There’s a cleared up recording of the tea-cup tapes here. To my mind the most intriguing segment is seven minutes in, when Key discusses the prospect of rebuilding the ACT Party with Banks, and the fact that they both find Don Brash ‘strange’. Key is hard to make out, but he then says something like:
that is why when they rang me in the UK [garbled] 15 percent, have a snap election. No.
We know where the mythical 15% came from – Brash’s conservative estimate for ACT’s vote share under his awesome leadership. But who proposed a snap election to the PM? ACT? Brash? Key’s strategists? Key was in the UK for the Royal Wedding, and if you do a New Zealand google search for suggestions for a snap election dating from around this time you get Guyon Espiner enthusiastically endorsing a snap election and Cameron Slater seeding the rumour. Odd combination.
It’s also pretty funny listening to the PM insist – with apparent sincerity – that he never goes negative and never engages in personal attacks. If you watch him during Question Time, it’s very rare for him to take a break from negative, personal attacks to mention his own government or its policies.