Shane Taurima again interviews John Key
Shane: Prime Minister John Key joins us now. Prime Minister, you've taken a lot of heat over your decision to stick with John Banks, and now another of your ministers, Gerry Brownlee, is in trouble.
John: Actually, it's important to put these things into perspective. Gerry's been working in a very dynamic environment.
Shane: It's a serious matter, though, Prime Minister. Mr Brownlee attacked a group of elderly women with a meat cleaver.
John: I've heard some people describe it that way. That's fine, and I accept that's just politics.
Shane: Witnesses say he cracked and lost the plot during a meeting of residents affected by the Christchurch earthquake, after listening to numerous complaints from the audience. Then he revealed a meat cleaver from beneath his suit jacket and charged into the front row of the audience, where a group of elderly women were seated, while yelling "die, you meddlesome crones!" Had he not tripped and fallen over there could have been a bloodbath. Isn't that a serious incident?
John: That may be the view of some people. But I've sought an assurance from Gerry, and he has told me he did nothing wrong. If a minister tells me, "This is my position, and this is what I've done," I accept their word in good faith, unless it's proven otherwise.
Shane: But the incident was filmed on camera.
John: I haven't seen the incident.
Shane: Well we have the tape right here. Let me replay it to you now. [the tape of the incident is played to Mr Key]. So now you've seen the tape you must accept that Mr Brownlee's position in untenable.
John: Actually I haven't seen the tape.
Shane: But I just played it to you!
John: I accept that you may have a view on whether or not I watched the tape, but, look, that's the nature of politics. Let's understand what's happening here. This is just a politically motivated attack by Labour.
Shane: But you just saw...
John: That's one version of events. And other people will have a different view. I can only go on what my minister tells me.
Shane: But he ran at a group of elderly women with a meat cleaver. The tape clearly shows it.
John: And I accept that there will always be people with a different range of views about what happened.
Shane: Prime Minister, over seventy people witnessed the incident. It was caught on film. After the incident Mr Brownlee was heard to speak into the camera "well, that showed the buggerising bastards. There's nothing like rushing a group of old ladies with murderous intent, with a piece of sharp stainless steel in your hands. If only I had finished the job."
John: That may be what the transcript says. But we all know how these things can be misinterpreted.
Shane: The words are as clear as day, Prime Minister.
John: I accept that some people will have a view on that. But I can only go on what my minister tells me. He has assured me he did nothing wrong.
Shane: He's now been arrested and charged by police though, hasn't he, Prime Minister?
John: Charged, yes. But not convicted. I accept that there will be a different range of views within the police about these things.
Shane: In fact, didn't he plead guilty at his first appearance?
John: Guilty, yes. But there will be a different range of views within the legal community about what a guilty plea really means. And it's important to make a distinction between this and other events. He didn't actually murder anyone. Gerry has assured me that he didn't mean to kill anyone, and even if he did intend to slaughter those old women no harm was done in the end, and so the minister still has my confidence. This is all a politically motivated attempt by Labour to derail the government.
Shane: But how can you trust a man who rushed a group of elderly woman with a meat cleaver to be in your cabinet? He took the thing into a meeting. Who goes into a public meeting with a meat cleaver inside his jacket?
John: That's your version of events. I can only go on what Gerry has told me. Some people will have a different view, and I accept that. But the law's not as clear as it could be, and Labour had nine years to amend the Crimes Act, but what did they do? So you ask me whether Gerry Brownlee has my confidence and I say this is all Labour's fault, They did nothing in their nine years in office to close the loopholes in the Crimes Act. And why are they raising this now? What about all the Labour MPs charging people with meat cleavers? Why don't we ever hear about those incidents?
Shane: Prime Minister, thank you for your time. It has been a pleasure to talk to you.
John: Some people may have a different view on that.