At question time in parliament yesterday, the Green co-leader Metiria Turei quizzed the prime minister over the John Banks donations saga, making repeated references to “Planet Key”. Was there, she asked, a “don’t read don’t care defence on Planet Key”?
John Key’s answer:
I don’t know that much about Planet Key, but my expectations are it would be a lovely place to live. It would be beautifully governed. Golf courses would be plentiful. People would have plenty of holidays to enjoy their time. And what a wonderful place it would be. But I would expect people on such a place referred to as “Nirvana” to comply with the law. And that is what Mr Banks did.
Turei was adopting a device that has been punted around like a deflated football in parliament for some many months. Frankly, in a year of refreshed enthusiasm for astronomy, it’s all a bit embarrassing.
The first use of “Planet Labour” in parliament this year was by the finance minister, Bill English, who spoke on May 22, a couple of days before the budget, of …
a thing called the global financial crisis, which on “Planet Labour” never happened, and a thing called the Christchurch earthquake, which on “Planet Labour” never happened.
Minutes later, the prime minister, John Key, warmed to the theme, and stirred in a bit of rugby imagery, just, you know, because. He said:
Today, on “Planet Labour”, none of those things existed. That is why they have no credibility at all with the New Zealand public. They are the Blues of political parties, and we over here are the Crusaders.
An on-message Nick Smith added his own planetary jibe:
I can only recite the words of our Prime Minister today about those guys on “Planet Labour”.
And it’s been used more than 20 times in the house since, with Steven Joyce proving to be especially fond of the coinage.
Other variations have emerged, too – including “Planet Green”.
And more besides. Here’s a selection, all drawn from Hansard, beginning at the start of last month.
The minister of finance … stands up in this house and he says that “Planet Labour” is out to lunch—that is essentially what he says.
- David Parker, Labour, August 1
Well, there was another visit from one of the aliens from “Planet Labour”, David Clark. Funnily enough, a lot of them look the same.
- Bill English, National, August 1
Labour thinks that by having a good idea—or an idea; it does not even have to be a good one—it will just appear. It is the same with “Planet Green”. I cannot wait—well, I actually can wait—until they get to the Treasury benches, but this is how they do it. They sit there, smoking the old weed—well, not these fullas—and then they come up with some harebrained idea, and because that harebrained idea sort of sounds OK, then it is just going to appear: the road and the ferry is just going to appear.
- Tau Henare, National, August 1
We have heard a lot about the Labour Party living on “Planet Labour”. I do not know what planet the National Government or the Minister live on if they think that over the last 20 years the cost of living in this country has risen by only 1.8 percent per year.
- Tracey Martin, NZ First, August 1
I can confirm that, which just confirms that on “Planet Labour” there was no global financial crisis.
- Bill English, National, August 1
I would not want the member to end up on “Planet Labour” by mistake.
- Steven Joyce, National (to Russel Norman), August 14
it seems that the economics of “Planet National” are extremely damaging to the economics of New Zealand.
- Russel Norman, Greens, August 15
It is not, as the Opposition would tell us, particularly those on “Planet Labour”, that there is money aplenty and you just keep on finding it from somewhere
- Tim Macindoe, National, August 15
But, hey, we should say that on “Planet Labour” you know when things are getting bad: when they start eating their young. That is right. This is how it goes.
- Alfred Ngaro, National, August 15
On “Planet Labour” you can impose all the economic development you like and then pretend you can have more jobs
- John Hayes, National, August 21
A Green Budget would recognise that “Planet Economy” lives on and relies on planet Earth.
- Eugenie Sage, Greens, August 21
There is a lack of reality on “Planet Labour” and among the other Opposition people.
- Maggie Barry, National, August 21
I have never experienced a time when the accusation of being on “Planet Labour” has such relevance … on “Planet Labour” the global financial crisis just did not happen. On “Planet Labour” the earthquakes in Canterbury just did not happen.
- Maurice Williamson, National, August 22
I would like to bring us back to “Planet New Zealand”, away from “Planet Labour”.
- John Hayes, National, August 23
The fundamental point is that there has been a global financial crisis. I know that on “Planet Labour” it did not happen, but out here in the real world it did
- Steven Joyce, National, August 29
Over here in the real world—not on “Planet Labour”—it is actually important that we encourage industry
- Steven Joyce, National, August 30
Employment did decline due to a thing called the global financial crisis, which I appreciate on “Planet Labour” did not occur.
- Steven Joyce, National, September 13