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MediaSeptember 26, 2021

Ranked: All of today’s op-ed columns by Sir John Key

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Prime minister for three terms, John Key has only made rare media appearances since leaving office. But today he’s published a number of commentaries across the media. We rank them.

4. Sir John Key on Newshub, September 26

A big get for Newshub. A long opinion essay by former prime minister Sir John Key. Eloquently argued with the occasional lurch into hyperbole (don’t scaremonger, he urges, while repeatedly comparing New Zealand to North Korea), the piece urges an acceleration of opening up, and frames the challenge with a bold analogy: the space race.

The headline is really going for it. “Stop existing” (!) coupled with a big “locking down and locking out” flourish. The photograph is definitely Sir John Key.

“Ah, how ironic,” I said aloud to nobody, upon being served this ad:

But make no mistake: it’s a coup for Newshub to secure such a long and substantial op-ed by Key, his first since quitting politics.

3. Sir John Key in the New Zealand Herald, September 26

A big get for the Herald. A long opinion essay by former prime minister Sir John Key. Eloquently argued with the occasional lurch into hyperbole (don’t scaremonger he urges, while repeatedly comparing New Zealand to North Korea), the piece urges an acceleration of opening up, and frames the challenge with a bold analogy: the space race.

The headline is grabby, though does it reflect the tenor of the longform commentary it adorns? Seems like the kind of thing The Spinoff would do. As you’ll have noticed, that is not John Key in the grab above. That’s Jacinda Ardern, a wholly different person, from an interview the Herald ran yesterday.

Further down the article there’s a picture of Sir John looking pensively into the middle distance. There’s also a link to the vaccine booking site, bonus points for that. And then, oh my, there are, as of 11.30am, 439 comments. I read only one of them, the most recent. Here it is in full: “Why the government has talked about pieces of what sir John has said they have taken no action . Arden will wait for the media to let her know when to do something”.

But make no mistake: it’s a coup for the Herald to secure such a long and substantial op-ed by Key, his first since quitting politics.

2. Sir John Key on Stuff, September 26

A big get for Stuff. A long opinion essay by former prime minister Sir John Key. Eloquently argued with the occasional lurch into hyperbole (don’t scaremonger he urges, while repeatedly comparing New Zealand to North Korea), the piece urges an acceleration of opening up, and frames the challenge with a bold analogy: the space race.

The headline does the job, says what’s on the tin. The photograph is fine. That’s him. That’s John Key. Other photographs include Apollo 13 and a vaccination. 

I stalled a bit at the first breakout element:

“MIQueue: New Zealand’s great wall”? Did a committee write that? I love, however, that the first link takes me to the piece I’m already reading, a powerful metaphor for the existential vortex of 2021. 

But make no mistake: it’s a coup for Stuff to secure such a long and substantial op-ed by Key, his first since quitting politics.

1. Sir John Key in the The Otago Daily Times, September 26

A big get for the Otago Daily Times. A long opinion essay by former prime minister Sir John Key. Eloquently argued with the occasional lurch into hyperbole (don’t scaremonger he urges, while repeatedly comparing New Zealand to North Korea), the piece urges an acceleration of opening up, and frames the challenge with a bold analogy: the space race.

And as befits the no-nonsense people of Otago, a no-nonsense headline. No pissing about here. There’s a picture of the guy, looking very much like he’s thinking, you know what, it’s time for change over Covid approach. Even the caption is a laconic triumph:

No other pics in the piece. No videos. No fancy vaccine visualisation. Just 973 words of Time for change over Covid approach: Key.

The pick of the bunch. And make no mistake: it’s a coup for the Otago Daily Times to secure such a long and substantial op-ed by Key, his first since quitting politics.

Editor’s note: The Spinoff was not offered an op-ed by John Key and yes we’re cross about that but trying not to show it.

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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