There are two John Keys. That’s the only way to explain it. There’s the John Key who has been sitting on the ninth floor of the Beehive for seven years (and in Parliament for six years before that) and then there’s the John Key who gets wheeled out like the Winter Soldier whenever they need plausible deniability.
How else do we reconcile statements like this, on MPs’ pay rises:
Key has expressed his disappointment in the pay rises for MPs for the past five years.
It’s funny how someone who literally leads our country was powerless to do anything about changing the rules his government set for five years. Rules which incidentally they strengthened in favour of themselves in 2012.
And now there’s this, on travel perks:
Prime Minister John Key was bemused that MPs still get to take their spouses along, even in this day and age, and he won’t be alone.
Are we really meant to believe that a man of John Key’s business acumen and managerial experience, with 13 years as an MP, really just didn’t know that the perk existed? Despite the fact that sixteen members of his Party* have gone on such trips in the time he’s been Leader? Including two Speakers and one Deputy Speaker from the National benches? (Hat-tip @philiplyth for the link to reports of those trips.)
I mean, it’s not like the topic of pay rises and lifetime travel perks gets a lot of media coverage on a regular basis. David Farrar himself produced a handy guide to the perks as they stood in 2009. The Herald slammed the perks in a 2010 editorial. Maybe Key’s spokeswoman in 2012, who agreed that the perks are out of step with modern remuneration practices, could have explained it to him.
But no. We’re meant to buy that John Key is just a regular chap like us who can’t be expected to know anything about his own organisation and employment practices, much less pay attention to whatever unimportant stuff the newspapers are complaining about now.
Still, you have to wonder if it isn’t a little bit convenient that one of the BFFs of Key’s favourite texting buddy Cameron Slater raised the issue in headline-making terms so he could be “bemused” by it.
*Colin King, Paula Bennett, David Bennett, Jo Goodhew, Kate Wilkinson, Brian Connell, Katherine Rich, Nicky Wagner, Chris Tremain, Lindsay Tisch (as a member and leading as Deputy Speaker), Paul Hutchison, Tim Macindoe, Melissa Lee, Phil Heatley, plus David Carter and Lockwood Smith as Speakers of the day.