Du Fresne has fallen out of love with John Key

Third termitis is definitely taking its toll

The day after winning re-election, prime minister John Key warned that one of the biggest risks his government faced in its third term was arrogance. What a pity he didn’t heed his own advice.

Over the past few weeks, we have observed a National government that seems determined to live up to every stereotype about third terms. It has been arrogant, smug and incompetent.

Worse than that, it appears to have undergone an integrity by-pass.

Key has given new Labour leader Andrew Little a dream start, and Little has the ability to take full advantage of it. More by good luck than good management, Labour has found itself with a leader who could prove a real handful for National.

I would go further and say that if National and Key carry on as they have in the past few weeks, there’s a good prospect of a Little-led government in 2017.

It’s a bit far out to say that.  There’s an awful lot of water to go under that particular bridge.  But yes, it’s been a very uncharacteristic start to the parliamentary term for National, and John Key specifically.  

…let’s look at the charge of incompetence. Consider the following.

■ Murderer and paedophile Phillip Smith, a man known to be clever and manipulative as well as evil, escaped to South America because of staggering naivety on the part of the Corrections Department;

■ The State Services Commission presided over an embarrassing sexual harassment fiasco in which it was seen as supporting the senior public servant whose behaviour was the subject of the complaint;

■ As already mentioned, the former head of the SIS allowed himself to be used in an underhand smear campaign aimed at discrediting a senior Labour politician.

…But don’t hold your breath for waiting for ministers in this government to maintain that tradition. It’s just not going to happen.


Finally, there’s the issue of Key and his relationship with Cameron Slater, which brings us to the subject of integrity.

I now seriously wonder whether the prime minister has any, given his pathetic dissembling over whether he’d been in touch with Slater. That came on top of his preposterous claim recently that when he spoke to Slater, it wasn’t in his capacity as prime minister.

For heaven’s sake, give us a break. This is altogether too cute and too cocky. People have given Key the benefit of the doubt before, but there must come a time when his credibility runs out.

You could argue, I suppose, that if he has some sort of political death wish that compels him to continue dealing with Slater, that’s his prerogative. But what’s inexcusable is that he plays us for mugs by bullshitting us.

At the very least, he should show us a bit more respect.

Seriously now.  I texted John Key about Phil Goff leaking the SIS report (and breaking the law doing so), and you’re still all climbing on the bandwagon that Key is now better off without me?

There is no doubt that Key made a total mess of it, first (probably) lying, then correcting, then saying “so what”, then saying “ok, not more”, and finally ending up at “I’m not blocking him, but I won’t respond”.

I mean…


Key deserves all the criticism for his woeful performance over the last couple of weeks.  But to focus on his “relationship” with me is ingenuous, and just another strand to the ongoing push by the left of politics and the media to try and prevent two inevitable things from unfolding:   a new player in the media market, and the revelation that Dirty Politics is to be eclipsed by the left’s Illegal Politics.

I’m not going anywhere, and even if you cam get the National Party to disown me somehow, Freed and Illegal Politics are going to unfold and destroy lives, careers and political parties.

People would be well advised to turn down the bandwagon rhetoric as they will be, once again, at the wrong side of history.


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    “People have given Key the benefit of the doubt before, but there must come a time when his credibility runs out.”

    It’s wishful thinking hoping that if you repeat it often enough it will be true.

    Saying that though, Key hasn’t had the best of starts to the parliamentary year and is due for a good break over the holidays…wouldn’t want to swap with the year he had (apart from playing golf in Hawaii of course)

    • redherring2

      No matter what WE do, no matter what WE say…

      • gambler

        Classic!!! for the one’s who may have been AWOL at the time.. it refers to cub reporter katie bradford’s remark about National remaining at the very top of the polls during the recent election after the media had bagged them merciless for about 4 weeks straight

    • dgrogan

      I think the PM is doing just fine. After all, he has sustained a huge, sustained attack from his political opponents and he’s still standing pretty tall. Had the left come up with something real, instead of want-to-believe, I dare say things would have been different.

      • NoEyeDeer

        Agreed. It’s not like there is anything of substance after their indignant cries of “…but you said you didn’t talk to him and now you say you did”. Key should have handled this much better. Storm in a pisspot and it’s just the left and their msm stooges at the urinal.

      • Gaynor

        There is something seriously wrong when the msm are your political opponents .

  • Justsayn

    And this repeats Labour’s error…

    Where is the polling that suggest Key’s support has suffered in the past few weeks? Where is the polling to suggest that National has suffered? Where is the polling to show that Little it doing well? There is no evidence at all, this is just speculation and self-importance – arrogance one might say.

    I doesn’t matter a jot what these so-called experts say we think, what matters is what we think, and more particularly what the middle voters think. You’d have thought they would have learned from their infatuation with Dotcom, and Hager’s hacked book, followed by the real “moment of truth” on 20 September.

    • Bartman

      We are truly blessed by the apparent lack of political intelligence when it comes to the left in NZ! Long may it continue; for while they possess sharp minds and rapier pens, they lack that essential political requisite: an affinity with the common (voting) person.

    • sylvia v smith

      I­­’v­­­­e b­­­e­e­­n m­­­ak­i­­­n­­­g $­­­­­8­­­­­5/­­­h­­o­­­u­­r s­­­i­n­­ce i s­­­t­­­ar­t­­­ed f­­­re­­e­­­la­­nc­­­in­­g o­­v­­­e­­r t­­h­­­e in­­­t­­­e­­r­­ne­­­t h­­al­­f a y­­­e­­­a­r a­­­­g­o… M­­­­y j­­o­­­­b i­­­s t­­­o w­­­or­­­­­­­­k a­­­­­­­t h­­­­­om­­e s­­ev­­­­er­­a­l h­­o­­­u­rs d­­­a­­il­y a­n­­­­d d­­­o s­­­i­­­­­mp­le w­­­o­r­­k i g­­­­e­­­t f­­r­­­o­­m t­­­h­­­i­­s c­­­o­­m­­­p­a­­n­­y t­­­h­­­­a­­t i d­­­i­­s­­­co­­ve­­r­­e­d o­­nl­­i­­n­­e… I a­­­­­m v­­e­­r­y e­­­x­c­­i­t­e­d t­­­­­o s­­­h­­a­­­r­­e t­­­­­h­i­s j­­­­­o­­b w­­­i­­t­­­h y­­­o­­­u… I­­­­­t­’s a­­­­n a­­w­­es­­o­­m­e s­­i­­­d­e j­o­­­­b t­­­o h­­­a­­­v­­­­­­e

  • Nebman

    “At the very least, he should show us a bit more respect” – I think that’s the clincher for me. MSM don’t feel “respected” and I’d go as so far to suggest that Key is not being disrespectful at all – he is merely showing them the respect they have earned.

    When will they learn that they stopped speaking for “us” years ago.

  • Jonat

    The thing about John Key is that he’s still better than anything Labour’s got. That’s really what’s behind National’s huge success on election night.

    However, his untruths are getting rather tiresome. Just be honest, John, and the majority will no doubt vote for you anyway.

  • Timboh

    I guess Karl has only so much love to go around and after himself there is none left for Mr Key. Sad.

  • johnnyB

    Not a great start for Key admittedly – but it looks like the Labour party are sticking to the same tired old script as previous years – attacking Key and not doing anything else particularly positive. If he comes right (and he most likely will) they will continue to fall short – seem to remember even Cunliffe could manufacture a initial bounce in popularity. Little’s Elephant in the room is his Union paymasters he owes something back to in the next 3 years.

  • Bob D

    “Key deserves all the criticism for his woeful performance over the last couple of weeks.”
    For Heaven’s sake; he’s been hopeless all along – National is almost identical to previous Labour.

    The only good thing I can say about him is he isn’t Helen Clark, but then again most people aren’t.

  • Nechtan

    Have the screws been put on the media to link John Key and Cameron whenever and wherever possible? Just about every article with John Key mentioned also manages to include Cameron and or Dirty Politics. Are the guilty parties sensing the impending tsunami and frantically building a wall of sand to hold it back?

  • Chris EM

    “Key has given Little a dream start and Little has the ability to take advantage of it.”
    “Labour has a leader who could prove a real handful for National”
    “..a good prospect for a Little led government in 2017”
    These statements come from someone wearing rather large blinkers, or living in an entirely different world. I think it highly likely Little won’t even be in his position as Loser leader in 12 months.
    As for Key, he needs to take his balls to work with him and be a man, not a PC namby pamby. Another commenter here has said this recently, and I reiterate: Key should tell the morons that he’ll text who he damn well likes and if they don’t like it then they can…jolly well go home!

    • NoEyeDeer

      Yeah but it’s not you or me contacting Cam, it’s the Prime minister contacting a divisive political blogger. The office of the PM in any country is not a private individual. Sure John Key the man can call Cam, but you would have to be naive to think he was calling to chat about the black caps.
      I’m not saying it’s right, just that MP’s communication with the press is of interest. Especially a pro active political commentator like Cam.
      I also doubt very much that if Key had said “naff off” the media would have been “fair enough”.

      • Chris EM

        I agree with what you’re saying, but still believe he should’ve been more forthright with his replies rather than leaning back on the ropes. When the morons (msm and opposition) see him their they just keep up their silly game.

  • Odd Ball

    So the spin for the next three years is that, this is a third term government, so therefore it’s an arrogant one, because we say so.

    The spin for the previous three years was that John Keys slippery & the general population will wake up to this any minute, and start pining for the ‘good old days’ with Helen Clark.

    The spin for National’s first three years was that NZ had made a huge mistake, it will be a one term government, and it’s just a one off aberration.

    I’ll make my own mind up on what I think about the government, thanks.

    • R&BAvenger

      Screw what any MSM journalist has to say. We don’t care about what you think or beating some mantra over the reader’s head.
      How about the MS familiarise themselves with NZ’s Bill of Rights and the Freedom of Association?
      Key can talk to whomever he likes, he isn’t perfect but has done a good enough job for the majority of voters – there is daylight between him and any alternative, leadership or otherwise.

    • Cadwallader

      Well said! I expect that after the Christmas break it’ll be business as usual…the government leading, the opposition whining and Smalley saying “you know, sort of, you know.” By 2017 the cannibalism demonstrated by Labour’s caucus will have Andy spit-roasted to a cinder and John Campbell served-up as the after-dinner mint!

  • david

    The Corrections Dept allowing Smith to escape – clear evidence of arrogance on the PM’s part, Not supervising the head of the SSC. More arrogance by the PM, Allowing the head of the SIS to release an OIA response without checking. More arrogance. Where will it end?

    • Alright

      “The Corrections Dept allowing Smith to escape – clear evidence of arrogance on the PM’s part.”

      David, I am finding it really difficult to respond to this without breaking posting rules.

      Pssst: I heard a whisper that Key actually arranged his passport and actually drove Smith to the airport!

      Do two words – like air and head – mean anything to you?

      • wooted

        I’m not sure if he’s being sarcastic or for real?

        • david

          If someone had said that on MMB’s post you could possibly be excused for having doubts, but here?. Actually I am at a loss as to how du Fresne, whose pieces I normally enjoy, could possibly quote those as signs of arrogance. A failure of oversight? possibly, although even then I would have thought stretching it. But arrogance, not.

          • Alright

            David, were you being sarcastic?

          • david

            Hi Al, yes I was. Actually I am a bit worried by the huge divergence of views you see between (say) this blog and some of those on the left, hence my reply to wooted. So I should have realised my sarcasm could be misinterpreted.

          • Alright

            Ok. Cheers David – I withdraw and apologise.

            Some of my puns and attempts at humour go missing in action as well.

            Have a good weekend.

      • Dumrse

        Ed: explained below.

      • kayaker

        I read david’s post as him being humorously cynical. I stand to be corrected though.

        • Alright

          Hi Kayaker,

          Read below. Everything is Alright. I pulled the trigger because my funny-bone was temporarily inactive.

          • kayaker

            Oh, OK,got that. I was speed reading. Again! Good on ya, Alright!

      • Champagneshane

        I actually think he’s just being sarcastic…at least that was my take on it before continuing to scroll down

    • Kiwibabe

      Is anyone seriously expecting any PM to have day to day responsibility for what happens in every local office of all the govt depts? Impossible.

    • Monito

      How can you possible blame John Key personally for those failures? He does not manage and coordinate every section of government his job is to oversee to represent and to make the big calls.

      • david

        Under the Westminster system of ministerial responsibility, ministers traditionally resigned, or at least offered their resignation, for failures of their departments. Its nevertheless a bit silly to suggest that the PM should resign (or is being arrogant by not offering to do so) for failures by officials.

        • Monito

          Correct ill informed and ignorant

  • Lindian

    So if it’s all John Keys fault, why are these heads of departments even in their jobs????

    • Kiwibabe

      True, and top class leadership is scare, add Auckland’s mayor to the long list.

  • Cadwallader

    You can only say it was a poor performance if you feel he ought to have told the Opposition and the morons in the msm to naff-off. Had he done so the msm would mumble inanities to the effect that JK was “losing it” due to their placement of pressure on him. If I were JK I’d ignore them and dump as much ridicule on Doc Norman as he considers apt i.e. a tonne or two. I agree that no matter how much the Greens harp on about texting to WO it won’t get them any closer to government other than in their collective imaginations. The Greens are nothing more than a blighted limb on NZ politics. Helen Clark recognized this and I believe JK does too.

  • Emma Waters

    So whats changed? The National Government have always been arrogant smug and incompetent, no changes there.

    • Kiwibabe

      Outdone by Labour especially madam Clark.

  • Disinfectant

    If John Key’s leadership becomes a problem, then National will elect a new leader.
    Jenny Shipley comes to mind.

    • Monito

      Not a chance.

  • Kiwibabe

    Personally I doubt very much Key lied. Jumped the gun perhaps. National doing a pretty darn good job in my opinion, much better than the present Labour line up could ever do.