Key’s diction too much for the State Department

September 4th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Prime Minister has been quoted as telling US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that New Zealand would “welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the US in the next conflicts”.

The comments were posted on the US State Department’s website on Friday last week but went unnoticed until host of TV3 show Media 3, Russell Brown, wrote about the comments on his blog.

According to the transcript, Mr Key said: “New Zealand warmly supports the rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the US in the next conflicts.”

In response, Mr Brown writes: “What the hell sort of thing is that to say when we’ve just buried several New Zealanders, killed in the dying days of a long and ultimately fruitless war at the behest of the US?”

“This isn’t Key saying something feckless off the top of his head, as he sometimes does – someone else wrote, or at least read, that line. I’m surprised it hasn’t been regarded as news, frankly.”

New Zealand journalists alerted Brown to the transcriber’s error on Twitter, revealing the quote was incorrect.

An audio recording of the meeting proves Mr Key did not say New Zealand would back the US “in the next conflicts”. It’s clear – to New Zealand ears, at least – that he is saying “in that context”.

In several places in the transcript, Mr Key’s words are listed as being “inaudible”. “The Prime Minister’s diction appears to have rather defeated the State Department’s transcriber,” writes Mr Brown.

Heh. Just as well someone spotted the error, so if there is some future conflict the US can’t point to it and say “You promised you’d be there” :-)

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24 Responses to “Key’s diction too much for the State Department”

  1. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    I understand he has a meeting lined up with President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Hopefully we don’t accidentally sign up to wage war allied with the Russians as well. That could cause us some problems.

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  2. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    That is hilarious. My American wife and I have all sorts of fun over Nu Zild and Americanisms.

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  3. Lance (2,565 comments) says:

    @iMP
    I was training in Los Angeles once. To correct a pencil error I asked if someone had a rubber…. instant silence in the room until someone hesitantly asked…”why would you need such a thing”? after the confusion was cleared up much laughter followed.

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  4. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    At the risk of being po faced about it, Key’s diction wasn’t the problem. Russell posted the audio, and it’s hard not to suspect someone is going to be getting a please explain note from Foggy Bottom about their bar bill. :) And, somehow, if the positions were reversed I doubt Secretary Clinton would be terribly amused by the suggestion that she should give MFAT a break and learn to speak proper like.

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  5. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Neville Key was probably speaking Maori, his recently learnt language. :D

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  6. Viking2 (11,283 comments) says:

    With our current fawning all over the yanks would we be surprised if he had said that?

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  7. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    The fault is NOT key’s diction but the dimwit transcriber who should have pondered whether the open ended commitment was actually said. Of course it wasn’t.

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  8. louie (92 comments) says:

    The fault is NOT Key’s diction but the dimwit “journalist” who didn’t bother to check his facts of the story because of his bias.

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  9. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    The comments were posted on the US State Department’s website on Friday last week but went unnoticed until host of TV3 show Media 3, Russell Brown, wrote about the comments on his blog.

    Bomber Bradbury was there first. He tweeted the comment last night.

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  10. James Stephenson (2,096 comments) says:

    …and they say the Yanks and the Poms are divided by a common language…

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  11. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    Americans dont get english, like they dont get irony.

    Working in London, we had a seppo over from our head office in New York, she was looking for my boss, a Scot of the tightest wallet variety, notorious for cadging smokes. When she asked where he was, a member of my team, from “Sarf London” informed her he was “outside bumming a fag”.

    The look on her prim face was priceless :)

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  12. Fletch (6,151 comments) says:

    John Key Pronunciation Guides –

    #1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXpuhKwNgv8
    #2 – http://youtu.be/uKtmlN7ILsY
    #3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flizcv-NcOY

    I like the last one on #3 – “Sexuality is sore butt choices”, and
    #2 – “Helen’s sexually an appealing woman” and “we tend to munter beneficiaries”

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  13. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    I’m sure National could somehow spin this to its own benefit…send your kid to a Charter School and avoid having it sound like the PM?

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  14. BeaB (2,084 comments) says:

    What fun for all the Key haters. They all loved Helen’s farmyard growl of course. Anyone who has been to the US knows they find our vowels hard to understand and they can’t be bothered making much of an effort and why should they?
    Typical of Russell Brown to pounce on it without checking. The man is a patronising bore.

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  15. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    It’s an odd situation when people in the US don’t understand our accent when we can understand them without any problem – but they don’t watch much Kiwi TV over there to get used to us.

    I had what felt like a strange experience on a US flight once, the hostess asked me what I’d like to drink. After asking for a ginger ale three times and getting a blank stare in return I gave up and pointed at the bottle.

    But for all my familiarity with American accents, after being on my own in the US for three weeks I was hit by a wave of familiarity when I arrived at a Quantas departure point and was suddenly surrounded by Aussie accents.

    Airports can be surreal empty expanses punctuated by bubbles of national identities. On the same trip I arrived in LA, surrounded by Aus, into a deserted immigration area but was quickly swamped by a 767 of Argentinian followed and soon after by a 747 mass of Korean. All oblivious to my existence so my accent was irrelevant.

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  16. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    It’s good to see that the toxicity of any US-NZ military relationship is constantly being enforced. What the 1980′s put asunder let no man join together again.

    Frankly I don’t know why the likes of Brown and the rest of the left-wing jump with such fright. The circumstances that saw us put troops into Afghanistan involved the largest terrorist attack in history, directly on the USA – and even then the thumbprint of the UN was required before a left-wing PM was willing to engage.

    There is also the disingenuousness of the attack, in that Helen Clark and company (not least including Mr Compassionate Conservative himself and Tony Blair) indulged in all that moral pandering about “nation-building” – the very thing that has led to Afghanistan being such a long and ultimately fruitless war. Small and heavily disparaged were the numbers of people who said we should go in, smash AQ and the Taliban and then get the fuck out.

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  17. MH (693 comments) says:

    Forget his Jewish ancestry, it’s his holiday home in the biggest military base in the USA that worries me.

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  18. BeaB (2,084 comments) says:

    MH As a practised bigot, couldn’t you pack in a few more prejudices?

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  19. MH (693 comments) says:

    it’s more geography than bigotry. The question was asked where we’d go with the USA,the threat from Israel to bomb Iran might test our nerves let alone our beliefs..but I’d hate to prejudge and a low ha to you to.

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  20. Ryan Sproull (7,060 comments) says:

    Both Helen Clark and John Key represent New Zealand in its lazy tongue-falling-asleep-at-the-back-of-the-mouth accent.

    Oh, and me.

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  21. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    John Key has a holiday home in Fort Hood?

    Maybe MH is as ignorant as he is biggoted.

    Maybe hes just a dick.

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  22. Shunda barunda (2,972 comments) says:

    I was told by an American living in NZ that some Americans simply can’t accept that they have an accent, one chap just simply couldn’t even grasp the concept of an American accent at all, “bart thaats hoow we aaall taaulk”.

    Personally, I find the tendency of American females to say “theeeeeaank yeeoooouw” when expressing gratitude extremely annoying.

    Jst tlk priply ya sully yunks!!

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  23. The Peanut Monster (19 comments) says:

    Note the Press Conference though? What a disappointing showing by Key. The one question addressed to him he did not even answer, only chipping in at the end on an issue he was clearly not briefed to answer. If there were any kiwi journos there, then they did not get their word in. Does go to show how much of a small fry we are internationally… well, at least compared to the big bad wolf.

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  24. Fletch (6,151 comments) says:

    Hah, Breakfast played one of the John Key Pronunciation Guides this morning :)

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