Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Yesterday, Labour got the goods on John Key and his illegal "PM's hour" election broadcast, showing that Key's office had its grubby paws all over it. They had arranged the guests, they had instructed RadioLive on the brief for the show, and they'd even written RadioLive's inquiry to the Electoral Commission. Key's response to this was to say that he had no knowledge of any of this, and in followup questions today he claimed that he had first learned of it in Question Time yesterday.

This is simply unbelievable.

Firstly, there's the sheer implausibility that Key would not have been briefed on the arrangements being made for his appearance and the concerns around it. Are we really supposed to believe that he didn't know who his guests were until he stepped into the studio? Or that his staff didn't tell him about the legal concerns, and reassure him that everything was OK?

But secondly, and more importantly, the documents Labour tabled were obtained via an OIA request to Key's office. Given past practice, the request would likely have been handled by his Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagleson, but it is unthinkable that Key would not have been briefed about a request on a politically sensitive topic, both to decide what to withhold and to manage any fallout. To believe that, we'd have to think that Eagleson was utterly inept. And I know that he is not. It speaks volumes about Key's character that he is trying to defend himself by effectively slandering his Chief of Staff as an incompetent. But I guess that's just one of the management tricks bankers learn...