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John Key should be embarrassed

Hon Steve Maharey

2 August 2007 Media Statement

John Key should be embarrassed

John Key should use National’s conference this weekend to explain some of the slippery, and at worst dishonest, statements he hopes might have escaped the attention of New Zealanders, Labour Minister Steve Maharey said today.

“Mr Key makes a virtue of avoiding specifics, making things up on the hoof or disregarding his own party’s position.

“This is becoming a worrying problem for the National leader, as voters rightly expect him to put up sensible and well-researched alternatives to the successful policies of the Labour-led government.

“He scored a spectacular ‘own goal’ this week when - 24 hours after stating a position to three senior New Zealand Herald journalists on the trans-Tasman drug agency plan - he went into denial, claiming he had been ‘misrepresented’.

“He then refused to appear on Morning Report to explain his contradictory policy positions, leaving questions about whether he has been overruled by his health spokesperson or simply doesn’t have a grasp on the policy himself.

“The former currency trader has also seriously damaged his integrity and credibility by being happy to talk up the value of the dollar when others are crying out for relief.

“These are the latest in a series of highly embarrassing gaffes from Mr Key. He has also blundered by:

- Drags Australian High Commission into our domestic affairs: Inappropriately dragging the Australian High Commissioner into New Zealand’s domestic affairs, by claiming the commissioner was on “National’s side” over the trans-Tasman therapeutic agency plan.

- Dishonest over Iraq, said we’d follow US into Iraq: Dishonestly representing National’s position on Iraq when he said in response to British MP George Galloway that National didn’t support sending troops to Iraq. Previously, he said the Government’s position against military intervention was “totally unacceptable”.

- Tells untruth about his comments about Auckland merger: In a recent speech (post the Royal Commission announcement) he untruthfully said he’d suggested in an earlier speech he’d offered solutions about the merger of Auckland. The earlier speech contained not only no solutions, but not a single suggestion.

- KiwiSaver: Even on national television he repeatedly refuses to answer the question about the future of the scheme.

- Uninformed on Dobson Dam: Backed the scheme even though it has been overtaken by another project.

- Admits gaffe over Project Aqua comments: His excuses? He says he didn’t know which project he was talking about, or, he says ‘Aqua’ for everything.

- Inexperience trips him over RMA reform process: So unfamiliar is John Key with parliamentary process he stated if in government, he’d put a private members bill into the ballot to change the RMA and dictate when it is drawn.

- Springbok Tour: Knew 1981 was a time of turmoil but didn’t have a strong view of the tour, before admitting he was “quietly pro”.

- Re-wrote Climate Change stance: Was “suspicious” of climate change then said he was a firm believer.

“National has in past years run into trouble for having hidden agendas. The problem under Mr Key is that the party appears to have no agenda at all apart from trying to be all things, to all people, all of the time,” Steve Maharey said.


References: Gaffes and historical rewrites (PDF)

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