Home > Media, The Body Politic > Key on Q+A – Verdict?

Key on Q+A – Verdict?



Today was not a good day for Dear Leader…

John Key was interviewed on TVNZ’s Q+A, by Shane Taurima. Key was obviously not the happy-go-lucky, supremely confident person  he had been these last few years.

In fact, Dear Leader appeared unhappy. Even imperceptibly rattled on occassion. As if he had things on his mind…


Full Story


During the interview, Shane Taurima touched on relevant issues that had been plaguing National in the last week. As Taurima’s probing into current issues progressed on;

  • The ACC/Browyn Fuller/Nick Smith scandal
  • Questioning whether John Keywas involved in Bronwyn Pullar’s “support team” in her letter to Sovereign Insurance?
  • Nick Smith’s resignation
  • Judith Collins defamation proceedings against two Labour MPs and Radio NZ – and who would pay for it
  • Factional infighting within National
  • A torrent of leaks from within National
  • Murray McCully’s mis-handling over restructuring of MFAT, and the backlash from diplomats…

And then – albeit belatedly – Key engaged the political equivalent of a Deflector Shield, and casually made reference to the following,

JOHN Thats the criticism of his political opponents, but actually thats not correct. I mean, the Chief Executive has set the direction that he wants to take the ministry. Of course, the minister as the purchasing agent, if you like, makes it clear the sorts of things he wants. Yes, John Allens set out an aggressive agenda of potential change, and not all of its going to be accepted. Youve had the Heads of Mission now coming back to New Zealand to sit down and talk to the Chief Executive. But in the end, that organisation is going to change. Im sure therell be some things thatll be rejected and some thatll be accepted. MFAT people themselves tell me regularly that there needs to be change, and we need to basically save money. Now, were gonna have a budget thats coming up in May. Last years budget was a zero budget. What Id say to NZers tonight is that there is every probability that this years budget in 2012 will either be zero or very close to a zero budget, and thats because the governments absolutely committed to going back into surplus by 2014/2015.


Taurima took the bait, and his next question was no longer about embarressments to the National Party. Key had re-written the interview agenda,

SHANE So, let us confirm that, cos thats a fairly significant announcement. Youre saying that there will be no or very little new spending. A zero budget this year.

Well played, Dear Leader! Though a tad too late. The interview was already mostly over, with only four minor questions left for Taurima to ask, including,

SHANE You mentioned a future prime minister, and I do want to put this question to you, about you seeing out the rest of this term.

Which was a fairly gormless question to ask. I doubt very much if, only four months into National’s second term, Key would answer anything except with the “Yeah”  he uttered twice.

By the end of the interview, one could not escape the conclusion that Key’s veneer of teflon-coating and born-to-rule  confidence had worn away. He was defensive throughout, and on the backfoot having to explain away the actions of not one; not two; but three Ministers.

From here on in, it’s all down hill, Dear Leader…


* * *


Related Blogpost

Bugger the polls?

Other Blogs

The Standard: Nat Civil War – Key backs Boag over Collins


Watch full interview here

Read full transcript here



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  1. 6 April 2012 at 1:09 pm

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