John Key’s worst week as PM

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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John Key, on another bad day. Photograph: David White

John Key, on another bad day. Pic: David White

One minute you’re zipping along the Thames and giving the Queen a basket of birthday cheese.

The next, you’re back in New Zealand, wrinkling your nose at the political stink.

With another ACC resignation this morning, does this add up to the worst seven days in three-and-a-half years of John Key led government?

I suspect it does – if you count from last Thursday, when the class-size fiasco culminated in a humiliating U-turn.

It all makes grim reading.

(The question of whether the Labour party can take credit for the government’s miseries is another matter – and one that has been debated at length on Twitter today.)

Thursday June 7

» Social development minister Paula Bennett faces criticisms over suggestions that the government might give courts the power to stop child abusers and killers from procreating.

» Education minister Hekia Parata appears at a mid-afternoon press conference to dramatically reveal that the Budget measures that would have led to some class sizes increasing had been dropped in a complete U-turn.

Friday June 8

» The teacher-pupil ratio backdown amounted to “complete and utter capitulation” and ended in “unmitigated disaster”, writes John Armstrong in the Herald.

» “Parata fiasco symptomatic of government arrogance”, reads the headline on National-friendly pundit Matthew Hooton’s NBR column.

Sunday June 10

» In an extended interview on TV3’s 60 Minutes programme, ACC complainant Bronwyn Pullar explains her grievances. Excerpts from a recording of a pivotal meeting are played, which appear to contradict ACC claims that Pullar had threatened to leak documents.

» National drops four points (and Key loses 3.7% in preferred PM stakes) in a Reid/TV3 poll, confirming recent trends.

Tuesday June 12

» ACC Board chair John Judge departs. “I had no problem with Mr Judge’s abilities around the financial performance of ACC,” says minister Judith Collins, in a telling example of the power of omission.

» John Key faces increasingly wide criticism (including from a Herald editorial) for his intransigence on increasing the age of superannuation eligibility.

» Bryce Edwards writes: “If the class size backdown was a train wreck, ACC has become its slow-mo equivalent, continuing to scythe victims in its path.”

Wednesday June 13

» ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart joins the queue for the ACC exit door, along with at least two other board members. It is widely believed that Judith Collins was very helpful to them in locating that door.

» The parliamentary speaker grants a request for an urgent debate on the ACC upheaval. Labour ACC spokesman Andrew Little calls for Judith Collins to be sacked.

» The Auditor-General’s office announces it is investigating the government’s controversial convention centre for pokies deal with SkyCity, following a Green party request.

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