Paul Little on John Key

This is such a notable work in its own right, I’m reproducing it in full and without comment.

If these women had something to complain about they should have done it in the dignified ways that previous generations did.If we could try to remember what this was meant to be about: New Zealanders are being held prisoner on Christmas Island, a remote Australian possession, in conditions that have been roundly condemned by every respected international organisation that has investigated them.

None of those prisoners is there because they have been charged with a crime. A minority of them have committed serious crimes. They have also done their time, which means under our system that until they commit another crime they should have the same rights as everyone else.

Well, that was the issue until the Prime Minister decided to defend Australia’s policy with dodgy figures and the statistical sleight-of-hand we have come to expect when he is going about his core task of defending the indefensible.

And when the Opposition attempted to stand up for its fellow citizens on Christmas Island, he went from stern letter to thermonuclear attack in the space of a single speech by playing what we will now have to call the rapists and murderers card.

It has been suggested this was a classic Key diversion strategy. I doubt it.

It’s hard to think what he wouldn’t want us to see that could be worse than this.

Because, whatever else he was trying to do, he has now made it about him. The question is no longer whether you’d want him as Prime Minister. It’s whether you’d want him sitting next to you at a dinner party.

Several women MPs showed they didn’t even want to be in the same Parliament as him. Some walked, some Speaker David Carter kicked out after they brought up sexual assaults they had suffered.

I’ve always thought walking out was an ineffective way to conclude an argument. But sometimes there is no choice, because no matter how reasonable or important what you have to say is, the other person won’t listen.

It’s not all bad.

We have seen Key demonstrate strengths such as his ability to connect with real New Zealanders. He knows real New Zealanders can’t stand the sound of women complaining, especially when a whole bunch of them do it at once.

His attitude might not be fashionable, but he is about old-fashioned values, like putting women in their place, teaching them to be seen and not heard, and never backing down or apologising, especially when you’re in the wrong.

If these women had something to complain about they should have done it in the dignified ways that previous generations did: by confiding it to their diaries or sharing it with one special friend over a nice cuppa.

They certainly shouldn’t attempt to broadcast their woes to the nation so the Speaker is put in a position where he looks like a right toerag when he kicks them out of Parliament.

And it must be hard for Key to look at film of New Zealanders on Christmas Island without getting upset. There they are, lolling around in shirts-off weather, enjoying brilliant sunshine and sand and all the free time in the world. Don’t people know how much it costs to get that in Hawaii?

The only people in the community who should be getting something for nothing, according to his Government’s philosophy, are employers of teenagers.

With any luck this will all blow over soon. In the meantime, here’s hoping that amid the hurly-burly the PM has been able to take 10 minutes to enjoy a quiet drink and a ponytail.

The Government has revealed this week it is considering allowing nuclear-capable US military vessels back into our waters. Surely agitation to reintroduce apartheid in South Africa can’t be far away.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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