Home > The Body Politic > Fairfax; An hour with Dear Leader

Fairfax; An hour with Dear Leader


“Ask me a question. Anything. Go on, ask me. I’ll answer it all.”


Social media was abuzz; Dear Leader (we assume it was JK, and not one of his Party apparatchiks) was to “appear” on LiveChat on Stuff.co.nz – Fairfax’s website. The previous day, the public were encourage to send through questions, that would be put to Key.

See:  Live chat with Prime Minister John Key

See:  Live chat  Prime Minister John Key

As promised, the LiveChat with someone purporting to be the Prime Minister went ahead,

11:28 Moderator:
Good morning. Our live chat with Prime Minister John Key gets underway at midday. Tune in then!
Tuesday June 12, 2012

12:00 Moderator:
We’re here live at the prime minister’s office. Thank you for joining us

12:01 John Key:
thanks, great to be here. Looking forward to your questions.

12:01 Moderator:
Sam asks: If you are elected for a third term as Prime Minister, assuming your colleagues continue to have confidence in you, will you stay the full term? Who do you see as your successor?

12:02  John Key:
In terms of the latter, that would be a matter for the Caucus and it would be far too early to predict that.  On the former, that would be my likely expectation.

The next question sounded like one of those patsy questions that backbencher MPs and Coalition partners ask Ministers,

12:02 Moderator:
Newton asks:
Given your big picture view of the NZ economy. Which three industry sectors do you think have the strongest growth potential for NZ over the next 15-20 years?

12:03 John Key:
Anything related to food, particularly as we move up the value curve. What is quite clear is that Asia is likely to be a very significant buyer of food related products from NZ as they become wealthier over the next few years…

Commentary: A suitable follow-up question to Key’s comment would have been, if  “Asia is likely to be a very significant buyer of food related products from NZ as they become wealthier over the next few years” – why are we permitting foreign investors from China, Australia, US, Germany, etc, to buy up farmland – thereby losing profits from food exports to overseas investors? How does that help us  earn revenue?

But that question was never asked, and “more important issues” were canvassed instead.

Prepare to laugh (or weep).

12:04  John Key:
I’m very optimistic that we can continue to develop niche sectors of high-tech manufacturing, services, the film industry, and tourism.

Commentary: Well, that would make a welcome change from growing the gambling industry; cigarette manufacturing; and 15-story brothels. Though this character – from the tobacco industry? – seemed somewhat oblivious to the annual death rate of 5,000 New Zealanders each year,

12:05  Moderator:
Sonny Gough asks:
Hello PM, As Minister for tourism, how do you feel the”Tobacco free NZ” by a certain date will affect tourist numbers to New Zealand. I note that many tourists that visit our shores are quite heavy smokers. Surely we are shooting ourselves in the foot on this. Kind Regards Sonny Gough

12:05  John Key:
Its an aspiration to see NZ smoke-free because of the health benefits that that policy bestows on the ountry. That said, it is highly unlikely that a day would come where we would stop people visiting NZ on the basis that they smoke.

Commentary: Now this, was probably the best question of the day,

12:06  Comment From gary  
If you are prepared to listen to public opinion on the Teacher cutbacks, will you do the same with your Asset sales policy?

12:07 John Key:
We have no intention of changing the direction we have set in relation to the Mixed Ownership Model. The reason for that is that it was an integral part of the election campaign, and was very well canvassed.  Given National polled a record result under MMP, I would argue we have listened to the people.

Commentary: So much for Dear Leader’s comment only yesterday, where he said,   “But, you know, governments from time to time adjust policies . . . if we never listen to people and never take on board what they’re saying then there is an argument for that as well – and that’s called arrogance.  And I think we’re a lot of things as a government, but we’re not arrogant.”

See:  Key: We were right, despite U-turn

12:07 Moderator:
Amy asks:
What do you have to say about the fact that starting from January, postgraduate students will not be able to borrow enough to live off? And what implications do you think that will have for professions that require an unpaid full-time internship year?

12:08 John Key:
The advice I have received is that on average the switch between student allowances and access to the student loan scheme will still enable students to complete post-graduate studies, albeit it will require them to repay this loan without interest. The research shows these students are likely to earn considerably higher wages over time.

Commentary: How much of his student debt did John Key repay from his tertiary education? Answer: none. He recieved a free university education, courtesy of the taxpayer.

12:08  Moderator:
Grace asks: What is your biggest regret over the past year?

12:09  John Key:
Not adequately spelling out the full aspects of the class size changes, because in the end a move to better quality teaching is an integral part of assisting those students who are falling between the cracks.

12:10  Comment From Simone  
What are your plans to help curb the brain drain in New Zealand? To be honest overseas opportunities are so much more appealing.

12:11  John Key:
I wouldn’t undersell New Zealand. Having just returned from Europe, this country is in far better shape than almost any other in Europe. It is also likely that over the next three years, NZ will have a faster growth rate than Europe, the US and Japan …

12:11  John Key:
While its true we lose people to Australia, that is neither new, nor should we misunderstand that a sizable portion of those leaving are going for opportunities in the mining sector.

Commentary: Say whut?!?! Hang on a mo’, Dear Leader – didn’t you and your party make a f*****g big deal, in the 2008 election campaign,  out of stemming the flow of emigrants to Australia, and to motivate New Zealanders to stay in this country?

Yes, I believe you did!


Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking


12:12 Moderator:
Liam asks: What are you going to do about the high attrition rate in our defence force? How do you expect to attract people to our military when everyone is leaving in droves?

12:13 John Key:
Attrition has been extremely low in the defence forces over the last three years, particularly as the labour
markets have been really tight. In recent times attrition has been a little higher as the military has been undertaking their change programme, but its my view that that programme is necessary for the long-term
benefit of the NZDF.

Commentary: Warning, Will Robinson! BS Alert! BS Alert!

See:  Job losses to hit military next week

See:  Defence staff eye leaving as morale falls

12:13 Moderator:
Elliot asks:
Why do you continue to reject the idea of a capital gains tax when almost every other country in the OECD has one?

12:14 John Key:
It’s important to understand that countries have quite significant variations when it comes to the type of taxes that they have, and the mix of taxes. NZ already has a capital gains tax; its simply not the  comprehensive CGT that some people talk of…

Commentary: “NZ already has a capital gains tax“?!?! Well, that’ll be news to everyone. This is an example of Key’s propensity to mis-represent the truth; where he only tells part of the truth, and leaves out remaining facts. It’s as good as lying.

No wonder that, in a poll last year, more respondents believed that John Key would be likely to “bend the truth” (34.9%) than his rival, Phil Goff (26%).

See:  John Key Safe hands, forked tongue?

12:15 John Key:
A CGT as proposed by Labour would be on the entire productive sector, but ignore three quarters of all ousing in NZ. Put bluntly, its bad for growth, and in the short term would raise very small amounts of revenue.

Commentary: John Key’s response is pure BS. A CGT would not be “bad for growth” – it would be a positive measure, as “mum and dad” investors would not be plowing their investments into speculative rental properties – but would instead invest in more productive sectors of the economy. At present,  NZers “love affair” with property is a serious distortion on our economy.

It is one reason why  private sector debt is ballooning out of control.

See:  NZ dangerously in debt: top businessman

See:  House prices a cancer for the economy

When the CGT was debated last year, almost every sector of the economy came out in favour of a capital gains tax.  For John Key to dismiss this reality shows that his sense of fiscal realities is badly out of touch.

12:15 Comment From Chris  
Why are you against raising the retirement age when statistics indicate that we’re going to have significant problems in the future if we don’t raise it soon?

12:17 John Key:
There’s very limited support for raising the retirement age prior to 2020 and on that basis I have much bigger issues to confront than that one. Secondly, the most important thing we can do to insulate NZ from all of the costs related to the demographic aging of the population is to focus on improving NZ’s overall competitiveness and growth.

Commentary: “Limited support” for raising the retirement age?!?! WTF?!!! Yet again, Key is lying his head off with that rubbish.

See:  Key rules out pension age referendum

There has been a growing realisation in this country that the current retirement age of 65 is simply not sustainable. For Key to dismiss these concerns is symptomatic of a government unwilling to address pressing problems that – left unresolved – will impact massively on our economy in coming decades.

This is a repeat of National’s mishandling of superannuation in 1975, where the then-Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, canned Labour’s compulsory super-savings scheme. Had that scheme been kept intact, New Zealand would have  considerable savings and we would not be so reliant on overseas funds.

By contrast, Australia’s compulsory savings scheme has amassed A$1.3 trillion dollars. Little wonder they have greater wealth and higher living standards than we do.

See:  Higher pension age key – OECD

Key’s intransigence is irresponsible and ultimately damaging to our economy and society.

12:17 Moderator:
Rhiannon asks:
What are some of your favourite bands?

Commentary: Ah, the hard questioning begins…

12:18 John Key:
I like Katy Perry, the Eagles, and Hayley Westenra.

Commentary: Tough call, Prime Minister.

12:18 Comment From Gabby  
How do you feel about the Christchurch Cathedral being demolished? Would you want to save it?

12:19 John Key:
I am saddened because its an iconic building. The Government’s released all the advice its had from engineers, who sadly are of the view that for safety reasons the Cathedral needs to be demolished. My focus now is on a replacement Cathedral.

12:19 Moderator:
Josiah asks:
I’m curious to know if there was one thing about New Zealand culture that the PM could change, what would it be?

12:20  John Key:
To be more confident as a nation.

Commentary: You hear that, poor people? Get confident!!

12:20  Moderator:
A follow up question: what is one thing you celebrate most about NZ culture?

Commentary: Prepare yourself for the answer,

12:20  John Key:
That we are an egalitarian society.

Commentary: *cough*splutter* cough, cough*

Is he taking the piss? Worse – is he being serious?!

12:21  Moderator:
Peter asks:
Where do you see NZ aquaculture in the near future(~5 years)? and what is the govt doing to make it easier for small fish-farms to get up and running?

12:22 John Key:
Hopefully significantly larger, which is why the Government has undertaken substantial reform in the aquaculture sector. Clearly an expansion into fin fish farming, both in terms of species and allocated space is critical, and maybe one day, a move into more exotic species, like crayfish.

12:22  Moderator:
Hayden asks:
Your wife says that it’s important to her that she’s able to be there for your son when he comes home from school, and to be around for him while he’s studying. What are you doing to help more New Zealand parents have that ability?

Commentary: Good question.

12:23  John Key:
The most important thing we can do for NZ families is to give them a stronger economy and give them more choices. Over the last three and a half years, under very difficult conditions, we have managed to grow the economy consistently. We continue to support family-friendly policies like ECE and Working for Families.

Commentary: Crap answer.

12:24  Moderator:
Kirsten Windelov asks:
You are currently proposing to close down all of the schools that students with physical and intellectual disabilities attend. If you go ahead and do this, can you guarantee that all of those kids will be better off with the mainstream schooling and foster care you’re proposing for them?

12:24  John Key:
I’m not sure that accurately reflects the position, although a move to mainstreaming more children is generally widely supported by the education sector

Translation: You’re on your own, Kirsten.

12:25 Comment From John  
Will you make lego in nz free for all kids in the near future.

Commentary: These questions just keep getting tougher.

12:25  John Key:
That’s not part of the current Government’s agenda, but a lot better than some of the other suggestions I get.

Commentary: *facepalm*

Is this going to get any better?

12:26  Moderator:
Joseph Whyle asks:
My question for the prime minister, what is your vision for New Zealand in the next 10 years?

12:27  John Key:
A more prosperous, confident and ambitious New Zealand, one that delivers both higher incomes and a higher quality of life. A country that maintains the very best of New Zealand in terms of spirit and commitment to each other, as was clearly on display during the response to the Christchurch earthquakes.

Commentary: Haven’t we heard all this before… ? Oh, yeah…

See: 2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand – John Key

12:27  Moderator:
Tim asks:
Do you believe in god?

12:28  John Key:
I don’t believe in life after death, so in the traditional sense of the world no, but I have no conclusive proof either way.

12:28  Moderator:
Anna asks:
What is the govt doing to prevent the extinction of the Maui dolphins? DETAILS! Not just “we’re working on it” NZ wants answers. We want a moratorium on set net fishing.

12:28  John Key:
We are very close to making an announcement in relation to that issue. Stay posted.

12:28  Moderator:
Dominique asks: What do you plan on doing after being Prime Minister? Retire? Continue in politics?

12:29  John Key:
I have no intention of continuing in politics. I haven’t given any thought to what might happen later, but it will involve golf clubs.

Commentary: “No intention of continuing in politics“? There is a god!

12:29  Moderator:
Arn asks: If you had to choose an opposition MP to take a job in your cabinet, who would it be and what portfolio would you give them?

12:29  John Key:
Shane Jones for Broadcasting.

Commentary: Was that supposed to be funny?

12:30  Moderator:
Sue asks: When did you last take public transport? What was it?

12:30 John Key:
Last week, and it was a bus, in London.

12:30 Moderator:
Chris asks: What changes do you believe are necessary (if any) for our Civil Defence capability in both the Canterbury Region, and Nationally, to improve what I believe is a very clearly defined weakness in our ability to respond to major natural disasters? Thank you.

12:31 John Key:
I’m not sure I would agree with the question…

12:32 John Key:
The Christchurch Earthquakes clearly tested the Civil Defence capability, and while there were always thing we could improve upon, it demonstrated there was a lot that we got right. After any major civil defence response, the Government undertakes a review and there will be some things from that process that will feed into our overall future responses.

Commentary: The next message was from the feeble-minded faction  of the political Right,

12:32 Comment From Guest  
With regards to the welfare system, Have you ever considered a life time entitlement for welfare assistance, Eg: every person has a 5 yr entitlement to welfare, once its used you support yourself or get a job.

12:33  John Key:
The difficulty with that suggestion is that for some people, they will never be able to support themselves. Overall the Government is focused on reform of the welfare system to ensure its ongoing viability.

Commentary: Plus, Dear Leader, it’s not the fault of workers who lose their jobs because your mates on Wall Street have shafted the global economy.  But you knew that already, huh?

The following question was another all-to-rare beauty,

12:33  Moderator:
Jan asks:
When prioritising, can you please explain how 15 million dollars is preferably spent on entertaining foreign dignitaries at the world cup, when it would cost only 16 million to keep TVNZ7 on, the nations only fully government funded TV channel (Australia, the UK and most other developed countries have several of these)? Thanks, Jan.

12:34  John Key:
The Rugby World Cup was the largest single sporting event NZ has ever hosted, and it made sense to leverage that event for New Zealand’s benefit. In relation to TVNZ7, the Government transferred that funding to the Platinum Fund administered by NZ on Air because it saw better value for money from that spend.

Commentary: Only thing is – New Zealand didn’t get that  much benefit from the RWC, according to reports,

See: Weather and World Cup fail to lift GDP

Yet again, John Key is out of touch with public opinion that wants TVNZ7 retained. What part of that message does he not understand?!

Once National is thrown out of office, an incoming government will be mandated to set up a new public service TV broadcaster. This time, with built-in safe-guards to prevent political interference from feeble-minded politicians from the Right.

12:34 Comment From James B  
how do we know this is the real john and not one of his clones

12:36  John Key:
When I was at primary school, I was sent to the “blue room” for talking. Dare you to find that on the internet. Today, Kevin is typing in my answers because he is quicker than I am, and that’s why I keep little pixies around the office.

Commentary: “Pixies”?

Nice to know  John Key is taking this communication with the voting public as a  serious matter.

Yeah, right.

12:36  Moderator:
Shanan asks: Hi John, What are your thoughts of the EU proposal for a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)? Should New Zealand consider introducing a FTT if it goes ahead in the EU? Thanks.

12:37  John Key:
NZ has considered this before and rejected it. My understanding is that it disproportionately affects less well off people.

Commentary: Since when has Key been concerned with things that “disproportionately affects less well off people“? He wasn’t overly concerned when National raised GST in 2010 – an act that does disproportionately affect less well off people.

12:37  Comment From Bons  
Do you think marriage and adoption equality bills will be passed in this parliamentary term? If not, why not?

12:38  John Key:
No. Firstly they would need to be drawn from the ballot and that can’t be assured. Even if they were, the process would take quite some time because they can only be debated on Member’s Days.

Commentary: Never let equality and justice get in the way of the bureacracy, eh Dear Leader? After all, what’s more important here – equality for all, or maintaining The System?


12:38  Comment From Greg  
How do you think repealing the voluntary student loan repayment bonus scheme provides an incentive to pay loans back faster?

12:39  John Key:
There’s no question that for some students, the repayment scheme was an advantage. Sadly, it wasn’t widely used. It was expensive to administer and there was some gaming of the system.

Commentary: At this point I sent another message (one of many) to the moderator asking John Key if he was willing to pay for his University education, which he received free of charge; no student loans; no debt; all paid for by the New Zealand taxpayer.

Strangely, that question was never put to Dear Leader. Must’ve got “lost” in the system.

12:39  Comment From Kristen  
Thanks for backing down on the class-size thing, but I’d like to know what you’re going to cut in education to make up the savings you would have got from cutting class sizes.

12:40  John Key:
We are working on that, but worst case scenario we will have to take it out of next year’s new Budget spending provision.

Commentary: Or, Dear Leader, you could raise taxes for top income earners; introduce a Capital Gains Tax or FTT; or stop giving welfare handouts to corporations.

Just a thought. No pressure, John.

12:40  Comment From Nick  
Were you surprised that Piri Weepu got selected at half back in the current AB’s ahead of Andy Ellis?

12:41  John Key:
Yes, but I’m having a bad enough week without wading into the reasons on this.

12:41  Comment From Henry  
Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?

12:42  John Key:
Too close to call, and too inappropriate for me to name.

12:42  Comment From Scott  
What is the greatest moral challenge for kiwi society today?

12:43  John Key:
I believe it is drug addiction and alcohol abuse by young people in particular.

Commentary: So… what are you doing about easy availability of cheap booze; the spread of liquor outlets; RTDs/alco-pops geared toward young people; alcohol advertising on TV, etc, etc, etc? It’s one thing to recognise alcohol abuse as a “moral challenge” – but what is National going to do about it?

12:43  Moderator:
William asks:
John Key i’m sure you know that cannabis in its natural form is legally regarded as a medicine by 15+ American States and by Canada and some European countries. In May 2011, our own Law Commission said NZ should follow this path and Police should leave medicinal users alone. Do you agree with the Law Commission?

12:44  John Key:
I don’t support liberalisation of drug laws, because I think it sends the wrong message to young people and would prefer that those with medical conditions sought relief from other alternatives.

Commentary: Whereas advertising alcohol on TV; making it ridiculously cheap and available from outlets  in almost every suburb; and almost 24/7 trading hours – that’s not sending “the wrong message” to young people??

Mr Key – you and your Party’s hypocrisy is breath-taking.

12:44  Moderator:
Michael asks:
Hi Why did the national party pull the pin on a full national cycleway?

12:45 John Key:
We didn’t, but the advice we had was that 18 individual rides linked by a rural roading network would better fit the profile and intentions of those likely to use it.

Commentary: plus the couple of hundred jobs it created – instead of the anticipated 4,000-plus  – wasn’t a ‘good look’, Dear Leader?

See:  Cycleway jobs fall short

12:45 Comment From Richard  
What exactly is it about John Banks that you do have faith in? What makes him an excellent asset to New Zealanders?

12:46  John Key:
I accept Ministers at their word and unless they either breach my trust or break the law, it would be quite inappropriate and confusing for me to sack a Minister.

12:46  Moderator:
Don asks:
What kind of watch do you normally wear? Do you collect watches?

12:47  John Key:
I normally wear a Cartier, and I have another watch which is a Brietling that my wife Bronagh gave to me for my birthday.

Commentary: by this time, and following on, this blogger had messaged the Moderator at least half a dozen times posing the question as to why John Key was not willing to fund sufferers of Pompe’s Disease – a terminal condition – as he had agreed to fund a full-term course of Herceptin for breast cancer sufferers, in 2008. (2008 was an election year. Not that it has anything to do with anything.)

This was very silly of me. Obviously the matter of John Key’s watches takes precedence over a life-threatening disease which will kill several New Zealanders.

Sorry, Fairfax. My bad.

However, a serious question did manage to slip in. Perhaps the Fairfax moderator was having a cuppa with Dear Leader at the time,

12:48  Moderator:
Julie asks: (in terms of asset sales)
How can you justify rushing the legislation through urgency? How can the average “mum and dad investors” afford to buy shares?

12:48  John Key:
In terms of the first point we are not doing that. Its the Government’s intention to pass the MOM legislation using the normal House procedures…

12:49  John Key:
The Government is working on ensuring the minimum parcel size of shares can be within the reach of as many NZers as possible.

Commentary: Especially New Zealanders like these,

See:  Rich Listers enjoy 20pc increase in wealth

12:49  Comment From Geoff  
Given the recent dirty dairying news do you still stand by your claim that NZ is 100% clean and green?

12:50  John Key:
I’ve never said that statement. What I have supported is the marketing slogan used by Tourism NZ of 100% Pure.

Commentary: Actually, Dear Leader, you did . John Key;  “if anybody goes down to New Zealand and looks at our environmental credentials and looks at New Zealand, then for the most part, I think in comparison with the rest of the world, we are 100 per cent pure.”

See:  Key rejects BBC criticism of NZ ‘pure’ claim

Another “hard” question followed and was well answered by Dear Leader. He was ‘sharp’ today,

12:50  Comment From Sean Kusel  
What is your main hobby?

12:51 John Key:
Work commitments mean I have a limited time for other activities, but I enjoy cooking, golf, and watching rugby.

Commentary: But how did this one slip through the vetting system,

12:51   Comment From Year 12 Sos Hghs class  
How would you feel about class sizes going up in your sons school?

12:51  John Key:
Totally fine, if they were of the magnitude being previously proposed. I care much more about the quality of the teacher standing before my son.

Commentary: And the reason for not sending his children to State schools is—?

12:52   Comment From Cameron  
Hi, Please don’t take this as being rude but, do you think we will actually hit our budget targets for near future?

12:52  John Key:
If you mean the forecasts that were in the Budget, I hope so. They are based on the best advice available to the Treasury at the time the Budget was put together.

Commentary: Advice from… Treasury?! That’s us stuffed!

12:53  Comment From mike  
When will people with complaints about ACC be herd by an independent group, that doesn’t involve ACC supposedly not interferring with the process.

Commentary: Followed immediatly by this little ‘gem’ from Brendan. Brendan is ‘special’.

12:53  Comment From Brendan  
What’s on the lunch menu today?

12:53  John Key:
I need to check for you, but I think there are avenues that are totally independent that complainants can explore if they believe they are being unfairly treated by ACC.

12:54  John Key:
Sadly, there is nothing in the fridge and unlike Barack Obama I don’t have a chef hanging around to make me a Tuna fish sandwich.

Commentary: It’s tough when you have to slum it with the poor folk, Dear Leader. By the way, Mr Key, how far did National go with it’s promise of free meals in schools, as promised by National when it was in Opposition,

See: National launches its Food in Schools programme

Still on the subject of food,

12:54  Comment From Kayla  
What type of cheese did you give the queen

12:55  John Key:
A range of Kapiti cheeses including blue cheese and aged cheddar. The Queen personally thanked me and told me she’d already tried one of them.

12:55 Comment From Megan  
What was it like meeting with the Queen? Was it just awkward small talk? Or is she quite personable?

12:56  John Key:
She’s very personable, and this is the fourth private audience I’ve had with her. She is very passionate about New Zealand and genuine in her concerns, particularly over the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes.

12:56  Comment From Guest  
Mr Key, I believe the taxes being handed off onto smokers are unfair. How do you justify these smoking taxes? The obese population put far more burden on our health system each year, and don’t have to pay any extra tax!

Commentary: Yeah, mate, ‘cos  5,000 New Zealanders dying each year through smoking-related disease just isn’t enough for you, is it?


Key’s only sensible reply for the whole afternoon,

12:57  John Key:
The Government is unashamedly trying to deter people from smoking through price, particularly young people who are very sensitive to rising tobacco prices. I know this is difficult for those that have smoked for quite some time, but for your long term health I can only encourage you to try and give up.

12:57  Moderator:
Have you ever smoked, prime minister?

12:58 John Key:
I have never smoked anything in my life, but my mother smoked and I spent years convincing her to give up. When I turned 15, she did.

Commentary: Followed by another decent question,

12:59   Moderator:
Jane asks: When will people who care for the elderly receive a fair wage. Elderly helped build the country

Commentary: A shame that Key’s response was so much twaddle,

1:00  John Key:
I acknowledge that many of the caregivers for the elderly are some of the lowest paid workers. When the Government’s finances are in better shape, this will be one area we will take a closer look at.

Commentary: Which sounds suspiciously similar to Key’s previous promises to raise wages – which have also come to nought.

1:00  Comment From Nick  
Whats you’re favourite kiwi custom?

1:00  John Key:
The haka is not a custom, but I love it when our sporting teams and cultural groups and schools perform it.

Commentary:  *shakes head*

1:00  Moderator:
Time for one last question….

Commentary: Oh, I can hardly wait. What’s it to be;  Dear Leader’s favourite colour? When he last patted ‘Moonbeam‘?

1:01   Comment From Pam  
Mr Key, on the Super debate, is there any appetite to means test Super? I think raising the age is harsh – especially for those in very manual work, e.g. building, labouring.

1:02  John Key:
No, but you raise a fair point that an ad hoc simple moving of the age is a very simplistic way of looking at a very complex issue.

Commentary: “Ad hoc”?! Every organisation, political party, the OECD, and a majority of the public understand that keeping retirement at age 65 is unsustainable, and must be raised to 67 if we are to avoid bankrupting ourselves – and you dismiss it as “ad hocery“?!?!

Mr Key – what on Earth goes through you mind?

Mr Key – you are playing games with the economic future of this country. For you and your fellow National MPs not to act on raising the age from 65 to 67 is irresponsible.

Mr Key will be remembered in the same way that Robert Muldoon is remembered; the man who nearly wrecked our economy through short-sighted acts of incompetance.

Do what is necessary – or resign. One or the other.

1:02  Moderator:
Thank you for joining us in today’s live chat. Sorry we couldn’t ask all the questions.

1:02  John Key:
My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.

Conclusion: It seems fairly obvious that whoever was answering the questions was only barely taking the situation seriously. If it was John Key, then we’ve had another insight into his arrogance and his disdain for treating the public with a modicum of respect.

For a man who has spent much of his working life in finance, he appears to have little appreciation for fiscal matters such as taxation; investment imbalances; retirement strategy; etc. Any thought of Key as being “fiscally responsible” is misplaced.

As for the questions; the Moderator’s choice left much to be desired. It was like a meal at a Chinese restaurant; one was left feeling hungry for more soon after.

This blogger is left with one inescapable conclusion that has been strengthened by this “Livechat”: the sooner National is thrown out of office, the better for our economy and society.



= fs =

  1. Matt
    13 June 2012 at 7:24 am

    He doesn’t come out of that looking too good. At best you can call him a a seat warmer for whoever comes next.

    He doesn’t seem to me to be anything other than a bland, do nothing. visionless man. All the policy tweaks are in the wrong direction. When he gets a question he doesn’t like he gives an evasive, substanceless answer. i.e. a typical party hack politician. The country definitely deserves better.

  2. SpaceMonkey
    13 June 2012 at 9:17 am

    John Key would’ve been better not to have done that hour. He didn’t read good at all.

    The FTT answer was an outright lie… the truth is with 80% of financial transactions globally being made by computers placing thousands of trades in seconds, an FTT would hurt the financial sector most of all. This is where Key’s priorities and loyalties really lie. An FTT could be targeted at the financial sector only so as to not hurt the “less well off people” and the proposed 0.1% tax (miniscule by anyone’s standards) would raise over $1 billion a year. From a sector that is actively destabilising the global economy, it’s more than reasonable. Crank it up more and we could even look at reducing GST.

    We always knew he wasn’t going to stay in politics. He’s here to sell the assets to his Wall St buddies after which he’s gone… it’s my belief that is the primary agenda as we all know it will be hedge funds and private equity funds that will end up owning them. One only has to look at the shareholding of Fletcher Building to get a picture of the power companies in private hands. The rest is hack and slash at anything public to justify further privatisation. It’s standard psychopathic Washington Consensus bullshit. My pick is that post-politics he’s heading for a plush consultancy with one of the high-financiers, and Goldman Sachs at that as he’s great mates with Lloyd “doing God’s work” Blankfein.

    Having worked in the City of London and on Wall St myself, the moment he was elected to the National Party leadership I was shit scared for New Zealand. John Key is not a businessman, he wouldn’t know the first thing about running a business. He was a forex dealer – speculation and gambling – which perhaps explains Key propensity for making closed door deals with the likes of casinos while producing airy-fairy (pixie advisors?) statements and economic projections. That’s all he knows.

  3. 13 June 2012 at 9:28 am

    @ Matt – “At best you can call him a a seat warmer for whoever comes next..”

    I think you’ve summed up Key’s tenure as PM very succinctly. Aside from cutting the state sector; cutting taxes for top income earners; and planned part-asset sales, I can’t think of much else he has accomplished during his terms.

    He doesn’t seem to me to be anything other than a bland, do nothing. visionless man.”

    ‘Visionless’ – indeed. When asked what his vision for NZ was, his response was a two-dimensional cliche. Much like the man himself.

    @ Space Monkey – you should be writing my blog, SM. Well sussed.

    Indeed, his FTT response was an outright lie – along with other comments he made that could only be described as’bending the truth’. He is, perhaps, the most mendacious PM we’ve had for quite a while.

    John Key is not a businessman, he wouldn’t know the first thing about running a business.”

    That’s an interesting comment, SM, and I think you’ve hit on the head the problem; Key does deals. The Sky City and Media Works issues spring to mind.

    But when it comes to business acumen – he appears to make some very basic mistakes. His lack of understand of the retirement issue, and how super costs will balloon out in the next few decade, beggars belief. Ditto his opposition to CGT, despite common knowledge that property speculation is distorting the economy and increasing preivate debt in this country.

    John Key would’ve been better not to have done that hour. He didn’t read good at all.

    Indeed he did not, SM. I think he underestimated the interest that would focus on his “Livechat”. His comments are now on-record, and give further insight into his very strange personality. (Strange even by politicians’standards.)

  4. DuncanL
    13 June 2012 at 9:42 am

    Nice dissection of an otherwise puerile and unconvincing ‘interview’ – JonKey must have his ‘pixies’ well drilled, since this reads as though JK might as well have been in another room; we all know he lives on a different planet to the rest of us, but to not even descend from on high to condescend to we mere mortals seemed a step too far for the oligarch…

  5. overitsobad
    13 June 2012 at 10:11 am

    Totally agree Space Monkey re asset sales motivation. What can we do? How can we mobilise people who don’t realise this into action – or even the people that can ? There is a lot of stuff re blogs etc on the net, but not everyone finds them/reads them ….I dunno, maybe we need a large scale good ol’ fashioned protest to attract the attention of a potentially apathetic nation? Imagine an asset sales protest the size of the RWC parades….surely something positive would come out of that?….I walk around feeling sick all the time about this!

  6. 13 June 2012 at 12:25 pm

    It’s a great read!

    “I have no intention of continuing in politics. I haven’t given any thought to what might happen later, but it will involve golf clubs.” …

    Just the answer I’d have expected from the likes of him 🙂 And for some reason an image just flashed before my mind as i read it, the one where George W Bush, a similarly ethically and morally bereft man, talked of his invasion plan of Iraq, and then advised the watching cameraman to cut to his pending shot, “Now, just watch my golf swing here…”

    Actually, Bush angered War veterans a couple of years into the war saying he’d “Give up Golf!” as a sign of respect for dead troops. Wonder if Key might do the same once he’s left the country high and dry, “I’ll give up golf out of respect for an entire country I’ve now left to the corporations…”.

    No doubt followed a few seconds later by that uniquely Kiwi response … “Yeah, nah” 🙂

  7. 13 June 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Read the comments following the article… Yep, SM reaction to the FTT answer same as mine … laying bare the real reasons for not going with FTT as baldly as it can be really. Do people not remember his fortune is based in his own raid on the NZ dollar itself after the crash? Otherwise known as … drumroll … a financial transaction?!?!

    As SM also said, and this is what I try to tell others as well – the primary specialty of Key is swinging deals, not in long term strategies, kind of key for business. His other specialties we’ve seen him ‘commended’ for in his former private life is getting rid of unwanted people, people that get in the way of people like his previous employers who are the Wall St bankers. I agree with SM, a man who can count Blankfein as a good mate should be put on a leash. I’m interested to see what notches he’ll put on the belt after – I’ve talked to friends who reckon the Wall St angle, I can’t see him more comfortable anywhere else. IMF or World Bank though being an ex-PM seems more appropriate – and much closer to the overall meddling process that he seems to have a thing for.

    Think about it! A man who put a country through some austerity measures and they didn’t even complain, in fact they voted for it, even when they started suspecting they were being shafted! – and when the population was taunted by the Finance Minister to “riot properly”, even that failed to unseat him! He’d probably be the *perfect man* to take complete charge of overall World Austerity measures…

    So now he’s clearing NZ for these same corporations and financial warlords that have helped destabilise things. Labour, or anyone else, does need to really, really capitalise(!) on these sorts of issues and the sorry answers he has given in any House debate though, but now especially on prime TV – especially considering the axing of TVNZ7 will leave the country without extended programming on this sort of issue, and we’re left with only the 30 second soundbite to get the issues across…

  8. Priss
    16 June 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Can someone PLEASE remind me why they voted for this idiot? What do they see in him?

  1. 5 July 2012 at 6:27 pm
  2. 24 September 2012 at 9:57 pm

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