Nothing was surer than that the ACT leadership would come into considerations, when he nation started speculating about what was recorded on the covert tape which has come under the cloud of a police investigation.
The Boss has done himself no favours, in Alf’s book, by whistling in the cops to look into the secret taping of his “cup of tea” meeting with ACT Epsom candidate John Banks.
It has merely amplified the speculation.
All sorts of stuff is flying around about how the conversation was recorded, and who has heard the conversation on the tape, and so on.
It seems 3 News is among those thought to have heard what was said, and we are supposed to have a whiff of what the conversation was about on the strength of a series of pointed questions it put to Banks about the future of Don Brash as ACT leader after the election.
According to a Stuff report –
Sources not directly privy to the conversation suggested the tape might reflect some “gossip” about ACT between the two men.
There has been ongoing speculation that Dr Brash could be rolled as leader after the election and given a plum government job.
A plum Government job for Brash?
Perhaps The Boss is looking for a new chauffeur.
What else is being said?
While the Herald on Sunday suggested the contents of the tape were a “game-changer”, 3 News said it was probably less than that.
This is Alf’s understanding, too.
The way he hears it, The Boss for the most part was curious about how come he and Banks were sitting there drinking bloody tea, and how come nobody had ordered a bit of booze, and by the way, what’s it like, Banksy, to go through life without tasting a tipple or two, let alone getting roaring pissed.
Yea, the bugger is a teetotaller, which in Alf’s book makes him a wowser, although he denies it.
For years, I watched my mother slowly and progressively kill herself through the bottle.
I made the decision then not to drink.
However, I am not a wowser. I spent a long time as a responsible host promoting moderation in the restaurant business.
Because The Boss was chatting with Banksie about nothing more electorally explosive than his preference for tea, he is on reasonably firm ground when he says he is “not in the slightest” concerned about the content of the conversation being known.
“You and I both know that if there was something explosive on that tape, they would have printed it and asked questions later,” Mr Key said.
“The reality is, in my view, they deliberately sought to get a tape and they deliberately sought to try and get information. That’s News of the World tactics and there is no place for it in New Zealand,” the prime minister added.
Sad old Don Brash, of course, can’t imagine sitting down with The Boss to discuss anything other than Don Brash.
And so he has said he did not know what the two had discussed but conceded it “might have” covered the question of his leadership.
“Who knows? What on earth could there be embarrassing about it? I’m not fussed actually.”
Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns, let it be said, is playing funny buggers with all this.
He has insisted he “absolutely” stood by his claim that the tape would be a “game-changer” for the election campaign.
Asked if Dr Brash was discussed in the tape, he said: “There were a number of people spoken about.
“I know he [Mr Key] said it’s quite banal. My view on it is that what was said would change the voting intention of some people.”
The group of voters who might be moved by the tape would be wider than just potential National Party supporters, he said.
Both Labour and the Greens accorfdingly are calling on The Boss to release a transcript.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says if there was nothing in the conversation, there was no reason it should not be released.
Alf is not so sure this is a great idea.
He understands Banksie happened to mention getting quite a buzz out of drinking tea, which is not the sort of information that should be shared with the general public, especially impressionable young people.
Next thing you know the young buggers will be rushing the nation’s tea shops and over-dosing themselves on Earl Grey and what-have-you in their desperate efforts to get the same buzz.
Little do they know that Banksie wasn’t actually getting his buzz from the tea. He was getting it from the publicity that went with drinking tea with the PM.