The slow dismantling of a populist prime minister



john Key smile and wave


It’s been a source of frustration and a mystery akin to flying saucers, Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, Bermuda Triangle, etc. I refer, of course, to the unfeasibly high popularity of our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key.

Every time a scandal strikes this government (and there have been so many, I’ve lost count); every time it implements unpopular policies such as asset sales or expanding the powers of the GCSB; every time it fails to balance the budget despite numerous promises; every time it breaks election promises such as not raising GST, not interfering with Kiwisaver, bringing agriculture into the ETS, raising wages comparable to Australia; and as  housing  becomes an ulcerated sore in our cities – Key’s popularity apparently remains undented.

Recently, over a period of months, he was even found to have been assaulting a female staff member at an Auckland cafe;


EXCLUSIVE The Prime Minister and the Waitress - ponytail pulling - Amanda Bailey - John Key

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– and he survived that humiliating experience, his political career apparently intact. His apolitical “blokeyness” seems to have pulled his backside out of the fire, yet again.

But is his popularity as consistently high as we think it is?

Actually – no.

Since 2009, when Key’s “Preferred Prime Minister” (PPM) rating stood at 55.8% on 3News-Reid Research polling, it has been trending down ever since;

Oct/Nov 08: 36.4%


Feb 2009: 52.1%

April 2009: 51.1%

Aug 2009: 51.6%

Oct 2009: 55.8%

Feb 2010: 49.4%

April 2010: 49.0%

June 2010: 49.6%

Jul/Aug 2010: 48.7%

Sept/Oct 2010: 50.6%

Nov/Dec 2010: 54.1%

Feb 2011: 49.1%

April 2011: 52.4%

May 2011: 48.2%

Jun/Jul 2011: 50.5%

Aug 2011: 53.3%

Sept 2011: 54.5%

Oct 2011: 52.7%

1-8 Nov 2011: 50.0%

9-16 Nov 2011: 49.4%

16-23 Nov 2011: 48.9%

Feb 2012: 45.8%

April 2012: 44.2%

May/Jun 2012: 40.5%

July: 43.2%


Feb 2013: 41.0%

April 2013: 38.0%

May 2013: 41.0%

Jul 2013: 42.0%

Nov 2013: 40.9%

Jan 2014: 38.9%

Mar 2014: 42.6%

May 2014: 43.1%

Jun 2014: 46.7%

Jul 2014: 43.8%

5-3 Aug 2014: 44.1%

19-25 Aug 2014: 41.4%

26 Aug-1 Sept 2014: 45.1%

2-8 Sept 2014: 45.3%

9-15 Sept 2014: 44.1%

Jan 2015: 44.0%

May 2015: 39.4%


From the insane heights of 2009 (55.8%), Key has lost 16.4 percentage points in the PPM contest by May of this year.

Key’s leadership is safe. The only contenders are careerist politicians – most of whom would make National unelectable as a government;

  • Steven Joyce – far to arrogant. Looks down at people. Has a tendency to rant at political opponants who he finds threatening. Also not averse to threatening people who piss him off, in a sober, Aaron Gilmore kind of way.
  • Judith Collins – accident prone. Too many skeletons in her closet. Links to far right-wing bloggers; Oravida; and mis-use of her ministerial powers show her to be untrustworthy. Probably the dodgiest of all National MPs.
  • Nick Smith – tends to be sacked from ministerial portfolios more often than Winston Peters. Fast becoming identified with New Zealand’s critical housing problem. Has a fall-back career as a bus tour-driver.
  • Anne Tolley – Would be hopelessly out of her depth. Is beginning to stuff up her Social Welfare portfolio, and recent appearance on ‘Q+A‘ was cringeworthy.
  • Gerry Brownlee – the second-best of the bunch, but also tends to exhibit arrogance and a dismissive attitude to laws. Rules evidently don’t apply to him, as they do to us mere peasants.
  • Hekia Parata – (Joke entrant. Zero probabability.)
  • Paula Bennett – She’s the one. Zombified conservative voters love her for “dealing to the lazy benes”. Has a casual, “relaxed” air about her similar to Key’s. The only one who could possibly take over from Key and not consign National to the Opposition benches for the next ten years.

Except that Key’s leadership is fairly safe for the foreseeable future. Key has de-politicised politics and lulled the peasantry into a hypnotic state that would make Andrew Newton jealous.

But make no mistake, Key’s teflon has been gradually stripped away with scandal after scandal, and Andrew Little’s “Cut the Crap” remark in Parliament on 26 November last year showed that Key can be called out on his bullshit.

If an Opposition Leader can continue to highlight to the public that Key is in fact bullshitting them – it’s game over. Key will be forced to do Real Politics – and that is not his  forté.

One thing that the above polling shows with considerable clarity is that Key’s “dream run” has concluded.


A Wikipedia page of various polls also presents PPM data, but the TV3-Reid Research polls reach back to 2008, giving a more overall picture of the rise-and-dip of Key’s leadership.


A TV1-Colmar Brunton Poll on 19 July reports that John Key’s popularity as PPM has dropped 4 percentage points since May, to 40%.





The Daily Blog: The Prime Minister and the Waitress

3News: Opinion Poll – April 13-20 2010

3News: Opinion Poll – 210 October 2012

Reid Research: TV3 Poll Results

NZ Herald: Minister to students – ‘keep your heads down’

Radio NZ: Collins defends giving details to blogger

TVNZ Q+A: Revolutionary changes in store for social services

Radio NZ: ‘Cut the crap’ and say sorry, Little tells PM

Wikipedia: Opinion polling for the New Zealand general election, 2014




John Key radio live teflon coated




= fs =


  1. Gobsmackinglly good tight critique of this cum Carpetbagger slimy operator.

    The MSM orchestrated & carefully painstakingly massaged the PM’s “façade” or image as a friendly bloke the traitors.

    This was never his real manner, which on any occasion in Parliament he displays everything else but this character which Key has carefully cultured since he was playing monopoly with his sister as he was cheating her at the same time.

    No this man is a product of the far right and manicured to because “Our smiling assassin” by the Global elite at the Bilderberg “Club” he frequents just to rob our country of all our assets for them as they are doing to NZ and eyeing up Greece next.

    Thanks for the laughter you engendered as I read this great piece of work Frank.

      • Humour ?!!?

        Humour ?!!?

        Hells teeth ! – the Monty Python team would be edging out the Rotheschilds in revenue takings if they pantomimed this lot !!!

        ‘ Yes Minister ‘ had nothing on this bunch at all !!!

  2. I can’t keep up with all this skulduggery.
    Just researched that we’re still a colony as are Canada and Australia, e.g. the latter so-called free and independent nation can’t pass laws without the vice regal signature of an unelected Gov-Gen or state governor, same being appointed by Queen herself appointed by Parliament.
    No wonder jonkey smiles his way thru our lives. NZ owned and operated by banksters in the corporation The City of London. He’s a protected old boy of The Club.
    At least Little seems to be genuinely fond of his country and us. And I don’t think he plays golf, nor involved with any of the three mentioned in the International Court of Justice, Hague, Crimes against Humanity, decision of 25 February 2013.

  3. OK …for those who want a comprehensive list of this Premier Key character I strongly suggest visiting the website :

    Hackpad : Honest John.

    Failing that ?….its time perhaps for Frank , Chris , Martyn , John and Prof Jane Kelsey among others to collaboratively compile a series of books for popular consumption capable of being used as a resource reference for our University’s .

    Which would be viewed through history as a chronological narrative of one of the most darkest and corrupt eras that ever threatened this nations democracy.

  4. Or you could say John Key has increased 1.4% in the polls since April 2013. From 38% to 39.4%. Have you done the same analysis for Labour?

    • Why would I start from April 2013? It makes more sense to move to the beginning of his Administration. That gives the whole picture, not just cherry-picking at one convenient point.

      • Frank, you made a statement that in 2009 the PM was on 55.8% according to the 3 News-Reid research polling and has been trending down ever since. Your own very thorough analysis has the low point for the period at April 2013. The movement since 2009 has been both up and down, as one would expect. The overall trend is down from 55.8% but into a third term what else would you expect. The Labour leader by contrast is at 11.5% which makes 39.4% look pretty tidy.

    • Or you could say he’s gone from 45% in August 2104 to 39% on May 2015. That wasn’t the point of the analysis, which was to show the trend from when he was elected. As to your question about Labour, what would be the point? 4 Leaders in 7 years, with the current leader at 11.6%.

  5. Key, like George W Bush, consistently outsleazes our most cynical estimations.

    Using the GCSB illegally to stay in power? Check.
    Robbing rich Kulaks like Allan Hubbard? Check.
    Police harassment of journalists? Check.

    From time to time the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants.

  6. Frank can we compare this to Helen Clark’s rating and decline? I think the comparison might give us an idea of how far down the slope he is.

  7. I notice there was no mention of Simon Bridge (who has apparently been told by the Natz polling team to singularise his name after the the by-election debacle ‘The Bridges of Northland County’).

    Simon Bridge – (Joke entrant #2. Zero probability.)

    • Hehehe…

      Now this here’s the story bout the wildwood flower …some say its a flower and some say its a weed….we didn’t give it much thought…

      Spent the rest of that day and most of that night tryin to find my brother Bill…..caught up with him the very next morning , – naked – singin on the windmill !!!

      Now – what relevance does the above have to the topic ?….

      Absolutely nothing at all !!! ….I just always wanted to post that somewheres .

      But maybe it does – as in the mountain dew the National party supped on to lick their wounds after the Northland debacle left a fair few of em with almighty hangovers for the next 3 months , it seems…

      And going by Premier Kee’s inevitable decline – seems like he’s still kissin that there bottle.

      They say lettuce is great for recoverin from the effects of a bender.

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