The Dim-Post

September 1, 2015

Confidence

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:05 am

A month ago when the TPP negotiations in Hawaii failed John Key assured the press gallery that things would get back on track very quickly. The logic was that Obama wanted to sign the deal at APEC in November, and he needed to notify Congress 90 days before that could happen, so mid-to-late August was the absolute deadline for the Trade Ministers. It was a deadline Key was confident would be reached, so much so that veteran press gallery insider insider Richard Harman speculated that Key ‘knows something the rest of the rest of the world does not’.

Well, here we are in September and the Ministers have not agreed to reconvene, let alone met, let alone reached an agreement. Key didn’t ‘know’ anything. Or, rather, what Key knows is that in the increasingly rare instances in which he’s forced to break character and talk about governing the country – instead of gushing about puppies or the All Blacks – nothing he says needs to be true, or even plausible. Rather everything Key says is situationaly convenient. Whatever works in the super-short term because there never seem to be any consequences for being totally wrong.

45 Comments »

  1. “nothing he says needs to be true, or even plausible.” – regardless of “who” – thats a very worrying thing for anyone with power to get away with

    Comment by framu — September 1, 2015 @ 8:13 am

  2. So your complaint is that he doesn’t have a crystal ball and didn’t know something that nobody else knew either – what would happen with TPPA negotiations. Seems like we’re clutching at things to not like Key for.

    Comment by PaulL — September 1, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  3. Danyl’s got a bit of making up to do after trampling all over the ‘Adern is our next PM but not because she is pretty’ shibboleth recently. Having a post about how John Key is a big lying stupid face is probably a good start to getting back in some people’s good books.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — September 1, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  4. Yeah, what? This doesn’t make sense.

    Any leader in the world is going to say “things are going to get back on track quickly”. Whether they do or not is kinda not really up to NZ. Of all the things to criticize Key for, this seems a little odd. What was he meant to do – say, “Oh yeah, we’re probably not going to reach an agreement, no idea what’s going to happen next”?

    Comment by ntrancer — September 1, 2015 @ 8:41 am

  5. “So your complaint is that he doesn’t have a crystal ball and didn’t know something that nobody else knew either”

    No, that’s not it at all. The complaint is that he doesn’t know something so spouts vague bullshit. He’s rarely called on said bullshit (no matter how obviously wrong it is) so just keeps doing so. Thus the title of the post ‘Confidence’.

    Comment by jmarshall — September 1, 2015 @ 8:43 am

  6. I think the complaint is that he’s a bullshit artist, and it’s a fair enough one. This was just an example, there’s no shortage of others. Business confidence is positive if you look at it properly (whatever that means), Snowden docs could be fabricated (like the moonlanding I guess, could have been). Pretty much anytime he is asked about stuff his instinct is to bullshit.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 1, 2015 @ 8:47 am

  7. snap

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 1, 2015 @ 8:48 am

  8. diplomacy/measured response is a million miles away from just making any old shit up because it sounds good right now

    Comment by framu — September 1, 2015 @ 9:00 am

  9. The complaint seems pretty obviously aimed at the media to me – the media does such a good job at positioning Key as social commentator, and such a bad job at holding him to account for his consistent lying. So he gets away with anything. And then the very same media is constantly surprised at how his poll ratings refuse to fall.

    Comment by James — September 1, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  10. It’s not just that Key does this all the time. It’s that he gets taken seriously by the media, for no reason at all.

    Daily headline: Key “won’t rule out … “. Key “says he hasn’t had any advice on …”. Key “has no plans to …”. Key reckons, whatevs.

    It means absolutely nothing, because look, if you take a step back, at the end of the day, oh god, it’s diarrhoea, make it stop. When is an interviewer going to stop nodding and say “OK, I heard it, but – what? Try again, please.”

    I don’t think Key has been a terrible Prime Minister for government policy. But he’s been a disaster for logic and language. Which (at the end of the day) is all that separates us from chimps.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 1, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  11. I am really getting tired of Key’s bullshit. Why does’t the media hold him to account instead of letting hime lie like a flatfish! I am beginning to be convinced that he really has no intelligence so comes up with trivial answers to important questions. The TPP is just like the flag controversy to him–He just wants his “Sir” even though he does little to deserve it!

    Comment by A M Thom — September 1, 2015 @ 9:48 am

  12. But how should ‘the media’ hold Key to account? Espiner routinely drags Key over the coals when he goes on Morning Report, with the outcome that he doesn’t really go on Morning Report. There’s no Campbell Live, and Garner and HDPA aren’t dumb enough to risk Campbell’s fate by giving the PM a hard time.

    Comment by danylmc — September 1, 2015 @ 9:53 am

  13. “So your complaint is that he doesn’t have a crystal ball and didn’t know something that nobody else knew either ”

    No, the complaint was that Key pretended he had a crystal ball and knew something that nobody else did, but no one really calls him out on it.

    I guess because everyone knew that when he “assured the press gallery that things would get back on track very quickly” it was just bull and the real surprise would have been if that actually did get back on track quickly.

    Comment by eszett — September 1, 2015 @ 9:55 am

  14. “There’s no Campbell Live, and Garner and HDPA aren’t dumb enough to risk Campbell’s fate by giving the PM a hard time.”
    Or have enough integrity to do their job.

    Comment by Stephen — September 1, 2015 @ 10:02 am

  15. False certainty is the default setting of all politicians.

    For example the Paris round of the UNCCC will occur in late November and the Greens will say that this is the last chance to make a climate change agreement – just like they’ve said in all the previous 10 meetings. A green ultimatum will be in effect and negotiation will take place under somewhat strained conditions. Angels of truth & justice fighting against impending doom will present the only possible way to save the planet and demand the greedy capitalists change their evil ways. An agreement won’t be made. And we will all repeat the process in the next round.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 1, 2015 @ 10:03 am

  16. But how should ‘the media’ hold Key to account?

    Well, most don’t want to (Henry, Hosking, Armstrong, assorted chummy DJs and sports broadcasters). That’s at least 75% of his interviewers.

    The remainder are not so much biased as superficial (Gower, Garner et al would rather chase an MP for his expense account or tweet than do the difficult stuff, like reading documents and thinking a bit). Either because of the zeitgeist, or their own personalities.

    The remaining few do their job when they can (Espiner as mentioned, Kathryn Ryan, maybe twice a year, and some in the press gallery, who blog to a tiny audience).

    Then there’s the opposition but that’s a whole new rant …

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 1, 2015 @ 10:03 am

  17. If politicians weren’t allowed to be overly optimistic about what future their policies might bring then they wouldn’t be doing much.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2015 @ 10:06 am

  18. But how should ‘the media’ hold Key to account?

    Perhaps they could start with not speculating?

    “veteran press gallery insider insider Richard Harman speculated that Key ‘knows something the rest of the rest of the world does not’.”

    The article from Harman is clear – Key said “If Obama wants to wrap this up, he’s going to have to do it quickly”. That’s not even remotely close to to being a secret, nor a surprise. Like others have said up the thread, there are plenty of reasons to slap Key around the park. This just smacks of D-Mc trying to buy back some lefty street cred.

    Comment by Phil — September 1, 2015 @ 10:25 am

  19. Non post about a non story hoping to prompt the press to run with it in a week dominated by feel good fluff benefiting the govt eg AB team, Flag finalists.

    Comment by Richard Williams — September 1, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  20. Totally agree that Espiner is the point man for John Key bullshit patrol. Just go back to the Morning Report interview after dirty politics. It was a tumult of “At the end of the day,” rugby analogies and “I’m pretty comfortable with that” while Espiner drove the knife in. The tone of “That’s the Prime Minister, John Key.” at the end was absolutely priceless. But Key avoids anything that might be a bit difficult of uncomfortable. And why wouldn’t you when most people don’t watch or listen to anything of substance anyway. Go on The Rock or appear in Women’s Day. They make you look good and lots of people consume the product. It’s a sublime tactic. What is the point of doing hard interviews when you can do superficial, plastic ones that far more people indulge in? We live in the age of bullshit where people practically suck bullshit through a straw proclaiming “that’s tasty!”

    Comment by Eltalstro — September 1, 2015 @ 10:43 am

  21. “There’s no Campbell Live, and Garner and HDPA aren’t dumb enough to risk Campbell’s fate by giving the PM a hard time.”

    I don’t think they’ve done a political story. How is that for a win for unspoken fear and Putinesque self-censorship? And that is the guts of it. Key only goes on media where he gets a soft ride from an obsequious lite-ent media.

    For example, we still have plenty of sports journalists. And plenty of eyebrows have been raised at the excessively cosy relationship between McCaw and the NZRFU and Key and the National party, but no one has the guts to either take on McCaw or Key over it – even though there are potentially some sensationally juicy stuff to be unearthed, like how having the All Black captain very publicly endorsing a right wing PM might affect team dynamics when two All Blacks (Kaino and Messam – both, tellingly, Polynesian) are either known to be pro-Labour or came as close as damn it to criticising their captain on the eve of the world cup. Why are no sports journalists asking the NZRFU, given how much taxpayer money it still gets, why it thinks identifying with National is a good idea? No one will, because they know Brent Impey – ex mediaworks boss, ex National party candidate, none other he of the $43 million National government gift and now chairman of the board of the NZRFU – will blackball them. And yet that convicted criminal and creepily sycophantic toady of all that is the establishment line in NZ sport Tony Veitch gets his own radio show.

    At the moent NZ media isn’t just in a parlous state from budget cuts. National has partisan supporters firmly in control of all the soft media and many of the organisations that media reports on. We are getting very close to a Singapore style one party state, a “democracy” that has elections where the critical focus is always firmly on the government’s opponents and the only path to success is through the patronage of the ruling party.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2015 @ 10:52 am

  22. I’m pretty much with Phil on this one.

    You don’t have to look hard to find evidence that Key is a dissembler and bullshit artist of epic proportions. This is just one of many examples.
    As per the original premise, it doesn’t really matter in terms of Key’s credibility precisely because there are no consequences.
    Is that Key’s fault? Not really. He has no incentive to change.

    Equally important, people don’t like to contemplate a world where the Emperor has no clothes, particularly when a big chunk of the population are emotionally invested in – even if just passively – Key’s brand of feel-good, self-made-man-in-charge politics.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 1, 2015 @ 10:54 am

  23. Politics is about maintaining one can control the future.

    Show me a polician who is pessimistic about their own policies, who qualifies their statements with “chances are it might not work out that way”.

    We plan to diversify the economy. I’m not going to go into much detail about what I mean by diversity and maybe that’s not the right word. And the future is a bit unpredictable and perhaps diversifying into what we think are good areas might not actually turn out to be so. But I’m a bit obliged to say all this since people have problems and want solutions but I’d just like to say my solutions might be wrong. Or right. Please vote for me.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2015 @ 10:59 am

  24. Sanc – If we were even getting close to Singapore in terms of State efficiency and performance, I would gladly surrender all your democratic rights of dissent to wallow deeply in that nepotistic gravy train.
    Unfortunately we’ll get the worst possible outcome because New Zealand. We can’t even do corruption properly round here.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 1, 2015 @ 11:00 am

  25. Peter Lyons has a go at collecting some of the spinners here. Expect Peter to loose his job at the Herald soon? Just like Fiji really.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11505697

    Comment by ianmac40 — September 1, 2015 @ 11:06 am

  26. Peter Lyons is not a Herald journalist. he’s a school teacher who writes op-ed pieces for the Herald. Free content. (Anyone can submit anything a an op-ed…)

    Comment by MeToo — September 1, 2015 @ 11:17 am

  27. like how having the All Black captain very publicly endorsing a right wing PM might affect team dynamics when two All Blacks (Kaino and Messam – both, tellingly, Polynesian) are either known to be pro-Labour or came as close as damn it to criticising their captain on the eve of the world cup

    So, it’s ok for two (Polynesian) All Black’s to be pro Labour, but not ok for one (Farmer) All Black to be pro-National?

    Comment by Phil — September 1, 2015 @ 11:20 am

  28. “…So, it’s ok for two (Polynesian) All Black’s to be pro Labour, but not ok for one (Farmer) All Black to be pro-National..?”

    Way to miss the point bro.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2015 @ 11:23 am

  29. You would have had to make a point, before I could either hit or miss it…

    Comment by Phil — September 1, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  30. Non post about a non story hoping to prompt the press to run with it in a week dominated by feel good fluff benefiting the govt eg AB team, Flag finalists.

    I see one punter has bet $130,000 that the ABs will not win the RWC, while I strongly suspect the status quo will be adopted re the flag. The PM will not be amused if that happens.

    Comment by Ross — September 1, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  31. @Ross – looking at the final 4, it seems to me that you would have had to have tried hard to pick four worse options.

    This is good news for Phil Goff?

    Comment by Gregor W — September 1, 2015 @ 12:13 pm

  32. “You would have had to make a point, before I could either hit or miss it…”

    so what did you think you were responding to then phil?

    Comment by framu — September 1, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  33. @framu
    The absurdity of Sanctuary commenting on relationships between teammates in the All Black’s changing room.

    Comment by Phil — September 1, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

  34. This is good news for Phil Goff?

    How so?

    Comment by Ross — September 1, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

  35. I tell what is funny about McCaw and Impey sucking Key’s dick – the 2011 RWC was exactly a generation since the Springbok tour, which is about how long it has taken the NZRFU to rebuild it’s reputation with all sectors of NZ society, and it looks like they’ve done it just in time for the next generation NZRFU administration to start making the same mistake of turning the All Blacks into a vehicle for values that are held by only part of NZ society.

    Only next time the Rugby becomes a symbol of division in New Zealand – inevitable if the politicisation of the All Blacks continues – there will be no coming back for rugby.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2015 @ 2:27 pm

  36. I remember Clark’s patronage of the arts nearly took us to the barricades.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

  37. Sorry Ross – running gag…

    Comment by Gregor W — September 1, 2015 @ 3:29 pm

  38. I see one punter has bet $130,000 that the ABs will not win the RWC

    Could be a winner. They haven’t played in the northern hemisphere for nearly a year, they’ve got a soft group stage and then they’ll be straight into it against France or Ireland. What could possibly go wrong.

    You’d think Key’s been organising their fixtures?

    Comment by richdrich — September 1, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

  39. If Key wasn’t currently so busy running around after All Blacks and flag waving, we would probably have him on TV3 giving his opinion of Jacinda Ardern’s prospects in the Labour leadership race.

    Comment by Michael — September 1, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

  40. ” Why does’t the media hold him to account instead of letting hime lie like a flatfish!”

    Much media went to large efforts to hold Key and other parts of the government to account around the Dirty Politics time, over and over again. Key simply spoke past it, refused to acknowledge things, or declared it as unimportant. The public became tired of the same denials and dodges day after day, yet eventually it was the media itself copping criticism for being biased and one-sided, amazingly.

    I’m not sure if this would have worked a couple of decades ago, but today’s traditional media is trying to operate in an age where peer-to-peer sharing of opinions is an order of magnitude easier. Publicists and comms staff can set up direct lines of communication to willing audiences without having to channel broadcasts through inconvenient media middle-people, whether it’s directly or indirectly through their own apologists.

    It’s extremely easy for any person to go out and find opinion and reasoning to justify what they already think (we’re doing it here right now), even if the reasoning’s flawed. Much social media, facebook especially, is specifically engineered to try and predict what its users want to see most, and show them only that. Ultimately you don’t need to have your existing opinion challenged, because it’s so easy to find and team up with others who agree with you. If Hosking et al weren’t blurting opinions, the internet would still be there, so TVNZ would just lose market share to it.

    Even if the Dirty Politics’ media holding-to-account thing did work, though, who were people going to vote for? Labour?? The lack of a credible alternative probably just encourages people to ignore stuff which is inconvenient to hear.

    Comment by izogi — September 1, 2015 @ 5:33 pm

  41. Michael @39 – that would be funny if it wasn’t true. Damn.
    Izogi @40 last para – I think there’s a lot in that unfortunately.

    On the politicisation of the All Blacks, I’m quite fascinated by it. I mean everything is coming out into the open. The realities of the professional era mean we’re talking the top 0.01% income earners, and those who last a couple of seasons are probably assured of millionaire status, at what is quite a young age when peers are struggling with student loans, no hope of affording a house etc (i.e. very different situation to older people by simple dint of time and owning an Auckland property etc, people from a variety of backgrounds end up wealthy). What has changed in my life time is they were a rugby elite, now they are also part of the political and economic ruling elite, and they associate more than any obligatory level with the party of wealth and its wealthiest prime minister in history. And yet, so far, it doesn’t matter to the public. Maybe the corporate propaganda machine is so powerful, that there’s no tarnish, no parting of the ways, with some fans starting to feel uncomfortable. Kids probably just want to be like All Blacks even more now for all I know, now that there’s wealth and political prestige to go with the honour of playing the game at that level. I guess there have always been All Blacks standing as MPs (anyone got a list? – Google just reminds me of Laidlaw and Thorne) but this feels very different.

    Comment by Joe-90 — September 1, 2015 @ 7:22 pm

  42. Maybe it’s time to join the darkside then Danyl.

    Comment by dj_krysussss — September 2, 2015 @ 2:47 am

  43. We plan to diversify the economy. I’m not going to go into much detail about what I mean by diversity and maybe that’s not the right word.

    Except that this statement that you are repeating is actually a lie.

    After seven years in power, our exports – how we pay for our living in the world – have become significantly more concentrated in a limited number of primary production sectors.

    Which is fine, because the business press isn’t much concerned with Bill English and Stephen Joyce’s economic leadership.

    Comment by Moses — September 2, 2015 @ 9:15 am

  44. I posted this at the time of Dirty Politics and it seems more appropriate than ever,
    journalist Sharyl Attkisson casting Watergate into the modern world:

    ATTKISSON: I think that we’ve gone backwards since that time when we really felt empowered as journalists. And I like to think as what would happen today during a Nixon type scandal, Nixon would basically refuse to turn over tapes to congress, his aides would refuse to testify to congress or would take the fifth or would lie to congress with fair amount of impunity. Woodward and Bernstein will be controversialized on social media by special and political interests.

    RADDATZ: Well, this is all very depressing–

    ATTKISSON: — Facebook accounts. And then at the end, Nixon would go on a popular late night comedy show during which time he would humorously refer to his attackers as people that were political witch hunters who believe in Area 51 type conspiracies.

    It’s probably one of the reasons Key gets on so well with Obama.

    Comment by tom hunter — September 2, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  45. The OP hits the nail on the head….and as much as it’s a criticism of Mr Key, it’s also an indictment of every know-nothing National voter who continues to support him no matter how wrong he is and how little he cares about that.

    Comment by Steve W — September 14, 2015 @ 11:22 pm


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