NZ Herald interview with Key

A quite fascinating interview with John Key by Audrey Young. Some interesting aspects:

Would you count Helen Clark as a friend now?

Yeah. I don’t think she wants to have barbecues with me but I trust her and my view has been there is such a small group of people that have fundamentally been prime minister, who understand what you go through. And in most mature places in the world – not in some countries where they lock up their former [leaders] – there is a system for saying why wouldn’t we use their expertise for the greater good. You see that in the US system where they’ll be rolling Jimmy Carter out or they’ll be rolling Obama out in years to come. I’ve always just taken the view: why can’t we be a bit more grown-up about it? I’m not competing with Helen for anything. Last time I looked, she’s not coming back to be leader of the Labour Party. I just think New Zealanders would expect me to be a bit more mature about it.

A good way to look at it.

[Bill Clinton] He is the greatest story-teller on the planet. Him and Obama are the two great orators of the world but for completely different reasons. Obama delivers a prepared speech – I can’t think of anyone in the world that does it better. But Clinton never uses notes. He just tells human stories. You feel hopelessly inadequate when you listen to that guy speak. From South Sudan to the Congo, he has been involved. It is incredible.

Clinton off the cuff is quite amazing.

When Clinton was talking yesterday, he was obviously making a reflection on what was happening in the election, he said in life when there are zero sum games, I win and you lose.

That is not the way the world should be and the world should be where there are not zero sum games, where we both can win. His sense at the moment is a lot of Americans think it is zero sum game and they are the person losing. You can go on all you like about the ugliness of the campaigns but there is something happening when, on both sides of the political spectrum, the Bernie Sanders supporters and the Trump supporters feel as though they have been so left out.

Yeah that is very much so. I was chatting to someone from Fonterra about this. Too many people see reducing trade barriers as good for a country only when other countries do it also, when in fact  country gains from reduced protectionism even if other countries don’t reduce barriers. Trade is not a zero sum game where winning is exporting more and losing is importing more.

Are you missing home? You’ve been away a lot.

It’s great when Bronagh’s with me because it’s far more fun travelling with her when I’m away for weeks on end because even when I’m away, then I’m straight back into Wellington, and so I’m away from home. That’s the bit I don’t like. But the kids are so much more grown up. Anyway, we’re the sort of family where we send each other pictures all the time. We send them every five minutes. We got one of the cat eating before.

Eating what?

Its dinner. I really didn’t need that. It’s pretty mundane I’ve got to say.

If it was a rat I’d understand.

No no, it was just its Jellimeat or whatever.


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