day!

    • Rather interesting the gift of personalised wine given. Once the ramifications of his “horsing around” finally became apparent, perhaps he was counting on the wine to deal with the memories. When trouble ensues, guess he can rely on his personal reserve for a saving brain-fade.

    • Old people use “stoned” for pissed. It confused me once when my probation officer told me he liked getting stoned and I pulled out some weed to offer him.

  5. Of course we know the PM tells us BS, but he has done so for the whole time since the Nats and he took over government in 2008.

    I fear this pony tail scandal has more or less had its run now, as the MSM are no longer that interested, and as there are actually much more serious matters to raise.

    As a top legal expert from Auckland University commented yesterday, or the day before, it is very unlikely that a complaint will be accepted by a court, and that a proceeding will be started against the PM on the grounds that were stated, and the way the events have been described (see also above).

    The best bet the waitress Amanda may have is, to take the matter to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. They may be more appropriate than a court to pursue the matter. It should also be pursued by taking the employer there, as the employer appears to have failed in his/her duties.

    That is the only thing I would recommend, as all else will be considered as not “serious” enough, and not really “criminal” in intent. Yes, also that Rachel Glucina should be held to account, and the NZ Herald, for what they did, but that is a separate legal and ethical issue.

    Some may wish the pony tail offences were more of an issue, but the real world and judicial system is just only offering so much in the way of a possible resolution.

    We should appreciate that the lying PM was this time caught out and had to publicly explain himself and apologise. Let us get stuck into real hard issues that affect us all, and the country, there are enough, even though Labour only seem to pick up a few, where they consider this “convenient”.

    Housing affordability crisis in places like Auckland and Christchurch, zero hour contracts all over the industries in NZ, now also increased migrant labour excluded from local labour laws, it seems, the short sighted economic policy of government, the ongoing slashing of welfare services, cutting back of rights of the poor, the beneficiaries, the disabled, widespread mass data gathering by security services, environmental destruction, government Ministers and MPs doing deals behind the scenes, covering up misconduct amongst themselves and close ones, the situation of the appalling state of our media, human rights in general, and so much more are a huge range of issues we should focus on, rather than “pony tail gate”.

    • for the 50% of the population who are female this is not an issue to be minimised ….they live under the cloud of male supremacy and harrassment and female minimisation every day

      …the sooner males on the Left recognise this and stop minimising it the better…because it is a power and control issue ….and one of the reasons why women throughout the world are the MOST OPPRESSED sector in most societies

      Good on Martyn and The Daily Blog for exposing and not letting up on this feminist and human rights issue

      • “for the 50% of the population who are female this is not an issue to be minimised ….they live under the cloud of male supremacy and harrassment and female minimisation every day”

        While I understand your feelings, that was not the message of my comment. There was no “minimisation”, but a weighing up of whether it is actually going to achieve much banging on about this topic. Amanda Bailey can take the matter further, if she likes, but as we have not heard anything to that regard, and as she seems to rather want to protect her (former) employer, she may herself be weighing up chances, after consulting with UNITE and their legal advisors.

        And I doubt that the majority of women actually feel this “cloud of male supremacy and harassment”. Yes, there is too much of it going on, but I sincerely question that most women feel or are suppressed to such degrees.

        I also would raise the question, why the waitress Amanda is so hesitant to raise harassment issues with her employer, who truly failed her, and it was the employer who seems to have been “trivialising” the incidents, and rather cherished their famous, powerful customer.

        Employers have a duty of care, to ensure the safety of their workers, which did not happen here, even after the problems were raised.

        Then you could also challenge the PM’s security guards for having ignored what their employer, the PM, was doing, while they could themselves have stepped in.

        I will wait and see what comes out of it all.

        • internationally harassment and violation of women and their space is a serious issue

          it serves to undercut women’s human rights…it trivialises women, objectifies them, minimalises them…when they complain they are not taken seriously

          …it makes women insecure in the workplace , undermines their rights to education , economic independence and safety in travel and independent mobility

          ….internationally women are the most disadvantaged as regards their human rights

          …it is an issue of patriarchal values and male power and control

  6. If he really did just misread the situation, then he’s hopeless at reading body language and doesn’t understand that “no no no no no” means… no.

    For the PM of a country this would be disastrous, as he would be expected to engage from time to time in diplomacy as part of his job. Clearly, if he can’t read body language to that degree he’s not fit for the job.

    But clearly he knows exactly what he was doing, and he’s lying about not being aware his attentions were unwelcome. Plain old lying. And abusing power.

    Either way, he’s unfit for the job.

    But I suspect that most of middle Nu Zilind won’t care. It’s just a waitress, and it’s just her hair. Just another case of minimising the voices of women when we complain of harassment. It’s just a joke, those silly women are getting all PC and upset over nothing is truly what I think a great many people think.

    • anyone one that thinks this is a minor issue, pull their hair repeatedly, if some one sees bob jones, pull his hair please to give i a bit of context, smile while you do it

    • Two people I know, who I thought had a reasonable idea of what’s fair and decent behaviour, regarded these incidents of abuse of a woman by the Prime Minister, as ‘a lot of fuss about nothing’ in one case and ‘she’s looking for attention’ in the other. I jumped down their respective throats as politely as I could.
      And there may be other things that we should all now be concerned with, but for the woman concerned, this case of ongoing abuse will taint her life for some time yet.

  7. But notice YET AGAIN how the CLSM (corporate Lame St Media) DON’T talk about this matter in the context you’ve so clearly shown.
    i.e. they control the conversation which helps the ‘connected people’ have a much greater chance of getting away with it. And the sleepy hobbits of NZ just keep voting for ‘him and his’,……… it’s a sad reality check for Kiwis who think this country is a fair, balanced and decent society. Well shock horror, we are not. We’re as greedy as the next country except we’re typically (not everyone !!!) too thick or uninterested to know it.

  8. Good to keep it out there @ Martyn . Well done.

    ” a man with huge power ” though ?
    No he’s not . He’s a tin pot capitalist with a small dick issue, that’s all . He’s as big a deal as he want’s us to believe he is. I think he’s just a puffed up little con-man who needs the puff kicked out of him.
    The woman in question SHOULD have punched him in the face at his first advances. Now look at what we have to put up with ? Constant aggravation by this event . It’ll be in the news for fucking months and we have to constantly re live it and get angry consequently. This is what the most relaxed prime minster NZ’s ever had gives us . Grief . Lets get rid of the prick ?

    • 100%Countryboy.
      Seeing it laid out like this in a format you have to now see clearly that this was premeditated harassment of a waitress repeatedly.

      Fire the man, he is a loose cannon, and stick his flag where the sun don’t shine also.

  9. What Amanda has described is out and out harassment in the workplace. She was let down by her employers, John Key’s security personnel, and most of all by her elected Prime Minster who (in his down time) sunk to new lows to engage in the persistent and deliberate harassment of someone just trying to do their job. This would surely constitute a solid case of harassment and I do believe that Amanda may have a good chance of winning if she so chooses to take it further. You will certainly have the support of many, who are appalled at the audacity and arrogance of a man who literally thinks he is above the law and shows no common decency.

  10. If we had been talking about one or even two occasions, I might have been inclined to accept the “I am stupid” defence. After re-reading Amanda’s testimony, the prolonged offending actually had a genuinely deleterious effect on her.

    It is also bound to have consequences for her brown-nosing employers who are likely to lose the patronage of the Prime Minister, and are likely to be avoided themselves in future by the politically influential. Chances are they will find a pretext in the near future to get rid of their troublesome employee. (Probably by inducing her to leave “voluntarily”.)

    With this in mind, although the public tires of the event and want to move on with cries of “Old News!” the legal consequences should be played out, not necessarily in the spotlight.

    What might have been a minor contre-temps between equals, (resolved by a short, whispered, venomous rebuke by the offended waitress) was allowed to roll down the months almost exclusively because of the status of the offender. It is a familiar pattern. It is this status-pass and power-imbalance aspect, along with the easily imagined consequences on the victim which demands that the matter be carried further, whatever the easily-bored public might think.

  11. Reading these I sense a lot of sensible, mature etc people are writing here.
    So what I am wondering is, why does a TV station & a few live radio, talk-back radio stations employ so many:

    Bigoted and/or racist/self opinionated/narcissistic[no prizes for guessing who that one is], bloated , pontificating, I’m not right-wing, sad assed excuses of men, with an apparent I.Q. not much bigger than their shoe sizes.

    We wait for Shonkey to visit the village square for justice in the stocks.

  12. “Is he on the spectrum or something?” As someone who really is on the spectrum, I would never invade anyone’s space as Key did, not even as a child. Please don’t use ‘on the spectrum’ as an insult, implying all of us are badly behaved.

  13. Key pulls another back-peddling excuse out of one of his many-hats…

    John Key’s most recent excuses for pulling Amanda Bailey’s hair, (paraphrasing) ‘It wasn’t a sexist thing, I could’ve as easily done it to a man’ – has a fitting precedent.

    Last year, during the election campaign, Key accused Kim Dotcom of being Laila Harre’s sugar daddy. 3News reported “He [John Key] didn’t accept that there was a sexual component to a sugar daddy, defining it as “someone who funds somebody else”.”

    3News noted, “The Oxford English Dictionary defines a sugar daddy as “a rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favours”.

    So, we’ve learned that the Professor of Newspeak Dictionary of Words, Phrases and Justifications Dr Key has a hair fetish, that he tried to bribe the ponytail-jesting waitress’ silence with two bottles of Apology Wine, and that’s Key’s National Party has its own sugar daddys (“Donors funnel $4m to National” – NZH).

    By Dr Key’s definition – “someone who funds somebody else” and excuses – hapless workers are, regardless of gender, all sugar daddies now. Because, there’s nothing sexual about funding rich-listers, who buy government bonds and securities, the yields of which are funded by various taxes that the wealthy hide from with other versions of themselves in tax shelters.

    John Key stands by ‘sugar daddy’ comment

    Donors funnel $4m to National

    How super-rich Kiwis dodge tax

  14. The last time I pulled a girl’s pony-tail, I was 6. The teacher called my parents, and they gave me one good whack to my bottom.

    I never did it again.

    Perhaps Mr Key requires some time-out on the naughty mat?

  15. Last time I heard, it was two bottles for inappropriate touching, one for an off-colour remark and three for a bum pinch. The Prime Minister believes has squared the ledger. But sometimes you have go the extra mile.

    Hey! Someone give that girlie an “I’m pulling for John Key” T-shirt and let’s move on!

    • @ Nick . I agree entirely . It is time we move on . I’m personally over this.

      It’s time we gave yankee doodle psycho jonky-stien a kick up the arse out of our government . He’s not only a sleazy little con-man but he’s made us all look like fools internationally for us not acting accordingly.
      I’m fucking over John Key . Prime Minister . I’ve had enough of his greedy , lazy , libertine sneering . And I certainly don’t want my taxes going into his pocket. Just before he goes however, lets have an inquiry and see just how the little shit made his many millions ?

  16. Saw Louise Upston behind the PM today on One Network News 7th May at 6.13pm during the Saudi businessman’s story. Good to see she is willing to “stand by her man”. Louise, just in case you wanted to know, was not wearing her hair in a pony tail. Still no further comment from her on the PM’s alleged tricophiliac exploits.

    So that was why he was in Saudi Arabia?

  17. If only she had punched him in the mouth, being as she had previously given warning ,she would have been excused on self defense.
    He probably would have been on his ass faster than WhaleOil was.

  18. Dear Left-Wing Daily Blog, Good to spell out the implausibility of Key claiming he didn’t realise the waitress’ distress (more than one ‘incident’) and when he did, the Serial Liar-in-Chief asserted he ‘apologised right away’. Particularly, as the InaneStream Media (ISM) know most people won’t be bothered reading the original post on the ‘left-wing blog’, The Dailyblog. EXCLUSIVE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/22/exclusive-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress/

    The most damning part of Amanda Bailey’s account, we think, is where Key approached the waitress, making the Jaws theme tune sound, with his hands raised high like he was trying to ‘get a tug on’. She asked, “is it self defence, with your security here, if I have to physically stop you from touching me?” And NZ’s PM, the country’s second from top lawmaker (after the Governor-General), countered, “defence against what?”.

    When people hear of this deliberate torment, they realise how much the ISM is protecting the prime minister.

    There isn’t a ISM newsroom in the country that can claim it hasn’t put on soft BrandKey kitten mittens since John Key, the Ponytail Yanker, has been back. Not after every news-outlet, and many journalists, editors and producers were sent a scathing article “Prime Minister is Best ‘dadD’: New Zealand Newspaper Declares John Key ‘Our Father of the Year’ as 2015 Turns 5 Months-old” as Monday turned into Tuesday (midnight, like you know, before Key showed up at parliament). This article shows how and why the Sunday Star-Times signalled to the NZ news media to go softly, softly on John Key. See: http://snoopman.net.nz/2015/05/04/prime-minister-is-best-dadd/

    The SS-Times editor, Jonathan Milne, may as well have titled his editorial, ” ‘Hush little news puppies, go play with fire, safely’ – Capital dadD”, what with the associated fire motifs, the housing ‘boom-bubble’ articles that are linked to BrandKey and the faux pas typo.

  19. Geee — I did not think it was a big deal. I mean it was all in fun because I am a relaxed PM who can get down with the folks and have a laugh. Geee — I am blown away that anyone would want to get me out of office, I mean look at the polls and see how many still love me. I have been successful at lying over and over and this does not seem to phase anyone. I see the list of lies but the people will not pay attention and it will all pass over soon. Geee — I mean what is the big deal. I was just having some fun and I really could care less how this impacted the girl in the cafe. I will just give her some wine or better yet take the advice of legal aid and offer her a hefty compensation to keep this out of the courts and out of the minds of the good people of NZ. They love me no matter what kind of an a___ I am.
    Yeh – thats what I will do and this will all blow over very soon and we can get back to our Rock Star Economy and putting out more fires. I will surely not pull any more pony tails, that for sure. I will put on a firm and in control face with an occasional smile and carry on because that is what is best for my favorite buddies – the greedy corporate elite who pull my strings. I am a great puppet – I have some fooled and the rest are just left wing nutters not to be taken seriously. Open another bottle of wine and lets celebrate the loss of justice and integrity.

  20. Maybe the demented man wants some hair to replace the dead skunk on his head that is dressed up as hair.

    Probably he has tried all the hair growth shit and is still losing it all and is now snooping around for a replacement wig made from his choice of someone’s hair locks?

    That may explain why he has repeatedly touched all the other peoples hair?

    But it doesn’t explain why he kept puling on this waitress’s hair for months.

  21. Inevitable in some sense I guess.

    Even Key’s middle name means lover of horses.

    Gnats – much equus very perversity so lame.

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