Soon after claiming voters were being turned off by dirty
politics, Prime Minister John Key has taken a shot at Green
Party co-leader Russel Norman, saying he must have been smoking
dope to believe the Greens could pay off debt faster than
Mr Key spent today in Wairarapa trying to keep his campaign
rolling in the wake of the revelations of National Party
dealings with controversial blogger Cam Slater.
He told a Chamber of Commerce audience that he believed more
people were interested in how Governments affected their
jobs, the economy and issues such as health and education
than on the dirty politics that was consuming the media.
He predicted that the campaign so far, including the Dirty
Politics book and stunts such as burning effigies, would
keep voters out of the polling booths.
Speaking to media afterwards, he repeated his belief that New
Zealanders were more interested in the economy than
politicking after taking numerous questions on the Dirty
Politics book and the involvement of National minister
Judith Collins, his own staffer Jason Ede and others.
The Green Party has claimed its economic policies would pay
down debt faster and get bigger surpluses, than under
National. Mr Key said he knew the Greens were also keen on
"If they really believe that, maybe they've been trying the
substance because they can't do it."
Asked if he thought Dr Norman had been smoking weed when he
put out the numbers, Mr Key said: "Well, if he really
believes those press releases, yes. Press releases are cheap
and easy. Getting back into surplus is a much more
Mr Key said between them Labour and the Greens had made $28
billion worth of promises already. Even if Labour stuck to
its promise to remain in surplus, it would leave no buffer if
there was another disaster that impacted on the economy.
"These are people that will send New Zealand back into a
significant deficit and I think New Zealanders are very
worried about that."
Mr Key is in the Wairarapa helping local candidate Alistair
NZ First has just selected Carterton Mayor Ron Mark as its
candidate. Mr Key said he was not concerned that would split
the vote. Mr Mark is seen as friendly toward National, and Mr
Key said while it could help in any future talks he still
preferred his current support partners over NZ First.
Mr Mark was on the invite list to the Chamber of Commerce
lunch but did not show up.
National's campaign ads feature the Greens and Labour in a
boat trying to row in opposite directions, and Mr Key said it
showed voters had a choice between "plain sailing" under
National or "a group of parties that will be causing chaos
and you wouldn't want to be at sea with."
Asked where Act's cabbage boat was he said "no chance of
He had earlier reinforced to the audience at the Chamber of
Commerce that National would struggle to get a majority and
it needed its voters to turn out.
- By Claire Trevett of the New Zealand Herald