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NZ Herald on John Key and honesty

25/09/2008

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Scoopit!

The NZ Herald editorializes over John Key and his Tranz Rail shares.

They make some valid points.

Adam is inclined to give Key credit for fronting up with a mea culpa, but is concerned that he did not do this when the issue first arose.

Mr Key now regrets holding any Tranz Rail shares in 2003 when he was National’s transport spokesman and eliciting information on the company in Parliament and a select committee. He most certainly should not have been holding any.

He says he realised only after the issue had faded in 2003 that he had owned twice as much of the company as he had admitted. But that cannot excuse his prevarication this week.

Nor is it an excuse that he was not asked the question previously. That has been Helen Clark’s reason for not telling what she learned from Mr Glenn in February. It is the sort of sophistry Mr Peters made his trademark. The public has a right to candid information from its representatives.

It may be that Mr Key committed the slip of a front-runner in the electoral race. Like many a sportsman on the verge of success, he has become too cautious, risk-averse, afraid to take an unpopular position, quick to backtrack from any policy implication that may be contentious. He has choked. We can but hope that is all it was.

Key as Adam has noted before often seems hesitant in interviews, is it nerves or is it something else.

In any event it would be better if future issues should arise that he fronts quickly and completely.

It is still possible that National can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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