January 28, 2013 by Doug Coutts
New Zealand Prime Minister and pin-up boy John Keys is being sued by a Nebraska-based publishing franchise over his use of the well-worn phrase “but what I can say”.
Papers were served on Mr Keys earlier today on behalf of Laughter the Goldrush Inc, claiming infringement of copyright. Company spokesman Laika Harikan told WWNews exclusively that her company had spent decades developing the phrase and was annoyed that Mr Keys had appropriated it without paying.
At first glance, there appears to be a case to answer. The words in question first appeared in the book “Obfuscation for Dummies”, published by LtG Press in 1927, then again in the 1965 manual “Get Off-topic Fast”. LtG produced a series of instructional videos – “Straight answers send you straight to jail” – for the Nixon administration in the 1970s, again making heavy use of the phrase.
In an exclusive interview with the Putaruru Advertiser which we overheard, Mr Keys is playing down the lawsuit. “I’m not sure what it’s about, frankly,” he said. “But what… I mean what I am certain of is the Greens want to print money like it’s going out of fashion.”
The Greens couldn’t be reached for comment which makes a nice change.