Home > Odd, Conspiracies, & Other Weird Stuff, The Body Politic > Key: “I’ve left NZ in a better shape than I found it”

Key: “I’ve left NZ in a better shape than I found it”



Without a doubt, the following story by the NZ Herald on Key’s latest utterances deserves an Award for Outstanding Bullshitting – with a special mention for Self Delusion.

WARNING:  do not be drinking anything when you read this – not unless you can stop your gagging-reflex from spraying over your monitor and keyboard,


Full story


If Dear Leader truly believes that,

Personally, I think if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it.”

… then he is dangerously more out of touch with reality than the rest of us ever imagined.

But because John Key gives no indication of any head trauma or diagnosis for delusional psychosis, the only remaining option is that this was a pathetically weak attempt to shore up his Party’s waning public support.

Almost every poll has National’s voter support dropping. This blogger suspects very strongly that National’s own internal polling reveals a much more dramatic fall in public support – and that John Key’s credibility as an honest politician has taken some serious battering this year.

One poll in July of this year, by Fairfax/Ipsos, had this unflattering picture of Key,

A new poll has found Prime Minister John Key is increasingly becoming a polarising figure – especially among women.

The first Fairfax Media/Ipsos political poll shows National has enough support for a third term, 44.9 per cent to Labour’s 32.6 per cent, assuming the current mix of support parties. But it also reveals a growing divide, with many still strongly backing Key, but a growing sense of anger and distrust among others.

Interviewers asked 1000 people to describe Key in as few words as possible. The pollsters said many voters rated him a straight-shooter and good or excellent leader, but a significant number thought he was arrogant, smarmy and out of touch.

Key still has the confidence of an overwhelming majority – 63 per cent saying he had a clear vision for the country, and was a strong and effective leader.

See: ‘Polarising’ PM losing gloss

Since that poll, National’s support has dropped to 45% and Key’s personal support has plummeted to 42%, in a One News/ Colmar Brunton poll released on 4 November.

See: National support holds as Labour slips in poll

National is clearly in trouble with the public and Key’s extraordinary statement that  “I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it ” is utterly laughable.

This blogger’s guess is that Key made this statement, off the cuff, and without his tax-payer funded spin doctors crafting a more credible message.

On almost every level, it is a demonstrably false assertion.

Looking at the facts on Planet Earth, rather than on Planet Key, we find the following;




When Key took office at the end of 2008, the household labour force survey reported unemployment at 4.6% or 105,000 real people.


The latest household labour force survey released on 8 November this year had unemployment at 7.3% or 175,000 living, breathing people.

See: Household Labour Force Survey: September 2012 quarter

In other words, there are 75,000 more unemployed people now, than there was four years ago.

This blogger accepts that the Global Financial Crisis has been a major factor for rising unemployment, but three questions still remain to be answered,

  1. Why has National not done anything practical to counter the effects of the GFC, despite having four years to implements job-creation programmes?
  2. Why did National proceed with tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 when the lost tax-revenue could have been used for upskilling; job creation; building new houses to meet our critical housing shortage; etc?
  3. Why does National continue to blame the unemployed for being unemployed, when they – the Nats –  play the GFC Card when ever it suits them, as an excuse?

Report Card: F – Total Fail


Economic growth



Retail Trade  dropped from NZ$18.8 buillion in December 2011 to the current NZ$16.8 billion, in September,


Sourc:  Reserve Bank of New Zealand

This constitutes a $2 billion drop in retail activity.

By comparison, the drop from December 2010 to September 2011 was less –  NZ$900  million.  (See: Reserve Bank A1 Domestic trade)

Balance of Trade

Our Balance of Trade has definitly worsened since November 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis had begun to impact on our export sector,


Source: Trading Economics New Zealand Balance of Trade


In part, this may be due to our high dollar, which makes our exports less profitable – but makes imports (consumer goods, fuel, building materials, plant & equipment, etc) cheaper. However, whilst this may benefit one sector of our economy, it means that we are not paying our way with our trading partners.

Economists are expecting the figures to worsen in the coming months and year,

The annual current account deficit has widened to 4.8 per cent of GDP and economists expect it will keep getting worse, with sharply falling export prices and rising demand for imports.

The current account records the balance of trade between New Zealand and the rest of the world for goods and services, net investment income and net transfers.

ANZ economists said the 4.8 per cent figure was worse than market expectations and given the worsening trade position with lower commodity prices, the deficit was trending closer to the 5 per cent of GDP “danger zone” for international lenders.

The falling value of dairy exports and a drop in spending by tourists after the Rugby World Cup have seen the current account deficit worsen by $600 million to $2.8 billion, seasonally adjusted, for the March quarter.

That takes the annual deficit back up to $9.7 billion for the year to March 31 or 4.8 per cent of GDP according to latest Statistics NZ figures out earlier today. The deficit was equal to 4.2 per cent of GDP in the December year. “

See: Deficit expected to worsen


Despite JohnKeys perennial promises (see previous blogpost:  John Key’s track record on raising wages – preface), wages have not risen to anywhere near Australia’s levels.

In fact, wage rises in the last four years have not matched those under the previous Labour government, despite Dear Leader’s pledges and claims to the contrary,


Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/Income/NZIncomeSurvey_HOTPJun12qtr.aspx


As Statistics NZ states in it’s June Quarter report,

In the year to the June 2012 quarter, there was no significant increase in:

  • median weekly income from all sources – up 1.8 percent from $550 to $560
  • median weekly income for those receiving income from wages and salaries – up $6 (0.7 percent) to $806
  • median hourly earnings – up 48 cents (2.4 percent) to $20.86.”

New Zealanders are generally not fools, and many have taken to voting with their feet to where there are better opportunities for jobs, wages, housing, etc…

See also: John Key’s track record on raising wages – 9. Conclusion


Migration to Australia was one of John Key’s major election platforms in 2008. He was scathing of Labour and the exodus of New Zealanders to Australia,

We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand.


One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas.  We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand.  We must cut taxes and grow our economy, and National will have policies to ensure both occur.”  – John Key,  6 September 2008

See: Speech: Environment Policy Launch

I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves. That’s why this Government is focused squarely on improving New Zealand’s economic performance. And to be frank, New Zealand’s economic performance over a number of years has been disappointing. ” – John Key, 15 July 2009

See: Speech to Business Breakfast hosted by Cullen Law

The result? Wholly predictable by now,


Full story


As the NZ Herald story reported,

The number of New Zealanders moving across the Tasman hit a record 53,000 in the year to February, but the unemployment rate at home and Australia’s new tax breaks that would make millions better off are tipped to lift that number.”

As Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley stated on  TV1 on 3 September,

We can’t afford to bleed the numbers of people we see leaving for Australia. We can’t afford to lose the skills. We’ve got to do something.”

Key’s response,

Maybe we want to think about doing a bit more [mining] to encourage people to stay. It’s been a 40-year problem, and if we want to resolve it, we need to get on top of all of those issues.”

Oh really? “Maybe we want to think about doing a bit more “?! Gosh, Mr Key – you think?

Key’s statement encapsulates one  simple reality; that his  inept “government”  is utterly clueless. Dear Leader does not even know whose responsibility it is to create jobs;

Last year;

We agree with you, it’s the government’s responsibility to do everything within it’s powers to try to get people jobs.” – John Key, 17 November2011

See: Key and Goff Q&A: Creating jobs

This year;

Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need more innovative companies out there selling their products on the world stage.” – John Key, 24 August 2012

See: Key Notes: Honouring our fallen soldiers

Whenever National does become proactive, it tinkers with labour laws which will ultimately have the effect of driving down wages. This, in turn simply accelerates the flow of Kiwis to Australia and elsewhere.

Export Industry

On the other hand, when exporters cry out for relief from a high Kiwi Dollar that is ruining their trade, National either ignores their plight, or derides any possible remedies.

As president of the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Managing Director of two export companies, Brian Willoughby, said in utter desperation,

I’m concerned that this vitally important discussion is degenerating to the point that it is the guy with the biggest foghorn that is going to get heard the most. The Government had the biggest foghorn.

What is starting to irritate me is, here I am just down the road in Christchurch, representing manufacturers producing $2.6 billion [worth of product]. So why doesn’t someone from the Prime Minister’s department pop along and see me? I am far easier to get in touch with than the guys in Hollywood, and I don’t need any special concessions. The ones I need are the same ones with the dollar that the film industry needs.

But the issue is to develop a more balanced economy.

There are a whole lot of people [in manufacturing] who are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and there are a whole lot of redundancies going on that the public never hears about.

The other thing that is poorly understood is that manufacturing jobs support three jobs outside – the courier guy, the guy that cleans the towels, the cafes near the factory. We have the contractors and suppliers – the guy that supplies the nuts and bolts and screws, the guy that does the laser cutting, the guy that does the painting, the guy that does the polishing, the guy that provides the plating service.”

It’s wrong to sit on our hands and say there is nothing that we can do.

We need a proper debate because it is extremely important to the New Zealand economy as a whole, not just to my members. In the long run, exporters ensure that we have a reasonable standard of living. If we can’t sell off-shore with good added value margins, we’ll go broke.

See: Soaring NZ dollar has industries in discussion

The Herald story goes on to reveal that Willoughby’s two Christchurch-based companies together employ twenty people. A year and a half ago, it was thirty.

On 25 October, Reserve Bank Governor, was forced to concede,

Offsetting this, fiscal consolidation is constraining demand growth, and the high New Zealand dollar is undermining export earnings and encouraging substitution toward imported goods and services.”

See: OCR unchanged at 2.5 percent

Our export sector is being damaged by our over-valued dollar (pushed up by speculators); profits are down; and redundancies are occurring.

Meanwhile, John Key smiles and waves and does nothing except make derogatory comments against visiting sports people.

Report Card: E – Verging on Total Fail




One of Key’s oft stated “successes” is that “crime has dropped”.

That may well be. But their may be several factors involved here,

New Zealand’s crime rate has dropped to an all-time low, latest figures reveal.

The annual crime statistics released by the police today showed recorded crime dropped 5.2 per cent on the previous year.

There were 394,522 recorded offences in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, compared with 416,324 the previous year – a decrease of 21,802 offences.

New Zealand’s population increased by 0.7 per cent during the period, resulting in a 5.9 per cent decrease in the number of offences recorded per 10,000 of population.”

And as well,

The largest decrease was in Canterbury, where recorded crime fell by 11.7 per cent.

Following the earthquakes there was a sudden large decrease in recorded theft and property damage offences.

Less serious offences reduced the most.

Although small by value, these offences are large by volume.

This decrease appears to be partly due to the public not wanting to bother us with minor matters when they knew we were dealing with the earthquake,” Mr Rickard said.”

See: NZ crime rate at all-time low – Police

Interesting, eh?

The biggest decrease occurred in the Canterbury region in the same year as the February earthquake that killed 185 people.

Surely Dear Leader is not going to take credit for something that a natural disaster caused?! Of course he will.

This is John Key we’re talking about.

Report Card: none (someone nicked it)




As is usual for John Key, his statements often contain loose “facts”; half-truths; and often outright untruths. His claim that “if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it ” is patently false.

On almost every indicator known to humanity, New Zealand is nowhere near “in a better shape than [Key]  found it “. Not unless he is using voodoo socio-economic ‘science’ that the rest of us are not privy to?

Perhaps they originate from Planet Key?

On an end note, I leave the reader with not just the results of my Fact Checking – but this dire warning from economists,




Roll on 2014.



= fs =

  1. Possum
    18 November 2012 at 2:53 pm

    l jst about fell of chair when he said that, what part of stuff ups by him and mp that he cant see. ffs what a absolute dumbass.

  2. 18 November 2012 at 2:54 pm

    It all depends on his definition of ‘better.’ NZ is certainly better for the rich who got generous tax cuts, so is this what he meant?

  3. Taura
    18 November 2012 at 3:05 pm

    It would have to be a very sick bus to wanna hit little johnny furphy maker. The guy and his howling hoard of hyenas really need to replace those snow white mirrors they like to use to gaze upon their own narcissistic and totally distorted images with a polished bronze shield such as those used by the ancients. The reflections might be ugly but at least it would be a true representation.

  4. Matthew
    18 November 2012 at 3:14 pm

    One easy and cheap way to make things better is to enact clean air laws. I’m in from my garden because some dickhead neighbour just smoked me out by burning rubbish. Neighbour? They’re 1.5km away and the smoke is too thick for me to be outside.

    Why is that legal?

    Why hasn’t National done anything about it. The first thing mentioned in the Blue Green manifesto was the importance of clean air. It seems the National Party are bullshitters from top to bottom.

    • 18 November 2012 at 3:21 pm

      “The first thing mentioned in the Blue Green manifesto was the importance of clean air. It seems the National Party are bullshitters from top to bottom.”

      I call it “window dressing”, Matthew, to win Green votes from Middle New Zealand who fancy themselves as “greenies”. National’s Blue-Green manifesto, in my view, is little better than a Nigerian scam.

      Worse, even.

      1. Most folk are aware of Nigerian scammers.
      2. Nigerian scammers don’t smoke you out burning god-knows-what toxic rubbish.

  5. 18 November 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Best hope for NZers is that he would get hit by a bus tomorrow before he does any more damage!!!

    • 18 November 2012 at 3:25 pm

      That might be a tad traumatic for the bus driver, Redy…

      My preference is that he gets caught out telling a whopping lie, and can’t backtrack on it. It’s inevitable, really.

  6. Janya
    18 November 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Oh dear, for a moment I thought he must have announced he was stepping down, what a disappointment it was only a hypothetical bus comment. Are we not sure the Labour leader query is not a red herring to cover the leadership changes about to take place in the National party? I just don’t see Key as leader for 2014 election!!!!.

  7. Alastair
    18 November 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Aren’t you enjoying your tax cuts, Frank?

    • 18 November 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Nah. Spent them all on GST, Alastair… 😀

      • Alastair
        18 November 2012 at 3:53 pm

        Well if you went to school without lunch then you wouldn’t have to pay as much GST! 😛

  8. 18 November 2012 at 3:56 pm

    So that’s the plan of all those children going to school with no lunch…!

  9. 18 November 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Not unless he is using voodoo socio-economic ‘science’ that the rest of us are not privy to?

    Taxes for the rich were cut, this makes the rich better off thus NZ is better off.

    Really, that seems to be his total logic. In fact, that seems to be the total logic behind neo-liberalism.

    • 18 November 2012 at 4:11 pm

      That might work, Draco…

      If we each had $50 million in our bank accounts, like Dear Leader.

      But I seem to be about $49,999,950 short…

      And yes, that seems pretty much what neo-liberalism is predicated on. Unfortunately for the global economy, it all falls to pieces when the majority can’t afford to buy the goods that we’re producing!

  10. 18 November 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Didn’t Clayton Weatherstone used to make delusional statements based on no credible evidence like this? It is common in sociopaths before they finally snap I believe..
    Incidentally Frank Macskasy we used to know a Kiwi bus-driver up here in Auckland, unfortunately he lost his job, but I understand there maybe quite a lot of out of other out of work bus-drivers in Wellington looking for something to do?

  11. TMA1
    19 November 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Voted for Key in 2008 and last year. Never again. If he thinks he’s left New Zealand better than he found it, well I’ve got news for him.

  12. SpaceMonkey
    19 November 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the warning Frank… sounds like John Key’s propensity for brain fades was kicking in again.

  13. Strawberry Paddocks
    20 November 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I bet you’re not the only one feeling that, TMA1! My neighbour says the same thing, voted for Key last year, and never again.

  14. Citizen Gee
    21 November 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Key is delusional.

  15. SK
    23 November 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Feel a Tui’s beer ad coming on….unemployment at 7.3 percent…only thing good would be if he left for his five houses in hawaii

  1. 5 December 2012 at 3:03 pm
  2. 14 July 2013 at 11:03 pm

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