I said it years ago and was attacked by Helen Clark, now I’ll say it again: when a politician is up against the wall, their default setting is to lie.
And with the Prime Minister this week, I rest my case. He had an unsolicitied text conversation with Cameron Slater, ‘Whaleoil’ on Monday night at 9.45pm. He was asked the next day, by RadioLIVE’s Politicial Editor, Jessica Williams, when was the last time he had had spoken to Slater, and Key replied "months ago". He also said he had had a text message "a while ago". It was actually just hours earlier, the night before the release of the explosive intelligence report.
Key’s position was misleading. It was a lie. He was ducking, dodging and weaving. He then, yesterday, again denied he had any recent contact with Slater while answering questions in Parliament. He later returned to the House to confirm he was in touch with Slater about Ms Gwyn's report the night before it was released on Tuesday. Credit to him for changing his story; he had to. But, all this is damaging to his credibility.
His first reaction was to not tell the truth and then his second reaction was to not tell the truth. He’s in a real pickle and it goes to the heart of his credibility. He should have cut all contact with Slater months ago – there is no good bit. Why aren’t his advisers telling him this? This could well be the moment when the public starts to seriously question him as our Prime Minister. This may well be the turning point - if enough people bother to care.
His loyalists are in full attack mode, defending their man, as they usually are in these moments. But his brain-fade has form: forgetting he met Lord Ashcroft, forgetting the Tranzrail shares, there are other moments too. This one comes at a poor time. Timing is everything in politics and there’s a new Labour Leader sitting there, hungry to maximise Key’s failing.
The truth is the PM has refused to apologise for the underhand dealings of his office and now he’s misled the public over his dealings with Whaleoil. I bet Andrew Little can’t believe his luck. While Key only has himself to blame.
Duncan Garner hosts RadioLIVE Drive - 'where content is still king' - weekdays from 3pm
source: data archive