The PM should not talk on where he wants the currency

September 30th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The New Zealand dollar has slumped US1 cent after the Reserve Bank revealed a currency intervention of more than half a billion dollars during August.

But the Prime Minister says the currency remains far above ‘‘Goldilocks’’ fair value level of about US65 cents.

The kiwi dropped from US78.3c to US77.3c late this afternoon after new figures were released showing the Reserve Bank sold $521m of its New Zealand dollar holdings in August, a massive jump from July when it sold only $2m.

Economists said the central bank had put its money where its mouth was. The Reserve Bank was ‘‘shorting’’ the dollar when it was high and when it was expected to fall and would be happy with the latest fall, economists said. The scale of the intervention was seen as ‘‘material’’ and involved the most selling of the New Zealand dollar since 2007.

However, while the currency has fallen heavily this month, down more than US6c, it only dropped about US2c during August when the central bank was actually selling.

The kiwi had already fallen earlier today after Prime Minister John Key, a former currency trader, said the dollar was too high and the “Goldilocks” level (not too high or too low) would be about US65c.

“I happen to actually support the view that the Governor has that the exchange rate is over valued, so if they have intervened, it would be a matter for them, but it would seem fairly logical,” Key told reporters this afternoon.

I don’t think the PM should comment (even if in support) on decisions of the Reserve Bank Governor. I tweeted:

I would prefer if the Prime Minister did not think aloud about what the Reserve Bank should do.

Matt Nolan at TVHE blogs:

Given their standing and thereby ability to seemingly signal intervention in markets, the prime minister and finance minister really need to keep quiet about policy where there is an independent body involved – as it both creates volatility and indicates that such things are a more political issue.  I was pissed off when Cullen did this, pissed off when Key has done it in the past, and I’m pissed off hearing it now.  I don’t care if someone asked the frikken question, part of central bank independence is having fiscal authorities show a bit of discipline with their comments.

It is a bad precedent. We are lucky we have had strong Governors who can stand up to the Executive (as happened with LVRs), but we may not always have such people in the future.

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Key’s open letter

September 30th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

John Key writes in the NZ Herald:

An election is when people vote for a particular party; however the elected Government should work in the interests of every New Zealander and it is my intention to do so.

There will be times when people will disagree with decisions we make, but that is true of core supporters as well.

Over the past six years we have been transparent and straightforward about our decisions and the direction we have taken.

Although we are likely to have an outright majority in Parliament, that won’t change. We’ll continue to do what we said we would do, and will not embark on any agenda we have not campaigned on. We have been, and will remain, a centre-right Government.

In other words National will implement the policies it campaigned on.

Now we are reaching out to other political parties to form a bigger buffer than the one-seat majority from election night. This will give the Government depth and breadth.

John Key is pretty much the only Prime Minister who has ever offered confidence and supply agreements to parties, when they are not needed to govern.

Once we successfully negotiate the Confidence and Supply agreements, I will look at forming a new Cabinet. There are two vacant spots in the existing Cabinet, which gives us room to bring in new talent, and in some cases it makes sense to change portfolios around.

Although the core economic team of Bill English in Finance and Steven Joyce in Economic Development won’t change, there are options for Ministers looking for new challenges.

I hope there are some substantive changes. Renewal is a good thing.

Welfare reform will continue to be a priority, as will health. One of our first targets will be to see hospice funding increased to 70 per cent, and we will also speed up the cancer treatment process so 90 per cent of sufferers receive treatment within 62 days of their first referral.

What an awful uncaring government.

One of the messages we picked up on the campaign trail was that New Zealanders want us to do more for the most vulnerable children in our society. We will continue to try to move people from welfare-based homes to work-based homes, however we acknowledge there is potentially more we can do and we will be looking at ways to do that.

Almost every social indicator we know of says kids raised in families where at least one parent is working do better.

We want to finalise our tax-cut programme and implement modest cuts for low and middle income New Zealanders from 2017.

Good. 2016 would be even better than 2017.

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It’s time to get angry

September 16th, 2014 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

For months and even years we have given Kim Dotcom a slight benefit of the doubt. He claimed back in 2012 that he had evidence John Key knew about him before 19 January 2012. He said he would produce this evidence in court.

He never ever did.

But he kept insisting he had the evidence. Many got sceptical when he offered a $5 million reward for the evidence he claimed he already had, but he kept insisting he would reveal his evidence, and he then got specific – that he would reveal it at a public meeting on the 15th of September.  Most of us thought the evidence would be ambiguous at best, or inconsequential – but thought he would at least have something.

But it seems he had nothing at all. The claimed e-mail is so obviously a fake (see Danyl McLauchlan), that he didn’t even present it at the meeting. His fellow speakers probably insisted he not mention it, as he could not assure them that it was genuine. He has not provided any evidence at all to authenticate it, and the excuse that they can’t discuss it any more because Hone Harawira has referred it to the Privileges Committee is a pathetic ploy. As this circular makes clear, there is no Privileges Committee for it to be refereed to. The House has been dissolved. Hone’s abysmal knowledge of parliamentary rules is on display once again.

Kim Dotcom has trued to hijack our democracy and we should be angry about this. He is both a convicted criminal, and someone facing serious charges in the United States. His political involvement is not motivated by concern for New Zealand and New Zealanders. His motivation is purely about what is good for himself, and he has spent millions of dollars trying to subvert our democracy and country as if it is his plaything.

I’m angry about this, and you should be also.

The one thing Dotcom wants more than anything else is to change the Government. Any change of government will be his most prized possession, and the party he controls will be propping up a left wing Government. Don’t let this man buy and subvert our democracy. He had his chance to show he is not a charlatan, and he failed.

The parties of the left have all paid homage to him. One party sold out lock stock and barrel. They have sold him their party list and policies. Others had their MPs all travel up to his mansion to pay homage to him. Unlike almost every other citizen who has to travel to an MPs office to meet an MP, Dotcom has had Labour, Green and NZ First MPs beat a path to his mansion. The one thing that united them was hatred of John Key, and they wanted in on the alleged proof that Key had lied. They got played also – but they were warned.

If you don’t want future elections to have criminal multimillionaires buy off political parties, and use a general election as a tool to undermine judicial extradition hearings, then get angry and vote. And talk to your friends and colleagues and urge them to vote against Dotcom. New Zealanders should have been having a final week debating the economy, the health system, the education system, jobs, incomes, welfare, housing and the like. But Dotcom’s media manipulation has tried to make it all about him. Hell his rambling speech last night was almost an advertisement for his new Mega company at times.

Yes some of the stuff alleged by Snowden is of public interest, but Snowden, Assange and Greenwald make a conscious decision to throw their lots in with Dotcom and appear at a campaign event for the Internet Mana Party five days before the election. If they had laid out their allegations at an earlier date in a forum not organised by Dotcom, then their allegations would be getting the scrutiny they deserve. The worst possible time to have a sensible analysis and discussion on this is in the dying days of the campaign – and especially at a partisan event organised by a criminal facing extradition proceedings.

Personally I think Snowden and Greenwald are not correct, as they are working on incomplete documents. The former GCSB Director, Sir Bruce Ferguson, said on Campbell Live:

“This is an occasion where I have to say quite forcefully and categorically to support the Prime Minister’s utterances of the last few days – mass surveillance, particularly by the GCSB most certainly didn’t happen in my time or in any time before that,” says Sir Ferguson.

Ferguson is no fan of the PM. He has been very critical of him, so when he backs the PM, that says something. Southern Cross Cable has also said the claims are nonsense.

Dotcom has tried to buy himself an election result. He claimed for around two years he had evidence that John Key lied. He said it to a parliamentary committee. He said it to the media dozens of times. He tweeted it.  The media reported his claims in good faith. He has had more air time and columns that possibly any other minor party leader (which he effectively is, just barred from holding the job officially as he is not a citizen). And he has totally failed to substantiate his claims. He couldn’t even answer the most basic question about the alleged e-mail. Instead he attacked the media for not being compliant enough.

Get angry and stay angry. Do not give Dotcom what he wants. Make sure you vote. Encourage others to vote. His two year campaign of hatred against John Key has been built on a tissue of lies, and he should not be rewarded for it.

UPDATE: In relation to the alleged e-mail, a reader has pointed out to me that the alleged e-mail looks identical to what you would get if you typed the text up in Notepad!!!

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PM on surveillance claims

September 15th, 2014 at 5:55 pm by David Farrar

John Key has done a release stating:

Prime Minister John Key tonight corrected misinformation that has been put in the public domain concerning the operations of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

“Claims have been made tonight that are simply wrong and that is because they are based on incomplete information,” Mr Key says.

“There is not, and never has been, a cable access surveillance programme operating in New Zealand.

“There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB.

“Regarding XKEYSCORE, we don’t discuss the specific programmes the GCSB may, or may not use, but the GCSB does not collect mass metadata on New Zealanders, therefore it is clearly not contributing such data to anything or anyone,” Mr Key says.

“I am setting the record straight tonight because I believe New Zealanders deserve better than getting half of a story, embellished for dramatic effect and political gain, and based on incomplete information.

“The GCSB undertakes cyber security operations to protect individual public and private sector entities from the increasing threat of cyber-attack and this is very important work.

“It does not, however, remotely resemble what has been claimed,” Mr Key says.

The GCSB’s cyber security operations occur within its legal framework and only when the following conditions are met: 

  • Each entity must provide individual legal consent to be protected by the GCSB;
  • The independent Commissioner of Security Warrants must be satisfied each individual case is within the law, and a legal warrant must be co-signed by the Prime Minister and the Commissioner;
  • Warrants are subject to a two-step process, as outlined by the Prime Minister when legislation was passed last year. A warrant is required for high level cyber protection for an individual entity, and the content of a New Zealander’s communications cannot be looked at by a GCSB employee unless a specific cyber threat is identified which relates to that communication. If that is the case, the GCSB must return to the Prime Minister and the Commissioner to make the case for a second warrant in order to access that communication.

In addition to this, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security has substantially stronger powers to monitor the GCSB’s activities and ensure they are appropriate and within the law.

“Our cyber security programme began operating this year after a lengthy process of assessing options for protection,” Mr Key says.

“The process began in late 2011 when the GCSB made it clear to me that cyber-attacks were a growing threat to our country’s data and intellectual property and the Government needed to invest in addressing that.

“The Bureau assessed a variety of options for protection and presented an initial range to Cabinet for consideration in 2012.

“These options ranged from the highest possible form of protection to a much weaker form of security, with some in between.

“The Cabinet initially expressed an interest in GCSB developing a future business case for the strongest form of protection for our public and private sectors, but it later revoked that decision and opted for what we have now – something known as Cortex.

“The business case for the highest form of protection was never completed or presented to Cabinet and never approved. Put simply, it never happened,” Mr Key says.

The Prime Minister tonight also released declassified material, including a Cabinet minute to show what occurred.

“I can assure New Zealanders that there is not, and never has been, mass surveillance by the GCSB.

“In stark contrast, the Bureau actually operates a sound, individually-based form of cyber protection only to entities which legally consent to it,” Mr Key says.

The attachments are below.

1 2 3 4

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The Dotcom e-mail

September 15th, 2014 at 3:32 pm by David Farrar

The Herald has published the e-mail that Kim Dotcom claims proves John Key was part of a global conspiracy about him.

Warners have said it is a fake, and there was no private meeting and no e-mail.

The onus has to be on Dotcom to substantiate the e-mail, and prove it is real.

I recall that he has claimed to have had proof for several years now. Yet earlier this year he offered $5 million for information proving the conspiracy. Why would he offer $5 million of he had proof? And if this is what he got for his $5 million, he may need to get a refund.

I think both of Dotcom’s big reveals are poised to become fizzers. They will help his party get votes and publicity of other left wing parties, but I don’t see them leading to any centre-right voters, swapping over. If anything, it may incentivise right voters more.

 

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Key and Cunliffe on Q+A

September 14th, 2014 at 1:41 pm by David Farrar

I thought the two leaders on Q+A was a real contrast. If you didn’t watch it live, you can watch online. John Key is here and David Cunliffe here. Have a watch, and comment what you think.

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Waa waa waa says Internet Mana

September 14th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

TVNZ reports:

The Internet-Mana Party says the Prime Minister’s reported intention to release documents showing spy officials may have considered mass surveillance is an abuse of his authority.

Waa, waa, waa.

They are seriously claiming that the PM should not release documents which prove their bombshell is a fizzer. What  planet are they on?

ONE News understands John Key will release documents showing spy officials may have considered mass surveillance but the proposal never went ahead.

How dare John Key reveal the truth. He must be impeached.

In a joint statement, Mr Harawira and Ms Harre say the reported intention of the Prime Minister “to arrange the selective declassification and release of documents for his own political purposes” represents an abuse of the Prime Minister’s authority in his capacity as the Minister in charge of the GCSB and the SIS.

Seriously, these people have lost their marbles. They think it is okay to release stolen classifed documents as part of their election campaign, but it is not okay for the Prime Minister to declassify a document in response, to show they are wrong.

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Some lyrics from the Kill the PM song

August 27th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I think there is a huge difference between song that have general lyrics about violence, sex and the like – and a song that explicitly expresses a desire to kill a specific person, and to have sex with a specific person. The first is art. The second is creepy.

Here’s some lyrics from the song by @peace.

That’s why I’m going to kill the Prime Minister. I’m going to kill the Prime Minister, because we are down and suffering and the motherfucker ain’t doing nothing. Going to kill the Prime Minister.

One of these days I’m going to fuck your daughter. This poor boy going to make his seed, going to wake up in your girl – well hello Miss Key.

This is beyond creepy. And the creep isn’t one bit remorseful. He has no idea what the impact might be on Steffi Key to hear there is a song about how he wants to fuck her. He thinks that because he doesn’t like the politics of her father, he can target her in a song like this.

There should be consequences for such vile behaviour.

John Armstrong notes:

By yesterday afternoon, @Peace appeared to have realised it had made a rather big mistake. It posted on Facebook, saying the song had been written with the purpose of getting young voters to enrol. Anyone who has listened to the song will know that is an untruth of huge proportions. The lyrics have nothing to do with enrolling to vote. 

What is ironic is that the left leaning Rock Enrol wanted to use Homebrew at concerts to promote voting. I’d say a song implying rape of a young woman will not encourage young people to vote, but just absolutely turn them off politics.

Simon Sweetman also notes:

The band @Peace really screwed up. You only have to click on that Wiki link to see how they’re going to be remembered. They released a song threatening to kill John Key – and then went into a swift panic, explaining that it was really all about mobilising young voters. The rallying cry included reference to sleeping with Key’s daughter. It wasn’t (quite) a statement of rape – but it’s a blunt and nasty use of the term, it’s a leading statement – “one of these days I’m going to f*** your daughter”. It could be very easily construed as a threat, an act of violence.

The sad thing is this was predictable. Tom Scott, formerly of Homebrew, has spent years spewing vile and hatred at John Key. He has rarely been called out for this. In fact one Labour MP raved how much she loves his music. So is it any surprise when he takes his hatred and bile from one level, and ramps it up slightly more so that he moves into glorifying violence against those those politics he disagrees with. Why does he get more extreme? Because he suffers no consequences for his behaviour. NZ on Air carry on giving him taxpayers money (which is ironic as his song is all about how he gets nothing from the Government!).

UPDATE: Psycho Milt at No Minister spells it out for those who think it is just a song:

If you’re thinking he didn’t say he was going to rape her, you’re missing the point.  Here’s the rape culture involved:

1. The most obviously rapey bit is that whatever interest or distinct lack of interest Stephanie Key might have in letting this ambulatory excrement within touching distance of her apparently isn’t relevant from his point of view.

2.  The less obvious, but far worse, rapey bit is the matter of why this turd-on-legs wants to fuck Stephanie Key – not because of her appearance, her personality or any of the other, mundane, trivial reasons two people might fuck.  No, the reason he wants to fuck her is he thinks squirting semen in her would be a suitable gesture of contempt for her father.  That’s rape culture right there, folks. Attitudes to sex and to women don’t get much more poisonous than this – quite an achievement for a self-proclaimed Green voter…

Can’t have put it better nyself.

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Key Derangement Syndrome continues

August 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

John Key has been the most centrist moderate National Prime Minister in the history of the National Party. While he has implemented a centre-right agenda, it has been more center than right.

Take the current policy offerings. The big news in the Budget was free healthcare for under 13s. The big news in the policy launch was taxpayer funded grants for aspiring home owners. Also National is going into the election saying there will be no further partial (or full) asset sales, and National is not even promising tax cuts.

Yes there are differences to Labour. Labour will try and nationalise a few industries, and give unions heaps more power. But the point I am making is that the policies of John Key are not hard right, not extreme. He is not a Thatcher or Richardson.

Which makes the hatred and hysteria against him from some on the left so inexplicable. They chant FU Key. They burn him in effigy. They plaster anti-Semitic slogans on his billboards and now they even have a song about killing him, and even worse having sex with daughter. This is a level of hatred that I have not seen before.

And why all the hatred? Because he gave free healthcare to under 13s? Grants for home buyers? The hatred can not rationally be linked to the fairly moderate policies he has pursued. My conclusion is that it is just because he is from the wrong party, and he is blocking their preferred people from power.

Stuff reports:

An Auckland hip-hop crew have released a song with lyrics that threaten to kill Prime Minister John Key and have sex with his daughter.

Kill The PM, by @peace, depicts a golfing, luxury car-driving Key, and says he should die – “ain’t doin’ nothin’ so I’m gonna kill the prime minister”.

It continues: “I been tryin’ to get a job but they got none/so I instead I got a sawnoff shotgun/and ‘pop’.”

The crew is fronted by Tom Scott, formerly of Homebrew, along with Lui Tuiasau, Christoph “El Truento” James and Hayden “Dick Dastardly” Dick.

In the leadup to the 2011 election, Homebrew released a track attacking tax cuts for the rich and a low minimum wage.

The latest offering also refers to having sex with Key’s daughter, Stephanie.

I recall one female Labour MP saying how much she adores Homebrew. This was when they put out anti Key songs and calling him a c**t. Now that one of the band members (now independent) has moved on from hatred to actual encouraging violence, will anyone from Labour condemn them?

And to include Key’s daughter in the song is beyond vile.

Kill the PM, which is available for download, is also being hosted on Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom’s file-sharing site Mega.

Last month, Dotcom encouraged a crowd at Internet’s “party party” in Wellington to chant: “F… John Key.”

@peace received $6000 in funding from NZ On Air last month to make a music video for their track Gravity.

So wonderful that our taxes go on supporting this band.

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Key unplugged

August 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett goes out with Bronagh and John Key:

We go along the edge of the rose gardens and across the road to Rosie cafe. There is a fish and chip shop nearby but Key says he rarely visits. “Body’s a temple. Write that down.”

At Rosie they place him on the corner where he can be easily seen from outside. He’s good advertising. The Keys are clearly regulars. Key asks a waitress about her upcoming wedding and advises on dates. “Go for October. Snare him early.”

Heh.

Key still does his physical training drills, assisted by the boys, at 5.40 several mornings a week. He’s doing a bit of boxing, flailing at a punching bag. He won’t say who he imagines when he’s punching it. 

The boys are his DPS guards.

But Bronagh can get her own back. After Key insists his body is a temple for the fifth time, she says “more like a warehouse”. He laughs and says, “There’s a reason she’s restricted to 600 words a day.”

She also reveals what is possibly the real reason the Max versus Key snr golf game idea was rejected. “Max can whip him. The beautiful thing is Max doesn’t really practise.” Key is highly competitive and doesn’t like to lose. In an attempt to regain ascendancy, he has a putting lesson lined up for the next day.

Key is meant to be a 15 handicap, so Max must be pretty damn good.

It turns out Bronagh also has quite the sense of humour. She mimics a teacher they had at school dubbed “Screaming Skull”.

The mimic emerges again when talking about Key’s handyman abilities. Key’s mother warned her he was useless at DIY. She puts on the late Ruth Key’s Austrian accent: “John is USELESS at fixing things round the house,” she says. “He’s going to have to do a good job because he’s going to have to pay someone else to do everything.”

Again heh.

When I ask Key later who gets which half of the cappuccino, he replies, “I won’t answer that on the basis your headline will be ‘Key likes a bit of fluff’.”

I love his sense of humour.

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Be careful what you ask!

August 14th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Dan Carter did a Q+A session on Twitter. The Internet Party asked him who he was voting for, perhaps not expecting the answer.

 

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An ugly campaign

August 12th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

You know we may be in for the ugliest election campaign ever when it starts with an effigy of the prime minister being burnt, claims of racism and nasty name-Mr Gibson says calling.

We had all three in less than 24 hours after the first big campaign launches at the weekend.

Winston Peters’ “two wongs don’t make a white” statement takes him back to familiar territory – he has banged the anti-Asian drum at more than one election.

But this had a nastier edge.

Recent displays of crowds chanting “f… John Key” and his effigy being burnt could either be put down to youthful hijinks or something more sinister. The prime minister is in no doubt which interpretation he puts on it.

But the ugly rant by Labour candidate Steve Gibson was the worst possible side of politics and took the debate to a fresh low.

Among other things he called Key a “shonky jonkey Shylock”, an anti-semitic term.

Gibson apologised yesterday but the damage had been done.

I can’t recall another election which has been so nasty and personal.

Mr Gibson says he was unaware of the racial overtones of the term “Shylock”.  I find that very very difficult to believe.

The Herald reports:

Mr Gibson’s move comes as some of National’s campaign billboards have been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Mr Key said he was open about his Jewish heritage but his bigger concern was for the Jewish community.

“They’re a good hard-working group of New Zealanders and I don’t think people should be attacked on religious belief, whether they’re Islamic, Christian or Jewish.”

As for Mr Gibson’s comments, “it’s hardly ‘Vote Positive’, but again, we’ll be letting that go through to the keeper as well”.

Vote Positive – Yeah Right.

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The circus gets bigger

August 11th, 2014 at 4:45 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Organisers of a political event in rural Auckland tonight have relented and agreed to let veteran political activist Penny Bright speak after she threatened legal action if she was refused. …

Tonight the prime minister is due to stand alongside the likes of Laila Harre and Hone Harawira in the Kumeu Baptist Church for a chance for locals to meet candidates in the Helensville and Te Tai Tokerau electorates.

I’m wondering if there is another country around where the PM agrees to do a public meeting with the leaders of two parties on 2% between them and someone who got around 0.1% last time they stood?  I’m trying to imagine Tony Blair doing a public meeting with Nick Griffin as the equivalent.

He’s basically appearing with bad, mad and sad. You can assign each as you see fit :-)

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A third anti-semitic defacement

August 11th, 2014 at 11:32 am by David Farrar

New Lynn Jew Hoarding

This one is from new Lynn. That is three different anti-semitic vandalism in three different electorates. I can’t imagine this is happening without co-ordination. In 2008 and 2011, I can’t recall any vandalism of this nature.

What is so offensive isn’t that they are targeting the PM, but the message being sent out to the many Jewish New Zealanders, that their race and religion is not acceptable. We’re one of the most tolerant societies on Earth, but there’s a few nasty creatures lurking around. I suspect it is the National Front, or their associates.

Race based hatred is vile.

UPDATE: And this just in from the West Coast:

10602579_10153104058443327_155839971_n

I’m not sure if this one is anti-Semitic, or just Godwin’s Law. But either way, rather offensive – especially to those who lived through WWII.

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Another one – this time in Mt Albert

August 10th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Jew Vandal

I find this very disturbing. Now that people deface John Key’s billboards. But this is the second one that has painted anti Jewish signs on one of his billboards, and in this case a swastika.

Hatred based on someone’s race is very very ugly.

Key is not Jewish, in the religious sense. Yes he has Jewish bloodline through his mother, but he is not religious.

It is disturbing that we have people in our community who hate Jews so much, they feel the need to do vandalism like this.

I hope those responsible get caught the next time they do.

jknf2 jknf

A reader sent the above in. The National Front could well be behind the other graffiti. I can’t imagine too many people think swastikas are cool.

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Have I got this right?

August 7th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Prime Minister John Key doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with referring to Kim Dotcom as Internet Party leader Laila Harre’s “sugar daddy”.

Mr Key made the comments on RadioLive todya and Ms Harre told the same radio station she found them deeply offensive.

Asked later if he stood by them, Mr Key said he did.

“I think it’s totally accurate,” he told reporters. “He funds her.”

Mr Key denied the comments were offensive or sexist and said he would say the same thing about Mana leader Hone Harawira.

“I think she is literally being funded by Kim Dotcom … if he wasn’t putting up the money, she wouldn’t be there,” Mr Key said.

Laila has openly said she abandoned the Greens for Dotcom, because of the resources he offered. The Greens were not paying her $150,000 a year, as Dotcom is.

But I love their thought patterns. It is outrageous for the PM to call Dotcom a Sugar Daddy, but it is fine for Dotcom to lead a crowd in chanting “Fuck John Key” and then be so proud of that, to stick it on You Tube as an official party ad.

Lying Jew

 

If you want offensive, than the above qualifies I would say. Probably inspired by the person who leads the crowd chanting “Fuck John Key” and alleges he is a stooge for Hollywood.

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Pretty good

August 4th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Planet Key from Propeller Motion on Vimeo.

Pretty well done parody video and song of John Key.

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Jonah backs Key

August 2nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

He’s famous for wearing black, but don’t be surprised to see Jonah Lomu wearing National blue.

The rugby legend has endorsed Prime Minister John Key on Twitter.

“Great to have a Leader that leads proud to be Kiwi @johnkeypm,” Lomu tweeted to his 46,000 followers yesterday.

The backing was promptly re-tweeted from Key’s account to its 113,000 followers, with the National leader also tweeting: “Thanks for your support @JONAHTALILOMU. #AllBlackLegend #TeamKey.”

As expected, a few people are spewing about this. How dare a Pacific Islander endorse John Key!

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Cunliffe on Key and Cunliffe

July 8th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Compare his and Key’s training and Cunliffe says there is a significant difference in their ideals despite similar boyhood backgrounds.

“There is a clear difference in the way that we think based on our professional training. He’s spent most of his life as a trader, which is by definition taking a series of bets on short-term positions, whereas my training at BCG [Boston Consulting Group] was in strategy … working back from your desired future to what you do tomorrow to try to get you on the best path.

One may nor may not agree with how Cunliffe positions himself and Key – one short-term and the other strategic. But let’s assume they’re correct.

Key is a chief executive type Prime Minister. He certainly does have a direction he pushes the country in, but his focus is in dealing with the multitude of problems that arise every week and month, and finding solutions to them. And to a degree, a lot of government is about trying to fix problems.

Cunliffe says he would be more focused on a strategy for NZ as a whole. That could well be true. But I’m sceptical of how well a country reacts to a top down strategy.

The reality is we are a small player in the world, and much of what happens in NZ is the result of forces well beyond our control. Also a country is not a company. The PM can’t decide for every single business what they should be doing. Hundreds of thousands of business owners and managers will be making those decisions for their own companies.

Now a Government can come in and say we have a strategy for NZ. It can be the Greens saying we’ll invest billions into a global renewable energy industry. It can be Labour saying they want forestry and dairy to sell more high value products than raw products.

But are Governments the best people to decide? We sell what people are willing to buy off us. I have a fair degree of faith that if there was money to be made in selling windfarm technology to the world, or finished wood products, rather than logs, then there would be dozens of Kiwi companies doing just that.

So as someone sceptical of the power of Government, I don’t see it as a bad thing to have a Prime Minister who isn’t trying to force his strategic vision on NZ businesses – but instead focus on removing roadblocks as they emerge.

If people really convinced they have the right strategy for NZ businesses, then I’d rather they go and set one up themselves, rather than try to impose a strategy on other businesses.

Also Rodney Hide points out a key ingredient of being a trader:

 

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Key on euthanasia

July 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key has signalled possible loosening of euthanasia laws, saying he would sympathise with “speeding up of the process” of death for a terminally ill patient.

He told Family First director Bob McCoskrie in a public interview at a forum in Auckland yesterday that euthanasia would be “a legitimate thing” to speed up death for a terminally ill patient who was in pain.

But he said he would not vote for a bill proposed by Labour MP Maryan Street that would allow any adult suffering from a condition likely to cause their death within 12 months to request medical assistance to die.

“If it’s the same bill, I’ll oppose it because I think the way that bill was structured is not good law,” he said. “In the world that I live in, in my head, it’s a conscience issue. So when someone says to me ‘euthanasia’ I think of the person that is terminally ill, that is going to die, and in a tremendous amount of times and in my world, euthanasia is a legitimate thing in that situation.”

I agree.

He said modern medical practice was to give terminally ill patients pain relief and allow the natural process of death to occur.

“The palliative care would not do anything to prolong their life or to shorten their life. What I would say is in that scenario I … could understand the speeding up of the process,” he said. “The bill goes a lot further than that. In the situation where grandma is 92 [and people just want her to go], that’s not acceptable.”

I’m not sure the Street bill does do that. Regardless I would hope it would be sent to select committee, so NZers can have their say on the issue, and the bill can be given as many safeguards as possible.

Labour leader David Cunliffe declined to comment on the issue yesterday and Ms Street did not return calls.

This is one reason people like John Key – he will give his personal opinion on an issue – even if to an audience where almost everyone disagrees with him.

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Not even close

July 3rd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key holds a clear advantage over his rivals on social media heading into September’s general election.

Key has almost three times the followers on his Facebook page and Twitter account than all other party leaders combined. 

His official Twitter feed has 110,000 followers; almost 10 times as many as the next most followed party leader on Twitter – Russel Norman of the Greens with 11,500. 

Labour leader David Cunliffe commands a Twitter audience of 9926. 

How does this compare to other countries? How many Twitter followers per 1,000 populations do the PMs and Opposition Leaders all have. Here’s their followers per 1,000 population:

  1. John Key (NZ) 25.0
  2. Steven Harper (Canada) 13.8
  3. Justin Trudeau (Canada) 11.2
  4. Tony Abbott (Aus) 13.0
  5. David Cameron (UK) 11.1
  6. Eed Miliband (UK) 5.1
  7. Bill Shorten (Aus) 2.8
  8. David Cunliffe (NZ) 2.2

So the NZ PM has twice as many Twitter follows per capita as the Canadian, Australian and UK PMs. And David Cunliffe has fewer followers than any of the other opposition leaders.

On Facebook, Key’s official page has 149,873 likes, while the official pages of all the other party leaders combined have 45,038 followers/likes. 

Interesting the leader with the 2nd most “likes” on Facebook is Winston Peters.

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The John Key Biography – the early years

June 26th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald editorial writer John Roughan has published the first biography of John Key – John Key, Portrait of a Prime Minister. It’s a fascinating insight into Key’s childhood, business career and then political career. There’s a lot of material that hasn’t been in the public domain before, as not just Key, but Bronagh and Key’s sisters agreed to be interviewed for the biography.

People often wonder why Key gave up his business career to become a backbench MP. He had been fantastically successfully in business. In fact the book reveals that he was seen as a candidate to become the global CEO of Merrill Lynch. Why give that all up, to enter politics? It wasn’t a deep ideological conviction like Ruth Richardson or Norman Kirk. It wasn’t because he wanted to be famous like Kevin Rudd. It wasn’t because he needs the money. It wasn’t because he defines political success as critical to his self-worth like Helen Clark.

I’ve had the occasional contact with John Key, and like most, think he is a pretty amazing guy – both as a political leader, and as a normal Kiwi, who is devoted to his family and treats everyone around him well. This is rare than it should be in politics.

But despite that occasional contact, I have never been able to work out what motivated him to enter politics. He was on track to become a global CEO, and was succeeding in a role which didn’t require  interrogation  by media every day, or 17 hour working days.

The book helps answer that question. I’l get to it in the third part of thsi review, but in my opinion it relates back to his mother and her expectations of him.

The book is an easy read at 248 pages, but there’s a lot of material in there. I’m going to summarise and review it in three parts – Key’s early years, Key’s business career and then Key’s political years.

It starts with an interesting and amusing tale about how Obama came to invite Key for that round of golf. Tony Abbott asked Key to introduce him to Obama at Mandela’s funeral, and that is where Obama asked Key if he was going to be in Hawaii in January, and if so would he be keen to play some golf. The amusing part is that Key only told MFAT about the invitation two days before it occurred. I can just imagine the panic it set off!

Key’s early years

  • Key was born on 9 August 1961, when by coincidence they lived at 9 August Place, near One Tree Hill
  • His parents had a contract to run the cafeteria at a milk treatment plant
  • When Key was six, his mother Ruth left his father George, and they moved to first Wellington, but then Havelock North where they lived in a caravan. They then moved to Christchurch where Ruth Key got a job as a night porter.
  • George Key died when John was 7. His mother said he shouldn’t go to the funeral, and in fact he doesn’t know where his father is buried. Roughan discovered it is at Waikumete Cemetery in a soldier’s plot.
  • Key missed not having a father when he was playing rugby, and only his mum was there. Also a funny story about how he went to a father and son sex education talk with a family friend, and it was far more graphic that they expected, and quite uncomfortable to be having that talk with a man who is not your father.
  • George Key left Ruth with a debt of around $40,000 in today’s money.  She had the choice of bankruptcy but decided to pay the debt off. The only mitigating factor is as a widow, she now qualified for a state house. She managed to pay off the debt by 1973.
  • Ruth actually supported Labour, and John started debating politics with her around age eight. It was their debates that fueled his interest in politics.
  • When he was nine, he told the family he was determined t do two things in life – make a million dollars, and be Prime Minister – in that order.
  • At age 13 John wrote to Bill Rowling asking what should he do to become Prime Minister one day. I presume the answer wasn’t wait for Big Norm to die!
  • To wind up his mother, he presented her a National Party rosette when Muldoon won in 1975 (she did not like him at all). He thought it would have been long thrown away, but they found it in her collection when she died.
  • Ruth used to smoke, and John nagged her for around five years to stop smoking as he didn’t want to lose her, and at age 15 he won, and she did stop.
  • Ruth never spoke about her time in Austria (my grandmother was absolutely the same) and John only found out what happened to her relatives in 2010 when Murray McCully mentioned his ancestry to the President of Austria. He found out that sadly her uncles died in the holocaust
  • Later in life, John phoned his mother basically every day, no matter where he was in the world.

In the next post, I’ll cover his business years.

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Obama and Key

June 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins reports:

For 30 missing minutes in Barack Obama’s diary, the United States president and John Key did something unexpected.

They strolled the White House South Lawn, checked out the president’s putting green, had a squiz at Obama’s back office and First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous veggie garden, and part of the White House the family use.

The unscheduled timeout followed a 50-minute working session to discuss issues including trade – and whether a deal can be done on the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the South China Sea dispute, climate change, North Korea and Iraq.

Key’s second meeting with Obama at the Oval Office was supposed to wrap up at the end of that session. But the two leaders went for a walk instead.

“It was cool,” said Key.

Key and Obama have clearly established a rapport. They are roughly the same age, share a passion for golf and both have a bolt-hole in Hawaii where they escape with family. Last Christmas, the pair spent a day on the golf course with Key’s son Max while holidaying in Hawaii. Obama name-checked Max to the world’s media after yesterday’s meeting.

Key expects his relationship with Obama to endure beyond political life

Key has shown an extraordinary ability to forge strong personal relationships with many world leaders.  And relationships do matter, and help.

Incidentally the mention of Max was that he had a longer drive than both Obama and his father, according to Obama!

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Heh

June 19th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Barry Soper writes:

Before dispensing with his tie for the bowl up (more like a roll up) the PM stepped up to the microphone to share with them a bit of good old Kiwi humour.

He told the story of how his in-laws worked in a shoe factory when he was hanging out with his now wife Bronagh. She managed to score a holiday job at the factory and was soon put to work on making special cricket boots for none other than Hadlee, or Paddles as Key said he was affectionately known. It was when she filled out her tax form that she raised a few eyebrows, putting her job down as “stud screwer”.  Yeah, that’s what Kiwi told his audience.

He said the office girl at the factory asked her to find a more appropriate description of her job, like factory worker.  Her blokey boyfriend was having none of it, he said. He encouraged her to stick with ‘stud screwer’ for very different reasons. 

Heh. I love the fact we have a PM with such a normal sense of humour.

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So why did Fairfax change their story?

May 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil blogs:

Earlier today I busted Fairfax with their radical censorship of an article that was published yesterday.

Huge amounts of the original article were expunged and replaced with additions that made no sense. So much was removed that it shows clear manipulation of the story by someone.

WOBH contacted Labour and received an emphatic denial that they were involved in censoring the story. The spokesman for David Cunliffe said “We aren’t that powerful”.

Contact was also made with John Key’s people who as predicted said it wasn’t them.

I stand by my statement earlier that John Key probably laughed out loud when he saw David Cunliffe was calling him a liar.

It is worth following the links to the original story.

The Stuff article, here, originally had as its lead paragraph David Cunliffe saying the Prime Minister is a liar and his word can’t be trusted. They also had a direct quote from him saying “John Key tells lies”.

Now my reaction when I saw the original story was that it just made David Cunliffe look shrill and nasty, and that the more people who saw the article the better.

When Fairfax changed the story an hour later, I assumed they had got the quote wrong and Cunliffe never said what they reported.

However it seems Cunliffe does think it is a good strategy to go around NZ, and call John Key a liar. That’s fine. But why did Fairfax change the story to hide that? Did they think it was defaming John Key? Or did they think it made Cunliffe look too shrill?

Answers to those questions would be welcome.

It also raises the bigger issue of the practice of some media to significantly amend a story, and not note that have amended it. I think significant changes should always be noted.

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