Home > The Body Politic > It’s official: the media honeymoon is over.

It’s official: the media honeymoon is over.

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John Key’s use of Police to seize all material relating to the “Teapot Tapes” and associated media material is not only a substantial waste of police time and taxpayers’ money – it is verging on authoritarianism and abuse of state power,

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It should be abundantly clear by now that the Prime Minister’s statement that he is “comfortable” with the contents of the “Teapot Tapes” is abolute b******t.  He is far from “comfortable” – he seems to be in full-blown panic-mode, as evidenced by his walking out on his own press conference, yesterday,

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Since I’ve been interested in New Zealand politics, I cannot recall a Prime Minister having lost control of his own press conference and walking out.  As political commentators, journos, and other political figures have noted, Key has lost control of this matter.

Now for police to be searching and seizing all material related to the “Teapot Tapes”, is incredible. The Prime Minister is now using the full power of the State police apparatus to attempt to close down this issue by force.

It is unprecedented.

Key’s response to accusations that he is wasting precious police resources,  is that  National had lowered the crime rate across the country so police had a little bit of spare time and this was an important issue.

“…so police had a little bit of spare time…”

He makes it sound so innocuous. Nothing important to see here, folks, move along.

Key’s attempt to lighten the matter and make it into a trivial non-event is simply not going to work this time. The hole that the Prime Minister finds himself in is getting bigger – because he won’t stop digging.

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John Key could have closed down this entire problem if he had released the tapes immediatly, on the Monday following the Epsom “cuppa tea” meeting with Banks. An added “mea culpa” and one of his famous boyish grins – and he probably would’ve actually added another 50,000 votes to his Party’s polling.

The public, with their short-term political memory would’ve forgotten the whole incident after the first ad-break and Winston Peters would not be on a testosterone-laden, political jihad, to return to Parliament. Peters has the “oxygen” he needed to fire his ailing political campaign, and will probably crack the 5% threshold.

For John Key, this is his “paintergate” – and like Helen Clark, it is damaging his credibility with the public and damaging the cosy-relationship he had with the public.  It’s official, folks, the media-National honeymoon ended on Monday morning.

And I suspect that if Key persists in using Police powers to subdue this issue, then we’ll be seeing the “honeymoon” head straight to divorce.

The media do not like to be bullied. And more precisely, they cannot afford to let politicians dictate the media agenda. That road leads to unknown territory of authoritarianism.

Radio New Zealand’s Don Rood,  is right not to hand over material to the police,

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For John Key, I suspect this issue will hold negative consequences for National. I would not be surprised if the next poll has his Party sub-50%, and perhaps mid-40s.

With ACT failing at the polls in Epsom, it appears that Brash and Banks are dog-tucker.

Ditto for Peter Dunne, as his slim 1,006 vote majority may not be sufficient to return him to Parliament.

Which leaves a Labour-Green-? coalition waiting in the wings. A common maxim is that Oppositions do not win elections – governments lose them.

That was a very expensive cuppa tea in Epsom.

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+++ Updates +++

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News of this farce has reached overseas. Not a “good look”,

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Meanwhile, Police Association President, Greg O’Connor seems a bit bemused at Key’s remark that “police had a little bit of spare time” as a rationale for laying what could rightly be seen as  a pointless exercise that was more about political point-scoring, than actual any alleged wrong-doing,

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And even the international community is starting to notice and look askance at the Prime Minister’s actions,

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So to re-cap, John Key has managed to alienate and upset the following sectors in society and the international community,

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Not bad running for a week’s work…

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