Duncan Garner: For a PM - Sorry is always the hardest word


Guess who John Key reminded me of yesterday? Helen Clark – especially in her last couple of years as the PM. There. I said it.

John Key should simply apologise for what amounts to his office abusing its powers. He is the boss. It’s his office. They are his political staff. He is also the Minister responsible for the SIS. The buck stops with him on so many fronts.

Leaders can apologise – and they should. The fact he won’t looks arrogant.

The facts of this SIS case look complex and complicated and he’s relying on that. He’s relying on the public not caring enough; and he may be right about that. The behaviour of the PM and his office is an issue, though. Integrity, truth and honesty is important. It does matter, actually.

This issue is simple, it doesn’t have to be complex. The SIS colluded with the PM’s office (Phil De Joux and Jason Ede) to handover privileged material to blogger Whaleoil to politically embarrass the then Opposition Leader. John Key had denied that.

The fact John Key’s black-ops man Jason Ede said “I’m going to get in the shit for this,’ says it all. The truth is laid bare in that one sentence.

Of course, the SIS are primarily to blame; They played politics. But John Key’s dirty-boys allowed them to.

It would take two seconds for the PM to apologise and say sorry that his office used these underhand tactics. The more time a leader spends in office the more tired and arrogant they look to the public. It happened to Helen Clark when she pretended she didn’t realise her crown car was speeding at 200km per hour across the Waimate plains; And it happened to her when her party stole $800,000 of taxpayers' money to fund its pledge card. Key exposed her on both fronts, I remember well.

Key himself looked arrogant, desperate and defensive yesterday – when all he had to do was say sorry and move on. How hard would that have been?

Duncan Garner hosts RadioLIVE Drive - 'where content is still king' - weekdays from 3pm

source: data archive