No, it’s the benefit of having an accurate pollster on the payroll

Karl du Fresne thinks that John Key is on drugs:

I have never met John Key, but like anyone who follows politics I’ve been able to observe him via the media. And after studying him carefully, I think I now realise the explanation for much of his behaviour. He’s on drugs.

Not the illegal kind, I should stress, but the mood-calming type that doctors prescribe. This may sound flippant, but consider the following.

In the 2014 election campaign, Key was subjected to possibly the most sustained media offensive faced by any prime minister in New Zealand history. Day after day he was tackled by an aggressive media pack trying to trap him on dirty politics, illicit surveillance and other touchy issues.

His answers were often unsatisfactory, which served only to ramp up the media frenzy. But through it all, he appeared supernaturally imperturbable. He patiently batted away reporters’ questions and accusations with his familiar bland inscrutability. There were no meltdowns, no hissy fits, no petulant walkouts.

This was downright unnatural. No politician should be that unflappable. He can have achieved it only by the ingestion of large amounts – indeed, industrial quantities – of tranquillisers.

No Karl, the serenity comes from having an accurate pollster on the payroll.

That way you know that, despite the baying pack of dogs that is the press gallery, your policy platform is being well received, your party is performing well and that Twitter and Facebook aren’t the real world.

This is why John Key thanked David Farrar on election night, he was the one who provided the information daily to John Key to let him know that Dirty Politics, the plot of the left-wing to unseat his government, wasn’t working as they expected.

Contrast that with the inept polling and claims by people who should know better like Rob Salmond and David Talbot. Salmond constantly inflated Labour’s real poll results, sometimes by up to 10%, giving his small band of readers and assorted hangers on, including the leadership of Labour at the time false hope.

Serenity comes from accuracy, panic comes from idiocy and losing your head.

Then again maybe, just maybe John Key has his own Bonnie Doon.


– Fairfax


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  • T Mardell

    “Bonny Doon” is what exists between the ears, and comes not from books or lectures, but actually living and dealing with the real, everyday world.

    So much wisdom in that movie ….

  • Teletubby

    Is this the beginning of a campaign from the left to make “meltdowns, hissy fits, and petulant walkouts” acceptable behaviour from a leader and patient, calm, rational explaining of a position unacceptable? Seems the media are trying to pave the way for Angry Andy, albeit with crazy cobblestones.

    • taurangaruru

      I think they intend putting Little on a course of horse tranquillizers so he can compete on a level playing field with Key.

  • fergus

    Mr du Fresne….The behaviour you seem to expect would better describe how you would behave.
    Never measure others against your own yardstick, as you invariably come up short.

    • it is a bit like having all the tickets in your own raffle really.

  • Phill

    …”I’ve been able to observe him via the media.”
    Well there’s your 1st problem mate. Your listening to slanted “opinion”, spun together with a good dose of “drama” – which bears no resemblance to the truth or facts of the situation!

  • Salacious Crumb

    I suspect regular forays onto WhaleOil probably helped in assuaging any anxieties regarding the mood of the electorate and seeing the NZ media relegated below Islamic State in the trust stakes would have made it easier batting away their intrusions.

  • Sally

    Calm and collected against angry and muddled will win everytime.
    That is how to succeed in business and Key has just transferred that to politics.


    It’s quite simple actually— if you know you and your government are on the right track you can be confident and won’t get rattled by the ‘pack of dogs’. Good on you, John Key!

  • caochladh

    Dupe Fresne panders to his left numpty following and Fairfax is happy to oblige by printing his drivel as this caters for their target audience.

    • botti

      His left following? de Fresne is one of the few journalists who is conservative.

      • caochladh

        Well, judging by his following, we need to redefine conservative.

  • Dog Breath

    Its been said before but imagine today if somehow the left wing conspiracy had actually worked and Cunliffe had managed to cobble a government out of Labour, Greens, Maori Party, Mana and Internet Party. It absolutely astounds me that there were voters who saw this senerio as OK and voted accordingly. Thank god there were enough informed voters who realised what a disaster this outcome would have been. JK is all class and this is shown not only by his ability to deal with any issue regardless of its potential impact but also have respect on the world stage. Message to all left leaning parties that is what a real leader looks like.

  • Alright

    “Pssst, its Angry Andy here John. It’s been suggested you may be on some type of happy pill. If you are would you mind doing the brotherly thing and telling me what they so I can get some too?”

  • LabTested

    ‘This was downright unnatural. No politician should be that unflappable’

    I would guess you don’t get to run a money trading department unless you are extremely unflappable.

    • Those sort of people make good pilots too. And ED doctors and nurses.

  • wooted

    I remember the second thing the boss told me when I started working for a contractor : “Don’t get mad, get even”

    (The first was: “Don’t start work until you know you’re going to get paid for it”)

  • 1951

    It is refreshing to see that at least one member of/in the media accepts the behavior of his colleagues was equal to that of a pack of wolves. Low as low can be.
    JK may have been imperturbable but that does not mean he wasn’t under huge stress. The fact that he didn’t buckle under that pressure says to me that he knew he was above the dirty street-brawling the others brought into play. That ‘shouts’ leader, a person who knows his own mind, knows where he I going, knows that what he is doing is the right thing. That is what is ‘wanting’ in those feeble minds of the Left. They are deficient in every way. They deserve not one ounce of respect.

  • Kevin O’Brien

    John Key had the personality to be a sucessful money market trader for former employers. He must be blessed with equanimity, a calm head in battle,quick and sound judgement: anything less and one will be a loser. It was those characteristics which enabled the prompt decision making re Christchurch. Apart from ability he seems to be blessed with a pleasnt and humble personaity too. He has a right to smile. The opposition would do well to look for someone similar.

  • kayaker

    “No politician should be that unflappable”. Exactly, Karl. But you forget – John Key is not a politician. He’s a businessperson currently working in politics, having had a real job/s before he got there and highly likely to have a life afterwards.

    I remember JK saying before he became Prime Minister that it pays to be independently wealthy when you are in politics (so you do not rely on it as a career).

    Edit: addition of ‘businessperson’ for clarity

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    I don’t know what drug Karl bro is on….waste of time…..

  • Curly1952

    Has this nitwit ever thought that maybe John Key is just the type of person who doesn’t let things get on top of him.
    The relentless attack by the media and the left was shallow and JK didn’t buy into their rhetoric and this really annoyed them and the more they ranted and raved the calmer he got. This tactic surely got up their collective noses.
    I notice that the media and left still haven’t learn’t their lesson though. Still trying to rubbish JK. That clothes horse green co leader being a prime example of this.
    The lot of them are as thick as two short planks

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Another load of baloney and it is becoming the norm to attempt to be creative and ignore the facts and the real events as they were played out.
    Many will recall more than one occasion before the when being interviewed John Key said his team were seeing things differently than the social media. Added to this was the numbers who gathered where he appeared and the feedback he gained by this crowd contact. He remained cautiously optimistic and maintains a “glass half full” outlook.
    At which time the opposition were able count their respondents since it seldom it seldom got into double figures after deducting the media and their own hangers on. Their “glass half empty” outlook is in complete contrast since they are always looking for top up.

  • David

    Bollocks! Du Fresne is another so-called journalist that is past it. Retire.