The Number Of The Beast: The New Zealand Left’s Abiding Obsession With John Key

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BRINGING DOWN JOHN KEY has become an abiding obsession of the New Zealand Left. As if all of New Zealand’s problems have their origins in the actions of a single individual. As if the Prime Minister hasn’t been shaped by the people he governs every bit as much as they have been shaped by him. As if Key’s uncanny ability to extricate himself from scandal after scandal hasn’t been made possible by the electorate’s willingness to look the other way while he does it.

All of which suggests that the Left’s obsession with bringing down Key isn’t about the National Party Leader at all, but about its own inability to attract and hold the same level of popular support that keeps him in power. All of which raises the possibility that the Left’s real problem isn’t with Key at all – but with the democratic process itself.

Over the past fortnight, for example, the Left has been outraged by revelations contained in the so-called “Panama Papers”. These have been seized upon as conclusive proof of John Key’s determination to transform New Zealand into a tax haven.

That the New Zealand-related documents contained in the Panama Papers might be interpreted as the legal firm at the centre of the controversy, Mossack Fonseca’s, back-handed tribute to this country’s reputation for honesty and fair-dealing does not appear to have occurred to the implacable prosecutors of the Left.

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Similarly failing to register with them is the indisputable fact that the formation of trusts (both foreign and domestic) is a perfectly legal activity engaged in not only by dubious South American businessmen, but also by thousands of ordinary New Zealand families. The purposes of these legal instruments is much the same in both instances: to shield the assets of their beneficiaries from the fiscal and/or administrative exactions of the state.

That is why John Key is not about to get on his high moral horse about trusts. Not when to do so would put him offside with tens-of-thousands of his most loyal supporters!

The Left constantly fails to register the brute realities of living in a society driven by the neoliberal imperatives of twenty-first century capitalism. In a world where the interests of the successful individual trump everybody else’s, avoiding and/or evading tax has become an industry in its own right.

Whether these sovereign individuals are the heirs to old family fortunes, or the lumpenproletarian leaders of methamphetamine-distributing street gangs, makes little difference. Large piles of cash must first be sanitised, and then they must be protected. If the Panama Papers prove nothing else, it’s that law firms dedicated to providing such services are not confined to the pages of John Grisham novels!

It takes a touching degree of innocence, not to say naiveté, to assume that the whole nation will rise up as one against the spectacle of extremely wealthy individuals and families setting up trusts in foreign lands to avoid paying tax at home. The Left clearly does not grasp the huge number of people who, aspiring to become extremely wealthy individuals themselves, observe the depredations of the One Percent with feelings more akin to admiration than disgust.

The New Zealand Left’s animosity towards John Key is, thus, curiously reminiscent of the early Christian Church’s animosity towards the Roman Emperor, Nero. In both cases we are presented with a minority utterly convinced of its moral righteousness, and absolutely unwilling to compromise its principles. Unsurprisingly, such stiff-necked insistence on their own rectitude, asserted aggressively in the midst of an avaricious and morally undemanding society, not only got these groups offside with their neighbours, but also with the authorities. Finding themselves under political pressure, it is hard to blame either Nero, or John Key, for making scapegoats of their unpopular critics.

Not that John Key has gone so far as to transform his left-wing opponents into human torches! Like Nero, however, he has boosted his own popularity at their expense – and they hate him for it.

The Early Christians worked Nero’s name into their identification of the Beast of the Book of Revelation: “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

The New Zealand Left is equally obsessed with numbers – even if, in the case of John Key, they are the numbers hidden in the spreadsheets of the Panama Papers.

64 COMMENTS

  1. “That the New Zealand-related documents contained in the Panama Papers might be interpreted as the legal firm at the centre of the controversy, Mossack Fonseca’s, back-handed tribute to this country’s reputation for honesty and fair-dealing”

    You mean they exploited “this country’s reputation for honesty and fair-dealing”, Chris?

    “Similarly failing to register with them is the indisputable fact that the formation of trusts (both foreign and domestic) is a perfectly legal activity engaged in not only by dubious South American businessmen, but also by thousands of ordinary New Zealand families. ”

    Chris, now you’re being disingenuous. NZ trusts are taxed at the going rate (33%).

    Foreign trusts are zero-rated for taxation, something initiated by National.

    If you’re going to make statements to us, they should at least be informative.

    • We need a Australian style Corruption Commission to do the work for us so we can simply report our observations to please?

      https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/

      QUOTE;
      Reporting Corruption
      Members of the public and public officials are encouraged to report suspected corrupt conduct to the ICAC.

      You can report allegations online. All reports are carefully assessed.

      You see Government is just doing what they please and use corruption to achieve their aim right or wrong.

      So instead of shooting the messenger here, help is instead to set up a commission to put the end to it!

      So push this https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/ Chris will you?

  2. Rather true but rather simplistic in the christian analogy as well, Chris.

    You are right about how the general populace ( in NZ ) views trusts as a vehicle for protection to ‘ shield the assets of their beneficiaries from the fiscal and/or administrative exactions of the state ‘.

    But that acceptance as a valid vehicle has come about at some cost in educating the NZ public of the validity and utility of trusts. The Winebox inquiry was a case in point whereby it was ruled that ‘ participants while not indulging in any illegal acts were nonetheless indulging in grey areas of the law and taking full advantage of exploiting loopholes in NZ trust laws.

    And because of those findings, – domestic trusts created by New Zealanders were tightened . And that included greater regulatory practices which enabled transparency and disclosure of who the main appointees were and who the benefactors were and also just what kind of business operations were being conducted.

    Particularly as far as the IRD and the law ( Police ) were concerned.

    And yet – the same sort of laws and transparency are noticeably lacking in regards to foreign trusts. And the Panama Papers have forced the hand of not only political leaders but also that of the general public of reassessing and asking the obvious question :

    Why?

    I put to you this and to members of the New Zealand public this question :

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    1) How many of you would be comfortable in the fact that currently our foreign trust laws could potentially enable child pornography rings to flourish with total impunity and to continue to reap the benefits of their perverted industry unfettered from public scrutiny ?

    2) How many of you would be comfortable in the fact that Interpol or the NZ Police would be hampered in their attempts to bring charges because our current foreign trust laws did not disclose the true nature of the business or who the true directors of the trust were ?

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    The right wing fanatics who haunt this website never stop to consider such things in their rabid defense of John Key.

    In light of the above they become absolutely irrelevant and pathetic – as also does the issue whether it is Key or any other leader or party. This is not an issue of which party or which leader – but a global one.

    The Panama Papers is not about this being ‘ world famous only in New Zealand ‘ as the fanatical right wingers would try to have us believe – this is a GLOBAL issue.

    What IS relevant are THESE questions :

    1) Why did it take the Panama Papers to force the hand of the Key National govt into taking the ( albeit weak ) initiatives of appointing someone ( John Shewan ) to conduct a review?

    2) Why for so long have our foreign trust laws been so woefully weak that they have in effect the same outcome as a tax haven?

    3) Why is there in effect NO benefits whatsoever to the public of NZ in having these foreign trusts here save to an insignificant number of New Zealander lawyers ( Keys personal lawyer among them ) and ‘company’s’ and an even greater insignificant financial contribution to this country ?

    4 ) And if all the above are true – which they are – just why has this govt allowed this situation to be enabled for so long?… Indeed not only enabled it , – but also presided over the whole process whereby the number of foreign trusts have literally exploded over the past year while they have been in office?

    The New Zealand public demand answers to this , – as do the opinions of Don Brash , former National party and Act party leader.

    This is NOT an issue of right or left.

    This is an issue that the New Zealand public from all political walks right or left demand answers on.

  3. You have got it wrong Chris. This tax haven issue is not about Key and no one from the left is even suggesting such a thing, in fact you are the only one of heard make that opinion. The only criticism to Key has been of his inaction on the tax haven issue. This whole – it’s not about the panama papers it’s an attack in Key is absolute nonsense. The Left and the Right are concerned about the moral and ethical issue surrounding these foreign trusts. This is bigger then John Key, it has a negative effect on people all around the world. That’s why we need to show some guts and put an end to it. No one could give a damn about Key.

    • Chris Trotter has become an apologist for immoral right wing behaviour.

      His personal belief of the whole foreign tax have thing is “Meh”.

      See for yourself http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/panama-papers-reveal-not-a-critical-blow—trotter-2016050908#axzz48Fgn0lYX

      Even the lady at the local AA serving me had a spontaneous and accurate assessment that the government had dropped the ball on trusts and it is damaging our reputation.

      Why can not Chris Trotter see that many in this country are very disturbed about the moral direction of this country. Why does he try to suppress their voice by being a useless ‘left wing’ spokesman that useless MSM can wheel out to misrepresent what we are saying on the left?

  4. Grrrr… woke up at approx 11:00 hours today… late night… and after having a coffee or three and a think and a read… I see Racheal Smalley is saying the same thing as I said in the NZ Herald today … basically.

    If a common pleb like I can see it why do we have all this pussy footing around and pontification about whats wrong and whats right?…

    I don’t give a damn what govt we have so long as it looks after its people and those of the international community and is a govt of integrity ,conscience and compassion – not some slave to an ideology of self centered enrichment at the expense of its people and those of other nations.

    Forrest Gump had it right.

  5. So what actually is your point Chris? Are Piketty, Sachs et al., just wasting their time trying to highlight the dangers to democracy of increasing inequality in a world in which the super-wealthy increasingly just take without giving anything back? Your article misses the point that the neoliberal policy regime has situated us in an unsustainable situation economically and with regards to the future of democracy. Our race to the bottom has accelerated under Key who has adopted a postmodern approach to politics which is anti-democratic. He’s our Howard/Bush/Harper. Of course many on the left are ‘obsessed’ with seeing his demise.

  6. For the moment put Key to one side.

    The Panama papers reveal extraordinary efforts almost exclusively by the wealthy to avoid paying tax and also hiding criminally obtained money in those same shadowy accounts somewhere far away from prying law enforcement eyes. The sums of money that is avoiding taxation is massive.

    Since 2010 in NZ inheritance taxes have gone and our trusts process has been tweaked subtly to firstly ensure there is zero tax on money hidden here and then latterly a farcical non disclosure regime so that those hiding money can be kept anonymous. If you know someone who knows an Elvis impersonator who is willing to allow you to use his address as a business headquarters, you are in! It is only legal because National made it this way and I guess absolutely anything can be legal if the law says so.

    And this is where it gets hard to follow, NZ gets virtually nothing out of it but our reputation as an honest operator takes a hiding. And who was responsible, Keys National government!

    So why set up this kind of murky arrangement if it benefits only the wealthy and inevitably criminals that are depositing in our no questions asked country? Who is the politician that matters the most in this who thinks that the only thing that matters is the colour of your money, who cares where it comes from?

    Whose political party has the most convoluted donation laundering schemes, whose party can be bought for a decent donation and whose party takes on donations in one hit that are more than some party’s can attract in total?

    We live in a country that cannot afford first world anti cancer treatment drugs, that cannot fund its education, justice, police or health systems properly because our government is only being kept afloat by loans and yet not paying tax if you are wealthy is quite okay. Who could ever take National seriously again when it comes to paying taxes?

    I can’t think of any politicians who would have even understood what a “Look Through Company” was 15 years ago or who would have gone to such effort to not pay tax but somehow be re-elected, not until the Key government that is. Key is a man whose adult life has almost been solely dedicated to his personal financial enrichment as fast as he could and morals and ethics don’t appear part of the equation. He was a big wheel in Merrill Lynch, a merchant bank now notorious for its leading role in the GFC meltdown. And Key is very wealthy and rubbed shoulders with those even wealthier than he.

    So again, somewhere in the periphery of a foggy, dirty, morally bankrupt scam that is barely legal, appears John Key. And again the question is why is he always there or there abouts and why is New Zealand doing this?

  7. Maybe true, but an ultimately depressing conclusion that essentially we now live in a world where its every man and woman for themselves. Given that all of this is tied up with any efforts, or lack of, to stop global warming (which comes into all calculations of human activities now) it suggests there is no hope for around half the species on the planet and a great deal of humanity.

    • If you call winning when all the pagan customs get called christian (Xmas, Easter, Sunday, the mass) & about 50 million people who would not follow this false worship were killed then yes? While most will reject Bible history an examination of the past should warn against following the majority,

  8. Interesting Chris …………If global climate change does not kill us it may save us from a society where our kids are kept poor making property speculators and tax cheats rich.

    When a worldwide ‘war effort’ is needed to save huge cities and even whole countries from going under water combined with extreme weather …..an evaluation of what lead us to foul and destroy the world will take place ….. and why leaders allowed the continued destruction of our environment ….. or even like our nat govt at the moment try and cheat and actively thwart efforts to fight global change.

    Then I think we may see greed regarded as a dangerous mental illness that it actually is………… why do you need more than you need?, its illogical and is fucking our planet.

    If global climate change happens quickly some of our present leaders & CEO’s may still be young enough to face punishment for their crimes.

    Those who purposely damage and degrade the environment will go to jail.

    And using financial merchant bank style tricks to defeat and defraud efforts to combat climate change…….. like for instance 100 million ‘ukaranianian carbon credits’ ……….. well that sounds like treason to me……

    I also think tax havens represent rich people stealing ……they are a big part of the reason we have things like state asset sales , big student loans on what was once free, not enough money for health etc etc etc…….. theres not enough money is the excuse for these ‘modern’ things.

    22 trillion stashed in tax havens though ….. Its almost like some governments do not want that money and would rather just sell assets and privatize services.

    Finally I also think you should recall how the last two national governments ended …………… I predict the same fate for this one …. perhaps even with some criminal prosecutions and asset forfeiture thrown in afterwards.

    It would be a laugh if both slater and Key fled to Isreal for asylum…. they could be best cell phone buddies again.

    Anyway The gulf between the obvious damage the nats do to nz and their spin becomes too much in the end.

    Barely wade-able makes people sick ….

    • ‘If global climate change happens quickly some of our present leaders & CEO’s may still be young enough to face punishment for their crimes.’

      I no longer use the term climate change because what we are now witnessing is ultra-rapid planetary meltdown…..of the kind recorded in the fossil records of the PETM and the Permian Great Extinction Event, only a lot faster!

      Latest data indicate Arctic sea ice cover is 1 million km2 below the same day for the record low year of 2012.

      https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/vishop-extent.html

      Things could change but at the moment ‘we’ are on track for an ice-free Arctic this year……with all the extra climate chaos and increased sea level rise that implies.

      It’s hardly surprising when atmospheric CO2 is at a record high (407-409 ppm and increasing at a record rate (3-4 ppm per annum).

      And what is the response of the maniacal criminals in charge to the dire predicament we find ourselves in? -encourage greater consumption of fossil fuels and ensure no preparations whatsoever are made for the inevitable consequences!

      • It is like living in the twilight zone, everyone is obsessed with money while the planet burns, melts, and floods.
        Call me sick, but all these blind money hungry lunatics deserve to die like the rest of the animals in this mass extinction they couldn’t give a shit about.
        This culture is sick beyond words. The book ENDGAME Derrick Jensen explains how fucked we are and what we really need to do about it. Bring down industrial civilization really fast!

        But housing bubbles and cash stashing Key thinks he’s king of a crumbling castle, I can’t see his clothes. What a winner!

  9. Excerpts from the above post:
    “All of which suggests that the Left’s obsession with bringing down Key isn’t about the National Party Leader at all, but about its own inability to attract and hold the same level of popular support that keeps him in power. All of which raises the possibility that the Left’s real problem isn’t with Key at all – but with the democratic process itself.”

    “The Left constantly fails to register the brute realities of living in a society driven by the neoliberal imperatives of twenty-first century capitalism. In a world where the interests of the successful individual trump everybody else’s, avoiding and/or evading tax has become an industry in its own right.”

    Yes and no, there is some truth in what Chris says, but even he sees a bit too simplistically.

    We all know deep inside, we just have that gut feeling, that Key is dodgy and knows how to work the system to near perfection, with the help of highly professional expert and consultant networks that exist in this “neoliberal” society that we have.

    Any person who knows about business, knows how ruthless and cold business actually is. Go through the company register, follow certain names and leads, and you will see how many people have their shares, interests, directorships and influences in often a number of companies. Study the Mossack Fonseca Papers and look at the trust law and commercial law, and you will learn, this is stuff that the well to do, the well connected, the selfish, greedy and possessive controllers of our society know about and do.

    And there are grey zones, there are transition zones, between the most ruthless, the big shots and top vested interest holders and shakers, and the smaller fry in the game, which goes down to many one to two residential or commercial property owner investors, sheltering what they have in wealth and incomes.

    Even the small business operator gets a sense of the game, and gets enticed, gets tied in, there is no alternative to get tied in, really, if you choose to do business. Your neighbour is not just a neighbour, he or she may also be another ruthless competitor, so cut throat is day to day business.

    This goes on at the shopping malls, at the business centres, in real estate business, in general food and service retail and endless contract work many do.

    Gradually since the 1980s society has been changed radically, the once usual social cohesion, where belonging to professional associations or organisation, unions, interest groups and also churches and clubs was normal, that has been replaced by a dog eat dog business society, where it is individual against individual and operator against operator, competitor against competitor, boss against worker (i.e. command – control chain), and also nation against nation, social class against social class or subgroup.

    Basic human instincts of survival and greed and control rule the business sectors, the advertising and friendly smiles at the front are a mere front, to seduce customers to spend and buy, none else, once out the door the hard cash is counted.

    Losing is a nono, so everybody does all to “win” and that means using tricks, and having trusts, foreign owned or local trusts, that is part of the game, to protect one’s wealth from others, even from partners and kids.

    The richer the meaner, and the left is in politics rather represented by the more academic university educated liberal minded mostly urban citizen who grew up in relative comfort, with some exceptions.

    What the left has failed to offer is a leader and capable core fighters, who know business, who know the ruthlessness, who know the enemy they face, and Key is indeed a formidable one.

    So there is a lack of talent and teeth, and sadly it showed again today in Parliament, where James Shaw and Andrew Little were shown how Key deals with challenges, he simply throws stuff at them they do not know how to deal with, or do not even comprehend. Key has good advisors and they gather stuff they cannot even assume that he may come up with.

    David Cunliffe was a potential leader that could have made the difference, he knows full well the ruthlessness of business, of markets and operators like Key, he himself had to do with them. Andrew Little is a shade of Cunliffe and also was Shearer that.

    So there you go, Labour MPs, some of them, acted out of idiocy to stab him in the back, last election campaign, they did this to the only one they still have who could challenge Key and make a difference.

    And for society as a whole, the challenge remains, you must hammer it into peoples’ minds, that division is losing, that only if they stand together and unite, can they beat the overpowering dominance of the business bastards that run this country, it reaches through all levels of society, now the state does work with business, like business, in many areas, and it gets worst by the day.

    We need a left leadership with brains, with teeth, with talent and the guts to stand up and inspire and gather people, to shake them up and out of their slumber, as the way we are headed, it will be into a massive social disaster for the future.

    Key must be stopped, the problem is, so far nobody has managed to expose the rot, and we need experts that know business, trusts and all the tricks and deal to them.

    Kia Kaha All!

  10. RIGHT ON!! We all need to remember that in most of the recent polls the National Party is more popular than Key himself. This has got more to do with how the Party is running the country. How the Party is running the country is more to do with the Minister of Finance than the P.M. It is Bill English who controls the purse strings. An M.P. told me recently that Hekia Parata might be the Minister of Education but the real Minister is Bill English. As the last eight years have proved going after Key has not worked. To be an effective Opposition, which is what this country desperately needs, you need to focus on Government policies as a whole rather than become fixated on one man. The Government will only be defeated when the electorate sees alternative policies from the Oppostion that resonate with them.

    • Righton, wasn’t Muldoon very popular with voters? Even though he was running the economy into the ground with his Fortress NZ policies?

      Oh yes, I think that’s right.

      Never confuse popularity with integrity. The two are often lightyears apart.

      • And health is being run into the ground, particularly mental health.
        Once had a team leader who ran the service I work in. Now have a team leader who runs 3 services and we see maybe twice a week. Call it efficiency if you like, but only until a life is lost( see the Nicky Stevens story)

  11. If you are of a mind to dislike someone and there are twenty reasons for doing so, you will dislike him, no doubt, for all twenty reasons.

    The one quality about John Key that isn’t particularly vilified on the Left is his wealth per se. Everything else is fair game.

    It is certainly true that the red mist is partially due to an incomprehension about the seemingly undeserved fawning bestowed on him by a large section of the country, but another cause is a frustration that he has passed without significant challenge from a succession of tongue-tied opposition leaders labouring under the handicap of varying levels of ineptitude.

    He does crystalise for the Left much that is hated among his supporters. He is also accused of playing a major part in the furthering of that complacent, self-absorption that has moved the country further and further from qualities held dear on the Left. It is precisely because many on this side of politics are not wedded to dialectic materialism, seeking rather a more inclusive society with fewer extremes of wealth and privilege, that resentment is directed to individuals rather than wider classes or social movements.

    It is also true that to the socialist purist, social forces should be approached with a more socio-mathematical analysis which minimises the impact of individuals. However, while not creating the forces which allow social transformation, one formative influence can make a difference out of proportion to their ostensible importance. Donald Trump might be one, I would argue that John Key is another, given that it is often observed that the National government’s survival has been underpinned by his popularity among the wealthy and aspiring, seeking permission for behaviour which in another age might have been characterized as selfishness.

    The widespread focus on the individual, on the other hand, does not deny the growth of tribal selfishness. But it does, in my view, pinpoint one stress point which, when discredited and removed, could initiate a repositioning towards a more positive orientation.

  12. ” That the New Zealand-related documents contained in the Panama Papers might be interpreted as the legal firm at the centre of the controversy, Mossack Fonseca’s, back-handed tribute to this country’s reputation for honesty and fair-dealing does not appear to have occurred to the implacable prosecutors of the Left. ” I think Chris here has 100% totally lost the plot. He’s revealed himself in his real role as a gatekeeper justifying the current order and defanging the opposition. It pays for him!

    “implacable prosecutors of the Left.” This is rubbish! He has ttotally discredited himself here end of story.

  13. “The Left” is no longer what it once was, in the romantic days of workers unite calls when Chris was young and lived in a different New Zealand.

    The “progressives” that make up our present day political “left” may be educated teachers, social workers, medics, nurses, the odd unionist or former one, environmentally concerned, are often urban, comparatively well educated professionals, students and so forth.

    Only some come from traditional workers background, which has many reasons, partly this is that traditional blue collar work has vanished from much of New Zealand society, with manufacturing now done in factories, labs and workshops in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangla Desh, perhaps still some in Korea, Japan and Mexico, but who still “makes” things in New Zealand, apart from perhaps higher tech niche products?

    Yes, the unions still play a role within Labour, but less so within the Greens, and the few progressives that also run businesses, they may rather be lawyers, accountants and only in some cases ordinary business operators.

    Service workers are largely non unionised, are disaffected, uninterested, they are busy surviving, in perhaps only part time, casual work, perhaps doing one, two three such jobs.

    Others have become self employed, tradespeople, courier and truck and taxi drivers, and so forth. Then there are small to medium size business workers, office workers fearing the day new accountancy and other software will make their jobs obsolete.

    The ones that control society are the business persons, their lobby and interest groups, and they hold the tight grip on the money that goes around, in wages, salaries paid, and what products and services are sold. They make profit and have an interest to make more of it than before, and than competitors may do.

    But they know the business rules, law, the trust laws the tricks how to beat the taxman and so forth.

    That is the disunited, divided society we have, and state services outsourcing, asset sales, privatisation has aggravated the situation, now nobody trusts anybody else, and many hope to also strike it lucky, hence gambling and opportunitism is in so many people’s mind.

    So it is true, that many may rather admire the teflon bandit leading our nation, as they may dream to also be so “smart” and thrifty.

    And as long as the progressives are made up of those that have not the same fighting spirit, one not for selfish goals and ideals, but for a better society, as the business ones have for their greed and hunger for power, we will not win, I fear.

    As long as people dream and rather rush home to escape into cyberspace and watching Netflix and silly shows on TV, and not inform themselves, not wake up, not take a stand and take part in elections, I fear we will continue to fight an uphill battle.

    The left needs a fighter, who knows the enemy, and who is absolutely determined to take Key and the lot behind him on and to the cleaners, and by doing so also inspire enough in society to turn the tide of the money changers, the dealers and rakers, and drive them out of government, like one Messiah once did with them out of an ancient temple.

    That is the day we are waiting for, that leader with teeth, with hunger, with brain, with fire in the belly, an inspirational, fair, just fighter for a sharing and more caring society, where people realise and accept again, only united will we manage and survive in a better world.

  14. ” the Left’s real problem isn’t with Key at all – but with the democratic process itself. ”
    let’s take a look at this statement for a moment.

    Hager has his property raped and pillaged to try and find a Rawhank connection( and they find nothing, Slater has name suppression( for a while) and gains diversion for being found guilty of soliciting a hack and gets to work with Kidscam.

    Key’s high standard friends( Slater) are the issue.

    God damn right the real problem is with democracy!

    • Exactly. Which party/regime has shelved the findings & recommendations of the Royal Commission on MMP? Recommendations that would make our voting system more democratic.

      Don’t forget that the combined party vote of National/Maori/ACT/United Future was 49.27% – a minority.

      Through the vagaries of MMP that need to be cleaned up (aka the democratic process) that turned into 64 seats out of 121 – a majority of 52.9%.

      Do I have a problem with the democratic process? Yes, I do and you should too.

  15. “Comrade” I find this article both insulting and victim blaming.
    The problem is that we have a leader who is capable of great cunning and lying while representing the interests of the top 1%. He is a master at it. Aided and abetted by a compliant media John Key’s actions which enable the wealthy and privileged are well known by you and too numerous to begin to document in this comments section. So I ask myself “what is a reasonable emotional reaction to this? Mild annoyance? a bit of anger? a passing dose of frustration???? REally? No I think hatred is a reasonable response to John Key and that his enablement of the wealthy at the expense of the poor goes virtually unchallenged. So of course I want to bring down John Key, because I believe that is the card in the house of cards that will bring the whole National Govt tumbling down. IT IS DISAPPOINTING YOU CRITICIZE US CHRIS FOR OUR HATRED AND IMPLY WE ARE JEALOUS WE GAIN NOT GAIN THIS POPULARITY. I am not in this cause I think I will personally benefit from the downfall of Key. I have a comfortable life. I am in it because I feel a moral and ethical duty to make NZ (and the world) the fairest and most ethical place it can be. I could turn my back on all this easily and enjoy my nice life. But I won’t because I believe in fairness and justice. It would be nice to have some support from someone like yourself Chris who claims to be left wing.

    • “No different from the political right’s fixation withHelen when she was in power.”

      Except that Helen Clark was nowhere as dishonest or manipulative as Key.

      • PRISS, You are correct in this.

        Key is toxic and was throw-out today as he wants to control every opposition member of Parliament now.

        He is out of control!!!

    • HS, how come when you National Party toadies want to justify National’s bad behaviour and Key’s lies, you always finger point at Labour? Don’t you guys believe in taking responsibility for your own actions???

  16. Chris your can play with ideas and angles but they are hardly encompassing the situation. There is a much bigger picture.

    Dealing with that would be more relevant.

  17. focus Chris, there is a lot more to this investigation than dear leader of the aspirational kiwis– “Jong Wan Kee”

    did you consider that perhaps the illegal raid on Nicky Hager’s computers may have been the plods acting as proxy for the security services–to delve into what he was doing with the ICIJ?

    NZ being confirmed as a tax haven is a pretty big story really when you slot it into the whole corrupt international spongers club of Trusts

  18. This is my second attempt to comment in response to this post, so hopefully this works!!

    “Comrade” Chris. I am afraid to say I think this point of view is indulging in some (left) victim blaming. The trouble with us is we are obsessed with hating JK and bringing him down and that we are failing to see that JK is one tiny little individual all of whom influence and shape each other. And that it is because we can’t ganner the popular support he does that we have become obsessed with bringing him down.

    Your analysis is in my opinion incorrect. Its fair to say I hate JK. But I ask myself “what would be a reasonable emotional response to a serial liar, who likes to represent the interests of the wealthy and privileged at the expense of all others. Who is extremely good at lying and appears to have no conscience about doing so and is enabled in continuing to get away with it by an compliant, sycophantic, dumb down media. Would a little be of frustration, or perhaps some very moderate annoyance be a reasonable response????? Maybe some disappointment? NO NO NO. It is an appropriate response to be angry and feel hate for this man. Hatred and abhorrence has been the driver of many of the most significant fights for social justice.

    I don’t see it as failure that the left haven’t drawn the popularity that Key has. If this is a failure it is a failure of the media to provide a level playing field in terms of informing the public what’s really going on. It is disappointing when a left wing commentator writes this article above which is a variation of “its the lefts fault”.

  19. This is my second attempt to comment in response to this post, so hopefully this works!!

    “Comrade” Chris. I am afraid to say I think your article is indulging in some (left) victim blaming. The trouble with us is we are obsessed with hating JK and bringing him down and that we are failing to see that JK is one tiny little individual all of whom influence and shape each other. And that it is because we can’t ganner the popular support he does that we have become obsessed with bringing him down.

    Your analysis is in my opinion incorrect. Its fair to say I hate JK. But I ask myself “what would be a reasonable emotional response to a serial liar, who likes to represent the interests of the wealthy and privileged at the expense of all others. Who is extremely good at lying and appears to have no conscience about doing so and is enabled in continuing to get away with it by an compliant, sycophantic, dumb down media?” Would a little bit of frustration, or perhaps some very moderate annoyance be a reasonable response????? Maybe deciding I not sure I like that Mr Key? NO NO NO. It is an appropriate response to be angry and feel hate for this man. Hatred and abhorrence has been the driver of many of the most significant fights for social justice.

    I don’t see it as failure that the left haven’t drawn the popularity that Key has. If this is a failure it is a failure of the media to provide a level playing field in terms of informing the public what’s really going on. It is disappointing when a left wing commentator writes this article above which is a variation of “its the lefts fault”. Sometimes it would be much easier to turn my back on what’s happening, because my life is good (and contrary to what you are saying I personally am not obsessed with JK). But I would dream of turning my back. I couldn’t life with myself if I ignored what is going on.

  20. I agree that the left are obsessed with Key and do not realise the opportunities he has offered us.

    Key is a moderate – consider him in relation to their last leader, Don Brash. Compare Key’s term with the changes inflicted by the last National term 1990-1999.

    Key has shifted National to the left. Sure, he has slowly moved them to the right since taking power, but he more or less continued Clark’s version of neoliberalism for the first few years. Key is to National what Tony Blair was to Labour parties around the world.

    Labour’s answer to Key must be to shift sharply to the left. Then Key would move to left to situate himself in the middle. Then the left can make major gains when he goes.

    Ignore Key. Laugh at him and focus on demanding Labour solve the crisis faced by the left. As long as Labour chases the middle, Key remains effective.

    If Labour needs a stategist I’ll do it for free. I’ve got two hours free on Thursday. That’s all it will take. FFS.

    • FATTY, I got an email from Labour not long ago, asking for donations. Of course it is ok for them to ask for that, but one such was explained with them planning to bring in a new computer system, which would cost a bit.

      It is sadly my impression they put so much of their faith in a new IT system, thinking they simply only need to use more social media, send out more emails and appeals, also for new membership, and this will solve their problems.

      Maybe it will help them, but I have the impression, they somehow think this is all that is needed, as I cannot detect all that much else they do, particularly to try and interest the many that no longer bother to vote, the missing million.

      The obsession with “the centre” means, they will chase the same selfish middle class, home owning voters as the Nats, and leave other groups by the wayside.

      Political change can happen without having all that much votes in the centre, by appealing to wider audiences and voters, and by activating many that for years have lost all interest and hope, and are a reservouir that lies there, and should be tapped.

      When will they get it, that they cannot simply rely on “centrist” voters, who will only give Labour the vote, if they become more like Nats, catering for the home owners, the professionals, the contractors, self employed and otherwise not too badly off.

      The shift to the centre is for Labour a shift to the right, which alienates all those that would expect Labour to stand for what it used to stand for. So Labour is getting nowhere, while Greens and NZ First get moderate gains, and Nats remain the strongest party.

      I despair.

  21. Chris,

    Key is a middle ranked Bilderberg group member and was sent here to do his job by the Bilderberg Group whom he belongs!

    See his attendance here when he attended as John Key Prime Minister of NZ???

    http://twochurchesonly.com/supmat/03/most_influential/bilderberg_group/list_of_bilderberg_attendees.pdf

    When he has completed it for Bilderberg he will be gone, and not care about us all even his “fans/admirers” sorry mate watch this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBypAFQ3ZCk

    • Indeed.

      The western world has been under the control of a largely-unseen oligarchy of Rothschild bankers and their associates for well over 100 years. Parliaments, senates congresses etc. are just a puppet shows, put on by the scumbags at the top to provide a pretence of democracy whilst all the major decisions are made by unelected sociopaths elsewhere.

      The international bankers and their associates in the armaments, mining and energy sectors decide what interest rates will be, what the price of energy will be, which countries will be invaded to bring about ‘regime change’, which countries will do the invading etc. It’s all manipulation and lies -usually carried out under the banners of ‘freedom and democracy’ and ‘sustainable development’.

      John Key has been on a mission since taking office: to extract more NZ wealth and dispatch it overseas in ways that cannot be easily seen; to oversee the sale of land into overseas ownership; to tie NZ into ‘trade deals’ that weaken local control of society and ensure greater control and greater profitability for overseas banks and corporations.

      The more John Key is able to orchestrate looting and polluting via deception, the happier his overseas associates are, and the more he will be rewarded.

      And, as you say, when he has completed his mission or outlived his usefulness, he will be gone -probably offered a position as an ambassador or a position at the United Nations (which is just another corrupt institution controlled by the international bankers).

      It will, of course, be the environmental collapse -the natural consequence of gross overpopulation and gross overconsumption- that will bring the system to an end. And as everything does collapse, the international bankers will seeks ways to profit in the short term from the collapse.

      Yet another shockingly high atmospheric CO2 figure, up 4.31 ppm year on year:

      Daily CO2 May 9, 2016: 407.66 ppm; May 9, 2015: 403.35 ppm

      • Speaking of which, did you notice who Ken Whitney has been padding around with?

        “Whitney was a director of the Rothschild Trust (NZ) Limited, which was the owner and the director of two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Capewood Investments and Exchange Securities, that had Mossack Fonseca as their agent, RNZ reported”

        Ran this by a friend who follows such things; this ‘Rothschild Trust’ isn’t just some tory dork big noting & naming his trust after the biggest of banker oligarchs to sound financially formidable, it’s really them. FJK’s trust is in the hands of the guy who has done this stuff for the NZ operations of the House of Rothschild. We know that FJK has also been involved with the Federal Reserve. How many toes must he dip in the same pool before it becomes clear to anyone that he’s in the same pool?

        http://i.stuff.co.nz/business/79801529/Panama-Papers-Keys-former-lawyer-has-further-Mossack-Fonseca-links

        • JK is also part of the Bilderberg Group he has come along way since his childhood in a State House in Burnside, Christchurch, he has certainly climbed some mountains.

  22. This has got to be the biggest load of sanctimonious crap I have read in a long time and it shows up the negative influences of hanging around the Media Works troika of Henry ,Garner and Gower.
    So to ‘get Key’ ‘The Left’ ‘found’ a whistleblower from a foreign trust organisation hoping to find something on him and bring him down so as to satiate their obsession.
    Wow! . That is the conspiracy theory to top all conspiracy theories.
    Just like Henry , Gower and Garner, this has either all gone straight over their heads or they are being wilfully ignorant.
    Either way it’s not a good look and is totally disrespectful of all the journalists who have put in extremely long hours to highlight the plight of the citizens of less fortunate countries.
    These countries, quite often 3rd World, are consistently underfunded in health and education due to wealthy crooks using places like N.Z as some kind of financial bordello .
    If anyone is obsessed, it’s the man in the mirror, who cannot get past his obsession.
    Henry , Gower, Garner, Hyde ….if you lie down with dogs you not only get up with fleas , but you end up losing credibility.

  23. Chris does his usual rant and uses a hell of a lot of words to defend John Key’s government…Chris pretends to be a thinker when in fact he does little more than defend the indefensible lack of honest behaviour by our so-called PM and his lap dogs. In many respects Chris is one of them, a willing visiable excuse maker who barks at every dog whistle…

    it would be hard to find a more neoliberal mouth for the status quo than dear old Chris…but what more can one expect from one who has given up the fight for equality, justice and community balance. He simply loves reading his own words… he should be ignored by all.

  24. I’m wondering what value you really add Chris, you never really seem to have much constructive to say other than to criticize others on the left, kind of what you keep accusing the likes of Labour for.
    Every article you write now just seems to be making excuses for key, think I might just not bother reading them anymore, it’s always the just the same theme every time they all just merge into one.
    Something new would be nice, other than just the same tired criticism of others on the left.

  25. The author of “Gareth Vaughan argues PM John Key is failing in his role as promoter and custodian of NZ’s international standing and reputation over the Panama Papers”

    Thinks Chris Trotter’s take on NZ being a tax haven is interesting.

    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/81471/gareth-vaughan-argues-pm-john-key-failing-his-role-promoter-and-custodian-nzs#comment-857996

    An interesting take on the left’s obsession with John Key, and trusts, from Chris Trotter here http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2016/05/the-number-of-beast-new-zealand-lefts.html

    I explained to Gareth the role which Chris Trotter plays for MSM and the current administration in reply on interest.co.nz

    Gareth Chris Trotter has become an apologist for this administration.

    “He is used by MSM when they want to trot out a left wing view that will not scare the horses.

    Chris Trotter’s personal view of the tax haven issue is not that this will damage NZ’s reputation because it shows NZ as lacking in morals. Which is pretty much the point every leftie makes (and many from the right too as apolitical Ron Pol points out). No Chris Trotter’s view of NZ being a tax haven is ‘meh’.

    See for yourself here. http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/panama-papers-reveal-not-a-critical-bl…”

  26. Chris why can you not accurately represent what our political representatives on the left are actually saying? Even the NZ Herald does a better job than you!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11636896

    “Mr Little, who said Mr Key was not addressing the primary issue of New Zealand allowing foreigners to stash their money in New Zealand to avoid taxes in their homeland.”

    “This is typical John Key, minimising, trivialising. The National Party will be desperate to shut this down, minimise it, trivialise it. It is not good that we have just under 11,000 foreign trusts and we are part of a small group of countries that helps the mega-wealthy avoid tax responsibilities in their own countries. That’s just not something New Zealand should be doing.”

  27. The problem is with Tax Havens they are used by the likes of the Nazis, the IRA, Drug Barrons, International Fraudsters, Terrorist Organisations and Politicans present and past to salt away their ill gotten gains which will be used at later dates for whatever purposes. ie financing the overthrow of political regimes or terrorist activities or just spending on themselves.

  28. We are not living in a democracy here in NZ at present we are living in a Fascist State with JK as our Supreme Leader, after all he is the chosen one by the Bilderberg Group and the Jewish Brotherhood in New York.

  29. We are not living in a democracy here in NZ at present we are living in a Fascist State with JK as our Supreme Leader, after all he is the chosen one by the Bilderberg Group and the Jewish Brotherhood in New York.

  30. If you have a trust, you will feel uncomfortable with exposure, and if you don’t you will feel uncomfortable because “it doesnt feel right”. Noone is happy at present.
    Certainly, identifying the source of the money is essential. Any money in any account including trusts, needs to be transparent – not who owns them, but why. We have been naive in the extreme and we have been used because if this but as we all know, ignorance is no excuse.

  31. Mr Trotter, much respect have I for your writings.

    On this issue, however, I beg to differ with your assessments on how the Left views Key.

    Just as the Left focused on Muldoon in the 70s and 80s, Key is rightly the focus of our attention because he IS the face of the National Party.

  32. “Long in the tooth,
    long in the tooth,
    Not afraid of dying,
    But terrified of youth,
    You’d trade all that rebellion
    for a pocketful of couth.
    You’re getting really long in the tooth”

    Les Claypool

    • I remember Chris Trotter at university, playing his guitar and singing Woody Guthry songs. Some how he still tried to run student politics whilst he sat across the road in the UBS. He told that me that he gave up on those communist parties when they wouldn’t have him as a member, or was it leader. Ultra leftist was the new flag.

      Was Sir Ron Trotter his uncle? That one was never cleared up. That may have just been rumour. I mean Mike Laws and Chris Trotter were contemporaries challenging to manipulate the student cadre. Workers and Students of Dunedin unite.

      Any way, my reading of Mr Trotter’s position is that a sort of middle-age dispepsia colours his writings. Regrets of failing to reach the heights he believed he was capable of tempered by the desire to retain his Auckland property.

      Is he a still worthwhile reading? The answer used to be yes. But now there are too many question marks to make that an automatic response. Now it’s at best a maybe.

      • Thanks GRISTLE. That third paragraph pretty much sums it up.

        These so called spokesmen for the people who have drifted so far from their original direction are a problem.

        They fail to see that the reason they are now getting the attention that they always craved is that they are spouting exactly what the other side wants to hear.

        Williams, Pagani, and some closer to home, are all there on the political TV shows spreading centre-right views while telling everyone that they represent the left.

  33. Funny enough Chris, I get the feeling Key keeps winning to his detriment.

    Each and ever time he wins, the movement of people towards us on the anti-authoritarian wing of the left keeps growing.

    A group of us who know the system is warped beyond redemption, who see that the game of politics itself – is the problem. And have remembered that it’s not the only game in town.

    We don’t have to put up with this, so we don’t. We don’t have to accept neo-liberalism, so we don’t.

    But sure, play the game.
    With a deck is that is stacked.
    Or with dice that are loaded.

    Anyone who thinks the elites will let you vote away their rights and privileges, is deeply deluded.

  34. The causes and minutiae of political views notwithstanding, all that is needed to upset the Teflon John is an attractive leader with the ability to paint the big picture and think on his or her feet.

    The idea that John Key is doing any more than taking advantage of a situation that was ripe for an easy-going, smiling, incremental neo-liberal enabling assassin, whose main attributes were that he wasn’t a woman and that he refrained from scaring the horses, is to give him way too much credit.

    That night long ago that he went out for off-the-record drinks with Paddy Gower and Guyon Espinar the die was cast. It is simply the Left’s inability to find a suitably appealing leader among their diminished ranks which has led to an increasingly complex, introspective depression.

    I’m prepared to bet that while the forces of history will roll ever on, and the punditocracy will never run out of social forces and straw-man theories, a Justin Trudeau would likely be already back in power.

    Any takers?

  35. The Panamanian Monk is squirming a bit at the moment, however I am sure he will weasel his way out of the mire again ?

  36. Nick: “I’m prepared to bet that while the forces of history will roll ever on, and the punditocracy will never run out of social forces and straw-man theories, a Justin Trudeau would likely be already back in power.”

    Bollocks. You haven’t been around for long enough if you think that. It isn’t the way politics here works. We ain’t North America: witness the incumbent.

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