Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: Citizen Key

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't like that either. Labour doesn't own the vote of every state house kid.

    Well, indeed Russell - just as National doesn't 'own' the votes of every Christ's College old boy or farmer's daughter. :) More seriously, I think David has a point as far as it goes, but I also find it distasteful to see the meme that poverty is enobling and makes you a better person. For a supposedly egalitarian, meritocratic society we seem peculiarly wedded to the notion that locality is destiny.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Muriel Lockheed,

    sorry to follow on after my own post, but I, too, find this talk of "working class scab" "from state house to multi millionaire" if not offensive, then bloody tedious.

    I wasn't born with silver spoon, my life has turned out okay, but I don't view life as where I have been, but more in terms of where am I heading.

    And, that I think is the question for us, the nation and Mr Key etc where are we heading? What is your vision?

    Wellywood • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Sometime just before the last election, I have a dim recollection that John Key was hinting at far right agenda regarding Super, Welfare, Privatisation etc then suddenly switched persona to become the friendly, smiling agreeable chap, perhaps as a means to gain the power then act (or ACT). You can't "nail" a chap if he just smiles and nods. Hope I'm wrong!!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I'm a bit tired of this 'state house boy made good' meme too.

    John Key may have grown up in a state house, but from all accounts, his mother scrimped, saved, worked hard and made damn sure that her children grew up with a determination to acheive.

    Losers are made in rich homes too - what counts is parental attitude, and access to education.

    The stunning achievements are from the people who grow up in poverty, and despair.

    Having said that, although Mr Key may not have been surrounded by despair, he did grow up in material poverty, and without having a rich mummy and daddy to help him out, he is now living quite well, thank you very much. So he is certainly entitled to claim credit for 'poor boy made good'.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • John Francis Logan,

    I heard Key interviewed on NatRad a couple of months ago. I listened eagerly to hear what this man was made of; was he likely to be an improvement on, or substantially different from, Brash. Predictably, he spent the entire interview, despite being asked direct questions on policy, in engaging in that time-honoured Nat practice of blagging Labour and its policies. I didn't hear one original thought or idea. Perhaps confirming the maxim that only patronage (investment) comes from above; ideas, to carry us forward and improve the lot of us all, come from below.

    Katikati • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    just as National doesn't 'own' the votes of every Christ's College old boy or farmer's daughter.

    Couldn't agree more Craig. Just like the 'statehouse = underbelly of society' stereotype, the 'farming family = privilege' stereotype is an unfair one that has hung around for a long time.

    There was nothing privileged about being part of the rural economy through the mid-80s to mid-90s. We used to eat roast mutton several times a week - because we had bugger all for groceries, and the sheep were as good as worthless anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 264 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Actually, what came to mind when Brash was trying to sell this 'poor boy' thing last night was;

    "State house? State house? We lived in shoe box in middle of t'road..."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This just in: Injunction lifted. No copies at Whitcoulls.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • john shears,

    I am struck by the way the Nats seem to keep choosing the same type for leader, on the presumption that the media have it right..

    Muldoon,Brash,Key all Finance, accounting,numbers people,all lacking in an understanding of what really makes people tick.

    I recall clearly my horror at the Nats joy when Muldoon took over from Lake as Minister of Finance and they said that he would make a great PM.

    I said I don't think so, he is only interested in money.

    A little time later he stabbed gentleman Jack in the back.
    Long time passing ,when will we ever learn,when will we ever learn.

    North Shore City • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Frank freeman,

    Having thought about Citizen Key as PM I doubt that he will succeed to the top spot, disabled as he is. His one diadvantage which will prevent him from succeeding in 21st century NZ is that he has a penis or conversely he lacks a vagina. The Nats need to get real and elect Katherine Rich as leader. At least her surname fits the ethos of the party.

    Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I'm a bit tired of this 'state house boy made good' meme...

    Jeez, why does everyone read it as "**state house** boy made good"? It's clearly "**Christchurch** ... boy made good".

    Because we all automatically assume Christchurch people will grow up to be parochial red-necks, don't we? Which John Key clearly isn't, since he's properly worked and lived overseas.

    For example, I can't see him, on the campaign trail, saying "Oh, you're from (insert country of choice between Turkey and Japan) - one of my sons was born in Singapore you know..."

    Okay, maybe that just disproves 'parochial'. The 'red-neck', on the other hand, with that voting record ... hmmm...

    (No, no, of course they're not all like that. One of my best friends grew up in Christchurch.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Frank freeman,

    Since when did getting to be leader of the National Party become defined as "making good"? Good compared with what??? Jesus wept!
    Its not like Key raised someone from the dead or something. To paraphrase Billy Connolly - the mere desire to be a politician should automatically disqualify you from the job.

    Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    Well, in my professional and deeply considered opinion, John Key is icky.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Since when did getting to be leader of the National Party become defined as "making good"?

    He's not leader yet. And it wasn't what I was thinking of.

    I think getting to the stage of owning a comfortable home, being able to support your children and other members of your family, and possibly the wider community in which you live, and being in a position to support yourself in your old age counts as making good.

    Mr Key has probably overachieved on these criteria.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • larryq,

    It might be cliched, but I quite like the fact that we are likely to have a talented & successful person from a modest background with a shot at power. I've had a gutsful of the Helen Clark's of this world trying to kidd us that they know anything about being working class.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • ed pointsman,

    A superficial as I am, my opinion of Key was formed when he was busted copping the 'living away from home' allowance...

    Here is a guy worth, what? a metric shitload in any currency, and he is hitting the taxpayer up for a couple extra hundred a week?

    And this is leadership material? Sheesh.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Sing along with the common people,
    sing along and it might just get you through,
    laugh along with the common people,
    laugh along even though they're laughing at you,
    and the stupid things that you do.
    Because you think that poor is cool.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    ed wrote:
    A superficial as I am, my opinion of Key was formed when he was busted copping the 'living away from home' allowance...

    Just, John? Sorry, but AFAIC, nobody in Parliament is exactly on the bones of their arse and unable to pay market rents for a flat reasonably close to work. According to the lParliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 2005, the base salary for a backbencher is $118K. There are plenty of Wellywooders earning a damn sight less who can muddle through. Having said that, why is John Key any less 'leadership material' than any other party leader who lives outside Wellington - i.e. all of them except Peter Dunne - who takes the same coin?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • ed pointsman,

    Craig,

    Isn't it a little disingenuous to defend John's actions by saying "they are all the same"? John is, financially, in quite a different league than your average backbencher.

    And the concept of leadership material is, for me, predicated in differentiation from 'any other party leader,' not similarity.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • john shears,

    The interesting point for me is that here is this Nat poly who is very likely going to be their next leader who not only has been slagged for grabbing the away from home allowance but home is in Parnell and he is the member for Helensville. Hello!
    Not only do they have their snouts in the trough and tell pork pies but this one at least is a classic carpet bagger.

    North Shore City • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ed:

    The short version: No, I don't think Key or any other MP should be receiving an accomodation allowance on top of their already generous salaries. (And that doesn't include the super scheme, non-cash allowances, and annual pay rises historically well above both the norm for others in the civil service and the rate of inflation.) How that's a 'defence' of John Key - ingenuous or not - is beyond me. I just think you're being a wee bit disingenuous yourself to hold Key to a standard of conduct you don't seem to be applying to anyone else.

    I don't actually begrudge MPs being reasonably well-paid, and adequately resourced to do their jobs. But I don't apologise for feeling zero sympathy for any Parliamentarian who whinges about how hard done by they are. Nobody is forced into Parliament at gunpoint, and a drop in income is an opportunity cost I'd like them to accept with some grace - especially while they're preaching "wage restraint" and railing against 'cultures of extravagance' to the rest of the public sector.

    John Shears wrote:
    The interesting point for me is that here is this Nat poly who is very likely going to be their next leader who not only has been slagged for grabbing the away from home allowance but home is in Parnell and he is the member for Helensville. Hello!

    And a royal wave to you too. I can think of three or four MPs off the top of my head, on both sides of the house, who live - or have lived - outside their electorates, with no impact on their ability to properly service their constituents.

    I'd find that infinitely preferable to the game of 'Where's Wally' that's going on in Mangere. Their MP isn't only on 'gardening leave' from his Parliamentary duties but (as fair as I'm aware) still has other Labour MPs covering his constituency clinics. At least the residents of Helensville know their MP is going to front his scheduled clinics and constituency work this weekend.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • ed pointsman,

    Craig,

    My argument was that Key is (apparently) as rich as Croesus and yet still keen on accumulating more. Greed is a very unattractive trait in anyone, let alone someone who aspires to lead this country.

    You respond by saying: everyone is doing it (which may be true), but doesn't really deal to my point - hence is disingenuous.

    And I agree completely with your point about those who choose to enter political life and bemoan the consequent pay cut. I would add that (not from personal experience, alas) for some, power is far more attractive than cash - particularly once you are already rolling in the stuff...

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    One example to consider is Michael Laws. He either doesn't draw his mayoral salary or donates it to charity, I can't recall which.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • ed pointsman,

    When we are holding Laws up as a (good) example my guess is the thread is starting to seriously unravel...

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    When we are holding Laws up as a (good) example my guess is the thread is starting to seriously unravel...

    I'll make it official by invoking Godwin's Law. Hitler was kind to animals.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

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