The PM has decided to fast-track tougher penalties for crimes against animals.
The need for action to protect animals has not suddenly become urgent. But the ever-populist Key seeks an opportunity to be shown to be "doing something". A few high-profile abuse cases give him that opportunity.
It's doubtful that toughening penalties will make any difference to the rates of animal abuse. But changes like these are easy to introduce, and give voters the impression the Government is doing something.
This is textbook Key - reactive rather than proactive. Instead of setting an agenda he follows the public mood. That will ensure he remains popular for a while longer, but he needs to be careful. Many who voted for change are probably wondering why there has been so little of it. They may soon tire of an administration that does not seem to have the ability to change up a gear.