29 May 2008

Spinning the Policy a lesson in double-speak

John & Kate agree on policy confusion in the National Party.

The Evidence of the policy nakedness that is the English-Key led National Party is showing when we finally got some policy out of National. Not detailed policy it's true and John Key certainly wasn't very gracious about having to spit it out at all and he was his usual slippery self about the details.

Mr Key was clearly not happy at having his hand forced to out the policy when he had to contradict his Industrial Spokesperson Kate Wilkinson after she told a breakfast meeting that employer contributions to Kiwis were not going to be compulsary

Quite apart from what National's version of this incredibly popular savings scheme might mean in real dollar terms to the almost 650,000 people who have already signed up to KiwiSaver (the money gets pretty serious over the decades and even one percentage point difference in the employer's contributions will mean many thousands of dollars wiped off the retirement savings of workers) this episode showed National in a poor light on another front.

Here's what Barry Soper from NewstalkZB said on the KiwiSaver debacle:

"What I found interesting was the way it was handled. I was the only person this time yesterday at this particular breakfast and it was a question from the floor. Kate Wilkinson quite clearly said that employer contributions to KiwiSaver was not going to be compulsory.

Now, I had a call from the chief spin doctor from the National Party (Kevin Taylor) saying 'I understand you are going to run this story, you are wrong'. And I thought, hang on, I was there, I heard it, and so did everybody else in the audience. And he repeated, 'you are wrong, you will not run this, you are wrong'. Well we ran it and by two o'clock yesterday afternoon John Key was saying 'it was Kate Wilkinson that was wrong.'

But it was the handling of it that I found not just offensive but bullying, and saying don't run this."

This isn't the first time that John Key has threatened the media. Bay News journalist Greg Robertson was bullied and threatened with dismissal after he quoted John Key saying " I would love to see wages drop."

It's quite a contrast with the Mr Nice Guy image that John Key is so keen to present to the rest of New Zealand but it does accord with what more and more people are starting to realise - he says one thing and means another.

It's about time the serious questioning of the pretender intensified so we can judge the quality of the thinking coming from the select few who are apparently creating the policy statements for Slippery John to read.

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