“No clue” and “lying by omission”

The Opposition focus on John Key’s “no clue” comments (referring to how he had Ian Fletcher’s phone number) says more about how trivial politics and politicking can be than it says about Key.

Closely associated with the same issue is another phrase that the Opposition have used – see 3 News and  Key ‘lying by omission’ – Labour

John Key says he “forgot” about a personal phone call he made to his childhood friend, Ian Fletcher – a phone call that led to Mr Fletcher’s appointment as Mr Key’s chief spy.

It’s seen Labour accuse Mr Key of “lying by omission”.

There are no surprises though that Labour’s striking out, laying a complaint that Mr Key breached Parliamentary privilege by not fully answering questions in the House.

And Stuff with Key forgets tip to friend over spy job:

Labour’s deputy leader Grant Robertson said Mr Key “lied by omission” and said his explanation was not credible.

And in addition from John Armstrong at NZ Herald:

Key was deemed guilty by opponents of lying by omission, prompting calls for all manner of official inquiries and breach of parliamentary privilege hearings.

Robertson sees the lapses as part of what he calls Key’s “diminish, divert and demean” modus operandi. Faced with being caught out by some action or statement, Key’s response is to diminish the significance of the issue or his role in it, divert attention away from it and, especially in Parliament, demean whoever is raising it.

Last night Grant Robertson tried his own “demean whoever is raising it”:

For those who missed #cluelesskey in Question Time, here is the video. The fun starts at 4.05…

David Shearer staffer Mike Smith with a rare post at The Standard: “I genuinely have no clue”

Finally, John Key comes clean. Watch this!

And Metiria Turei omitted Key’s whole response:

Metiria Turei@metiria
“I genuinely have no clue.” John Key, Prime Minister. Thats a keeper. #nzqt

I queried that:

Pete George@PeteDGeorge
Is that a full quote?

Metiria Turei@metiria
yep. He didnt say anything else but watch this space…

As detailed in Key and “no clue” he did say something else:

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I genuinely have no clue. I do not know how I got the number.

So it could be said there is some hypocrisy and lying by omission going on here.

This whole attack line by the opposition is trivial. In isolation it could be seen as a bit of light hearted taking the piss, although in the context persistent trivial attacks it is trying to trivialise politics with petty personal attacks.

The biggest omission in all of this is Robertson et al are omitting serious political discussion and holding to account. They keep obsessing over trivial single issues and gotcha politics.

This suggests that Robertson, Shearer and Turei, with their “lying by omission”,  have “no clue” about how to present themselves as credible Government in waiting politicians and parties.

(This may be harsh on Turei who is more in the jocular camp here but in the context of being co-leader with Russel Norman who has been persistently attacking Key and the GCSB I think it is a fair association).

And just as bad – there are important issues with the GCSB that deserve serious attention, but by continually focussing on personal attacks Labour and Greens cloud and divert attention from the wider more pertinent issues.

Leave a comment


  1. Darryl

     /  17th April 2013

    The opposition, focus on nothing more than gotcha politics, and even that is pathetic. Who the hell cares about a phone number, John Key would no doubt have staff ringing the Directory Service, that is quite normal. It is about time they gave up on there conspiracy crap, and offered some sane policies, not Ideology. Robertson looks like a little school boy, running behind a bumbler, all he needs is a cap on his head and short pants.

  2. Brown

     /  17th April 2013

    Key was a trader with a memory like a steel trap (so its been rumoured). I am disappointed – I really thought there was going to be a fresh style of politics but see little to be encouraged about.


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