Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Citizen Key II: The High School Years

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  • Joe Boden,

    Interesting post Russell. It's hard sometimes to be able to see the present person from the bits and pieces of the past, isn't it?

    I know Anton as well, terrific guy.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I know Anton as well, terrific guy.

    Yes - and always an independent thinker. You should ask him about his rock 'n' roll years ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I should note that on closer inspection I did find John Key in one of the yearbooks and have updated the original post accordingly. He was a keen member of the 1977 debating team.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    He was a keen member of the 1977 debating team.

    And yet now he is contrasted with Brash for being less nerdy.

    Sadly, the only two people who ever made headlines from my school year were a murderer (killed his offsite remedial reading teacher at 15, was picked up by the police at the school gates) and John MacIntyre, who makes cars go very fast apparently.

    Reading Garth George's column today (I do so mainly so I can roll my eyes and mutter "Whatever, Garth" while on the ferry from Devo) I was struck yet again by the myth that people who have been sucessful in business (George uses "self made men" for both Key and English, IIRC) are somehow more "grounded" or more "in touch with the reality of ordinary New Zealanders" than academics, lawyers, teachers, union leaders, etc

    After having worked for a major corporation and having also spent the majority of my adult life in various tertiary insitutions, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there is no type of person more out of touch with reality than middle to senior management in business. Academics still have to pay their bills, it's not like a university department is any sort of insulation from that sort of thing.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    But hasn't Key made his money through share trading? In which case, apart from his own dealing business, has not managed a business with the usual production/profit margins/debtors/creditors etc. His business consisted mainly of putting money in the right places, buying and selling t o maximise return etc.

    I know very little about him at this stage, but I guess we will find out before too long.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy D,

    And the next year I won English and Creative English, the fruits of the latter being reproduced in the 1980 yearbook in the form of an amusingly romantic poem with the inscrutable title 'Integration by Inspection' (First Prize, Senior Poetry).

    Hidden depths! I also have a school prize for poetry, and I imagine that hidden out there among journalists, accountants, teachers, business leaders and street cleaners are thousands more. It's a wonderful thought that so many ghosts of teenage poets (and a few living ones) walk among us.

    In a more disturbing vein, I was also on the school debating team.

    How many former debaters walk among us? And, excuse me for this but the pun has to be made, does this make public figures like John Key mass debaters?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    does this make public figures like John Key mass debaters

    Heh. Yes.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    But hasn't Key made his money through share trading? In which case, apart from his own dealing business, has not managed a business with the usual production/profit margins/debtors/creditors etc.

    I think that's a little unfair. Successful trading requires an in-depth understanding of all of these factors and more besides. He might not have been directly accountable for any one balance sheet, but he would have been across a broad range of business indicators.

    I think discounting a class of professions and experience is foolish as Andre says - there's more than enough idiots around to fill spots in any industry/occupation. The point though should be to have a parliament that is broadly representative, not of the idiots although I do miss Ian Revell...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Having worked for several Ministers in a UK Government Department, I can attest that there is no correlation between business success and governmental competence. Businesses exist solely to make profits. Despite everything the Rogergnomes claim, Governments cannot be run like businesses, since there is no profit motive. Appointing the CEO of Amalgamated Widgets to be Minister for Administration does not guarantee success.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I won a prize at school for a poem about maths. The only way that could have been nerdier would be if I'd written a computer program to generate it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 814 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Hutchings,

    But hasn't Key made his money through share trading? In which case, apart from his own dealing business, has not managed a business with the usual production/profit margins/debtors/creditors etc. His business consisted mainly of putting money in the right places, buying and selling t o maximise return etc.

    He was head of global foreign exchange operations for Merrill Lynch, so a bit higher up the tree than a trader, so I suspect that he was required to run "his" division, and thus would have been aware of things like profit margins, debtors/creditors, staff relations etc and how they all impact on the divisions profitability.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Having made it through school prizeless (I was frequently "in for the high jump" though) I hesitate to contribute to this thread.

    I would like to confirm that experience in business does not really qualify you for anything much other than...business. And even then a lot of "success" is about good luck and being willing to have a go. Sneering at people and politicians without business experience is just as shallow as sneering at businesses.

    Having a wide range of interests, being able to research issues, filter various sources and reach sensible conclusions is a quality the best politicians *do* have. NZ is reasonably blessed in this department, although there are some notable exceptions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Hah! Prominent people who went to the school I spent most time at (moved a bit).

    Sir Bob Jones
    Bill & Boyd.

    How embarrassing eh?

    meanwhile, great letter in today's DomPost sugsesting Key owes his success to the Labour party for creating State Housing so that his family could have a stable home & the sort of environment in which he could prosper.

    Classic.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Post, re-read, correct

    I seem to have implied above that politicians are not people. That is, of course, absurd.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Just down the road from you and JK, I was at Christchurch Boys', former alma mater of ... Don Brash!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Was at the Back Bencher today, where I found out that Key's dish is a lamb madras with lemon rice pilaf.

    Any soothsayers amongst us able to divine something of import from this?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    From the entrails of the information you provide, Ben, I would say that he is an ardent supporter of Indian sheep farmers.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Damian White,

    I would like to confirm that experience in business does not really qualify you for anything much other than...business.

    . . . surely the whole 'reality TV' phenomena is evidence enough that experience in business can also qualify you for making a complete arse out of yourself on public telly . . .

    'The Apprentice', anyone . . ?

    :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere,

    "He did quite well too, and was awarded a flash for his "devoted contribution to the club".

    "And yet now he is contrasted with Brash for being less nerdy."

    As a current (university, former school) debater, I'd just like to defend Key's decision in 1977 to make that devoted contribution. Certainly it makes me like him a (little) bit more. Perhaps that smile isn't an indication of smugness but devotion to the National cause - (whatever that is these days...)

    In any case, a history in debating will mean Key can give us a better show in the Debating Chamber than his predecessor. Not a bad thing at all.

    Oh, and debating isn't nerdy for the record. It's ultra-nerdy. And we're proud of that fact.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Having worked for several Ministers in a UK Government Department, I can attest that there is no correlation between business success and governmental competence.

    I guess it would be a little graceless - depending on your political orientation - to enter the current and previous Mayors of Auckland as prosecution exhibits A & B? :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy D,

    I won a prize at school for a poem about maths. The only way that could have been nerdier would be if I'd written a computer program to generate it.

    Dude. Mad respect. I think you should post a copy to John Key.

    My current business partner once wrote a program that turned any piece of random prose into poetry by removing the redundant words and improving what he termed the 'idea density'. The software actually worked (artistic considerations aside.) He then wrote an article about it, providing research and a scientific definition to back up his poetry algorithm. Now that's nerdy.

    i've still got it somewhere...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Brash has quit politics.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3884015a10,00.html

    Time for a new thread.

    Oh, and "his resignation had nothing to do with the recently published book, The Hollow Men, by Nicky Hager."

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    I can see the next tui billboard already:

    I resigned for family reasons... Yeah right

    Unbeleivable that he has tried to credit himself with bringing "maturity" to economic and treaty discourse in the public arena... wtf!? I remember when he admitted he hadn't read the treaty document at some point after Orewa I.

    Whaing─üroa • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Jimmy D, if it could also put some techno to the lyrics you'd be on to a winner.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8589 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    "About 25 guests had gathered from around New Zealand for the breakfast meeting, held at the home of Diane Foreman, in St Stephens Ave, Parnell. The guest list included Ruth Richardson, Roger Kerr, Catherine Judd, two ACT MPs, Rodney Hide and Stephen Franks, Auckland mayor John Banks, Business Roundtable chair Rob McLeod, Jenny Gibbs, well known right wing donor Michael Friedlander, various heads of large companies and Independent newpaper editor, Jenni McManus. But notice who was not present: the National Party. The only National MP present was Don Brash, escorted by Bryan Sinclair." - Hollow Men p52

    I hope these folks give him as good a send off as his congratulatory breakfast, and that he is always welcome in Brethren churches everywhere. May his kiwifruit remain forever tax deductible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8589 posts Report Reply

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