O’Sullivan on Key

May 13th, 2012 at 9:55 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes in the Weekend Herald:

has made a strategic decision to burn some political capital and front-foot major Government decisions as he tries to wrest control of the national agenda. It’s a strategy that is bearing fruit.

Finally, the PM is putting a stamp on his Government as he lifts its tempo and gets some serious purchase on major issues.

So far Key is making reasonable headway as he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Cabinet ministers while they unveil pre-Budget announcements on hot issues, such as Paula Bennett’s on welfare reform. …

The Government is very determined to do more than just manage the finances, but also to take hard decisions which will boost economic growth and hence jobs.

It is easy to underplay the impact of the Prime Minister’s cheery influence in keeping New Zealand business sufficiently confident in his Government’s management of the NZ economy so the vast majority of firms stay focused on the medium-term prospects and don’t simply shut up shop and move to Australia.

Political journalists and Beltway denizens don’t see much of this side of Key as, outside of the general election campaign, few venture forth on a consistent basis to watch the PM intersecting with the business community.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard from reasonably politically agnostic business people how impressive the PM is when talking on economic issues at business forums.

The PM’s decision to front-foot the mini-scandals – instead of relying on his press minders to trot out the spin – is also a change from default mode.

He didn’t need the SkyCity convention centre wrangle, or the ACC and John Banks mini-scandals. But Key has more than held his own on television programmes such as Campbell Live or on Radio NZ’s Morning Report against critical news presenters trying to expose chinks in his political spin.

I can’t recall a time when a PM was being interview one on one so often.

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27 Responses to “O’Sullivan on Key”

  1. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Speaking of RNZ, when will the board to the management shut down the cosy “story” relationship between RNZ editors and the union and Labour spin weasels. Of late it’s been a joke although seems to have quietened down last week.

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  2. tvb (4,234 comments) says:

    John Key is a star who is head and shoulders above all his Ministers. But that is how it needs to be. Only he has the overall view of the Government, Ministers only have a small piece. I suspect Key stood back after the election and things drifted a bit. But he has now realized he has to get back to centre stage and take firm control of the Government even if he lets Ministers look after details. I am still skeptical of the quality of some of the staff work from his office especially on managing a political strategy.

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  3. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    Got a do somethin. 53000 Kiwi’s gone to Aussie this last 12 months to be replaced by Adopted Islanders and Indians.

    My once Kiwi neighbour hood is now over run by Indians. God and they are the only ones the know how this happens but from my asking it seems that the male can go back home to India, select a new bride, adopt a new daughter or son and repatriate them to NZ as family. Seems no one at immigration has bothered with this little scam.

    Same applies to Islanders.

    Natuarally cause they are family they are entitled. They get help with finding jobs, something that our young don’t appear too. They get income supports of all kinds. Apparently without any qualification times it seems.
    Of course who pays. Us, the bloody taxpayer who is through assets, business, or whatever can’t just bugger off to Perth like all our contempories.

    Key hasn’t manned up he is just fronting to cover up the lousy useless ministers that he has. What a fuckup McCully is and was always going to be. Paula finaally getting support and traction, Heatley quietly getting stuff done, Banks doing a fat lot in his pants. Collins gone to whereever ex Police Ministers go, (join Banks I suppose, remember those 800 traffic cops, kinda parrallel to crushing cars.), Christopher shafting Kiwi’s from their cash to give to hori’s and allowing the FBI and the Yanks to ransack NZ’s Soverignety.

    Yea lots have changed NOT. All we ever get is excuses.excuses and more excuses.

    How about some cage rattling and getting stuff done, how about getting Govt. the hell out of business peoples lives. How about Govt. get the hell out of Fonterra’s life? After all the noise is coming from the Talley Family ain’t it. They can run meat plants without needing subsidy so they can do the same with their milk plants.
    Fan of the Talley’s but fail to see why they don’t just stand on their own two feet over milk. No reason at all why Fonterra should be behoven to them. Unless of course you want Talleys to eventually own Fonterra.

    How about the Govt. stuffs stuffing students pockets and uses the money oversea’s to produce trading oppourtunities for Kiwi business. If we spent another 100 million there for a few years and made an effort to shift our products then we would be needing Kiwi’s instead of exporting them. and I haven’t even mentioned Mining for Gods sake.

    Air NZwill be buying more and bigger planes for exports. e.g. just increased the number to Perth (exports), and now Hawai today.
    Wake up Key. Boot some arse.

    Bring back Winston.

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  4. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    tvb (2,570) Says:
    May 13th, 2012 at 10:27 am

    John Key is a star who is head and shoulders above all his Ministers. But that is how it needs to be. Only he has the overall view of the Government, Ministers only have a small piece. I suspect Key stood back after the election and things drifted at bit. But he has now realized he has to get back to centre stage and take firm control of the Government even if he lets Ministers look after details.

    Correct, should give up Tourism to someone with the time and probably some other portfolio’s and expend his energy and principles and outward looking forward thinking and booting arse around the Cabinet Table.
    And of course talking to Kiwi’s. :cool:
    Be the Real Leader he can Be.

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  5. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    I’d rather have more hardworking Indians in NZ than some of the feral layabouts that current reside here. Don’t know how to do a decent day’s work, lay about on the benefit, and cry a river about their rights and nasty governments telling them what to do. Please….more Chinamens & Indians ta.

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  6. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    “Bring back Winston….”

    Wash your mouth out. We need Winston like we need herpes.

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  7. tom hunter (4,538 comments) says:

    Political journalists and Beltway denizens don’t see much of this side of Key as, outside of the general election campaign, few venture forth on a consistent basis to watch the PM intersecting with the business community.

    Which is the real “narrative” enforcement mechanism. When lefty journalists claim that they don’t hate business or capitalism they’re probably being sincere, especially since “pure” socialism has failed so obviously.

    But as that passage indicates, most of them treat the private sector in the same way the characters around The Magic Porridge Pot or The Golden Goose treated those objects. They just produce wealth through some strange, unimaginable process akin to magic, and as long as they keep doing it no further real thought need be given. “Real” thought meaning something beyond the usual slogans about the need for higher productivity, better regulation, “incentives”, and so forth. Instead the discussion can focus on all the bun fights over how the money can and should be spent.

    The result is that does allow the government to get away with this

    The Government is very determined to do more than just manage the finances, but also to take hard decisions which will boost economic growth and hence jobs.

    Hard decisions? Like Welfare reform? That is necessary, but all it will (and has) bought is a huge media bunfight that perfectly fits the narrative the left constantly wants to reinforce about the right-wing – “mean”, “nasty”, etc – whilst actually doing very little to positively affect the private sector’s attempts to build wealth. Which then leads to this:

    It is easy to underplay the impact of the Prime Minister’s cheery influence in keeping New Zealand business sufficiently confident in his Government’s management of the NZ economy

    Yes, yes. Wonderful! And when the day comes that John Key is gone, which will appear to be the blink of an eye? What then? It’s very unlikely that another National MP will be able to supply such “confidence” through mere words and understanding. Is the hope that Key’s attitudes towards the private sector will somehow seep into the Labour-Greens by osmosis? If they lost not just the 2014 but 2017 elections that might happen, but even then I doubt it.

    Look at Europe, where even slight changes by right-of-left-of-centre politicians such as Sarkozy – things like pushing the French retirement age from 60 to 62 – resulted in the election of even bigger socialists like Hollande who promptly reverse the policies. That’s the Left’s great victory in the last 80 years; that a change in government means no real change in the true core of our social welfare systems – the great middle-class blob of bribery.

    That is what has to be changed now, and while I do not advocate a Rogernomics style approach the fact is that many of those changes did stick, even through the reign of Helen. What will the legacy of John Key and National in the early 21st century be? It will be nothing but vapour with some temporary budget surpluses (if we’re lucky) unless they begin to make structural changes to how our health, education and business investment culture work – and the method is to make rules that financially empower the choices of large numbers of individuals – choices that the Left can only change by clearly and financially taking away from those individuals.

    In other words: create a situation where the Left is forced into the role of being the “mean”, “nasty” party that takes away people’s choices, that makes their world poorer. Create a culture that is the inverse of what we currently have; where the Right-wing are seen as “taking away” government money from people via budget cuts – to one where people have the money in their hands to make choices in education, health and business investment – and that the Left will have to take away if they wish to pursue their dreams.

    Do that, and it won’t matter if Key goes and National loses power. The government will be made to shrink as the result of a slow, bottom-up empowerment of people – empowered in not having to rely on the state. People will not want to be bribed and will look with disdain upon any politician who offers dependency.

    There’s actually never been a better time for this sort of change to be embedded; across the Western world, government institutions have never been failing as they are now, nor so obviously been seen to do so – and as Europe shows, it will only get worse before such things implode.

    National needs to get ahead of this stuff, and right quick. Small-bore, Bill English-type thinking will not do it.

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  8. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    DPF said…
    The Government is very determined to do more than just manage the finances, but also to take hard decisions which will boost economic growth and hence jobs.

    HOW? The Govt doesn’t create jobs. The private sector does. If by creating wealth & jobs means subsidies & Govt handouts to businesses or some Govt run job schemes (a feel good exercise as to make them look good in appearing to do something) which in reality, then that will not solve the problems because it never last in the long term.

    John Keys’ 2011 dudget documents predicted 36,000 jobs would be created in the year to March 2012, but the data against the Labour Department’s similar prediction showed that it is way over-estimated.

    The only way to create jobs is to slim the Govt and repeal the many laws that have hindered entrepreneurs & businessmen from being able to do what they do best, which is creating wealth? How thick can politicians be, if they don’t see that it is their over-regulation of the economy that is the problem. If they want to create jobs all they do is not to get the hell out of the way and let Adam Smith’s Invisible Hands works its magic.

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  9. KH (692 comments) says:

    Key is truly impressive in interview, speaking and on the front foot with the miniscandals. Runs rings around the likes of Campbell. And my personal experience of him is also very positive.
    Doesn’t mean however that the policy approach is quite correct or effective in the end. The two things are different.
    I do agree with the comment that there has been some ‘burning of political capital’. But perhaps because they had too.

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  10. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    I can’t recall a time when a PM was being interview one on one so often.

    Making up for the first three years of only doing soft soap interviews. Not that there’s a lack of foam these days either. Hosky the Clown still gets his two cents’ worth.

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  11. flipper (3,766 comments) says:

    I wish Ms O”Sullivan et al would remember that Government’s per se cannot create jobs that last. They can, by stealing our money create temporary employment. And talk of R & D and export incentiuves here, there and everywhere is just beltway speak for bullshit.

    That said, the real problem is with the appalling extent of economic literary among those presenting as Journalists” or, as The Whale so eloquently describes them, “repeaters”.

    This morning Telly Tubby Holmes (no doubt driven by his left wing producer, Watkin) allowed red melon Russel (with one L) and idiot pensioner Peters to get away with murder over tax and the exchange rate.

    For the past two years Labour and the red melons have been allowed (by media default) to portray the 2009 tax changes as a benefit for the wealthy.

    As Markhams, Chartered Accountants frequently remind us, the reality is that most people pay little or no tax (many, in fact, receive “tax” credits) and some 70% of all tax is paid by just 10% of all households, while those earning more than $120,000 pa pay 97 % of the total tax paid.

    As for the exchanged rate BS, do we have half a dozen billion $s to spare. Absolute tubbish.

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  12. Ross12 (1,231 comments) says:

    I have always thought that the main problem the Government has is that it is hopless at communication. Obviously “one on one’ Key is very good and as shown on the Cambell interview he can be good in that situation. BUT the Govt. as a whole has to be able to explain its positions in much simpler terms ( the MSM has lowered the comprehension levels so low !!).
    For example –the mining issue a few years back . Why did they not hammer home that they were just intending to do an evaluation of potential sites and then “sit back” and weigh up the cost / benefit. They were not going to tear apart all of the Coromandel.
    Similarly with the Convention Center why don’t they say that it is a business deal to get the Centre for no tax payer funding. Jobs for nothing. Simple.
    Look what came out last night from the Tourist people and the huge benefits from Weta Workshop/ Peter Jackson’s films It looks like they are carrying the tourist guys on their backs. Remember all the BS about changing a few regs in favour of the film guys.
    They should be emphasisng the fact that politics is about compromise and if that is what it takes to gets things happening so be it –the average Kiwi understands that. In fact Key should be pushing the fact that he is about doing or enabling big business deals , something Labour/Greens wouldn’t know anything about because most are career politicians or activists.

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  13. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    Elaycee (2,504) Says:
    May 13th, 2012 at 10:39 am

    “Bring back Winston….”

    Wash your mouth out. We need Winston like we need herpes.

    Of course if you get herpes a. you have done smehting and b. you need to do something else.
    Better than never doing anything.

    I was almost jesting, but not quite. Immigration needs a rethink.

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  14. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    jims_whare (202) Says:
    May 13th, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I’d rather have more hardworking Indians in NZ than some of the feral layabouts that current reside here. Don’t know how to do a decent day’s work, lay about on the benefit, and cry a river about their rights and nasty governments telling them what to do. Please….more Chinamens & Indians ta.

    Go to India then. Live like them.

    I and many others have no trouble getting some of your feral layabouts to work. Sure it takes some time to change attitudes and that’s not surprising.
    It all about leadership.
    Either you have it or you don’t in which case India or Bangladesh might be a good choice for you.
    When you leaving?

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  15. backster (2,106 comments) says:

    Russell NORMAN on Q&A clearly explained how he would solve economic ills by raising the taxes on those over $40,000 {the rich} back to 33 %, installing Capital gains taxes, doubling carbon taxes especially on agriculture, and creating a special tax to rebuild Christchurch.
    WINSTON was largely incoherent,but his main strategy would be to reduce the value of the dollar. I think that might happen without any action on his part if either of them got into power.
    Q&A was itself virtually irrelevant to any sensible discussion on serious political matters today.

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  16. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Key a star..wow..I certainly don’t think so but then I have never been big on immature men..I only know one National supporter in a wide circle of friends and family. Perhaps being in CHCH has something to do with it.

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  17. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    Christchurch you said? That explains everything to the rest of us :lol:

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  18. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    V2: “I was almost jesting, but not quite. Immigration needs a rethink.”

    Thank G*d you were (almost) jesting! Even if immigration does need a rethink, the venal Peters should be kept firmly beyond the sideline. We don’t need his particular brand of bullshit politics on the side of the house that matters – ever!

    And on this occasion, ‘NO’ really means ‘NO’…

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  19. mister nui (1,001 comments) says:

    If this government was serious about creating jobs, wealth and a robust economy, they would do the following;

    1. Make the first $25,000 of earnings tax free and all earnings thereafter taxed at 25%, company tax rate at 25% too. With a long term view of a tax rate of ~18%. All entitlements such as WFF and interest free student loans removed overnight;
    2. Scrap the RMA and open up land for housing and development;
    3. Make all capital plant and equipment purchases 100% deductible.

    But they’re not, Key doesn’t have the gonads or the smart people around him to enact simple policies such as these.

    Imagine the scream from the media when we could make thousands at IRD redundant by simplifying tax policy – yet the media would be too thick to realise that it’s actually cheaper to have that useless lot on the dole, rather than scheming evermore ways to tax the hell out of us.

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  20. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Glad you need everything explained to you. Key won’t be star at the next election even if he is still the leader of the Nats.

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  21. wiseowl (798 comments) says:

    “The Govt does not create jobs” dead right.

    Key is not a business man.He has never run a business.

    I am seeing more and more exporters sailing close to the wind .So much is going on behind the scenes but the stupid left media don’t understand and the stupid Government is standing by while those we need most are going to the wall.

    Winstone is right about one thing.The dollar is overvalued and needs to come down to around US65c before this country can get back on track.

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  22. mister nui (1,001 comments) says:

    Yeah owl, the dollar may be overvalued, but really is it? Is it not just that all our trading partners currencies suck?

    We’re all asking for a stronger economy and any stronger economy is going to drive the value of our $ up, so it’s a catch-22 situation. Businesses need to learn to adjust and compete, yes, that is hard, but we can do it. I’ve done it and it for me it just meant a refocus on where my customers are.

    I rather the government enacts policies that will allow business to get stronger and create jobs, rather than devalue our $ to make business more competitive, as the only true way to devalue the $ is by printing money, and I don’t like the associated problems with that.

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  23. somewhatthoughtful (455 comments) says:

    Viking2, are “islanders and indians” not “Kiwis”? (If this is the case, I don’t consider my self a “kiwi”)

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  24. Paul Marsden (989 comments) says:

    mister nui (708) Says:

    May 13th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Go to the top of the class. Spot on.

    wiseowl (50) Says:

    May 13th, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    “The Govt does not create jobs” dead right.

    Key is not a business man.He has never run a business.

    I am seeing more and more exporters sailing close to the wind .So much is going on behind the scenes but the stupid left media don’t understand and the stupid Government is standing by while those we need most are going to the wall.”

    You can go to the top of the class also, Owl

    I’ve been a manufacturer in a ‘recessionary proof’ industry for 30 odd years and my sales are still down 30 plus %.. Key and his boffins still have no grasp of reality as to how ‘bad’ things really are, at the coal face. We need more income in the consumers pocket to spend or, we’re dead meat. Raising GST in October 2010 (in the middle of a recession) was economic suicide and it showed in my business overnight (literally). Pure madness and I’m still livid about it.

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  25. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    somewhatthoughtful (336) Says:
    May 13th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Viking2, are “islanders and indians” not “Kiwis”? (If this is the case, I don’t consider my self a “kiwi”)

    You become a Kiwi when you become Naturalised as I’m sure you know. You become a Kiwi once you have accepted the need to pay your way and pay the taxes etc demanded by our Govt.
    You don’t become a kiwi by rorting the Immigration Act to get entry to NZ to have your future funded in a way that was not available to you in your home country.
    Paying tax doesn’t necessarily mean you are a Kiwi.

    As it is Mothers Day My sons have been here. Big discussions on the jobs their companies are doing. Having driven Kiwi’s to Aussie the companies are now full of lazy incompetent South Africans et al whose intelligence level is low and whose local knowledge is worse and whose attitude to anything remotely Kiwi is appalling. Unfortunately this involves management of the biggest roading project in NZ by a South Island owned company.
    The prediction is that it won’t be finished on time and will be zillions over budget and its barely a year down a 5 year track. Already local subbies are refusing to work for them.
    Even their JV partner is feed up to the back teeth with the JV’s dominance by them. Lots of arse sitting willy wankers in the office complex making life difficult for them. Lots of badly organised work schedules and lots of bad planning and failure to anticipate the work plans, foolish behavoir by the Saftey Guys banning everyone from one thing or another.
    Obstafusion to the work gangs, failure of product and material supplies to the work gangs, insistence on use of non suitable materials cause its the Aussie Standard, which doesn’t even always apply in Aussie and ignoring the local standards used by the local council who have been here for ever.
    Utterly appalling management.

    And if someone from Fulton Hogan top brass is watching you need to get up to the bay and boot arses and put someone in there that knows what they are doing and knows how to manage a decent project cause at the rate its going you are going to lose your shirts or fleece the taxpayer.
    That’s a blunt assessment of the job FWIW.

    To Mr Joyce, don’t be fooled by the bullshit that FH chuck around when yopu visit for your PR trips. All is not well nor as it seems.

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  26. Ross12 (1,231 comments) says:

    Flipper — given the comments by backster after yours maybe Holmes was giving Norman and Winston enough “rope to hang themsleves” but I doubt it. Your are probably right.

    Backster’s reporting of Norman’s ideas are interesting –Norman is confirming what many of us have thought and said –the ETS is just another form of tax collection and has very little to do with the environment ,in reality ( even if Nick Smith tried to convince us the Govt. got nothing out of it). Norman is a hypocrite –on the one hand he doesn’t want foreign ownership of NZ assets as it leads to money going offshore in the form of dividents but he is happy to push the ETS where for example, the Havard investment fund through its forestry interests happily collected $300 mill last year, largely courtesy of our power bills.

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  27. adze (1,942 comments) says:

    somewhatthoughtful, I wonder if the erstwhile Miss World Fiji considers herself a Fijian at the moment…

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