Labour's new leader, Andrew Little, has barely been in the job a week and the capricious Fates are piling the opportunities into his lap to help him kickstart his tenure.

Little's first opportunity came on the first day of his reign in the form of Cera boss Roger Sutton's resignation over claims of serious misconduct. The avalanche began on Tuesday.

That day has been dubbed the long day of dumps as the Government released three inquiry reports. One was the Corrections probe into the handling of fugitive murderer Phillip Smith. The others were the Dirty Politics inquiries into the extent Prime Minister John Key's office and Judith Collins had engaged with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater over his planned "attack" pieces on former Labour leader Phil Goff and former Serious Fraud Office head Adam Feeley.

Little was the pig in mud. Up he stood in Parliament, hollering his blunt questions as he built on the "straight-shooter" image he has decided on. Exhibit A: "Why doesn't he just cut the crap and apologise to New Zealand for running a smear machine out of his office?"


Little's predecessors David Cunliffe and David Shearer would have killed for similar chances. As it was, the only real controversies they found themselves facing were of their own making.

To add to Little's luck, the Furies, those agents of vengeance, were toying with Key. He had been stung by a mosquito carrying the very contagion he had warned his ministers against as they headed into a third term. Arrogance.

The problem diagnosed, he showed this week he intended to try a homeopathic cure, curing like with like, with an intensive course of arrogance.

It had some surprising side-effects. Key found himself saying he believed Slater, that paragon of righteousness, over Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn.

Gwyn had found that Key's staffer Jason Ede was the one who advised Slater to put in an Official Information Act request over Goff's briefing from the Security Intelligence Service into suspected Mossad spies in Christchurch.

Yet Key said Slater contested that and had said it was an anonymous tip he thought came from an SIS staffer. Another side-effect was political glaucoma that meant Key could not read some parts of the report. One such part was where Gwyn wrote Ede was on the phone to Slater just when he sent in the OIA request. He also appeared to miss the bits where Slater emailed a concerned Ede saying he would say his source was an SIS staffer.

Key appointed Gwyn just last year as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security as he tried to build public trust in the spy agencies after a series of stuff-ups and claims they were acting beyond their powers. What does it say that the very first time Gwyn tests her powers of inquiry, Key decides to trust the version of his pet "blogster" over her own findings?

Confusion was a further side-effect - so when Key was asked about the findings relating to his staff's actions, he apparently thought the question was about a completely different thing altogether, which cast a better light on things.


There was counter-attack - Key tried to turn the tables on Labour by claiming Goff was both a hypocrite and a lawbreaker because he had revealed the contents of the report to journalists the day before it was released.

Key brought this up time and time again. It would be tempting to think he knew something. And yesterday we found out why. Gwyn's inquiry earned Goff an apology, but his enthusiasm also earned him his very own investigation. Gwyn announced she planned to investigate Goff's case of loose lips, saying it was a possible breach of the law.

Finally Key turned to calling names. One of the little-known clauses in Key's job description is that he gets to give his counterparts their nicknames. David Cunliffe was "Tricky David". This week as Little railed against Key's refusal to show any accountability, it became clear Key's chosen moniker was "Angry Andy".

Judith Collins can thank her lucky stars for the onset of the PM's condition. The attention has all gone on Key and his stubborn refusal to admit anything is awry on Planet Key. Had hers been the only inquiry released there would have been far more intensive scrutiny of it and whether it actually exonerated her or she simply managed to escape getting caught.

Dirty Politics played out in Key's favour at the critical time, the election campaign. Key claimed it was all overhyped left-wing smears and parked the controversial aspects of it into inquiries. It ended up simply solidifying his support. Now the sword is swinging back towards him.

His purpose is obvious. Swamp the people with conflicting stories and they will give up and get on with life.

Key is no fool. Plenty of time for a bit of humility later, before the next election.