Monday, July 11, 2011

Key on racism: oppose in theory, support in practice

Over the weekend, ACT had a racist meltdown, publishing ads in the New Zealand Herald which failed the political hygiene test, then sacking the designer of those ads after he was a little too open about his (and by implication, the party's) views.

So, what does John Key think about this? After all, he is currently in government with ACT, and they're his most reliable coalition prospect after the election. As usual, he tries to have it both ways:

"What happens with him and the Act Party, frankly I don't give a toss about, but at the end of the day I don't think any of us would be surprised that he's making those comments."

He said the comments would not sour National's relationship with ACT.

"We don't share all the views that ACT quite clearly has but that doesn't mean we can't work with them, but we clearly don't share all the views the Maori Party has either but we've certainly proved over the last three years that we can work with them as well."

Translation: Key doesn't like racism, but is happy to work with racists if they'll make him Prime Minister and help him sell New Zealand's assets to his rich mates. And if he has to implement part of their racist agenda, well, that's just the price of doing the things he wants to do.

This isn't good enough. ACT have crossed a line. They should be political poison to any decent person or party. Instead, Key wants to gift them an electorate, and make Brash a Minister in his government. "Morally bankrupt" doesn't even begin to cover it...

But then, this isn't unusual for Key. Just look at his position on pay equity. When faced with a point of moral principle, he mouths the right platitudes (whatever he thinks people want to hear), then does the opposite. The problem is that eventually people notice this sort of deceitful hypocrisy, and then their trust – which is the foundation of Key’s political brand – goes out the window. The question is whether enough will do so by November.