John Key came prepared to his post-Cabinet press conference yesterday on foreign trusts.
He doesn’t always. Occasionally he will expect a subject to be raised but deliberately be unprepared.
By some coded means (perhaps two touches to the left ear and a stroke of the chin) his staff get the message that the PM Does Not Want to Be Briefed on that issue so he can deny knowledge.
Guyon Espiner is wise to this stunt. Pretty much every time Key is on Morning Report nowadays the exchange plays out like:
Espiner: I want to ask you about [awkward subject].
Key: Actually I haven’t been briefed on [awkward subject] so I can’t comment on that.
Espiner: You can’t comment?
Key: No. I just don’t know much about it.
Espiner: Because [expert or opposition politician] has said [thing about the awkward subject that makes Key or his government look bad].
Key: No, that’s wrong, that’s completely wrong, because hey, it actually turns I know an awful lot about [awkward subject], almost as if I’ve been extensively briefed about it and just lied to you a second ago to try and avoid the topic, but I will now speak about it at length.