The audacity of hype

Much as I hate Labour, I can not avoid getting the impression that John Key is a man of spin, who is willing to say anything to get himself elected. In fact I at times question whether he has any goals for the country other than get himself into power.

The “audacity of hype” is the title of a speech given by Finlay MacDonald recently, outlining these problems with John Key. The speeches title is a pun from Barack Obama’s book “The audacity of hope” (although I see Barack Obama as a man of spin, almost as much as Key).

In it, MacDonald outlines several contradictions in John Key’s public statements. Consider:

On his religion, to the investigate magazine (shortly after becoming leader): “I have lived my life by christian principles”, then to the Jewish chronicle: “I will be the third Jewish Prime Minister of New Zealand”, and most recently “I’m not deeply religious, and I don’t believe in life after death”. John Key must be the only Jew who lives his life by christian priniples who doesn’t believe in life after death in the country.

MacDonald also found it difficult to believe that John Key never experiemented with drugs and can’t remember the position he took on the 1981 Springbok tour (I wasn’t alive in the 70s and early 80s so can’t comment on the drugs part of it, but as for the Springbok tour, if John Key wasn’t into politics I’d give him the benefit of the doubt, but the fact he can’t remeber where he stood on what was one of the biggest political issues at the time, as a politician, looks a little fishy).

Also consider the fact he recieved the “smoking gun” e-mail from the Brethren (setting out their plans for their campaign, and remember this was sent ot only two people, John Key and Don Brash, indicating John Key was deeply involved with the Brethren) and a whole lot of other e-mails, but didn’t open them. Sounds a little untruthful to me. Especially as the impression one gets from the Hollow Men book is that Key was up to his neck with the Brethren (although he was largely absent from the rest of the book). He also claims not to have known about the pamphlets. One of the e-mail exchanges in the book (among a large number of others, to a large number of people, including all the senoir members of the National Party) has the Napier campaign manager asking for his electorate to be exempted from the anti-Green campaign as they were hoping for a high Green electorate vote to win the seat of Labour. One notable feature of this e-mail exchange is that it shows that even someone as lowly as the campaign manager for one electorate knew about the pamphlet campaign, then knowledge must be widespread amongst the Party. It would be very surprsing if even the campaign manager in a small provincial city would know the details of the campaign, but the Party’s financial spokesperson, a frontbench MP, who had a number of meetings with the Brethren, and recieved a stack of e-mails from them (which he didn’t open) would be left comletely in the dark about the pamphlets.

And then of course there are a large number of policy U-turns. Of course we can’t accuse Key of lying with policy yet, as he isn’t in power. But the dishonesty with his relations with the Brethren, and his changing of mind over his religion, and questionable statements on areas such as his position on the 1981 Springbok tour, cast doubt on whether he is telling the truth on policy. I personally believe he is telling the truth on policy, because given his record, he is unwilling to do anything politically unpopular, but will voters?

Labour does not need to try hard to paint John Key as a liar who can not be trusted to run the country, because that is who he is.

What is most stricking about the lies is that most of them were unessescary. For instance, how many voters would not vote for him, because he happened to be pro or anti tour 27 years ago as a teenager? Who would not vote for him because of his religion?

I still want him and National to win the election, because I genuinely believe that the center right and conservative ideology that National represents is the best way, and whatever policies National comes up with, will reflect that ideology and be better for the country than Labours policy. In addition to Labours corrupt record on the pledge card and Electoral Finance Act making them totally unfit to govern, whatever their policies.

So far, the policy U-turns and lies on religion/brethren e.t.c haven’t done much damge, but in an election campaign they will. And I really worry that John Key might be exposed to the New Zealand public as the man of spin he is. One of the key test voters will ask before electing him, is can I trust him, and if the answer is no, they might go back to Labour.

It is worth remebering that in the US Presidential primaries, one candidate, Mitt Romney, tried the John Key strategy, of flip flopping on every issue except his Mormon religion, and despite leading in polls for months in all the early states (such as Iowa and New Hampshire) he got caught in the end (by Huckabee in Iowa and McCainn in New Hampshire) and lost, despite massively outspending his opponents. This does not set a good precedent for a John Key who has flipped flopped on every issue including his religion.

Hat tip: The Standard.

Explore posts in the same categories: John Key, National Party

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