Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Key hates polar bears

Did you know that part of Labour's climate change policy was paying public servants to hug polar bears? I didn't until this morning. Here's some of the hard-hitting journalism regarding Key's claim:

Prime Minister John Key says several of Labour's "hug a polar bear" programmes are on the hit-list as the Government tries to cut costs.

Mr Key said his ministers had uncovered several ineffective programmes with the "nicest, friendliest sounding names" during detailed reviews of their departments.

"The 'hug a polar bear programme' will survive. It doesn't matter what recession occurs, it sounds like a really nice name.

"But the reality is if you look below the surface, the hug a polar bear programme might not do that much for polar bears. And if it doesn't, then we shouldn't continue to fund it."

Ah, I see, it's a metaphor, despite the Herald not using quote marks in the headline. Also, there is no such programme; it's just something that John Key felt sounded good as a sound bite, and which the Herald bent over and took. So what kinds of programmes are we talking about, Prime Minister?
"Mr Key would not identify the programmes but said there was a series of them."
Ah, ok. To be fair, one mentioned was "the Ministry of the Environment's programme for a carbon-neutral public service":
"It generated a huge number of bureaucratic appointments but a very inconsequential change if any to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Key said.
How huge, well, 20 jobs are being lost due to the restructuring of which this was a part. But Key may be right about this one - it does sound like a silly kind of project that wouldn't contribute much to the environment. Just like banning incandescent light bulbs, right John?


  1. So glad you wrote about this one. I suppose it's less about the news-rage, and more about the completely f**king ridiculous cramming of all labour's environment policies into a single sound bite by the National government. So, I totally second the metaphoric call that John Key hates polar bears.

  2. I couldn't figure out why new zealand would be helping out animals living on the other side of the world. But they are at risk with climate change so it makes sense that National would throw in the metaphorical towel on the metaphorical polar bear front. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

  3. Yes, a rather unsuccessful headline that muddies the territory between fact and opinion. Plus it just didn't work.

    As for Key being two-faced: he's a politician. What more can we expect? Personally I think he's as old Tory as Thatcher, and I only have a few months experience of him.

    New Zealand is going to get a few nasty shocks in the next couple of years. The Herald needs to buck up and not take the party line.

    And finally tell Garth George to piss off.