John and Fran double-tag Key

and Fran O’Sullivan both wrote yesterday on the messy week for .  First here’s Armstrong:

As the latest TV3 poll indicated this week, an overwhelming majority of voters _ including a fair chunk of Labour ones _ expect National to win this year’s election. Key has transitted from new boy on the block to Prime Minister-in-waiting.

That is the standard by which his performance will increasingly be judged by voters from now on.

If one was to be generous to Key, you would say hey he is only in his second term of Parliament. But as Armstrong says when you are poised to become Prime Minister in eight months times, the expectations are that you perform up at that level, despite five years in Parliament against Clark’s 26.

While Key answered some questions directly, he fudged on the crucial ones. The more he prevaricated, the worse it looked.

He should have worked out some suitably firm-sounding lines in advance. Having spouted them, he should have cut the questioning off on the grounds he would otherwise be late for the start of Parliament.

Yes, one you have a position, stick to it.

Fran chips in:

Memo: John Key. Get on top of policy quickly or you may follow Don Brash into oblivion.

And stop blaming journalists for your verbal gaffes _ they’re not employed to be your mind-readers.

Fran’s never going to win a prize for sensitive use of language 🙂

Cullen should have been easy prey for National this week. His blatant interference in the Canadian Pension Plan’s partial takeover of Auckland Airport stank of political opportunism.

Agreed. The issue should have been the hypocrisy of Cullen’s move and the fact that he changed an important law overnight, by way of regulation, with no consultation with anyone at all.  A growing number of commentators have used the Muldoonist tag for that action and it is one which should stick.

Cullen has isolated another Key weakness _ a lack of institutional memory caused through his absence from New Zealand for much of the reform period.

This plays into why Key sometimes fails to turn journalistic questions to his advantage. It should have been easy enough to challenge the TVNZ report which (initially) made it seem as if a state asset had been on the block, rather than a publicly listed company owned 75 per cent by private shareholders.

But Key found himself drawn into a situation where it seemed as if he was in favour of asset sales rather than an open capital market. A political leader on top of their game would have quickly turned this to advantage by reminding journalists the airport was privatised years ago by then Treasurer Winston Peters.

Yeah So much of the media coverage would have you think the Government still owned the airport, let alone Winnie sold it 🙂

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