Key “didn’t deliberately intend” to abuse power

It’s been established as un-denied fact that Prime Minister John Key pulled a cafe waitress’ hair on a number of occasions.

Key has apologised for it, and has said it was “very very silly”, but has denied he misused his power. He has said it was the opposite, he was trying to put people at ease in an informal setting.

From a Thursday report on 3 News – Key’s hair-pulling raises behaviour questions:

Mr Key has publicly apologised to waitress Amanda Bailey, 26, for persistently pulling her ponytail while visiting her Auckland cafe over the last six months.

The embarrassing apology was prompted by Ms Bailey’s contribution to the left-wing Daily Blog website yesterday, in which she accused the Prime Minister of harassing and bullying her.

At first she believed it was playful – Mr Key sometimes pretended it was his wife Bronagh who did it – but she then informed Mr Key’s security that one day she would snap and punch him in the face.

Mr Key mocked her when she raised it personally with him and it left her crying frustrated tears because she felt tormented and powerless, she said.

When quizzed by reporters at Los Angeles Airport, Mr Key said he had been joking around with the waitress.

“There’s always lots of horsing around and sort of practical jokes and that’s all there really was to it,” he said.

The media has had limited access to Key as he was travelling to Gallipoli. On Friday 3 News reported:

Mr Key admitted misreading the situation and says he understands why it’s causing concern.

“When these things play out later on they look a lot more serious, people take other readings from it and I understand that and I take responsibility for that,” he told reporters when he arrived in Turkey today for the Gallipoli centenary commemorations.

“I’m pretty casual and laid-back … playing along a little bit, and that’s very, very silly on my part… I should have read the situation more accurately. I’ll learn from the experience.”

So he has conceded he was at fault and it had been “very, very silly on my part”.

It doesn’t appear to be online but on 3 News last night Key explained further, in response to a question from Patrick Gower:

Gower: When you accepted you got it wrong, do you accept that you misused your power?

Key: No, because I didn’t deliberately intend to do that, it was the opposite. I intended to try and be in a much more informal sort of setting so that I put people at ease and we could have a bit of a laugh and have a bit of fun so it’s really opposite.

But I accept that that’s an interpretation that someone could get.

News reader: Key said in the cold light of day he accepts what he thought what was kidding around did not seem that funny later.

This may be played on The Nation this morning.

There have been many claims of abuse of power, sexual abuse, misogyny and bullying.These seem to be overstating the situation at best.

The effect of Key’s actions is in part of bullying but his explanation sounds reasonable, bullying wasn’t his intent, it was inadvertent. He was trying  to be an ordinary person goofing around.

But as Prime Minister he can never be seen totally as an ordinary person. Key will always have a non-ordinary status, no matter how hard he tried to be seen otherwise.

And he accepts that he went too far, and accepts that what he did could be seen as an abuse of power.

As has been said before one person’s buffoon can be another person’s arsehole, and a recidivist buffoon can become an arsehole.

Key appears to get this.

This has been embarrassing for Key, it has caused some people to see him differently and it may have an ongoing impact on him and his popularity.

It’s an easy avenue of ridicule and it’s certain be used as a persistent means of attack by some opponents.

But unless something else is revealed, or if court action succeeds (experts have said that’s unlikely), it shouldn’t do any further damage.

Another story has emerged out of this, how some left wing activists have played the story. That will be covered in the next post.

Leave a comment


  1. Concerned Kiwi

     /  26th April 2015

    Is this latest detractor of JK yet another dyke, associated with Logie, living on a diet of man hate and envy?

    • I haven’t seen any evidence of any of that. Have you?

      Or are you attributing your worst to someone you know practically nothing about?

      Are you an extremely intolerant, abusive, misogynist, gay hating red neck?

  2. Brown

     /  26th April 2015

    Its a bit off topic but I notice that when I’m out walking the dog or riding my bike on popular trails older women always say hello but the younger ones stare sullenly ahead while using their cell phones. Have we bred a generation of women that are completely lacking in self confidence despite telling them they can do anything?

    Key only has as much power as you let him have,

  3. Shagger

     /  26th April 2015

    The whole fiasco is just lame and embarrassing- Key looks like a jerk, the waitress is an idiot, Glucina looks to have set them up, and Shayne Currie looks like he needs replacing. The saving grace (maybe) is the whole thing has been blown out of proportion so in time it will just simply become fish and chip wrapper

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th April 2015

    He said she said, who knows? I’m sure we haven’t heard the full story and probably never will. Human interactions are infinitely subtle and memory shades history as well. Key’s confidence that he can read people will have taken the biggest hit. That will certainly change his behaviour but not necessarily for the better. More likely to be more withdrawn and less attractive.

  5. Traveller

     /  26th April 2015

    Pete. Largely this is a press and beltway issue. You’re right that it may a layer that will eventually negatively impact middle NZs perception of him, but I think that now Key has seen he’s safe nowhere and that he cannot ever let his guard down he’ll be an altogether less affable man about the town. Should that happen here’s the danger to him, an aloof Key as people hate arrogant, rich and powerful. It’s his down home, boy next door, slightly goofy self deprecation and clumsiness that’s been his strength to most except the left. Audrey Young, John Armstrong and their belief that “we set the political narrative in this country and you’d better know it” journalist mates have cast off their thin veneer of neutrality and revealed they’re over him, they’re bored and they’ll create a cacophony of white noise that they hope will deafen us to the reality of political stability, economic success and progress across health, education and all social markers. It’s their journalistic duty to keep us in their thrall, get us to dance to their narrative and change governments a lot more frequently than is happening now. They’re miffed they didn’t pull it off last election – as a disappointed Ms “Mums the leading light in the left and I’m not far behind her” Bradbury admitted breathlessy in defeat.
    I note that the Herald have yet another pathetically obvious and very seedy hit job on Stephanie Key today, pretty well projectng her as an artist who disguises soft porn with shallow understanding of feminist ideology, and what a surprise they do this so hot on the heels of their wall to wall pony gate. They have never turned away from using his kids to sell their papers. That paper has gone to the dogs

  1. Some of the perils of waitressing | Your NZ
  2. The Left’s handling of Key’s hair pulling | Your NZ

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