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.Tags: anti-semitism, John Key, Steve Gibson
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 fitTags: Helensville, Hone Harawira, John Key, Laila Harre, Penny Bright
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.Tags: anti-semitism, John Key
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.
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.Tags: anti-semitism, John Key
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.
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.Tags: John Key, Kim Dotcom, Laila Harre
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!Tags: John Key, Jonah Lomu
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:
Tags: David Cunliffe, John Key
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.”
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.Tags: euthanasia, John Key
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:
- John Key (NZ) 25.0
- Steven Harper (Canada) 13.8
- Justin Trudeau (Canada) 11.2
- Tony Abbott (Aus) 13.0
- David Cameron (UK) 11.1
- Eed Miliband (UK) 5.1
- Bill Shorten (Aus) 2.8
- 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.Tags: David Cunliffe, Facebook, John Key, social media, twitter
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.Tags: John Key, John Roughan
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!Tags: Barack Obama, John Key
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.Tags: Bronagh Key, John Key
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.Tags: David Cunliffe, Fairfax, John Key
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!Tags: conspiracy theories, John Campbell, John Key
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!Tags: John Key, MPs Register of Pecuniary Interests
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:
Ready to resign, John Key? What more will it take?
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) May 20, 2014
The answer is a lot more than that. More wet than Winston’s water pistol.Tags: Campbell Live, GCSB, John Key, Kim Dotcom
The PM has announced:
Prime Minister John Key has welcomed an invitation to meet the President of the United States during his upcoming visit to the US.
The White House has announced President Obama will meet the Prime Minister in Washington DC on Friday, 20 June.
“The invitation underlines the very close relationship between the United States and New Zealand,” Mr Key says.
“I look forward to meeting with President Obama. We are likely to discuss the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, to take stock of our bilateral relationship, and to exchange views on current regional and international issues,” he says.
The Prime Minister is travelling to the United States from June 16 to 20.
While in Washington DC, the Prime Minister will also meet with a range of senior administration figures, Congressional representatives and business leaders.
The Prime Minister will also undertake a full programme in New York in support of New Zealand’s bid to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2015-16.
This is no surprise, yet still welcome.
A diplomat commented to me a couple of months ago how extraordinary it is that the New Zealand Prime Minister is the national leader that has probably spent the most time in the last 12 months with both the President of the United States, but also the President of China.Tags: Barack Obama, John Key, United States
Will the real David Cunliffe please stand up?
That’s the message from experts who claim the Labour leader is failing to connect with the voting public because he’s not being true to himself.
It’s a sentiment reflected strongly in the latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos political poll in which people were asked to play a word association game with Cunliffe and Prime Minister John Key.
Asked to sum up the leaders in one word, people opted for “good” when describing Key, but words included confidence, arrogance, charismatic, leader and a suite of words lumped together as “profanity”.
For Cunliffe, words like untrustworthy, arrogant and shifty were more likely to be used along with trying, promising and inexperienced.
What would be interesting is to see the breakdown by how people say they will vote.
Former TVNZ political commentator turned media trainer Bill Ralston said Cunliffe came across like he “doesn’t know himself”.
“He always appears to be acting. You know, ‘I’m going to be angry now, I’m going to be funny now, I’m going to be serious’. I don’t know what or who the real David Cunliffe is but we haven’t seen him yet. It’s that inauthenticity that’s the issue. He just is not pitching himself as a normal person.”
Ralston, who helped train Key, said the Prime Minister and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters were leaders who had “clearly identified characteristics and personalities – you can almost guess what they are going to say or do next whereas Cuniffe, there’s something that just doesn’t ring true”.
Cunliffe, who at times proved he had the ability to connect, was a thoughtful man who was likely to be over-analysing problems, he said. “He shouldn’t try to be anything else other than himself.”
Media trainer Brian Edwards, who has worked with Cunliffe, said the Labour leader was coming across poorly “which is curious because in the past he’s come across very well indeed. He doesn’t look relaxed, he doesn’t look spontaneous, he looks like he is reciting extended sound bites that he has been given by advisers.”
I think Ralston and Edwards both have perceptive comments.Tags: David Cunliffe, John Key, Polls
Fran O’Sullivan writes:
When the Prime Minister is on top of his game – as he was at yesterday’s post Budget luncheon – he is world-class.
John Key spoke without notes. He was completely fluent. No “ums” or “ahs” or stumbling Mr Average here. He was very much in the mode of a former top-flight international businessman. The guy who served on the board of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve. The persona that I prefer to the one that he has created to make him accessible to all New Zealanders.
He held the audience in his hand. Even the joke about his daughter Steffie being in the news again for “taking off another item of clothing” was delivered with sufficient panache to have the audience laughing with him rather than wincing.
Key has already launched the phony election campaign.
He did that in Parliament on Thursday afternoon when he slaughtered Labour leader David Cunliffe in a rambunctious speech designed to rally his troops, during which he compared the National-led Government’s record with Labour’s on well-chosen metrics ranging from house price inflation, interest rates, the number of Kiwis turning their backs on New Zealand to pursue their fortune in Australia – and more.
Slaughter is probably the right word for it.Tags: Fran O'Sullivan, John Key
John Key has announced:
So today I am pleased to announce a new initiative to further support the rebuild and at the same time help job-seeking beneficiaries outside the region gain work.
It’s called ‘$3k to Christchurch’, and it has two parts.
The first part is Work and Income actively promoting through advertising and direct marketing, job opportunities in Christchurch and surrounding districts to beneficiaries outside the region.
This will involve staff discussing with beneficiaries if moving is an option, and looking at whether their skills and a job in Canterbury can be matched up.
The second part is providing a lump-sum, one-off $3000 payment to beneficiaries interested in moving to Christchurch or surrounding districts who gain a confirmed job offer.
To be eligible, a beneficiary would need proof of a confirmed full-time job offer of at least 30 hours a week and for more than 91 days.
Sounds a good initiative. Getting people into work is excellent.
- Beneficiaries will not be required to provide proof of costs.
- The money will be paid in one lump sum, and it will be non-taxable and exempt from any income and asset tests.
- In most circumstances the payment would be non-recoverable, but situations where it may have to be repaid would be for cases like misconduct leading to dismissal.
- The offer will be open to all ages who are on benefits, but with a particular focus on those aged 18 to 24.
Non-taxable makes it more attractive.
The apprenticeship reboot I announced in January last year was so successful that by October, 8000 people throughout the country had signed up for training in apprenticeship programmes.
That happened in the space of just seven months – when the normal sign-up rate for a full year was 7000.
Because of this demand, in December last year we expanded the reboot to a total of 14,000 places. And they too have been filling up quickly.
Today, I am pleased to announce that the scheme will be expanded again because of continuing high demand.
Budget 2014 will provide up to $20 million to expand the Apprenticeship Reboot by 6000 places.
This move will boost the total number of places to 20,000.
This extension means we have doubled the number of apprentices that can get their training costs subsidised since the scheme was first announced.
Both are about helping young people get into work. The first job is often the most important one.Tags: apprenticeships, Christchurch, John Key, welfare
Toothfish is an anonymous environmental activist, who has facebooked this poster which he or she wants donations for, so they can run at least 1,000 of them.
41 people on Facebook have “liked” the poster including former Green candidate and social media campaigner Max Coyle. Now to be fair to the Greens, I am sure the vast majority of them would find the poster as disgusting as the rest of us. There is a reason Coyle is “former” with them.
Personally I hope he/she gets lots of donations for his or her campaign as I can’t think of anything more likely to increase support for National than people seeing those posters.Tags: John Key
I know being in opposition is hard, but you don’t have to try and portray a victory as a defeat. David Cunliffe on NewstalkZB:
TIM FOOKES: Exactly. So the earlier the better, and I will get to one of your calls in just a moment, but just a quick comment on the issue that came out late last night over the court ruling on whaling, I think this is a significant victory New Zealand and Australia.
DAVID CUNLIFFE: It’s fantastic. Well, it’s a significant victory for Australia. Where the hell was the New Zealand Government? I mean, we had New Zealanders testifying, but once again, the National Government’s asleep at the wheel. Kiwis hate whaling. We hate whaling and previous governments had a really strong record against it. Why did we leave it to the Aussies to take the thing to the International Court?
So did we leave it to the Aussies and was National asleep at the wheel. Let’s look at the official court ruling from the International Court of Justice:
WHALING IN THE ANTARCTIC (AUSTRALIA v. JAPAN:
NEW ZEALAND INTERVENING)
New Zealand was represented by no less than the Attorney-General, the Deputy Solicitor-General, an Ambassador, five MFAT staff and one of the Attorney-General’s staff. Not exactly asleep at the wheel.
NZ is mentioned 53 times in the judgement.
Also while looking through the transcript a few other fibs:
Well, they did rise in some cases by more, although there has been a real open jawing since of the residential versus industrial power prices and, of course, now, thanks to John Key and his mob, half of that money goes to private investors, most of them offshore.
Over 70% of investors are domestic. False.
TIM FOOKES: Well, it’s – look – I am looking in your eyes. Why, then, is John Key so popular? Why does…
DAVID CUNLIFFE: He has had a long time at it, which is good for him, and I’ve only had a few months, so I’ve got work to do. I completely acknowledge that. Second thing is, he has got the best PR that money can buy. He’s got more money than God.
How did attacking John Key for his wealth go for David Cunliffe last time he tried it? He doesn’t seem to learn.
And is he really saying that John Key is popular because he uses his personal wealth on purchasing public relations?
If one-quarter of the missing million vote it’s game over red rover, you’ve got a Labour led government, right? One-quarter of the missing million vote – game over. And we’re going to get them to the polls.
UPDATE: A commenter has pointed out it was Helen Clark who dropped the legal action against Japan on the basis NZ could not win. So Cunliffe was a member of the Government that decided not to take legal action, and he criticises National as being asleep at the wheel, when they are the ones who actually decided to take legal action.
Prime Minister Helen Clark will push for a diplomatic end to whaling after the Government dropped plans for legal action against Japan.
Miss Clark said “fantastic” legal advice – from New Zealand whaling commissioner Sir Geoffrey Palmer – suggested it would be difficult to mount a successful case at the United Nations International Court of Justice.
What an own goal. Maybe a journalist could ask David Cunliffe if he voted in Cabinet in favour of not taking legal action.
Of course he doesn’t seem to think it is fair to point out what he did in Government. From NewstalkZB:
TIM FOOKES: But, hang on, it was eight and a half per cent or close to 10 per cent in those 2007-2008 years, as well. So why…
DAVID CUNLIFFE: Yeah, and we could go back to the Holyoake years, and justify all sins by saying, well, when Rob Muldoon was a boy, or Keith Jacka was in Parliament, you know, things were different then. Well, sorry, the current Government has been in power nearly six years. It’s time they manned up and took some responsibility. They cannot get away with excuse after excuse, wah, wah, wah, it was different under Helen Clark. Sorry, guys, grow up.
Holyoake was Prime Minister 50 years ago. There is a big difference between harking back 50 years and pointing out the record of Labour the very last time they were in office, ad their leader was a senior Minister.Tags: David Cunliffe, John Key, whaling