Posts Tagged ‘Helen Clark’

Helen Clark – reminding Key & Co what’s important

11 August 2013 4 comments


Tackling unemployment would be Clark's priority

Source: Radio NZ –  Tackling unemployment would be Clark’s priority

Listen: Radio NZ – Helen Clark on Sunday Morning


No doubt John Key will make some derisory, dismissive response to Ms Clark’s justified concerns.  He’ll conveniently forget that under Labour, unemployment dropped to record lows;


New Zealand Unemployed Persons 2008 - 2012

Source:  New Zealand Unemployed Persons


new zealand unemployment rate 2002 - 2012

Source: New Zealand Unemployed Rate


Of course, there was the Global Financial Crisis and the resultant recession, but…

  1. That same rationale is not extended to the unemployed, solo-mums, and others, who are painted as wilfull “dole bludgers”, “druggies”/”alcoholics”/”gamblers”, “work shy”, “irresponsible breeders”, etc, by Bennett, Key, and other National  Ministers. For them, the excuse of a global crisis that destroyed millions of jobs doesn’t factor in (see:  World unemployment figures set to rise in 2013, claims UN labour agency).
  2. Aside from the Christchurch re-build National has done very little to implement job creation policies. A buy-NZ for governmenment procurement would help boost employment, instead of sending jobs overseas by buying from low-wage societies.
  3. Job training and upskilling of unemployed has been so poor that workers from overseas are being brought into the country to make up for a skills-shortage.
  4. Even a project such as the dodgy Skycity convention centre appears to have  over-inflated job numbers. (see: Puzzle of Key’s extra casino jobs)

So before Key predictably opens his mouth and blames others for our chronically high unemployment rate, he could do well to ponder these points.

Anyway, when it suits Key, he is only too happy to invoke Ms Clark’s well-deserved reputation as an effective Prime Minister. Note his constant references to the former Prime Minister when it suits him – especially over the GCSB and associated legislation;

“That is just the way things are,” he said. “We live in a global environment where there are real threats, that’s the point we make with the GCSB legislation, it is why Helen Clark passed the legislation in 2003.”


“It is obviously small numbers but there are small numbers of radicalised New Zealanders, who have either gone over into those environments or returned, and I don’t think this is terribly new, I suspect Helen Clark would have signed warrants as well.”

Source: TVNZ – Spy law legislation passes second reading

If Key is finding it chilly right about now, it’s because he is standing in the the shadow of his predecessor. Ms Clark certainly did not repeatedly blame others for her failings.

Something else Key might consider.


key and Woman's Weekly


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 August 2013.



= fs =


Moral justifications in a moral vacuum cannot be heard

6 August 2013 3 comments


A recent TVNZ story,


Spy law legislation passes second reading

Source: TVNZ – Spy law legislation passes second reading


In the same TVNZ story, note the invocation of Helen Clark’s name by John Key;

“That is just the way things are,” he said. “We live in a global environment where there are real threats, that’s the point we make with the GCSB legislation, it is why Helen Clark passed the legislation in 2003.”


“It is obviously small numbers but there are small numbers of radicalised New Zealanders, who have either gone over into those environments or returned, and I don’t think this is terribly new, I suspect Helen Clark would have signed warrants as well.”

Source: IBID

It’s not that Key is trying to shift blame on to Labour – as he usually does when avoiding responsibility for one of his stuff-ups (see: Taking responsibility, National-style, and National’s disdain for taking responsibility). No, this time he is invoking the credibility and mana of his predecessor to justify his own dubious  actions on the scandals and unpopular legislation swirling around him.

Despite a few trivial errors of judgement, Clark left Parliament with her reputation intact; enhanced; and invited to work for the United Nations.

Contrast that to John Key whose reputation for distortion; fudging the truth – and in my opinion, some outright lies – has left his reputation in tatters.

Channelling his predecessor’s name appears to be  Key’s last card to justify an unwarranted extension of governmental power; the growth of the policed surveillance state; and his involvement in illegal spying on a member of parliament and a journalist.

If that is all he’s got left , then he’s heading for rock bottom.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 4 August 2013.



= fs =

That was Then, this is Now #11

Money in the Banks (Part #Toru)






In an interview on Radio NZ’s ‘Checkpoint’, ACT President Chris Simmons confirmed that ACT MP John Banks did ask Kim Dotcom to split a $50,000 donation in two.

Chris Simmon, ACT Party President

Chris Simmon, ACT Party President

He told Radio NZ’s Mary Wilson,

He has given me an indication as to why he made that suggestion – and that was that he initially was going to put in $25,000 of his own money and he figured that other people should be putting in the same sort of numbers.”

See:  ACT president confirms Banks suggested donation be split

This astounding admission contradicts John Banks’ earlier assertions that he had no knowledge of any donation from Dotcom,

If someone says to me, ‘How can I put money into your campaign?’ what would be wrong with telling them that – if that was that case? “

See: Banks sought split donation: Dotcom

John Key must stand down Banks as a Minister, whilst the matter is investigated by Police. In fact, this blogger goes further; there is now sufficient evidence that John Banks has consistently lied on this issue; provided a false campaign donations return; and tried to cover up the donations from both Sky City and Kim Dotcom.

As John Key said to then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, over Winston Peters,

It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask. Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister. Helen Clark has stood Ministers from Labour down for much less.”

Key is now Prime Minister. He should know what to do next.

See:  Banks denies calling Dotcom over donation

As this blogger wrote in a previous blogpiece ( Money in the Banks ,Part #Rua ); again, Dotcom’s claims are confirmed – whilst Banks’ story changes almost daily.


Previous Blog Posts

Money in the Banks

Key on Banks; Staunch, stupid, or stuck?

John Banks – Demented or Slippery as an eel?!

Money in the Banks (Part #Rua)



= fs =

John Key, Minister for Tourism, MIA

20 December 2011 6 comments

John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand.

You wouldn’t believe it – but he’s also Minister for Tourism,




As Prime Minister, he has been an almost omni-present figure on television, radio, internet, print media, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

As Minister for Tourism, though, his presence has been more akin to a human “stealth-politician“. One has to think very, very, very hard to actually recall any achievements that Key has made in his role.

In fact… he has achieved practically nothing.

Even his cherished “baby“, the nationwide cycleway, has not been the outstanding achievement he proudly predicted it would be,

The national cycleway has so far generated just 215 jobs – well short of Prime Minister John Key’s expectation of 4000.

In May, Mr Key said he expected the $50 million project, which involves building 18 cycleways throughout the country, to generate 4000 jobs. ” – Source

It is worthwhile considering that of sixteen tourism-related press releases issued since February 2010 to December of this year, Key’s office was responsible for only eight. The remainder (twelve) came from then-associate Tourism Minister, Jonathan Coleman’s office. Source

And when it came to tourism-related  speeches made on this ministerial portfolio;  four were made by Jonathan Coleman; and three, in total,  were made by John Key  since his victory speech on 8 November 2008.  [1], [2], [3]

Not exactly an over-exertion on Key’s part. In fact, it’s a mediocre performance.

Perhaps the most extraordinary contradiction  of Key’s tenure as Crown minister is that he appears to be Minister of Hawaiian Tourism.

Every year, John Key takes his family – not to a New Zealand destination – but to his  holiday residence on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Personally, I wouldn’t  care a jot if John Key was Minister of Housing or Energy or Mushroom Farming – his choice of holiday destination would be irrelevant.

But Key is Minister of Tourism. His brief is to advocate on behalf of New Zealand and to promote this country as every holidaymakers’ first destination-choice.  As Key himself stated in a speech to the Hotel Industry Conference on  14 May, 2009,

It is a privilege to be New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, to lead tourism in our beautiful country, and to promote our incredible scenery, our fine food and wine, our rich Maori culture, and the 100% pure experience.

Tourism is one of New Zealand’s most interesting industries. It has many different operators and many different customers.

And its success is hugely important for our future. Already, one-in-ten working New Zealanders are employed in the tourism sector. It accounts for around one dollar in every five of our export earnings. And it makes up about 10% of our economy.

We need to keep this in mind, because it shows just how much we stand to gain if our tourism industry keeps lifting its game.” – Source

I can’t see John Key promoting New Zealand from a beach in Hawaii.



It’s not exactly a Vote of Confidence in our own tourist  industry if our own leader takes of to overseas destinations. What signal does that send to others – that a beach on Maui is more desirable than Ninety Mile Beach or the Marlborough Sounds in NZ?

By contrast, his predecessor, Helen Clark, routinely holidayed locally. Her tramping trips into our incredible scenic wilderness – which Key refers to in his comment above – were legendary.

We should remember the excellent Colenso advertising campaign in 1984, which encouraged New Zealanders “Don’t Leave Home Till You’ve Seen The Country“.

If John Key is serious about encouraging tourism to “lift it’s game”,  he definitely needs to  either take the role more seriously – or pass the portfolio on to one of his colleagues.

Preferably one who actually enjoys holidaying in our own country.





Politicians relax with family



The loneliness of Phil Goff



As a Labour party member, the sadness I feel today is tinged with a sense of resignation. John Key is the coolest, untouchable kid in the unforgiving social strata of high school. Anyone who remembers such cliques will understand feeling hopeless and powerless to change playground politics, let alone our country’s politics at a time when brand Key is pervasively popular. In the interest of gracious defeat, let me congratulate Key and National on their conquest.

Last night wasn’t entirely gloomy. New Zealand First’s gallop to 6.8% was like the class nerd scoring with the hottest girl in school.  That Winston Peters and his crew triumphed in spite of concerted media efforts by Duncan Garner, Guyon Espiner, John Campbell, Paul Holmes et al to sideline them makes the victory stunning and sweet.

Another highlight of last night was seeing the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreter working at the Green party’s celebration. It is progressive and heartening to see a political party actively promoting the validity and importance of NZSL, an official language of this country.

Phil Goff – I implore you not to resign, yet I sense the inevitability of you doing so.

In a hostile, biased media environment, populated by media personnel who are reduced to slobbering stupidity in Key’s presence, you never stood a chance. You knew this, so you presumably thought, “What the hell” and you campaigned hard. You’re not a firebrand. What you are is steady, methodical and quietly determined. You have integrity.

Even while your treacherous colleagues sharpened their knives, you persisted.

While the media fawned over Key’s confident, solo fronting of National’s campaign, yet double standardly cast you in the desolate role of man alone, you trundled along.

Last night, your concession speech was gracious and moving. The journalists who lambasted you with cruel, needling questions as soon as you were off the stage should be ashamed. They wouldn’t let you have even a few minutes of dignity. Someone’s concession speech, like yours this time, Helen Clark’s in 2008, or Bill English’s back in 2002, is not a moment for gloating. It is a time to put political allegiances aside and to respect a fellow human’s intrinsic humanity and dignity, to recognise how hard it is to admit that efforts, based on someone’s strongest convictions, have simply not been enough.

Shame on our hectoring, salivating, unseemly media. Shame on your grasping, backstabbing colleagues.

If you resign, I fear that the Labour will scrabble around for another three years with a new leader who the media will maltreat in the same way that they have abused you, out of dribbling sycophancy to Key. No one else could withstand this abuse. That you have come this far speaks volumes about your durability and tenacity. If you leave, Labour will try to reconfigure but will end up in a confused, unpopular scramble of egos and treachery.

Please stay. You did experience a victory of sorts last night, despite being defeated – you came into your own and shook off the ghosts of the past.

If you resign, I will resign my membership of Labour. Suddenly, New Zealand First is looking good.





Latest Horizon Poll – Results!!

20 November 2011 8 comments




The latest Horizon Poll has been released today (20 November) with some expected – and unexpected – results.  Questions canvassed included the following,

The results:

How parties leaders make people feel

Firstly, how did the two main leaders make people feel?



The poll indicates that the preceding week has made people feel angry, nervous and afraid about John Key.

Conversely though, Key makes people feel comfortable, excited, proud.

The results seem contradictory in one sense – but perfectly understandable in another. Key’s “honeymoon” with the  media has ended – and that with the public is waning. He is now more of a political figure, rather than apolitical as some perceived him, and therefore is beginning to polarise voters.

It is when negative feelings toward a leader becomes more entrenched that support for a government will drop away – as happened with the Clark-led Labour government in 2008.

These changes are already becoming apparent,



It’s interesting to note that Goff elicits a growing hope (+8.6%) and pride (+7.4%) whereas people appear less hopeful with Key (-6.7%) and less proud (-4.5%). This would appear to tie in with recent  polls, which also indicate a decline in consumer confidence.

Also of interest is that Key is making people feel more angry (+9.7%), afraid (+8.8%), and nervous (+5.6%) than respondants feel for Goff  (+3.8%, +5.2%, +3.1%).  Issues such as asset sales, cost-of-living increases, high unemployment, and a stubbornly stagnant economy probably play a significant part in such results.

Also, with Key’s brittleness over the “Teapot Tapes”, the public have have their first glance under the “ordinary bloke” facade that Key and his advisors have so carefully cultivated. The man is nowhere as laid back as he makes out. He can get rattled and when things aren’t going his way, he has no hesitation in removing himself from the scene – as evidenced by his recent media conference walkout.

Again, this is reflected by the fact that +1.6 appear more comfortable with Goff – and significantly, people’s comfort level with Key has decreased by -0.5%. Is Key’s “ordinary bloke” facade  developing cracks?

The following poll, though shows a clear difference in how Key and Goff are perecived by the public,



Key is see as more inspiring, knowledgeable, and stronger.

But Goff’s qualities are that he is seen as more moral, trustworthy, and honest. The latter was backed up by a poll that also reflected popular opinion that Goff was more honest/trustworthy than Key,


Full story


Key’s past career in speculative trading in the commercial sector may be a factor in this. With the collapse of dozens of finance companies in New Zealand, owing billions to “mum & dad” investors, and with the global banking crisis sparked by dubious activities on Wall Street,  those who are engaged in speculative commerce, finance, stocks, etc, are now viewed with suspicion and often downright hostility.

An underlying subtext to how people view ‘Brand Key’ is that while people certainly consider him to be more knowledgeable than Goff (and the Christchurch “Press” debate may reinforce that impression) – that Key is less trustworthy for reasons outlined above.

Conversely, Goff is seen as more trustworthy, honest, and moral – perhaps because unlike Key, Phil Goff has not be ‘tainted’ by the smell of Wall St excesses. Goff may be seen as wanting to do the “right thing”, whereas Key is seen as a product of hard-nosed business.

Goff has also been candid in admitting that Labour made serious mistakes over selling state assets in the late 1980s. He has apologised for those grievous errors of judgement – no mean feat for a politician. This underscores his trustworthiness compared to John Key’s, right or wrong, in the eyes of the public.

The Horizon Polling for political parties has yielded the following,


The results comparing those who will “definitely” vote, with those for voters who will “definitely, may or probably” vote.


Noteworthy is the growth of support for NZ First and the fledgling Conservative Party. If accurate, the Conservative Party are within a hair of crossing the 5% thresh-hold.

The Horizon analysis sez this about seat numbers and coalition permutations, based on the above results,

“The results indicate a National-Conservative-Act-Maori Party- United Future grouping would have 59 seats in a 122 seat Parliament. This assumes Act and United Future win Epsom and Ohariu, the Maori party has 4 electorate seats and Mana one.

A Labour-Green group would have 47, and 50 if joined by Mana.


New Zealand First would have 13 seats and the balance of power in the new Parliament.

A National-led coalition would muster 73 votes with New Zealand First support.


A Labour-led coalition would muster 63 votes if supported by New Zealand First and Mana.”

The Horizon Poll also took into account public feelings about the “Teapot Tapes” Affair,

The country is highly polarised over the unauthorised recording of a meeting between the Prime Minister, John Key, and the Act party’s Epsom candidate, John Banks.

53% say that neither Mr Key nor Mr Banks, as parties to the conversation, should authorise the public release of the recording.

46.9% think they should authorise its release, according to a major nationwide HorizonPoll, covering 2,874 adult New Zealanders, conducted between 9 am Wednesday and 5.39am Friday (November 16-18). Weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, personal income, education qualification and party vote 2008, the poll has a maximum margin of error of +/- 1.8%.

54.9% also believe the November 11 recording of the eight minute-long conversation, on a microphone left on a table at a Newmarket café by a member of the media, was deliberate. 15.9% say it was inadvertent while 29.2% are not sure.

Asked if the Herald on Sunday, which had the recording last weekend but decided not to publish, or other news media should publish it now, 49.4% say no, 39.5% yes while 11% are not sure.

The issue was damaging the Prime Minister’s credibility this week.

41.9% think the issue has made him less credible, 6.2% more credible while 47.4% say it makes no difference to his credibility. 39% think it has made Mr Banks less credible, 3.2% more credible.

Among those who voted for National in 2008, 17.7% think the issue has made Mr Key less credible, 12.3% more credible – a net credibility loss of 5.4% among his supporters at the last election.

The issue is also impacting New Zealanders’ views on the credibility of the Herald on Sunday (43.1% think it is less credible, 11.8% more credible);  all news media (38.6% less credible, 9.8% more credible) and the police who are investigating a complaint of authorised interception of the private conversation (12.6% less credible, 8.5% more credible).”

The Horizon Poll there backs up other public feedback where a majority believed John Key’s assertion that the conversation between himself and Banks was a private matter and that there was no requirement for eithrer of the men to release the tapes publicly. Despite this feeling, 41.9% of  respondants believed that the affair left Key looking less credible.

An interesting mix of views, though it coyuld be argued that Key did indeed manage to correctly gauge public opinion on this issue.

However, as point out in my piece Tea, tapes, & tantrums  – the overal effect is that Key’s teflon veneer has been significantly scratched by this incident.

It will be interesting to note if Horizon Polling has been an accurate assessment of public opinion. As people correctly state, the only Poll that counts is the one on Election Day. Horizon will be measured against that final outcome.



Horizon Poll 20 Nov 2011