GUEST BLOG: Donna Miles – An ambitious PM and a marriage of inconvenience



NZ TPPA negotiating team have been practicing their vows for a long time:

I, little NZ, take you, mighty corporate powers, to make you richer and us poorer, in increased cost of sickness and health, and forsaking all our democratic rights, I promise to be faithful only to your interests, so long as you continue to rule the world.

But news has arrived that the TPPA contract is off the table for now. It appears that, as reckless as the Government is, it is not suicidal.

The groundswell of popular opposition to the TPPA made it clear to the Government that a net loss to New Zealand would not be tolerated domestically.

John Key has to wait a bit longer to pursue his ambition of marrying New Zealand off to its TPPA partners.

Ambition seems to feature strongly in John Key’s life and thinking.  At the recent National Party conference, much was said about the Party being “ambitious for New Zealand”. I think a more true statement would be that the National Party is driven by John Key’s ambitions.

John Key was only 10 years old when he first harbored the ambition of being New Zealand’s future Prime Minister.  When 10-year-olds dream of being the Prime Minster, they are not dreaming of shaping and driving the country’s future, they are dreaming of power and influence.

Despite John Key’s outwardly relaxed and personable image, we can be certain that he has always been driven by the love of power and influence. Why else would he go into the currency market with the aim of becoming a millionaire?

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Much of what we have seen from John Key, in his actions and language, suggest that he attributes many of our society’s ills to the destructive role of the poor, not to the effect of poverty.

When John Key needlessly sent our troops to Iraq, he did so as “the price of the club”.

The above significant admission by our Prime Minister did not receive the close scrutiny it deserved.

John Key’s ambition of being in the big boys’ club also explains why we still belong to the 5-eyes spy network and why we want to be part of the TPPA; all of which have been widely discussed as being harmful to New Zealand’s democracy and long term interests.

Despite widespread dissent amongst the public, John Key’s dogged determination to waste $26m of our money on a new flag, and to continue the negotiations with the #TPPA can only be explained by his desire to sit amongst the big boys on the world stage.

So, next time you wonder why our Government would even consider taking actions that clearly undermine New Zealand’s interests, remember who the leader is and what his ambitions are made of.


Donna Miles is a British-born, Iranian-bred, New Zealand citizen with a strong interest in human rights, justice and equality issues. 


  1. Excellent post. I also think Key subscribes to that crude old rich mans mantra of “he who has the most toys wins”, and all the damage that goes with such an individual pursuit

    I believe if someone, anyone had said “sign here” they would have. That this government did not sign a deal was only because negotiations fell apart with the major players and nothing to do with Tim Grocer and John Keys lusts and desires. Indeed our beloved trade minister is promising this morning that once “the covers” are lifted we will all fall in love with the Frankenstein he and his fellow Nats have created.

    If nothing else a enduring hallmark of the Key government is short term punts for immediate exploitation, no matter what the dire long term consequences are and I expect that underlined New Zealands so called trade negotiations.

  2. Good post except that I would take issue on one or two things .

    One ,…we have been part of the 5 eyes spy network since the late 1940’s….and it has been kept quiet for most of that time. It has come under fire lately because of the GSCB and to a lesser extent its little brother the SIS…and rightly so with all the skulduggery they have been involved in.

    Two…the TTPA.

    I think it would be more correct to rephrase this not so much as a trade deal but an extension of USA hegemony in the South Pacific. Chris Trotter and TDB have outlined this well.

    And this takes a bit of backtracking to get to its genesis.

    1) Recall George Bush Jr rejected Helen Clarke’s overtures for a Free Trade Deal with the USA. At that time the anti nuke policy we had was fresh in everyone’s minds.

    2) As Chris Trotter pointed out …the USA was deeply involved in the middle east wars – the invasion of Iraq.

    3) When Labour lost the election …National and Don Brash became leader. He was infamous for the statement on abolishing the anti nuke policy and allowing nuclear powered warship’s into NZ ports. When asked by the Americans about it he stated ” if I had my way it’d be gone by lunchtime ”. Don Brash has always been an ardent supporter of both neo liberal monetarism and pro USA.

    4) Don Brashs Orewa speech …the speech that basically ensured a National victory and Clarke’s defeat among other things…then Nicky Hagar wrote the book ‘ The Hollow Men ‘ about National…this helped to bring about Don Brash’s downfall…along with such things as the leaked e-mail scandal…

    5) National then had a dilemma…Brash’s harsh direction meant National needed a softer face. So this meant that they went scalp hunting. John Key was their choice. Such things as the Aroha Ireland stunt and lip service to poverty swayed many in the Labour camp. The man was groomed just for the purpose , and many Labour voters supported him ensuring victory for National.

    6) A profile of John Key set against this briefly historical political background shows he was a perfect choice. Living mostly outside of NZ in his adult years, immersed in the heart of capitalistic endeavor with Merril Lynch , Forex…and mainly in the USA…even going to the extent of being the right hand man in the biggest Forex heist in history against any sovereign nation – that of his own birth ,- New Zealand – meant he fitted the perfect profile for the neo liberal agenda happening here.

    John Key was groomed and selected. He was immersed in American style politics. He endorsed the notion of the free market perfectly. And the neo liberal theme of a global and border-less market.

    His right hand man Bill English is of the same ilk. He also believes the notion of the sovereign nation state is an outdated one.

    So for these reasons among others we have the origins of John Key…and hence the sycophantic relations with the American free market , – and more importantly – USA hegemony in the South Pacific as a bulwark against Chinese influence .

    It is no coincidence both Key and Obama both have houses in Hawaii and regularly play golf together. Such policy’s as American hegemony can freely be discussed in the most private and secure location there can be – the secluded outdoors.

    The fact that the talks at Maui broke down temporarily means nothing – even if it had to do with , … ironically … protectionism of their own markets …the greater picture of American interests of hegemony in the South Pacific simply means another angle of attack is required.

    I would say that there will be a future round …and far more watertight to achieve those ends…whether Key will still be the selected man to bring this about on the part of the USA depends if he is still in power.

    I would say he will be …those powerful interests realize they only have so many John Keys at their disposal… they will pour everything in to see that Key delivers the desired results before Key is released from their service.

    It is now that the Left desperately needs to regroup and unite to bring down this USA plant in the form of John Key.

    As this planted individual is actually an aggressive advocate against social democratic national sovereignty. He is more dangerous than any other leader this country has known so far.

  3. Wild Katipo, I came here to clarify the very points you are making and that’s when I saw your comments!

    I totally agree with everything you said. I think what I wrote about John Key’s ambition explaining why we (the word “still” is missing here) belong to 5 eyes and are negotiating for the TPPA, is misleading.
    I meant to address the question that many people ask: why does our own Government do things that are harmful to NZ’s future?

    I go even one step further than you and say that the real enemy is the system (the neoliberal capitalist system that leads to global hegemony).

    Of course, the core problem isn’t John Key’s greed but despite his childhood background, his ambition to belong to the 1% , makes him the perfect vehicle for delivering the damaging effects of neoliberalism and, as you say, makes him the most damaging Prime Minister NZ has ever had.

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