Hello Nu Zilnd. My name is John Key and I am your leader.
Many things have been said this week about New Zealand spying on our Pacific neighbours. I am both saddened, outraged and nonplussed by the allegations.
Let me please refute them with a series of well thought out arguments that appear to be slightly if not utterly abusive.
- Even though the Kitterage report upheld many of the allegations outlined in the Dirty Politics book, none of those allegations are true and in fact, these allegations, which are also not true, are untrue.
- Nicky Hager is a well-known left-wing conspiracy theorist. I saw him one time at a conference of UFOlogists (the only reason I was there was due to the fact it was at Sky City and I needed to pick up 57 checks made out directly to the National Party so they didn’t appear on our annual returns). He was doing a Spock handshake with some guy wearing a Dungeons & Dragons t-shirt. Nerd.
- Hager doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
- The documents are old and completely out of date.
- Look, I’m not going to comment on operational matters. Not only would that break a long-standing convention, but it would also mean I’d be talking about stuff I don’t want to talk about.
- Unless I actually declassify documents to back up my argument and make myself look good.
- We need to monitor Kiribati because of all the anti-American terrorists who have made their lives there.
- I don’t have to tell you anything.
- Snowden is a hippy.
- The guy who drove my diplomatic vehicle the other day was talking about the cricket and how well the Black Caps are going at the moment. I told him that I was at the cricket on Saturday when we thrashed the Ozzies.
- Golf with Obama.
So you can see, although I’m not willing to make any comment on these matters, there are plenty of reasons why we need to be carrying out mass data collection on our Pacific neighbours, even though we’re not doing it.
Hello and welcome to this statement from Me, John Key, your beloved prime minister.
You know, it’s been a torrid couple of weeks on the campaign trail as the Labour Party leaders Kim Dotcom and Nicky Hager have peddled their mischief to New Zealand. I, for one, am not buying in to their left-wing conspiracy that somehow the New Zealand government, under my leadership, has changed the law for Warner Brothers, the FBI and the NSA, leaked SIS documents to bloggers, undermined public servants through the same blogger and broken a vast range of constitutional conventions.
Look, I haven’t read the book, but I can tell you this – it’s all lies. How do I know this? Well, Nicky Hager, working through hacked emails given to him by Kim Dotcom and Hone Harawira, emails that were stolen from someone working in my office who I have nothing to do with, emails that were written by people from the National Party who don’t have any association with the National Party, has taken things completely out of context.
At the end of the day, New Zealanders don’t care whether their government is corrupt or not. They care about the issues that matter. Health, education, the economy and selfies. I’m travelling the country at the moment and people everywhere are saying, “John! John!! Come over here. Can I get a picture??”
Who am I to go against the wishes of New Zealanders? Who am I to say, “No. I’m not going to get a selfie with you because Labour and Kim Dotcom say that I’m a corrupt liar.” What kind of prime minister would I be if I didn’t let people get a selfie with me? Helen Clark?
At the end of the day, we in the National Party believe the best thing to do for New Zealand and New Zealanders is absolutely nothing. That’s why we’re not releasing any policies. Even this week, with the release of our tax cuts policy, we’re not going to include any details. It’s important that New Zealanders don’t get their thoughts cluttered with unnecessary information. Even this week when we announce our policy on tax cuts we are not including any information about our policy on tax cuts. It’s that important to us that New Zealanders don’t have their minds confused by specific numbers or policy detail.
New Zealanders need to realise that if they are voting for Labour they are voting for the insane 6-headed monster of the Greens and ManaInternet. Which tail will be wagging that dog? New Zealanders need to vote for the strong, stable government and that’s what National and our partners ACT, UnitedFuture, the Maori Party, the Conservatives and New Zealand First can offer.
Thank you for listening.
There have been a few things floating around in my head over the last week. I’ve started this post several times and deleted it as I tried to gather those thoughts together into some kind of coherent narrative.
Following the release of Dirty Politics, I spent an evening this week doing something I’ve been wanting to do for some time – I watched The Hollow Men – the documentary based on the Nicky Hager book of the same name. You can also spend time watching it free of charge if you wish as it is up in full on the NZ On Screen website.
In the context of the current National Party meltdown, this is an incredibly salient piece of work as it highlights the very beginning of the party’s use of Crosby Textor as a public relations entity. The thesis of The Hollow Men as it is with Dirty Politics, is that the National Party presents a positive face to the public of New Zealand yet delves in to all sorts of other negative strategies behind the scenes.
There were two major points of The Hollow Men that ring within my ears – ears that have been deafened in recent hours by the shrill cries from Judith Collins that it is SHE who is the victim in all of this.
- During Don Brash’s bid for the leadership of the National Party, John Key told Bill English that he would be voting for him. However, on the day of the vote he went for Brash.
- Following the defeat of Brash by Helen Clark’s government at the election in 2008, John Key took over as leader of the National Party and retained the public relations services of Crosby Textor as he began his
reign of terrorleadership.
There are so very many questions that my mind has been grappling with as the political events of this week have unfolded while the words and images of National’s duplicitous 2008 election campaign rattled around in there with it. I’m just going to list them as a series of questions. National supporters will read these and allege a massive left-wing conspiracy but it’s very hard to maintain that when the “conspiracy” being alleged has been developed with the help of your own emails.
- If John Key misled Bill English over having his vote, what was his end-game? Did he know at the time that Brash, being a relic of the 1980s and loathed by many people, was unlikely to win therefore opening the way for his tilt at the job he had coveted most.
- If Key misled English over the leadership vote and was fully aware of the implications of changing his vote (if, that is, he ever intended to vote for English in the first place), he has that capacity in him to mislead and communicate in public relations speak without guilt. If he did it then, who’s to say he’s not doing it now? Or that he has been doing that constantly since 2008?
- Crosby Textor have worked with John Howard in the UK, the Tories in the UK and National in New Zealand. Their style, as highlighted in The Hollow Men, is very negative playing on fears about immigration, beneficiaries and so on. John Key maintained their services after he took over the leadership of the National Party. Did he want them to continue their negative style under his leadership? Would Crosby Textor change their style because a more relaxed Key was head of the party? Was their first advice to Key the same as the advice they gave Brash – play on the fears of people?
- With all the fantastic strategising that would have gone on behind the scenes to create these parallel universes, did the National Party not think to have a plan of attack if they were uncovered? If not, why not? Are they so arrogant to believe in a small country like New Zealand that this kind of nonsense wouldn’t find the light of day?
- At what point does John Key take responsibility for all this? He is the leader of the party. To say that everyone does this sort of thing OR that it was someone in his office doing things without his knowledge OR that it is some kind of insane left-wing conspiracy is not good enough. He is leader. He is responsible. Grow some and admit it (the irony that he is blaming a massive left-wing conspiracy for outing a massive right-wing conspiracy is not lost on this blogger. Did Crosby Textor come up with that gem?).
- Bill English has come out this week and said this isn’t his style. That is a very interesting comment.
- What would John Key’s mother think of all this?
Ultimately we live in a democracy. The reason the National Party feel they need to hide the way some of them like to do business behind a smiling and waving everyman who gets selfies with the trannies at the Big Gay Out is that they know in their hearts that the New Zealand public would never vote for their real agenda.
Otherwise the would put it out there in full, leave the PR at home, and let the public decide.
National: working for themselves since 1936.
As the government slowly pushes forward with their charter school plan, I’ve been thinking about the motivations behind the policy. I have a couple of questions. Firstly, who are the people pushing this policy? Secondly, how qualified are they as educators? To answer these questions I’ve done a bit of research into the current and former members of parliament. Here are my results.
- John Key, Prime Minister: Bachelor of Commerce from Canterbury University. He’s at the top of the list because as Prime Minister he is really leading the charge on any policy. His background is banking and finance. Key has never worked as a teacher or worked in any other position in education.
- Hekia Parata, Current Education Minister: MA from Waikato University. She worked in various ministries and served on policy advisory groups before entering parliament. None of her positions involved work for the Ministry of Education. Parata has never worked a teacher. She was a ‘senior fellow’ at Harvard and a ‘senior executive fellow’ at Oxford – both universities and not primary or secondary schools.
- John Banks, Associate Education Minister: Attended Heretaunga College and Avondale College (no university qualifications). Banks has done a range of things in his life – broadcaster, Auckland mayor, minister in a former National government. He has never worked as a teacher or worked in any other position in education.
- Catherine Isaac, former ACT Party President, Partnership (Charter) Schools Working Group Head: BA from the University of Canterbury. Like Banks, Isaac has worked a range of different jobs in her career – journalist, public relations (Awaroa Group) and served as a member of the Welfare Working Group. Although she has never worked as a teacher, she has served on the Wellington College boards of trustees.
So to answer my first question: Who are these people? They are politicians and/or public relations people from the ‘right’ of New Zealand politics. None of them have ever worked as a teacher or spent any time carrying out educational research.
Of course, righties will be reading this muttering to themselves, “I don’t have to be a teacher to have a view on education.” You are perfectly correct in that view. Everybody is entitled to have a view on education. My point is that these people have little or no experience working as teachers YET they are developing (and soon will be implementing) policies that will change educational outcomes for New Zealand children.
How do they know what they are doing is going to have a positive or negative impact? Their policies are being developed using overseas experience and research. Is this a good thing? Some will argue yes. Some will argue no. Only time will tell whether our experiences with charter schools in this country will be positive or negative.
As a qualified and registered teacher and a long-time observer of New Zealand politics my gut feeling is this: New Zealand politicians from all sides like to fudge the truth or withhold it. You only have to listen to Hekia Parata’s nonsensical political ramblings as she tries to defend the government plans for Christchurch schools while trying never to actually promise anything unless it comes back to bite her later.
I believe the people running our education policy at the moment are motivated by things other than educational outcomes. You only have to look at how the charter school policy popped up out of nowhere as part of the National-ACT coalition agreement. If National really believed in this as a positive policy, as they tell us now, they would have tried to sell it to us before the election. They knew that it would have been a hot election issue and so hid it from the electorate – just as Labour brought in their neo-liberal agenda in the 1980s.
Conspiracy theory? Read Nicky Hager’s Bruce Jesson Lecture from a couple of weeks back. It highlights a range of different issues but the main one is how political parties convince the mainstream media to keep repeating ‘mantra’ lines to get the public to accept biased ideas. He gives an example of an ACT strategist advising Don Brash. It would be safe to imagine all PR people advising politicians from all sides to work from the same play-book. Is it a coincidence that the person leading the charter schools working group is a PR consultant? I don’t think so. It is far easier for a PR person to sell something that is unpopular.
Be clear on this New Zealand: at the moment Catherine Isaac is telling us there is no profit motive for charter schools. This will change. Charter schools will end up being run for profit using taxpayers money. Maybe not right away, but certainly after a few years.
This is where the NACTional education policy will take us and it must be stopped.