PM's comments show poor judgment

WARWICK RASMUSSEN - DEPUTY EDITOR
Last updated 12:00 06/11/2012

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OPINION: It's hard to imagine any other prime minister doing it.

But in the space of a day John Key rapidly managed to drop a couple of "clangers" and the timing was terrible.

Yesterday, his focus was meant to be squarely on the Royal Commission of Inquiry and its report into the Pike River mining disaster that killed 29 men two years ago.

Instead, off-the-cuff comments he supposedly made about football megastar David Beckham being "thick as batshit" and then ribbing a radio host for wearing a "gay red top" dominated headlines throughout the day.

The remarks were too casual and too slack for a prime minister to utter. It's the kind of language and tone you'd expect from a cheeky teenager rather than a man in Key's position.

The comments in themselves will probably do him little political harm - as there are many people who find his informal conversations endearing.

What they do, though, is show poor judgment.

He may try to brush them off as something trivial, but collectively they do not reflect well on him or his office.

If you're an affable character who is asked to talk to media or other groups several times a day, of course, you're bound to slip up now and then.

But these latest two examples get added to the dossier of PM blunders this term.

Voters don't expect perfection, in fact, many prefer a prime minister like Key, who has "everyman" qualities they can relate to.

Mistakes and the odd bungled quote are almost expected and in isolation they can be deflected by his PR team, but they do start to add up.

We like a leader who isn't afraid to speak their mind and have a joke, but Key tends to get carried away in the moment and push things towards an awkward conclusion.

It seems to be a type of behaviour that we will continue to see more of rather than less.

In the meantime, the opposition parties are adding more and more soundbites to their arsenal come election time.

ONE MORE THING...

It came as something of a surprise to hear Anna Guy working as an intern on More FM Manawatu yesterday morning. She had mentioned in past interviews that she was keen to work in broadcasting and media, but her work as an "intern" on the station came out of the blue. Getting her on air will give her some experience in the area she wants to pursue, but brings with it added scrutiny. In the meantime, it's surely a big coup for the station to have her on board this week.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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