John Key's honeymoon is over, and over again

by Toby Manhire / 11 April, 2013
The prime minister's honeymoon with media and public has been consistently ending for years.
John Banks and John Key seal the end of the honeymoon in Newmarket, 2011. Photograph: David White


John Key’s honeymoon with the New Zealand media, and probably the public, is over.

The run-in over that forgotten sliver of detail about calling Ian Fletcher about the GCSB job, and his “knucklehead” description of pesky journalists that followed, confirms it.

Political analyst, academic and super-aggregator Bryce Edwards told us on the TV, “[the] honeymoon I think is over now – with the media and the public, to some extent – because it's an issue of trustworthiness”.

And yet, it’s a funny kind of honeymoon, which has had a whole bunch of false endings.

Many thought the post-nuptial holiday with the media came to a halt following the clashes in the 2011 election.

As Herald political editor John Armstrong wrote in February 2012, “the honeymoon with the media finally ended abruptly with the "teapot tape" saga.”

On June 28 2012, blogger Peter Aranyi said, “The honeymoon is well-and-truly over”.

“Key's honeymoon is well and truly over,” announced Peter Wilson for NZ Newswire / Australia’s AAP on June 12 last year.

In November last year PR blogger Mark Blackham reckoned “John Key would be wise to realise the honeymoon is finally over, and adjust accordingly”.

Shane Taurima on TVNZ’s Q+A opened the show just over a year ago by saying “National’s and Prime Minister John Key’s long honeymoon with the electorate appears to be on the slide.”

In July last year, blogger Martyn Bradbury said the honeymoon had ended over the teapot tapes in the 2011 election campaign, but the “astounding lack of critical analysis” of National’s conference confirmed that “John Key and the mainstream media have embarked upon a second honeymoon of uncritical love”.

In April 2012, a Nelson Mail observed in an editorial that “John Key's political honeymoon [is] receding into memory”.

Polling, wrote the Herald’s Brian Rudman in February 2012, suggested Key’s “long honeymoon with the New Zealand voter is finally starting to wear thin”.

Writing in the Manukau Courier in February 2010, Willie Jackson suspected "John Key's honeymoon is coming to an end".

In June 2009, then TV3 political editor Duncan Garner put it this way: “It's clear the Government's honeymoon is well and truly over.”

A couple of months later, Sir Bob Jones told the Herald that “John Key's honeymoon polling will not last and the National Government will be a ‘one-term pony’.”

And the Labour party believed that “John Key’s honeymoon is over” before anyone. In 2007.
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