In My Opinion: Henry’s word | Issue 25

In My Opinion: Henry’s word | Issue 25

Clever Collusion or Simple Miscommunication?

Last week the prime minister was asked the same question a record seven times, six times with exactly the same wording. Key was forced to masterfully deflect the long-time opposition favourite: Does he stand by all his statements? However, this time the old Trojan-horse question was accompanied by reference to Key’s seven years as prime minister. 

The question read: “Does he stand by all his statements after almost seven years as prime minister?” Five opposition MPs asked this question; Andrew Little even asked it twice. Obviously this was a collective tactic from the opposition, but it begs the question:  Why?

Key’s seven years as prime minister and six before that as an opposition MP have equipped him with a particularly strong resiliance. If the goal was to irritate him to the point of anger, it fell very short. If it achieved anything at all, it provided an amusing question time.

Key, clearly pre-empting the colluded onslaught of the replicated question, responded to every question with the quip, “Yes, especially the statement where I said [insert dig here].” 

Key’s first question was asked by Labour Party leader Andrew Little, to whom he responded by saying: “Yes, especially that one where I said, man, he really does sound like a broken record.” The benefit of being in government, among other things, is that you usually have a large number of fellow MPs, which gives the subtle advantage of having a significant crowd to laugh at your insults, irrespective of their wit.

I don’t know what Labour, the Greens and NZ First were thinking when they got together and decided to do this, but you have to hand it to Key — he’s a master at saying a lot without saying anything. If only the opposition would take some notes.

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2015.
Posted 11:52am Sunday 27th September 2015 by Henry Napier.