8 December, 2016

(THE TV’s LEAKING) Prime Minister John Key’s decision to resign on 5 November 2016 has shocked both sides of the political spectrum. The New Zealand dollar dropped instantly, the national party began regrouping itself for its next leader, and Labour leader Andrew Little could not stop smiling.

According to Key himself, the decision to resign was based mostly on concerns for his family and being away from home too often, as well as the fact that he will be able to leave his post on a “high” as the National party is still doing well in the polls.

A so-called “body language expert” told the NZ Herald that Key appeared to be honest when speaking about wanting to spend time with his family. However, the “expert” stated that Key seemed less genuine when he talked about the National Party being in great shape and able to win the 2017 election.

If Key ends up taking job opportunities overseas away from his family following his resignation, one would naturally question his honesty regarding his decision to resign in order to spend more time with his family. This will remain to be seen but as it stands, he has already been tipped to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

So what are the real reasons for Key’s departure?

Kim Dotcom was bold enough to claim that the real reason for John Key’s departure is that “he can’t win the next election with tons of hacked Govt emails waiting to be leaked”. An extensive internet search has found no current evidence for this claim, but we will keep our eyes open. Given the fact that Key was able to comfortably win the election in 2014 after the email scandal that resulted from Nicky Hager’s book “Dirty Politics”, any potential leak would have to be extremely damaging indeed for him to feel the need to resign.

Conversely, the Economist magazine heralded John Key’s legacy, stating that under John Key’s stewardship, New Zealand “can claim to be one of the most successful countries in the world.” The Economist even stated that under Key, national debt had been brought down, which let’s face it, is a complete lie.

The real legacy of John Key is actually a much more sinister story than that painted by the Economist and other local pundits.

In 2014, I wrote an article entitled “The Blunt Truth About the Recent Election in New Zealand” which deals with the same sorts of claims that are still being made today. For example, proponents of John Key’s successful legacy continue to highlight how Key was able to prop up the economy despite the global recession and the damaging earthquakes in Christchurch. Omitted from this assessment is the fact that the post-quake rebuild is one of the factors propping up the New Zealand economy in the first place, along with the reported China bubble boom.

What part of New Zealand’s economic growth can be solely attributed to the policies of John Key? Framing this question differently, how would another leader have treated the economy substantially differently to Key?

It is this fact that has prompted former National party leader, Don Brash, to state that John Key has achieved “almost nothing of significance.”

“I asked my National Party friends, what has he done in eight years that Helen Clark would not have done, and they struggled,” Brash stated.

In 2014, economist and Forbes columnist Jesse Colombo wrote an article entitled “12 Reasons Why New Zealand’s Economic Bubble Will End in Disaster.” Colombo has been warning the world about financial bubbles for years, and he accurately predicted the 2008 financial crisis. In the brief report, he acknowledges that New Zealand is showing the exact same symptoms that the world was showing during the 2008 financial crisis, namely:

  1. Interest rates are at an all time low;
  2. Property prices have doubled since 2004; 
  3. New Zealand has the world’s third most overvalued property market;
  4. New Zealand’s mortgage bubble grew by 165% since 2002;
  5. Nearly half of mortgages have floating interest rates;
  6. Mortgages account for 60% of bank’s loan portfolios;
  7. Finance, not agriculture, is New Zealand’s largest industry;
  8. New Zealand banks are exposed to Australia’s bubble;
  9. Australian and Chinese buyers are inflating the property bubble;
  10. New Zealand has a household debt problem (fourth worst household debt-to-GDP ratio among advanced economies, surpassing even the United States);
  11. Government overseas debt has nearly tripled since 2008; and lastly,
  12. the New Zealand dollar is overvalued.

Sooner or later, the bubble will pop. If John Key understands one thing, surely it’s the financial markets. Economic experts have been warning about the dangers of Auckland’s housing crisis all year.

This is a man who knows when to cash it in when the time is right. This is a man who turned down a CEO position at Merrill Lynch, and was nicknamed the “smiling assassin” whilst employed as Merrill Lynch’s global head of foreign exchange because he was able to fire dozens of employees whilst maintaining his cheerful exterior.

The assassin may indeed have something to smile about.

Meanwhile, in October of this year the United Nations warned that child poverty in New Zealand is a source of “deep concern”. Important institutions like Rape Crisis centres continue to go unfunded. Surveillance laws continue to expand the powers of the GCSB, an entity which has been complicit in the highly controversial United States drone assassination program, which led to the termination of a New Zealand citizen without trial. (Bear in mind Donald Trump is to inherit this program in a few weeks.)

Some would argue that the election of President elect Donald Trump may have something to do with Key’s decision, given Key’s support for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which Trump looks likely to have killed (for now).

Not to mention that little media attention has been given to the fact that John Key pledged $7.7 million NZD of taxpayer money to Hillary Clinton’s failed election campaign and promised to donate a further $6 million. In order to understand the implications of this, click here.

Are there more scandals to come?

We won’t hold our breath.

This article (Why Did John Key Resign?) was written exclusively for The TV’s Leaking and may not be reproduced in any way, shape or form without permission from the author.

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