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POLL RESULT: Readers' verdict on whether John Key genuinely forgot his call to Ian Fletcher

NBR Online paid subscribers don't believe the Prime Minister when he says he initially simply did not recall phoning Ian Fletcher to alert him to the GCSB director role being open.

A clear majority 59% to 41% don't buy the brain fade story.

During a Friday interview with Radio Live, the Prime Minister called journalists reporting on the story "knuckleheads."

The problem was that the question about contacting Mr Fletcher was sprung him he had only ''15 seconds, with no warning, on a process that happened 18 months ago.''

In future he would not answer questions off the cuff. They would have to be put in writing so they could be researched.

National candidate turned pundit Stephen Franks says the Prime Minister should have more confidence to go on the front foot over the GCSB appointment.

As leader of the Executive, Mr Key has a vital interest in who reports to him in every portfolio.

The shoulder-tapping phone call did not prejudice the independent candidate selection process.

The PM had nothing to apologise for or explain.

Mr Key and State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie have both strongly backed Mr Fletcher's credentials as a candidate, and the integrity of the process by which he was selected - although on Thursday the Commissioner did concede he was "surprised" the Prime Minister had phoned Mr Fletcher directly.

620 readers took part in the poll via NBR Online over April 4 and April 5. 

Voting was open to NBR Online Paid subscribers only to prevent vote duplication.


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Comments and questions

Another thing you can interpret from this result could be that at least 41% of NBR online paid subscribers are staunch National voters.

To describe 41% of NBR subscribers as "staunch National voters", is a mere tip-of-the-hat in deference to the PM. This lot is so blinkered and enamoured, they are best described as rabid fanboys. Everyone of them, proudly, displaying a motif of John Key on their Milo mug.

Yes some of that 41% are so extremely reactionary that even National wouldn't have them. Failed Act members and deranged Conservative voters.

OR!! 59% of respondents have never had anything to remember; so don't realise that in a busy persons life, there can easily be lapses of spontaneous memory recall.
As I mentioned ,one has to have something to recall, and somewhere to recall it from.

I humbly suggest that whether pro National, Labour, John Key or David Shearer, people can spot a porky! Simple as that.

This is all a beat up. Key did mention in his answer to a Labour MP's question that he'd phoned Fletcher. His answer was otherwise a good one. Asked why he did not mention it, he said, he did not remember to do so or did not remember it. It is of no great moment actually. He probably meant it did not come to mind when he was giving the Labour MP his answer. So what?
Yes Rennie is right, it should have been him who called Fletcher, but hey, given there was no-one , in Rennies view to short list, is it such a big matter for the man to whom Fletcher reports( the PM), should not call him and tell him about the job and say to him, 'you might want to consider applying for it?' No it is not.
It's this stupid stuff that is stuffing Labour. It's why the Greens and their dual leadership, which is also doing a better opposition job than Labour, is seen as the opposition.

Key's answer to Robertson's Parliamentary question about his role in Fletcher's appointment was this: "His appointment was made by the State Services Commissioner."

He didn't just leave out the phone call, he left out all the discussion subsequently reported by Rennie, including the fact that Key himself proposed Fletcher in the first place. It's a substantial lie of omission, and much more significant than any concerns over the appointment process itself.

And Key kept it up. As Tracey Watkins noted, when he was asked outside the house about his role, his answer was "Only that the state services commissioner came to me with the recommendation." Then he claimed not to have seen Fletcher since their schooldays, only for it to later be revealed that they'd met repeatedly since since 2009.

Again: the appointment process here was unusual, but possibly not improper. Of much greater concern is that the affair provides the strongest evidence yet that the Prime Minister's first instinct when under pressure is to dissemble, divert and develop amnesia. "Shabby" would be a kind way of describing it.

Might be a good time for Mr Key to start taking notice of what people are thinking

If you believe Key for one moment, then you'll also no doubt believe in the tooth fairy. I use to like Key, but his continuing brain fades has insulted my intelligence once too often. The doozy of them all, of course, will be when he is finally exposed as having lied about his knowledge of the Dotcom debacle.

I'm with you Paul, and I have had enough of his insults.

The Fletcher appointment has to be seen in the context of the number of issues where John Key has "forgotten" things that are inconvenient to remember...or where he is "relaxed"...

He has been a very bad PM... arguably in some respects worse even than Helen Clark.

For example, hijacking the National Party's list selection process pre-election to appoint the yes-men he wanted close to him.. and so himself selecting the first 50 list members - essentially thumbing his nose at the National Party electorate representatives around the country who were supposed to meet to decide these themselves, gives a clue to the fact that the man shoulder taps those he want. His instincts are far from democratic.

Moreover , Key has overruled his own Cabinet in crucial issues where most of them were quite perturbed about being virtually compelled to vote for legislation that they thought would damage the country... simply because this autocratic man wants his own way.

What changes?

He's an outstanding PM NZ - totally trustworthy and genuinely giving his all to make this superb country even better - you that throw stones from the benches without really knowing the man or the enormity of his integrity are the ones who are truly dishonest - will one day you will look back ashamed at being so incredubly disingenuous and in fact fraudulent in your opinions.

Whatever you're smoking, can I have some?

We thank you for your submission. But, please, edit your copy to one sentence.


Sarcasm a bit much for you Mr Bombastic? His point was clear, succinct and pertinent unlike the drivel PL wrote, a missive so sycophantic that even Joseph Goebbels would have blushed.

I didn't buy it until I heard the call was three years ago.
That should have been made clear in the poll question.

How can this person elected by NZ public forget then remember everything? Not showing much integrity for a prime minister. Just like a court witness, you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. You tell a lie and it's called "perverting the course of justice". He's decieved the NZ public and now he needs time to think about questions so he won't tell lies .