It's one of his' />

When john key's short entry is written in the dictionary of political rhetoric, the word "aspirational" will need to be in there.

It's one of his favourite words, whether applied to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which his Government signed, or to the aim to have our incomes catch up with Australians (this was before his deputy, Bill English, suggested that we should market our low wages as a point of difference).

Now, presumably at Key's direction, Associate Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman has described our national brand (aka "100 per cent Pure New Zealand") as "aspirational".

The word having become somewhat devalued now - it means "something that we talk about, but we all know that it isn't going to happen until Peter Dunne gets a mohawk and a tattoo" - it sort of means we are sort of 100 per cent sort of pure. Sort of.

The trouble with 100 per cent is that it's sort of unambiguous. It means, like, totally.

This mathematical nicety did not escape the host of BBC's Hard Talk Stephen Sackur, when he grilled the PM (who's also the Tourism Minister) about the country's self-proclaimed status as the last unsullied outpost of Planet Earth. Key blustered that "for the most part, in comparison with the rest of the world, we are 100 per cent pure", but the problem is that 100 per cent is one of those things, like pregnant, that you can only really be absolutely.

The facts - carp-infested lakes filled with algal bloom, waterways rich in stock manure and pasture runoff, sewage-stained beaches - make us look like fools and sneaky fools at that.

When the eyes of the world turn down here in September, they had better find a country bent on cleaning up its act - or otherwise changing its slogan to "100 per cent Pure (aspirational)".