Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: 2014: The Meth Election

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  • oga, in reply to Stewart,

    I did a leadership course for a year some time ago. In the process of that course, which took place over one weekend a month, I had the opportunity to meet several people whom the course organizers nominated as leaders in New Zealand. By and large, most of the people were very nice people and talked freely about their roles. Unfortunately I did not go away from the course feeling as though I had learned anything about leadership. Some of these people had been very privileged, others had worked very hard, and many were eloquent orators. But were they leaders? Much depended on personality styles, and the lack of framing for the entire course frustrated me to the extent I am no longer included on the list of alumni for this course (nobody told me they were removing me, but they did - which seems dishonest). In that context, I can easily see John Key being described as a leader (as opposed to a figurehead, businessman, or front person), and many of the people on the course had similar presentation styles (perhaps with less of the smarminess). It appeared to me that we (the course participants) were meant to be awed by these people because of what jobs they were doing. Don't get me wrong, several speakers were frankly inspiring (John Allen comes to mind), but were they 'leaders'? "Leadership" is a very slippery term. While I can see why people admire John Key, I see them admiring him because he is wealthy, privileged, and typical of people in business who make money from leveraging blood out of a stone (or making money out of nothing but ideas and grit and systems knowledge), but admiring him as a political leader? I don't think we can mention him in the same breath as Helen Clark even though they are both right-wing leaders. At least Helen Clark kept part of her socialist heart intact.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    I felt I knew why President Obama has described Key “as a friend whose company I really enjoy and who I can relax with.

    Maybe true for some people, myself, I have never been an admirer of those with riches, I know where it comes from, the pockets of the poor. I have never been an admirer of those that do little but take a lot and leave the hard graft to others for whom there is little reward. I have never been an admirer of those that denigrate others for having less than themselves and blame the poor for their plight. They will never be my heroes.
    Your views may differ but to me that means that you admire such things in others and I wonder why.
    John Key doesn't strike me as a particularly bright guy but like George Bush he likes a laugh, he likes to joke and boy does he like money. Bush once joked about his supporters being the "Haves and Have Mores", these are also John Key's people.
    As has been said before, the desire for wealth is the root of all evil, follow the money and you will find the pit. John Key is a banker at heart, not a worker, not a carer, just a Joker and a King, a bit of a card but above the pack, maybe you aspire to be the same, I don't

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to oga,

    I am no longer included on the list of alumni for this course

    that's disgusting

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    his massive appeal and his overwhelming approval really, really gets under your skins and drives you mad

    What's interesting to me is that your argument basically boils down to "I admire him because he's popular". That seems a little... self-fulfilling? Tautologous? I'm not sure what the word is.

    I've never found him appealing or thought he has the common touch, personally, because what the fuck do I have in common with a rightwing multi-millionaire banker who spends all his holidays in Hawaii? It's like how I was supposed to personally appreciate Dubya for his down-home-ness, when he was just an elitist faking it. But, you know, several elections in a row in two countries have proved me to not know what the hell I'm talking about, so. Shrug.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    really, really gets under your skins and drives you mad

    Well, it's true that I don't like him. Not because of his sizable (but not particularly amazing) popular appeal, but because of the things he does, and will do again, given enough votes from people like you who have clearly decided to vote for him because of his perceived personal magnetism. You're getting punked by a salesman.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    I’m not sure what the word is.

    Fallacious. Not to be confused with the closely related Fellatious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    By not being seen to simply wanting to impose an ideology, Key has promoted a winning empathy with a public weary of hidden or partly-hidden agendas.

    With Key, what you see is mostly what you get….a Prime Minister whose narrative is as clear-minded and open as it was when he was a highly-successful businessman.

    His task is to get things done.

    Yes, the non-politician politician. That has worked very well for him, no doubt.

    Along the way he has shown the common touch which comes from his state-house background.

    There’s quite a degree of myth-making around this. I went to school with Key and I know the suburb he grew up in (and lived for several years in a state house) – it’s a fairly wealthy suburb pepper-potted with good-quality older public housing and, more importantly, is adjacent to once of the best state schools in the country, Burnside High. It’s not as if he made his way up the ladder in Otara or Porirua.

    I think the first time I was really appalled by Key was when he was in Opposition and dismissed a plan to incorporate public housing into the redevelopment of the Hobsonville air base land as “economic vandalism”. It was exactly the philosophy that gave him his start in life and all he seemed to care about was the property values of the relatively wealthy.

    He’s still at it: his crack during the Christchrch debate about how the poor should bear some"personal responsibility” for living in unhealthy state houses might actually be the nastiest thing that’s been said in this election camapign. It was just vile.

    I also happen to be friends with Jon Stephenson, who was subject to some disgraceful ad hominem smears from Key when he reported things the government didn’t want people to know about. Yes, Clark used to do that, but i think you need to go back to Muldoon for a PM who so constantly responds to being challenged like this. And nothing about Jon's reporting has been disproved.

    Despite his detractors claims and imaginary machinations, John Key has yet to be proved to be anywhere near as culpable of the duplicity and dark dealings that they would have us believe.

    To any reasonable observer, his account of matters that are his direct responsibility around the GCSB and the SIS release are unsatisfactory and frequently contradictory. I also do not share your confidence that he was innocent of any and all of Slater’s unpleasant activities.

    And any commission that concentrates on the dirty politics stuff in particular and history in general will establish that innocence I believe.

    Well, let’s be having the Royal Commission and establish that, then.

    Key’s most notable achievements are seen in the delicate guidance he imposed through the global financial meltdown along with Bill English… and the positive impact he has had on foreign shores including China.

    I thought the comments from some of the CEOs in the Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom survey were interesting. He was seen as polishing his image while English did the hard work, and as lacking in long-term vision.

    I might not agree with everything English says or does, but I regard him as a decent and principled man. I honestly can’t muster the same feelings about Key.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to oga,

    I saw a thing on Facebook, yesterday. "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders." Seems appropriate.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    @Jake you requested my opinion and I gave it. It was nothing to do with raising the intellectual level of debate.
    I feel that I, and others who share my lowly opinion of John Key, are the ones who can see the Emperor is naked. We are unimpressed by his riches and his ability to reflect what others want to see in him. His lack of care in responding to interviewers, his lack of precision and his apparent (convenient?) failures of memory all mitigate against any respect for the man. He also has a nasty streak, trying to put-down those he perceives as weaker with a smarmy smirk and he is a poor orator.
    Hence my dismissal of his 'leadership qualities' that you so admire.

    And your admiration of him causes me to lower my opinion of you. Perhaps unfairly, perhaps not.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Thanks Russell, you’ve spared me a power of typing (not so easy on tiny phone).
    I’ve had a few chances to observe JK and it's evident he likes engaging with people -at least as long as he’s liked. He has a quick wit and a wry humour.
    I think he’d leave if he thought he was going to lose because he hates losing. But it will be hard for him to give up being popular because he really likes that.
    He also tends to turn nasty when cornered and win or lose this time he’s in a bit of a hole of his own digging. So it’s pretty likely he’ll be gone before 3 years are up.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    2014-the-meh-election
    I really thought this election would galvanize people with revelations of skulduggery.
    I really thought the people would be electrified by the depth of dirty deals,
    that the voters would find their metal and cast out these blackguards,
    that justice would prevail with its Minister gone.
    But no, the light at the end of the tunnel is powered by the privateers,
    no longer the power of the people.
    The carbon lifeforms have lost their Zinc and are now subject to battery,
    as opposed to being one.

    (c- could do better)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    With Key, what you see is mostly what you get…

    Key projects a nice guy, slightly goofy persona. That and his good looks do much for his popularity. But I'm not convinced. You don't get a nickname like "the smiling assassin" by being a nice guy. When challenged over anything he is dismissive (even with people clearly more qualified than he is to comment, e.g. Mike Joy) and sometimes downright nasty. There is an unattractive arrogance on display. To me when that happens it looks like cracks in the persona revealing his true personality.

    I'm also of the opinion that he's lied to us. He hasn't been proven to have lied yet, but there has been far too much circumstantial evidence. The GCSB spying case, how much he knew of Kim Dotcom prior to the raid, how much he knew of Ede's actions, how much he knew of Collin's collusion with Slater (he's admitted to reading WhaleOil and talking to Slater, where did he think the stories were coming from?), the briefing over the Israeli spies. If he hasn't lied to us over these cases then he's dangerously ignorant of the behaviour of his underlings.

    Before he was head-hunted to become a member of the parliamentary political party

    One of the things I dislike about the Key government is the degree to which they've used urgency. I suspect it's partly due to Key being an outsider to the system. But it also goes back to the arrogance: "we know best and we're not going to bother listening to anyone else's opinion".

    Despite his detractors claims and imaginary machinations, John Key has yet to be proved to be anywhere near as culpable of the duplicity and dark dealings that they would have us believe. ... People closer to Key than I ever will be report how angry and let down he feels over the dirty politics play-out

    If he's not culpable then why was he so reluctant to condemn Slater's behaviour? Why did he back Collins so long? Why is the inquiry so narrow?
    It's a pity he's angry about the dirty politics play-out and not the dirty politics itself.

    I'm sure you think I'm focussing too much on small negatives (no doubt Key would say I'm a screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist). Perhaps. I'd argue that you seems to have ignored the negatives entirely which is far worse. There are some things I've admired Key for, e.g. his stance on marriage equality, and the way he kept well clear of the Len Brown scandal.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    By not being seen to simply wanting to impose an ideology,

    Which is a bit of a worry.

    Ideology is: ” a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. ” among other things.

    Key has promoted a winning empathy with a public weary of hidden or partly-hidden agendas.

    Yes, and that’s why I sometimes look around me at my fellow New Zealanders and wonder what, and how much, some of these people are drinking – as the government, led by John Key, has been engaged in secret trade deals that might or might not undermine or sovereignty. We can’t know because it’s secret.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    What you see is what you get from John Key ... if what you see is a bingo card. It is 100% reliable, regardless of subject matter. And since it's predictable and prepared, it is therefore fake.

    So, today on Greenwald/GCSB, we have ... the false analogy (Norton Anti-Virus) - check ... the All Blacks reference - check ... the scaremongering (Syria/Iraq) - check ... the personal abuse (henchman etc) - check ... and so on.

    John Key argues from a script, not from logic and good faith. It's the hallmark of his time in office, and it diminishes both him, and us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1324 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    My apologies for arriving a little late to this. Not sure if it's still alive.

    But: never in my life time (1st vote 1984 ... that went well, not) have I seen any government give so much to its own voters, at the expense of all the rest.

    I suspect, if you were to measure this historically, the next contender would be the Savage Labour government through it's welfare and housing schemes.

    The difference of course is that those benefits might be argued to have extended to Labour's opponents, as well as their voters. Even John Key was entitled to the benefits of that regime.

    Similarly, the most recent Labour govt. established 3 massive bits of economic infrastructure: Kiwisaver, Kiwibank, and the superannuation fund. Again, something there for everybody.

    Obviously, National governments tend to favour the rich. But I don't think we've ever seen one so single mindedly dedicated to that cause as the current lot. First up, tax cuts for the rich. Next stop: asset sales for anyone with a minimum of $2k kicking around. Farmers, get in behind, you'll be sweet.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Oh, and for the record, that's why I don't like him as PM.

    That, and the DM I got from him yesterday, telling me that my preferred choice of government will lead the country to "economic chaos" without giving me any coherent argument.

    I suspect it's all Crosby Textor (Key's real dealer). Polarisation as leadership.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall, in reply to Angela Hart,

    I haven’t forgotten Bill English’s disastrous time as leader although he looks pretty statesman like now. I think you’re right, he has the broadest appeal, but I suspect Joyce might have the numbers in the party.

    Maybe, but English has stood down as Clutha / Southland MP and gone on the list only, which suggests he's started to think about life after politics. He's been an MP since 1990, so could well be starting to tire of it.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    de devil is in de detail...

    Why are errors so apparent after posting.

    'PREVIEW is your friend'
    was the sage advice given me early on.

    Always hit 'Preview'
    before 'Post' ...
    and then if t looks okay
    and sounds okay
    and can't be tweaked or trimmed
    and is spelt proper like
    and you'd still say it,
    exactly that way,
    to your mum
    or the person's face,
    then ya hit POST.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Starrow, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A couple of points Russell.
    I suspect you'd still agree that Key was far more likely to develop a common touch by attending Burnside High School as opposed to those stiflingly, narrow-minded Christchurch private secondary schools at the time, one of which I unfortunately attended.
    And then, the commission/s of enquiry will supposedly expose Key's degree of complicity in the dirty politics saga.
    I have my suspicions too. I think his biggest mistake was trusting too much, even naively. But that's no hanging offence.

    Since Sep 2014 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Starrow,

    Thanks Ian. I'm learning, albeit slowly.

    Since Sep 2014 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to SteveH,

    One of the things I dislike about the Key government is the degree to which they’ve used urgency. I suspect it’s partly due to Key being an outsider to the system. But it also goes back to the arrogance: “we know best and we’re not going to bother listening to anyone else’s opinion”.

    Which is terrible – then again, I’ve always been a bit of a purist about urgency only being used when… you know, there’s some degree of urgency like passing the Budget so the Government can pay the bills. That said, Steve, I really don’t think anyone who was terribly keen to retrospectively amend under extreme urgency the Electoral Act to avoid a by-election nobody really wanted (or could afford to contest) could be characterized as “outsiders”.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Starrow,

    Yes Rob. I agree that Key may well hand over the reins mid or latish-term and Paula Bennett is the benefactor.
    I for one wouldn't blame the man to ride off into the sunset, in his case, a beautiful Hawaiian one where he can sip martinis on his deck, mull over a job well done and ring his mate Barrack to see if he's up for nine holes, maybe even eighteen.

    Since Sep 2014 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    Oh, and for the record, that’s why I don’t like him as PM.

    That, and the DM I got from him yesterday

    The what now?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I think his biggest mistake was trusting too much, even naively. But that’s no hanging offence.

    well it might be if Garth Mcvickar builds up a head of steam after the election:)

    But seriously, I’m not voting for a naive Prime minister. What if he naively agrees to spy on our trade partners, such as china, and courses offense?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • CJM, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I presume he means 'direct mail'. I got one too, letter addressed to me. I live in the Epsom electorate, fuck knows why they thought I'd have any interest in it. We're not all rich pricks round here you know.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

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