The toughest decision John Key had to make on 22 February last year was to fly back to Wellington that night.
The decision was one of a manager, rather than a leader. Flying back to Wellington was the easy way out.
Tracy Watkins' puff piece comes at an important time, when the bad news for National has been only briefly interrupted by some venal behaviour from Trevor Mallard and any opportunity to get good press needs to be taken. This week is an important week for National, they need to take advantage of the opportunity that the first anniversary presents.
But the phrasing in the article was eye-catching. I'd not have said "...fly back to Wellington..." because it connects Key with privilege, as he can easily escape devastated cities, is an important part of the bureaucracy in Wellington, can fly in and out at will, it chips into the "everyman" image.
The "when the going gets tough, the PM heads back to Wellington" message is also one I'd not expected of a tame MSM, and from that perspective I can understand why the decision was made. I would like to know why it was difficult.
On really big days there are no difficult decisions, I find most decisions are automatic, or at worst easy. Underlying values and beliefs rule. Decisions only become difficult when the luxury of time allows the consequences to be considered, and values and beliefs questioned.
Leaving Christchurch on 22 February 2011 could only be difficult with the luxury of detachment from the situation (and I defy anyone who has seen Christchurch to claim to be detached) or in the absence of a moral and ethical framework, or both.