Thursday, August 23, 2007

John Key - the shadow Minister of leaky homes...

Let discuss the story below. How much of it is fact or speculation? Why does criticism have to be a smear campaign when conducted by Labour? Labour should condemn the National Party for allowing leaky homes to develop when building standards were allowed to fall during te 1990's. John Key is the Shadow Minister of leaky homes!

Labour will not say if its slide in the polls is behind a series of attacks on John Key.

The National Party leader has this week faced questions about his living arrangements and business links. Mr Key says the smear campaign is fuelled by Labour's desperation at being 20 points behind National. Labour Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson says it is not desperation, adding that he does not comment on polls.

Mr Key today revealed he was questioned by the Serious Fraud Office over the multimillion dollar collapse of Equiticorp back in the 1980s. He says he made the admission in an attempt to forestall a fresh attack on his credibility. Mr Key says he had nothing to do with the scandal as he had left his position as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Merchant Finance before the deal, involving Equiticorp's sale of New Zealand Steel, was conceived. He believes the information he passed on may have helped result in the prosecutions of those involved.

It followed attempts in Parliament yesterday to link Mr Key and a firm he is a director of, to another company which is allegedly attempting to go into liquidation to avoid leaky building costs. The National Party leader said his firm is not facing any claims, though a shareholder is, via a separate company he has no connection to. Mr Key says he has nothing to hide and has no problem discussing anything about what he does.

A Political commentator says attacking politicians for their business interests rarely works with the public. National Business Review political columnist Ben Thomas says that sort of mud slinging is fine during an election campaign. He says when the public has a couple of weeks to analyse things, as they do now, personal attacks tend to look bad for the accuser, not the accused. Mr Thomas says it does not look like Labour is leading up to a bigger scandal, and it appears to have played its trump card way too early.

Mr Thomas says there is a similar example from the Labour benches. He says it was not that long ago that David Parker was being hauled over the coals for very small technicalities in his business dealings. Mr Parker had to resign as Attorney General as a result, but Ben Thomas says the scandal did not do him too much harm. Mr Thomas says there is a high likelihood the tactic will backfire for Labour.

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