Key points to poor 2012 per­form­ers

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Are the fun times over for Key? At 51, John Key must be won­der­ing at times whether there is more to life than this.

Just as Par­lia­ment rose for the hol­i­day break, his front bench gave him not one but two own goals.

First, the High Court found that Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hekia Parata had acted un­law­fully in seek­ing to close down a spe­cial school for girls in Nel­son.

In many coun­tries, this would have left Parata fac­ing two op­tions: Re­sign or be sacked. In her case, that lat­est dis­as­ter came in the wake of prob­lems over class­room sizes, schools clo­sures in Christchurch and the on­go­ing fail­ures of the Novo­pay sys­tem.

Luck­ily for Parata, the High Court de­ci­sion was over­shad­owed by the mess Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ju­dith Collins has made of han­dling the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by em­i­nent Cana­dian re­tired judge Ian Bin­nie into whether David Bain should be paid any com­pen­sa­tion af­ter spend­ing 13 years in jail for a crime for which he was ul­ti­mately ac­quit­ted. Ow­ing to the Bain case con­tro­versy, Bin­nie had been hired to pro­vide an out­sider’s ex­pert view­point.

When he did so, Collins baulked. She con­sulted with the pros­e­cu­tion about his report (while ig­nor­ing the de­fence team) and pub­licly crit­i­cised Bin­nie’s work while ini­tially keep­ing the con­tents un­der wraps.

Pub­lic pres­sure fi­nally forced Collins to re­lease the Bin­nie report, which she said con­tained er­rors and flaws. How­ever, it ap­pears Collins had de­cided to scrap Bin­nie’s report even be­fore she re­ceived a cri­tique of it by Robert Fisher QC.

Well, as the Black Caps reg­u­larly prove, a cap­tain can do only so much when the team fails to fire.

In that re­spect Key, Labour leader David Shearer and NZ First’s Win­ston Peters would prob­a­bly have a lot to commiserate with each other about, over a beer at a Christ­mas bar­bie. It must be hell hav­ing to keep on mak­ing ex­cuses for the un­der­per­form­ers in your ranks.

Parata must now be liv­ing on bor­rowed time, yet de­ci­sive ac­tion will al­ways run the risk of coming back to bite you.

For in­stance, by ex­pelling Bren­dan Ho­ran from his party, Peters has made an en­emy al­ready show­ing ev­ery in­ten­tion of spend­ing his re­main­ing time in Par­lia­ment on ways of get­ting even. En­dure, de­mote or ex­pel them: The un­der­lings can be a real pain in the neck, what­ever you do.

It takes its toll. Dur­ing 2012, Key has been bring­ing no­tice­ably less en­ergy to the tasks at hand.

Chronic is­sues such as un­em­ploy­ment, child poverty, in­come in­equal­ity and poor eco­nomic growth con­tinue to dog him.

For now, Key has few other ca­reer op­tions – un­like He­len Clark, he has no ma­jor in­ter­na­tional agency wait­ing to em­ploy his tal­ents. (Is the World Bank hir­ing th­ese days?)

For the next two years, Key will need to bat­tle very hard to re­main on the same tread­mill. On present poll pro­jec­tions, an elec­tion vic­tory for Na­tional in 2014 would al­most cer­tainly mean he would need to spend the 2015-17 term in tan­dem with NZ First and its un­pre­dictable leader. Good luck with that.

Even if Peters was made for­eign min­is­ter and sent overseas reg­u­larly, life at the top wouldn’t be much fun.

One can only hope the PM en­joys his hol­i­day break in Hawaii, while it lasts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.