John Key – we will not be held to ransom!





When news of the kidnapping of Australians and a New Zealand citizen in Nigeria hit our headlines, our esteemed Dear Leader’s response was unequivocal;


John Key - NZ won't pay ransom for Kiwi kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria


Key was adamant;

TDB Recommends

“Our very strong policy is not to pay a ransom and our reason for that is we think if we paid a ransom, we’d potentially put a bounty on any New Zealander’s head who travels to a dangerous part of the world, and it potentially makes the situation worse.”

Our Leader was not for turning. Key does not cave in to pressures.

Or, so it seems…

In October 2010, the country was “rocked” with news that that  the Hobbit movies would be “taken away” from New Zealand;

Jackson’s company, Wingnut Films, said in a statement that Warners representatives were coming to New Zealand next week “to make arrangements to move the production offshore” because “they are now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their investment.”

A week after Peter Jackson’s dire warnings of impending Mordor-like doom, Dear Leader Key intervened and rode like a Ranger to the rescue (in a BMW limousine, not a stallion);


Key comes through $34m deal sees Hobbit stay in NZ - NBR - Peter Jackson - Warner Bros


Even the Warner Bros movie execs had  stallions limos provided (at taxpayers’ expense, yet again) when they came-a-visitin’ to New Zealand to collect their $34 million bucks;




Along with $34 million of taxpayer’s money paid over to Warner Bros, the National government passed legislation changing the status of Jackson’s workers from employees, to “contractors”. This lessened the working-conditions of people working throughout New Zealand’s movie industry.

The employment law changes passed through Parliament within forty eight hours – a feat unheard of in New Zealand’s political process. Unions, workers, and the public had no say in the matter.

As Key said at the time,

“It was a commercial reality that without this [law] change, these movies would not be made in New Zealand.”

So the sovereignty of New Zealand’s Parliament was not ransomed by Warner Bros to gain $34 million plus a change in our labour laws?

Note: On 21 December 2010, two months after Jackson declared that there was an imminent threat to losing The Hobbit to another country, he conceded that no such “threat” existed;


Peter Jackson Actors no threat to Hobbit - Warner Bros


Three years later, Rio Tinto threatened to close it’s Tiwai Point aluminium smelter if it’s demands were not met;

Mining giant Rio Tinto has rejected the Government’s offer of a short-term subsidy to continue running the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

Instead, it has gone back into negotiations with electricity supplier Meridian to try and get a better deal.

If no deal is made, Prime Minister John Key says the smelter, 79 percent owned by Rio Tinto and 21 percent owned by Japanese company Sumitomo, could be shut down in about five years.

In February 2014, National conceded to Rio Tinto’s demands that it’s electricity subsidies be increased. A further ‘sweetener’ of $30 million of taxpayer’s money was paid over to the smelting multi-national;




As Key said at the time;

“If Tiwai Point had closed straight away then hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of jobs would have disappeared and the Greens would have said the Government doesn’t care about those workers and is turning their back on them so they really can’t have it both ways.”

This was echoed by Finance Minister, Bill English;

“The $30m was a ‘one-off incentive payment’ to help secure agreement on the revised contract because of the importance of the smelter to the stability of the New Zealand electricity market.”

So the jobs of eight hundred jobs in Southland were not ransomed by Rio Tinto to gain $30 million plus cheaper electricity rates?

John Key says his government will not pay ransom to extortionists?

His track record proves otherwise.





Fairfax media:  John Key – NZ won’t pay ransom for Kiwi kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

Hitfix:   ‘Hobbit’ Crisis – Peter Jackson warns film could leave New Zealand

NZ Herald: PM defends $30m payout to Rio Tinto

Fairfax media:  Govt pays $30 million to Tiwai Pt

Previous related blogposts

The real reason for the GCSB Bill

Muppets, Hobbits, and Scab ‘Unions’

And the Oscar for Union-Smashing and Manipulating Public Opinion goes to…

Peter Jackson’s “Precious”

The Mendacities of Mr Key #9: The Sky’s the limit with taxpayer subsidies!

The cupboard is bare, says Dear Leader

Government Minister sees history repeat – responsible for death

The Mendacities of Mr Key # 16: No one deserves a free tertiary education (except my mates and me)

The Corporate Welfare of Tiwai Point – An exercise in National’s “prudent fiscal management”?




KickingThe HobbitRGB



= fs =


  1. absolutely, one of your best there frank.

    You have cemented John Key as a wheeler dealer whiling engaging his mouth to lie and twist the truth all at the same time.
    He is absolutely despicable and without any loyalty and commitment to the very people he is paid to serve including those now locked out of their homes and living out in the cold or in an old car!!

    He should be honourable as David Cameron was and resign immediately as the world needs truthful compassionate leaders not a liar like this.

  2. What must be factored into anything John Key says is Focus Groups, either awaiting results as in this case or the other extreme of knowing the result and then constructing a misleading game plan to fool the trusting public for worse later on (Iraq deployment knowing the public would not support an elastic open-ended deal).

    The clumsy poll driven way National rule might be a vote winner at the moment but increasingly the lack of nous Key has very much supports his “empty suit” label and is none to good long term for this country or politics in general.

  3. What is the point of being Prime Minister of NZ if you cannot be a total hypocrite and liar, steal stuff, and set up deals for yourself and your mates with near-total impunity?

      • Yes, actually, David, we could well do with a little more in-depth explanation of your claim. My analysis is that Key pays no ransom to common, poor Nigerians, but seems to pay out willingly to big corporates. Because the corporates threaten to hurt Key’s friends financially, but the Nigerians can threaten only a cheap life.
        Easy to be brave with the Nigerians, huh?

        • Sometimes, short and succinct replies are the best. I could go on and say the hostage situation where violence is used is not equivalent to policies designed to attract income from overseas. Rio Tinto subsidies are wrong and unfortunately an example of pork-barrel politics. Thank goodness the government told Rio-tinto to get lost after 30 years of corporate welfare. Interest-free loans, Super-Gold cards are similar examples of policies designed to curry favour with a group but is not in the interests of the country. But it’s democracy like Brexit.

          To make tenuous and tangential associations to the Nigerian hostages situation is absurd. No sane person would make that link. What next, Somali pirates are legitimate taxation officers?

          Your visceral hatred of JK is making you lose all reason. Calm down man. You are becoming an encourageable delinquent at times.
          Eat a Kit-Kat (sorry i am in the pocket of the evil Nestle)

          • I would have thought that to deny the comparison between the treatment of companies claiming hard times getting financial handouts while people needing help are rejected was absurd. Since JK lost all reason years ago it must follow that those of you who support him have lost your mind also.

          • David, it’s not “false equivalence” at all. Frank showed that Key bowed to pressure from Warner Bros and Rio Tinto. Do you disprove the evidence?

  4. integrity
    the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

    It’s a shame he doesn’t apply the same principles of the ideologies he holds to neo-liberalISM, and free-marketISM, and US exceptionalISM, and capitalISM, (etc.) to democratISM and citizenISM and humanISM and compassionISM (going forward).
    I’m waiting for muppetISM to take hold as an idea

  6. They guys got no backbone at all when it comes to negotiating deals for the good of New Zealand, but then again, his heart is on the other side of the table anyway.

  7. Maybe our beloved leader should follow the example of the good people doing business/extracting wealth in Africa and invest in some ‘Ransom’ insurance??
    Speaking of mining companies…where is the coverage of the Peruvian mining protests??

  8. remember thinking the same Frank as these events unfolded, felt for Robyn Malcolm when she came out in support of the actors union only to be stomped on by Peter Jackson’s supporters, JK and his ilk could not be more out of touch with ordinary NZers if they lived in another galaxy

  9. John Key says his government will not pay ransom to extortionists?

    His track record proves otherwise.

    It’s obvious. Big Business can demand anything that they want this government will give it to them

    And I betcha if it was a National MP that was being held they cough up quick smart as well.

    But they’d never do anything for workers.

      • Key is a ruthless uncompassionate mobster be sure of this.

        Key cares less about the aged than he does his shoes.

        He cares less about all those he has thrown out of their homes as tenants now that live and will prematurely die of exposure in no warm place to comfort them be it under a over bridge or park bench or a damp concrete pad outside an urban shop front or if lucky in a car.

        No Key uses us all only as a commodity for financial gain and nothing else!

        Gone is Key = Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  10. Really? National doesn’t pay ransoms, but it does pay blackmail money. There isn’t much difference is there Andrew/I’m Right/David……(insert any other Cameron Slater alias)?
    National paid 67 million dollars to Warner Brothers and 2.6 million dollars to a Saudi businessman.
    Oh sorry, I forgot, these were “investments in New Zealand’s future”.
    Key and National are up to their eyeballs in dirt and Key want’s to claim he’s Mr Squeaky Clean!
    What a lot of f…..n garbage!

  11. integrity
    noun: integrity

    the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Comments are closed.