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Post mortem #2: Phil Goff

27 November 2011 78 comments

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Phil Goff – Man of The Hour

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I must admit… When Phil Goff took Labour into the 2011 General Election, I didn’t really give him much credence as a credible alternative to John Key. Due perhaps in part to Key’s popularity with the Masses, and the Key/Media love affair, Phil Goff was simply left in the background, kicking at the sand, waiting for attention.

He seemed… ok. Nothing special in terms of political leadership. Average.

What can I say? I was totally wrong.

Phil Goff led Labour into a battle-royale against one of the most popular governments since David Lange’s administration in the mid/late 1980s. He scored significant debating points against John Key in two out of three Leadership Debates, and toward the end he trounched the National Party leader in the final debate.

John Key wanted to get away from the “Teapot Tapes” saga and focus on issues? Goff agreed, and threw issue after issue at Key.  With the odd exception, Key was left smiling vacantly; looking bored;  or unable to  even make eye-contact with  Goff as the Labour leader fired  issues at the Smile & Wave Kid.

Goff had risen to the challenge, and in my view he did bloody well.

And at his greatest moment; when he made an almost Kennedy-like speech; Goff gave a concession-announcement that I thought was passionate; stirring; and came straight from the man’s soul. Phil Goff loved New Zealand and you could tell from the raw, naked emotion he revealed. He held nothing back.

This man, I thought,  had become a worthy challenger to a National Party Prime Minister who is more about photo-ops than addressing issues; bending the truth when it suits him (or when he’s caught out); and is a fine illustration of how our society values form over substance. Oh yes, we deserve John Key 100%.

In time, we will get over Key’s “smile and wave” persona. Like the children that we are, we will get bored with his vacant optimism and endless promises for a brighter future that is always just around the corner. And we will yearn for something more mature and more meaningful.

I hope Phil Goff is around when that moment comes, because by the gods, we don’t deserve him. Not when Goff gave us a viable alternative to National’s much-disliked policies – and we failed to grasp what was offered.

I hope Phil Goff stays on as Leader of the Labour Party. He shouldn’t have to resign simply because, collectively, we were too thick to connect the populist leader with unpopular policies.

I, for one, will join the Labour Party as a card-carrying member, and will work my butt off to secure a centre-left victory in 2014 – if Phil Goff stays as Leader.

C’mon, Phil. Wadaya say, boss?

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Of bogey men & fear mongering…

20 November 2011 Leave a comment

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I guess it had to happen sooner, rather than later. With the fallout-cloud rapidly dissapating from the Teapot Bomb, Winston Peters has emerged like some political-version of a post-apocalyptic mutant-zombie, resurrected from the graveyard of  dead Parties.

It was perhaps the last thing that the Two Johns were counting on when they met at the Urban Cafe in Epsom, and Banksie started their convo,

“G’day, John!”

“That’s Prime Minister to you, John.”

“Oh! Good-oh, Jo- Prime Minister!”

“Better.”

*click, whrrrr, click*

“D’you here something, John?” asked Banksie.

*Prime ministerial sigh*

“Ackshully, no.”

“Ok. One lump or two, John?”

“One, please, John, and a new ACT leader to go with that, please,” replied the PM.

“Sure, John!”

“Thanks, John.”

“Anything for you, John!”

*click, whrrrr, click*

“Damn, John, there’s that sound, again,” said Banksie.

“Don’t be so paranoid, John. That new Police Surveillance Act hasn’t kicked in yet.”

And so it went.

Paranoia. How easy it is to stir that stinking pot of fear and prejudice, with just a hint of demonisation to add zest to the brew,

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Full Story

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Only a couple of days ago, there was discussion about when National would mount a full-blown attack on Winston Peters, to try to stall his ascendency, and to demolish his chances at re-entering Parliament. National’s great fear is that dis-affected National-leaning voters might see Peters as a credible alternative on Election Day.

National is already polling below 50% in several polls, and there is every likelihood that by Saturday, they will have lost an additional two or three percentage points.

That is all it takes to damage National’s chances of re-election to government – especially if ACT and United Future lose Epsom and Ohariu. And especially if the Maori Party are ‘spooked’ from supporting National again after Paula Bennet hinted last week that a new National-led government might can Whanau Ora – the Maori Party’s version of NZ First’s superannuitant’s “Gold Card”.

… 2 or 3%.

Which means that National’s focus has now been split and are attacking on two fronts; Labour and NZ First. For the Nats, their most crucial target now is Winston Peters.

John Key states,

“”What Winston Peters is saying to New Zealanders is that on every budget, on every issue, there could be a general election.

“How can New Zealand govern itself over the next three years – which is likely to be a volatile period in the world economy – when at any stage the whole government can be brought down by Winston Peters” ” Source

Which is a bizarre, given that every single government elected under MMP has run it’s full three year term. No exceptions.

The same cannot be said of FPP governments, and as recently as 1984, the then-Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, called a snap election before National’s term of office was due to end.

In short, John Key is fear-mongering. He is playing the “Winston Card” – which is kind of ironic, as Peters himself has pandered to similar fears and prejudices in his Treaty-bashing, and Asian immigrant-bashing, speeches and policies.

Oh, Karma, you are indeed a bitch.

I guess it is up to the media to see through this latest tactic from National Party back-room strategists. Those boys in dark suits have no doubt cooked up some fairly McCarthyist stuff.

If the “Teapot Tapes” left a foul taste in our mouths – be prepared for a dose of really foul Winston-bashing.  And the irony of this is that I am no friend of NZ First, it’s leader, or their populist policies – but he does deserve a fair go.

Time for a breather, boys.

Tea’s off.

Coffee, anyone?

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Latest Horizon Poll – Results!!

20 November 2011 8 comments

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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?

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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,

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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,

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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 stuff.co.nz poll that also reflected popular opinion that Goff was more honest/trustworthy than Key,

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Full story

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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,

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

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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.

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Additional

Horizon Poll 20 Nov 2011

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Tea, tapes, & tantrums

18 November 2011 Leave a comment

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To re-cup – er, I mean, to re-cap…

Last Friday, (11 November) John Key met ACT’s Epsom candidate, John Banks for their symbolic “cuppa tea” meeting. It was supposed to send a message to Epsom voters, and to the rest of the country.

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A ‘message’ was sent – but not the  one intended.

It’s been one week since the saga of the “Teapot Tapes” began. During that time, the issue has been a tsunami over the election campaign and has had unintended consequences.

The saga has not helped Labour – polls seem to be clear on this point. In fact, the ruckus appears to have hindered Labour’s strategy to imprint itself on the voter’s psyche as a credible alternative to a government led by a popular politician.

Only Winston Peters – who has a knack for “playing” the media like a violinist with a carefully tuned stradivarius – appears to have benefitted. For him, the “Teapot Tapes” has been a blast of ‘oxygen’ to his struggling campaign. Peters succeeded in ‘mining’ the issue as he tapped into an underlying anger and distrust toward John Key, ACT, and their public machinations in Cafe Urban, last week.

There was no way that a politician like Phil Goff could exploit this latent collective anger. This is territory that could only be covered by a populist politician adept at taking this collective anger and focusing it like a surgeon’s laser. This was firmly Winston Peters Country.

And sure enough, the latest Herald-Digipoll had NZ First at 4.9% – a fraction below  the magical 5% MMP thresh-hold.

Thank you, John Key.

As the saga unfolded, people were taking note of  John Key’s actions, reactions, and behaviour.

On Monday, the first ‘crack’ in John Key’s veneer of  “laid back blokeyness” appeared when he laid a complaint with the police. For a man who was insistant that he was “comfortable” with what was on the tapes – calling in the police and mounting an investigation against four media outlets was hardly consistent with some who was “comfortable” and relaxed.

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His walk-out from his own press conference on Wednesday was the second sign that the pressure was getting to him. For John Key – used to high popularity ratings and a compliant media – this was uncharted territory for him. His walk-out on 16 November was a classic “flight or fight” response to someone stressed and unable to cope.

To memory, no other Prime Minister has ever walked out so abruptly in such circumstances.

The “Teapot Tapes” situation has now moved on from whatever machinations were being plotted by the Two Johns. What we are  now witnessing is how a man  –  fighting for a second term as Prime Minister and hopeful leader of our  country – is coping with a situation that he can no longer control.

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It doesn’t look  good for Key.

Even if the polls are correct and National is still rating highly with voters, the image of a distinctly un-comfortable Prime Minister; rattled by run-away events; and immune to his charm, has been witnessed by the public. The mask has fallen away – albeit briefly – and we’ve seen a  three-dimensional man with a short fuse and limited patience. Certainly not the two dimensional caricature, of an ever-smiling figure, seemingly in a perpetual state of grace that we’ve all been familiar with.

We have seen some of the real man behind the facade.

Just as critically, as I wrote in  It’s official: the media honeymoon is over   Key’s cosy relationship with this country’s media has come to an abrupt halt. The media have now identified John Key as Just Another Politician, and this will prove fatal to the “ordinary bloke”  image Key has cultivated these last three years. From this week onward, he will be treated like every other politician.

It’s like we’ve just discovered that our father, who once upon a time could do no wrong and was infallible, is actually just like other people. It’s a bit of a let-down really.

If National is re-elected to government – by no means a certainty any more – then I wonder if  John Key’s media advisors  have prepared him  that the next three years may be rougher than anything he’s experienced thus far. Ironically, even if the economy improves, his relationship with the press will worsen. The media will no longer be quite so accepting of  his care-free, easy-going manner and style of management.

Like Stephen Sackur’s interview with John Key on BBC’s Hard Talk last May, they will be asking harder questions, and less inclined with his classic “ackshully”  fob-offs. If Key thought that the preceeding week was a bitch – he ain’t seen nothing yet.

This time he will be held to account.

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+++ Updated+++ Footnote

ACT’s need for the photo-op between the Two Johns  is hypocrisy in the extreme.

Not too long ago, ACT’s Rodney Hide rejected any idea of Maori Seats on the new Supercity Auckland Council. According to ACT, Maori were expected to wins seats on the Council on merit alone.

Maori Must Earn Auckland Seats On Merit – By Guest Author Denise Cameron

…There are lots of different ethnic groups with representatives in Parliament, on City Councils and as Mayors – who all got there on merit, not as a gift. Let our people do it the same way. Some individual at the Hikoi said that [having Maori representatives on the new Auckland Council] was our right under the Treaty.Let our bright boys and girls EARN their seats, I say…” – Source

Really? Like ACT is trying to win the seat of Epsom on “merit” alone? With a “political subsidy” from National?

Oh dear. Never mind. ACT will be goneburger the day after 26 November…

… which in itself raises new problems for the Left.  Activists from a dead political party have a habit of colonising other parties and becoming factions within.

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Additional Reading

How bad are National’s internals?

What if the unexpected happens?

Will there be election-night fright for the Nats?

Two’s Company

Tea Pot Tapes: Revenge of the Meme

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It’s official: the media honeymoon is over.

17 November 2011 Leave a comment

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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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Full Story

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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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Source

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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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Full Story

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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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Full Story

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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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Full Story

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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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Latest Horizon Poll – Now Being Conducted!

16 November 2011 2 comments

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The latest Horizon Poll is now being conducted. This blogger was  sent the following questionnaire today, by email, and I responded with the following answers,

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Interesting that there appeared to be no Page 8?

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Joining Horizon as a respondent is free. Click here.

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Other recent issues of interest

The Crafar Farms – Why the delay from the OIO?

Treasury’s verdict on raising the Minimum Wage?

Labour: the Economic Record 2000 – 2008

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What are you hiding, Mr Key?

13 November 2011 6 comments

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It seems that more may have come out of the “cuppa tea” between John Banks and John Key, than we first thought. One of the journalists present inadvertantly recorded something that was not meant for our ears,

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The conversation was inadvertently recorded in Newmarket’s Cafe Urban where Banks and Key had arranged to meet in front of 40 members of the media. The meeting was a platform for Key to symbolically endorse Banks in the Epsom seat. If Banks, who has been trailing National’s Paul Goldsmith in polls, wins the seat, it would give National a much-needed coalition partner. Banks initially told the NZ Herald on Friday he was not concerned about any recording. But when told the Herald on Sunday had a copy, he refused permission for it to be printed.

“I’m not saying yes. I’m not saying no. I think you need to talk to the Prime Minister. It was his cup of tea, he paid for it.”

Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns said the newspaper had sought legal advice and believed it could have gone ahead, but it was an ethical matter for the newspaper. “Neither politician knew they were being recorded and they want to keep that chat private.”

The freelance cameraman who made the recording, whom the paper has agreed not to name, said the recording had been made accidentally after he was stopped by Key’s security staff from recovering the recording device. It transmitted the recording to the camera operator’s equipment but he did not discover until later.

In the eight-minute and 26-second conversation, the pair discuss Act’s future and its leadership, New Zealand First’s electoral chances and the percentage of the vote the National Party would secure.

Labour’s Epsom candidate David Parker said Banks and Key’s actions were “hypocritical” after the pair organised and stage-managed the “cup of tea” scenario to get the public maximum impact.

“They have been hung on their own petard and they should be pressured to disclose what it is that is so distasteful they don’t want the public to hear it.”

Parker said the public did not have a right to all aspects of public figures’ lives but the situation involving Banks and Key was different.

“They manipulated things. Because of a mistake caused by an agent of the Prime Minister not allowing this person to pick up his kit, they are uncovered. What is it that they are hiding?”

Two senior politicians to enjoy the “cup of tea” show of support were Act leader Don Brash and former party leader Rodney Hide. As National Party leader, Brash met United Future leader Peter Dunne in 2005.

Brash said he believed the it would be “unethical” to publish. “I suspect there is nothing terribly sensitive in it.”

Hide, who met Key for coffee during the 2008 election campaign, said, “I’m of the strong view that private conversations should stay private.”

University of Otago political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards said the information should be released. It was increasingly difficult for the public to access real information about politiciansbecause the media was outgunned by political budgets and press officers.

“It is a conversation that would help voters navigate the election campaign. In an election campaign, voters need maximum amounts of information and viewpoints. In the name of democracy, we need this sort of information.”

Right-wing blogger David Farrar also supported release if the recording revealed hypocrisy. “If there is something which is contradicted by what they say publicly, it makes the public interest argument.”

Source: NZ Herald

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One wonders what was recorded that could possibly be so “sensitive” or “embarressing” that neither Key nor Banks want the details to be made public?

What did those two have to say to each other could possibly be so damaging?

And here’s the richness of the irony; both men were the centre of a massive media scrum. John Banks needed Key’s public “nudge, nudge ,wink, wink” endorsement – and Key… well, Key just lives for photo ops. (Though he did give away the faintest impression that this was not his favourite photo-op since he first ventured into Parliament and political life. (There may’ve been a dead rat in his cuppa tea?)

So despite their basking in the media lime-light and public focus – all of a sudden they have both become shy at revealing what was recorded on tape?  From media “sluts” to shy, retiring “wall flowers”?!

Ok, my curiousity is well and truly piqued.

As for John Key’s remark…

I’m of the strong view that private conversations should stay private.

… strikes me as a bit rich, given Paula Bennett’s willingness to release people’s private details to the media, and to the public.

And if, as Brash says…

I suspect there is nothing terribly sensitive in it.”

… why not release the tape/transcript? What does he have to hide?

Considering Brash’s secret dealings with the Exclusive Brethren in 2005, his credibility on such matters is dubious, to put it mildly.

Even right-wing  blogger and National Party apparatchik, David Farrar, smells a rat – of which there seem to be plenty of dead ones around Epsom these days – then something is definitly “rotten in the State of Denmark”, to quote The Bard.

Of course, this cuts both ways.   One day the left may also have to disclose a dodgy conversation to the public.

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+++ Updates +++

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Full Story

Interview with John Key

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John Key states categorically that he will not provide consent to release the tape/transcript of the recording of his conversation with John Banks. He says,

It was deliberately put there and I’m simply not going to reward them with that tape. But I’m not bothered by the contents of it.”

If the Prime Minister’s sole concern is “not rewarding” the Herald-on-Sunday, then he has another simple option: release the tape to another media outlet.

That removes any element of   “reward” for the Herald-on-Sunday, whilst satisfying  the public’s right to know what their elected representatives are up to.

Quite simple really.

Unless, of course, there is more to the contents of that tape than John Key is letting on. And let’s face it – the debacle over the alleged “email” regarding Standard & Poors was our first public indication that the Prime Minister could bend the truth when it suited him.

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More here

The game’s afoot, Watson!

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+++ Updates +++

ACT leader agrees tape secrecy suggests something to hide

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