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.”


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:


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.


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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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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Future topics for Campbell Live

May 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Campbell last night aired the results of a “two-year investigation” into the recruitment of Fletcher.

It was claimed there was a meeting on December 14, 2011, between Key and the police boss who ordered the spying on Dotcom that was never disclosed.

“John Campbell is completely wrong,” Key said.

“There weren’t two meetings; there was one meeting.

“The meeting was actually Simon Murdoch with Ian Fletcher over in my office. He happened to be in New Zealand.

“It was an introduction. I can’t tell you exactly everything we talked about a) because I would never say that.

“But I can tell you what we didn’t talk about. We didn’t talk about Kim Dotcom. It’s impossible to talk about someone you don’t know.”

The illegal bugging of Dotcom’s mansion is believed to have taken place under Murdoch, who was GCSB director between July 1, 2011, and December 19, 2011.

Key has maintained he was never told of the surveillance.

He said Campbell’s story had moved into conspiracy theorist territory.

“I reckon tomorrow night – and I know tonight he’s doing keas being run over in car parks – but tomorrow night I reckon he should do Obama not being born in America, and Friday we could move on to 9/11 and why the Americans were behind that, and next week we could move into the Kennedys,” he said.

“I mean, honestly, I have some respect for John, but when you do two years and come up with absolutely nada, then you do what he did – set a whole lot of assumptions to music.”

They should use the same music for the episode on how the US was really behind 9/11

Key dismissed claims by Dotcom that Key met the police chief responsible for the raid on the Dotcom mansion.

“Completely incorrect; never met the police in my life about that issue,” he said.

“That was the day the Government was being sworn in.”

Maybe Key was multi-tasking!

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John Key’s secret donkey

May 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key has declared he once owned a stake in a racehorse, a week after NZ First leader Winston Peters faced controversy over his share in a racing syndicate.

Key said he owned the horse, which he dubbed a “donkey” due to its lack of racing success, as part of a syndicate with nine other people.

Key bought his share in 2007 and sold it in 2008. He never thought to declare it in Parliament’s register of pecuniary interest until he was asked about it by media, he said.

“I can’t see why I’d need to declare it, but honestly it’s so long ago I can’t really be bothered going through the arguments so I’ve declared it.”

Key said the horse was a failure and said he had never kept his prior ownership a secret.

“It should be more correctly referred to a donkey than a horse.

“I think it managed to win one race where everyone else was running in the other direction and it now lives in Noumea – apparently, hopefully, a happy life.”

Winston could learn some lessons about about how to deal with questions over racehorse ownership!

I await Campbell Live revealing that John Key’s former donkey is in fact Player X in the cricket match fixing scandal!

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The Campbell Live Dotcom conspiracy episode

May 20th, 2014 at 8:33 pm by David Farrar

You have to all go and watch Campbell Live tonight and try and stop laughing.

It’s classic conspiracy theory stuff. It sort of goes like this:

  • Key appoints Mateparae Governor-General to create vacancy at GCSB – March 2011
  • Director of US National Intelligence, Jim Clapper, visits one week later and meets John Key
  • McCully visits Hillary Clinton May 2011
  • PM has breakfast with Ian Fletcher in June 2011
  • Key visits Obama July 2011 and shock horror asks Fletcher to apply for GCSB job the SAME MONTH!
  • Oct 2011 – Key, Fletcher, SIS Head, MFAT Head, NZDF  and DPMC Head have a meal at British High Commissioner’s place!
  • 12 Dec 2011 – Key meets GCSB (one of 10 meetings that year) and meets Ian Fletcher who is in NZ
  • 16 Dec 2011 – surveillance of Dotcom begins
  • Obama invites Key to White House – May 2014 – THE PAYOFF!

You especially have to like the spooky sinister music they played. They say they’ve been working on the story for three years. Seriously? They even make it sounds sinister that a civilian instead of military was made GCSB Head and an outsider was made MFAT Head. Yes Allan and Fletcher were both plants by John Key, so that they could all conspire with the US to spy on Kim Dotcom!!

Also part of the conspiracy is that Fletcher had worked for the UK Government (also in Five Eyes) in the Intellectual Property Office (which ties in to Dotcom!).

This is the funniest episode ever. Please please watch it, so you can laugh.

Kim Dotcom tweeted:

The answer is a lot more than that. More wet than Winston’s water pistol.

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