There are many examples of Key Derangement Syndrome, but you don’t normally see them from political scientists who are touted as neutral political commentators.
I have no problem with any person in NZ being as vehement against John Key as they want. That is their right. But when they do, it does raise the question of whether they can put their visceral distaste to one side, when commenting.
Today’s example is the submission on the flag bill by Dr Jon Johannson. It is full of vitriol about John Key, and endless swipes at him. It’s the sort of submission you normally see from a hard core activist, not a political scientist. Some extracts:
I raise with the committee for its consideration, also, whether it is a good precedent for a government to launch a binding referendum on a subject that is important mostly to only one individual, the Prime Minister
So swipe no 1.
It also creates a contradictory situation where the governing party is willing to spend $26 million of taxpayers’ money on two referendums not sought by the public, and, in addition, however much more that will be spent on advertising as part of an attempt to manipulate voters towards its leader’s preferred fern design for the flag
Swipe No 2.
The twin referendum process to change the New Zealand flag, which was raised by only one person, the Prime Minister
It was an announced policy before the 2014 election. The Government got re-elected on the basis of having said there will be a referendum.
Anyway Swipe 3.
He cannot have it both ways. Nor is he our King.
Yes, you seriously have a leading political academic labeling the PM as having King like delusions.
The New Zealand Flag Referendum Bill sets this prospect back, not forward, as the Prime Minister seems acutely aware of given his strong defence of New Zealand as an constitutional monarchy, his now seven year odyssey of fawning over the monarchy in a fashion not seen in a New Zealand Prime Minister since Sid Holland in the 1950s
Swipe 5. Key is now a fawner of the monarchy.
Given the factors raised above there is nevertheless a precedent that would satisfy the Prime Minister’s need for a legacy while also resolving the issues raised in this submission. Sir Robert Muldoon organised a knighthood for himself during his third term. John Key could save the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and satisfy his own ambitions if he chose, instead, to simply follow his predecessor’s example.
As I said Dr Johansson has every right to rant against John Key, call him names, insult him, say he thinks he is a King, and call him a fawning toady to the Royal Family. But we have the right to take that into account when evaluating what he says publicly on politics.
I’m someone of very strong views on political issues. But I’ve never done a submission to a parliamentary committee that is so nasty and vehement against a politician, and never would. It reads more like an angry blog post, than a considered parliamentary submission.