Key apologises for drinking age brain fade
Thursday 18 Oct 2012 6:00 p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
The Prime Minister has today apologised for misleading the public after comments in a 3 News story last night on the drinking age.
John Key said he voted for the age to move to 20. The truth was he ended up voting for it to stay at 18. So how did he get out of this brain fade?
When Parliament voted on the drinking age Mr Key voted for the split - 18 in the pubs, 20 in the shops. When that was knocked out, he voted 18, and not 20.
But he didn’t seem to remember that yesterday.
“That's one of the reasons I voted for it to go to 20 - in line with what the public thought - but Parliament didn't vote that way,” Mr Key said.
And today his lack of recall wasn't forgotten by anyone.
“Clearly it's either another brain fade from the Prime Minister or he's simply not telling the truth and Kiwis deserve better than that from the Prime Minister,” Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson said.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters thinks there is a bigger problem.
“The Prime Minister can't tell the truth.”
So 3 News asked Mr Key what really happened.
“I should have been more precise and after the words 20 added 'at an off licence'," he said. "I'm sorry if that confused anyone."
Mr Key was in Rarotonga when his vote was cast, and as a proxy, he would have had to sign it.
“If a member is going to cast a proxy vote a member has to put their name to it,” Mr Robertson said.
Still, Mr Robertson wasn't going to let this one go in Parliament, even if Mr Key wasn't there.
“I seek leave of the House to table the personal vote record on the drinking age of 18 from Mr Key.”
So it's not Watergate, but given Mr Key's poor recall over Kim Dotcom, the last thing he needs is a sloppy approach to how he voted just weeks ago on the drinking age. The truth is, he just handed his opponents a free hit - and they whacked him.