NZ showing how reform can occur

December 18th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Oliver Hartwich wrote in the Spectator:

Rarely does a government manage to build a positive narrative around the policy changes it implements. However, there are exceptions to this rule, or at least one exception: New Zealand.

At a time when many commentators have given up on the possibility of pro-market reforms, the New Zealand government under Prime Minister John Key demonstrates that they are still possible. More than that, Key shows how despite his government’s reformist zeal it managed to get re-elected not once but twice already.

In my new monograph Quiet Achievers: The New Zealand Path to Reform, published this week, I try to dissect Key’s political management and his leadership style. What I hoped to find were lessons for economic reforms that could be applicable to other countries, whether in the eurozone or in Australia. There are quite a few.

There are two types of reforms. The first are those reforms that are undertaken when there is no alternative, or at least no plausible one. The classic example is Margaret Thatcher’s radical turnaround of Britain. Following the winter of discontent, there really was no choice but to move on from the country’s post-war, half-planned economic model.

The labour market reforms under German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2003 fall in the same category of reform, for lack of a better alternative. As unemployment numbers exceeded five million people, something had to be done. Closer to home, both Australia and New Zealand went for a radical restructuring of their economies in the 1980s and 1990s because circumstances were dire and something had to give.

These emergency-driven reforms constitute what I would call ‘pathological learning’. Policy mistakes are finally corrected only when circumstances have become so dire that even the greatest reform-deniers cannot block change. Eurozone reforms fall into this category as well. We can praise the heroes of such reforms, but their job is comparatively easy. What is far harder to achieve is to lead economic change when conditions are not quite catastrophic yet.

Australia’s more recent experience is a good illustration of this problem. Given the mining and terms-of-trade boom, it was hard to make the case for any policy changes. Instead, the temptation was there to use the proceeds of the boom on new government spending programmes.

Commentators like The Australian’s Paul Kelly and (ex-)politicians like former finance minister Lindsay Tanner have expressed their concerns about this. They argue that our political culture with its short attention spans and focus on headlines and sound bites has made good policy-making difficult, absent a major crisis which forces political action. They certainly have a point.

This is where the New Zealand counter-example is worth examining. True, the last few years of the Global Financial Crisis and the devastating Canterbury earthquakes have hit New Zealand hard. However, the situation was not so bad that it left Key without alternatives. He could have easily used these crises as an excuse to allow his budget to blow out or introduce emergency taxes. In fact, that was very Australia’s response to the GFC and the Queensland floods. Remember the giant stimulus packages and the so-called flood levy?

Instead, Key and his finance minister Bill English did the opposite of such populist activism. They quietly steered New Zealand onto a more sustainable economic path. They kept budgets tight, undertook a substantial overhaul of the welfare system, started an experiment with charter schools, part-privatised some state-owned enterprises, cut income taxes and increased consumption taxes.

It was a combination of policies that did not only put the budget back on a credible path to surplus. It also increased New Zealand’s competitiveness, which has now surpassed Australia’s. It created economic growth and tens of thousands of new jobs.

 

The surplus is not quite there yet, but Hartwich is right that there has been significant reforms in the last six years.

How did the Kiwis do it? How did John Key get away with so much reform?

The answer I have come to in Quiet Achievers is simple. Shunning any reform rhetoric or political grandstanding, Key quietly and slowly goes about his reform business. Reforms are carefully crafted while the public is prepared for upcoming changes and informed why they are necessary. In this way, the reforms are building their own constituency and by the time they are implemented, the measures appear imminently commonsensical. Key’s strategy is one of incremental, silent radicalism.

New Zealand proves that reforms, even in mature democracies, are still possible. They should be possible in Australia as well where they are much needed. Australia has not implemented any substantial economic reforms since the introduction of the GST in July 2000.

For any political leaders wishing to embark on a process of economic reform, whether in Australia or in Europe, a look at New Zealand may well be inspirational.

The welfare reforms are an excellent example of this.

But while there has been good progress in a number of areas, the need for reform is continual, and further reform is needed – especially around land availability.

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Ambrose sues Key

December 9th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose is seeking $1.25 million in damages from John Key, claiming the Prime Minister defamed him.

The action has been taken at the High Court in Auckland, according to an RNZ report.

Mr Ambrose made news in the lead up to the 2011 election when he left a switched-on recording device on a cafe table after reporters withdrew and Mr Key began a private conversation with then ACT leader John Banks. 

The freelancer has always denied he purposefully recorded the conversation.

As this is the subject of defamation, I’d advise commenters to be mindful in their comments.

Mr Ambrose is asking for:

  • $500,000 dollars in aggravated damages relating to comments made by the Prime Minister at a media conference three days after the cup of tea meeting

  • $500,000 for an interview Mr Key have to TV3’s Firstline the following day

  • $250,000 for comments the PM made to journalists at a stand-up press conference in Upper Hutt two days after the incident

I thought when you sued for defamation you couldn’t seek specific damages? Am I wrong, or has the law changed?

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Claims and more claims

November 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Blogger Cameron Slater has claimed in texts to Prime Minister John Key that senior Labour staffer Matt McCarten was involved in hacking his emails and that Labour even tried to kill him.

To put that into context, it is referring to an alleged conversation among some of those involved in the Dirty Politics saga that they hoped the pressure would lead to Cameron killing himself. As far as I know, no one is saying Matt McCarten is an assassin :-)

THE TRANSCRIPT

Cameron Slater: gave it away to me…Goff leaked SIS report

John Key: It’s a joke isn’t it. They will attack Jason for talking to u and they break the confidentiality agreement. Classic lab.

Slater: Yup…I’m very angry over it…Goff is the one who leaked oravida stuff too.
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Slater: They still have standard bloggers on staff

Slater: And Mccarten was involved in hack

Key: Hopefully it will all come out in time

Slater: I wish they would hurry up…they played the real dirty politics…even tried to kill me…I have evidence of.

Cameron blogs:

I had confirmation from two journalists that Phil Goff was the one who briefed them about the report and the source of the leak.

I texted John Key, and informed him of the source of the leak. He thanked me. No discussions of the content of the IGIS report were held, it was a brief exchange.

I did not text Judith Collins and have not texted Judith Collins for some months. We had no discussions regarding the content or otherwise of any report.

In my conversation with Josh Forman I got suspicious because of his intense interest and so fed him some information that wasn’t strictly true so that it could be easily verified by cellphone records.

I repeat. I never had a text conversation with Judith Collins on Monday night. Cellphone records will clearly show this.

The following day Josh Forman continued along that line of inquiry and was imploring me to out the txt with John Key, I couldn’t work out why.

That is until this afternoon.

Josh Forman is a man who lacks integrity. In good faith I was willing to coach someone from the other side so they could have a better voice in the blogosphere.

I now know that his request for coaching was a subterfuge, at the behest of the Labour party in order to gain my trust.

I thought the campaign was weird enough, but this has now reached a new level of weirdness. The biggest issue of the moment is Cameron Slater – he was mentioned 124 times in Parliament this week!

I suspect 90% of the public are confused or bemused or both – or just change the channel when the latest politics story comes on.

 

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PM and Cook

November 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

The dinner conversation traversed diverse subjects such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Rewi Alley, cooking skills, and Mr Xi’s preference for three-star hotels in China.

Mr Key, who is the chief cook in the Key household, said Mr Xi said he used to be quite a good cook himself but doesn’t cook any more.

I think it is rather cool that despite being PM, he still has time to cook for his family (and can do so). A very good way to stay grounded.

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Key elected head of the International Democrat Union

November 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

John Key was yesterday elected Chairman of the International Democrat Union. This is the global union of centre right parties. It is unprecedented for the leader of such a small country to become the chair.

It has 54 members including the Australian Liberal Party, Canadian Conservative Party, Taiwanese Kuomintang, French UPM, German CDU, UK Conservative and US Republican Party. It was founded by Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, Jacques Chrirac and George H W Bush. John Howard has just retired as the Chairman.

I have had some involvement myself in the IDU and the IYDU. To be elected Chair means that dozens of other Prime Ministers and party leaders are in support of you. It is a sign that John Key is recognised internationally as one of the most successful centre right leaders around the world.

Global politics, like domestic politics, often works on the strength of relationships. Key’s ascension to the IDU leadership is significant.

When he first became National Party leader, some on the left mocked Key as someone who would be incompetent on foreign affairs – how could a money trader know anything about diplomacy. Since then Key has developed strong relationships with both the US and Chinese Presidents, is good friends with the Australian, British and Canadian PMs, and now has been elected by his peers to be the leader of the global grouping of centre-right parties.

 

 

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From an anti TPP protest

November 11th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Screenshot 2014-11-08 23.46.53

Sent in by a reader, as reported on One News.

I wonder if she even knows what the NZ position on the TPP negotiations has been. I suspect she doesn’t.

 

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John Oliver on Key and NZ Flag

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

John Oliver is in great form as he skewers John Key and the flag issue.

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The terror threat

October 8th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The number of New Zealanders planning to serve as foreign fighters in countries like Syria is “far more” than one or two, Prime Minister John Key says. …

He is also planning a major speech once Parliament resumes that looks set to challenge Kiwi perceptions that New Zealand is far removed from terrorist threats.

The speech signals Key’s intention to front-foot security and intelligence issues more aggressively after much of National’s second term was beset by controversy surrounding the GCSB.

Key warned that New Zealand was in a far from benign environment, using the rise of Kiwis seeking to join groups like the Islamic State (Isis) as an example.

“I hope to be able to spell out the risks around foreign fighters. There is no question the Security Intelligence legislation needs reforming.

“If I was to spell out to New Zealanders the exact number of people looking to leave and be foreign fighters, it would be larger than I think New Zealanders would expect that number to be.

“The number currently fighting overseas . . . is relatively small but it’s certainly far more than one or two.”

 

That is concerning. Even if they go over there with good motivations (to free Syria from Assad), there is a significant risk they get radicalised as they are fighting alongside extremists.

He singled out the rise of foreign fighters as a particular issue for the Government to deal with, likely through legislative change. He would seek cross-party support. “If we cancel a passport for someone who is looking to go overseas as a foreign fighter . . . in other jurisdictions they [are cancelled] for a much longer period of time . . . we think there are some glaring deficiencies there.”

The Greens will knee jerk oppose any change I can almost guarantee. It will be interesting what Labour does. I suspect the primary process will force all the leadership contenders to reject out of hand any possibility of bipartisan support for a law change. But Labour then runs the risk of being on the wrong side of public opinion, as the average New Zealander has little time for those who go off to fight alongside ISIS.

The Herald reported:

Mr Key also wanted to reform SIS legislation. However, he said he would prefer to do that on a bipartisan basis with Labour under its new leader.

If he could not secure Labour’s support, “then there’s a very strong chance that I won’t progress changes in that area”.

It is best to have bipartisan support in this area. So if the Labour leadership contest means Labour won’t support any changes, then they probably won’t proceed – which will be interesting if the lack of a new law leads to problems.

Key confirmed, meanwhile, that New Zealand was expecting a request to join the international effort against Isis.

Deploying the Special Air Service was likely to be among the options considered by New Zealand “but we’ll just need to assess that”.

I hope we don’t do it. The risk of mission creep is too high. We should make some contribution to the international effort, as 60 other countries are doing. But it should not be troops on the ground.

 

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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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