Isn't a month a long time in politics? Compare Key's insulting language from the beginning of July to his 'good faith' drenched comments now in regards to Maori rights over water.
Key began by opposing the Maori Council claim, then he attacked the mana of the Tribunal, then he said he would ignore them and he ended by demanding the Tribunal report back in a hurry.
All of this from the man claiming Maori were being opportunistic. It is extraordinary what white people in this country will claim is free when they are trying to take it.
Key isn't the only one who has had a change of tune, the mainstream media have as well. At the beginning Key had to calm nervous investors by stating he could ignore the Tribunal. That stance had the benefit of rallying the rump and Key's 'no one owns the water' mantra was quickly held up by baby boomer pundits with as beige a view of ownership rights as the Government's.
After the un-costed loyalty sweetener for the 5% of Mum and Dad's rich enough to buy up our assets, Tracy Watkin asserted that the 'heat had been taken out of asset sales fire'. The mere concept that Key's precious privatization agenda may be delayed was as inconceivable as a meteor hitting the earth and this lack of a Maori perspective in the mainstream media news rooms had led to a simple adoption of the Government's interests rather than critically challenge that narrative.
That early lack of insight has been forgotten with another round of pundit cheering from John Armstrong this week who seems to equate John Key on par with strategic geniuses like Sun Tzu and Hannibal.
Brian Gaynor has broken down the economic market stresses that are forcing the valuation lower on every single asset, while each delay strengthens the chances of the referendum next year to rob Key of his 'mandate' claim.
So where are things headed now? The 5 weeks put aside by the Government to look like they are acting in good faith to limit legal challenges isn't worth jack if the outcome still breaches the Treaty. The Government desperately want to play divide and rule tactics with corporate Iwi and claim that is good faith, what they will actually get is a self created Pan Maori 5 week hui that will shadow the official one and at the end of that process, the Maori Council will then lodge Court action. Armstrong's claim that the Maori Council should shut up or put up sounds like the Herald's chief political reporter is channeling Steven Joyce, the Maori Council will move when it is in their interests and not a second before.
The 5 week pretense of good faith will be met with a legal challenge, and it will be then that we see if Key is for turning over asset sales.
Allowing the legal challenge to go ahead will only generate more uncertainty, cutting it off by legislating over the top will cost them the Maori Party, which direction will Key take? Well, this is a Government driven by polls. They decided via polls to stop Finlayson's negotiations with Tuhoe, they decided via polls to attack the media over the tea pot tapes and their polling will be telling them large swathes of Shire Volk think this is Maaaaaaaaaori tryin to steal the water.
Will National turn to race baiting, burn the Maori Party off by forcing asset sales through via legislation over water ownership and rely on Banks and Dunne to pass legislation for the rest of the term?
That is the real drama here.