A break from the honeymoon

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, November 18th, 2008 - 60 comments
Categories: Media, national/act government, spin - Tags: , ,

While most of the big media are giving John Key his criticism-free honeymoon (“OMG! A solo mum! An Asian! And a gay chap!”) the good old ODT has seen through the centrist spin:

Prime Minister-elect John Key showed a clear intention yesterday to move the National-led government more to the Right of the political spectrum than had previously been signalled.

His new Cabinet, which will be sworn in tomorrow, shows a bias to the Right despite moves during the election campaign to position National as a centrist party.

Meanwhile, over at Pundit.co.nz Tim Watkins has some hard questions about National’s coalition deals that you won’t see being asked anywhere else.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the media’s honeymoon continues through Key’s first 100 days, when he’s hoping to put through some pretty radical reform on issues like tax, superannuation, climate change, the RMA and workers’ rights. It’s times like these that we need a critical media the most.

60 comments on “A break from the honeymoon”

  1. theaveragekeywi 1

    I thought that it was a ‘Master stroke of Diplomacy’?

    that was a bit sarcastic. I especially liked: “the Maori Party did not win support for a single piece of legislation. They got National not to abolish the Maori seats, a concession they’d won before the election, and a promise-nothing review.” – pundit

    I hate citing captchas but I got: went corrupt

  2. bobo 2

    The honeymoon will last into fall next year until some serious policy comes out, until then we will get xmas pudding recipes from JK, more photo op pics with ethnic minorities, fluffy animals, it’s like the msm is in Womens Weekly mode till then.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    I was puzzled by the claim that it was a move to the Right, since there weren’t any examples of the moves to the Right, and I wish she would elucidate just what those moves are.

    She seems like a pretty balanced journalist though. Just a few days ago she wrote that Labour’s lack of depth was “palpable”.

  4. randal 5

    tim ellis
    that post bore no relarionship whatsoever to the opening blog
    who are you?

  5. Lampie 6

    love the lets start another ministry, hire more people to cut government numbers, love it.

  6. Tim Ellis 7

    Tane wrote:

    Dene Mackenzie’s a dude.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/blog

    So he is!

    Randal, you’re getting silly again.

  7. Felix 8

    “…The honeymoon will last into fall next year…”

    When did we start calling it “fall”? Did I miss a meeting?

  8. Stephen 9

    Anyone going to reply to Tim’s first paragraph? Like DPF said, biffing Williamson and Smith isn’t exactly moving to the right…

  9. gingercrush 10

    No but biffing aside Williamson only means more stabbings in the back.

  10. higherstandard 11

    Thin end of the wedge Felix next they’ll start removing u’s here and there and replacing s’s with z’s – bloody yankee english.

  11. Tigger 12

    Felix – didn’t you get the memo? We follow the US wherever, whenever now… Though not sure Power will fancy following Obama and his leftie, socialist mates….

  12. bobo 13

    Autumn , Fall, never knew America owned the term, I was born in the uk …. So shud I be speaking keewee mate wuth the propurr englush ?

  13. Pascal's bookie 14

    “So shud I be speaking keewee mate wuth the propurr englush ?”

    Yis.

    Re the move to the right. Key campaigned on centrism and defined that largely with reference to marginalising ACT. Both the maori Party and ACT bring 5 seats to the table. ACT got a better deal. Everyone talks about how ‘he didn’t need the mP’ but by the same token, he didn’t need ACT.

    Ergo, by the definition of centrism Key used while campaigning, he’s moved to the right.

  14. Lew 15

    bobo: Most years I’d say you were right. I think this one will be different, because of the economies, etc. But bear in mind that the media not bagging the new government outright doesn’t mean there’s a honeymoon on – it’s not impossible they just won’t have done anything worth bagging yet.

    So far the worst concrete decisions I’ve seen are making Rodney Minister In Charge Of Provatising Logal Government (which I think will be duly bagged) and the appointment of the horrifically partisan Lockwood Smith as speaker, over others who have actual legal training and/or bipartisan support. But that’s a leader’s prerogative, I suppose.

    Oh, and b hapi wer not speking UroEnglish: http://www.etni.org.il/farside/euroenglish.htm 🙂

    L

  15. gingercrush 16

    I’m not sure legal expertise is a requirement. Margaret Wilson arguably a fine legal academic really didn’t suit the role of speaker. I’m not sure myself in regards to Lockward Smith. But we can’t be any worse than the Australians. I watched their question time last week and its shocking the way they do question time. And the speaker puts a stop to any noise whatsoever. That and the actual answers are just rambling.

  16. bobo 17

    Lew – I agree but it seems almost a novelty factor for the MSM as it’s been so long since National were in government, the reader needs to be re-introduced to the old party members and the new ones. The job losses won’t hit till the end of our retail summer season and that’s when policy ideas will be put forward by Roger Douglas with his white board AMWAY style presentations to the press with or without party approval. National will play the good cop bad cop with ACT which will be entertaining to say the least 🙂

    Parliament will seem like an 80s retro “It’s Academic” gameshow with Lockwood as speaker 🙂

    Lockwood:- “Please Mr Goff ! refrain from calling the Prime minister a liar, or I will have no other option than to deduct 20 points from Labour’s score”

  17. I think at this stage, we have to wait and see….John key has talked one way while his Cabinet appointments show a blend of moderation and those who want to fall off the Right side of the Earth.

    No Right Turn looks at how Rodney Hide may approach Local Government.

    It will be interesting to see if the wider government would support legislation forcing local government to sell any commercial operations – driven by a religious conviction that private business is ALWAYS better (ignoring all evidence to the contrary – it can only be a religious conviction).

    I’m thinking Key will moderate those excesses…..be the Good Cop to all these bad Cops.

    But we’ll see. Plans have way of coming unraveled if enough people don’t want them ravelled.

  18. randal 19

    no tim ellis
    that was posted after your irrelevant meaningless splodge which you stil have not explained
    you are silly if
    a) you think people will not pick you up on yourmeaningless posts
    and
    b) dont go back to check up on what you have written
    so dont say I am going silly again because I never was silly in the first place
    got it?

    LPRENT he is trying to build a case against me so his mates can all e-mail you and say I am disagreeing with him
    nortee nortee

  19. Quoth the Raven 20

    The media should always be critical. There should never be any honeymoon period. But with the vacuous minds of the Espiners of this land, focusing on trivialities, personalities and steadfastly refusing to engage their minds in any crtitical thinking, we won’t have a main stream media worth a damn.

  20. gobsmacked 21

    If you want more in-depth treatment of politics, try the Maori media, such as Marae and Native Affairs (Maori TV). With Sharples and Turia in the government, these Maori programmes are likely to move from the margins to the centre of political coverage. And they will be fascinating to watch.

    Hat-tip to Frogblog for pointing out this section of the agreement:

    The Maori Party agree to be bound by collective responsibility in relation to their Ministerial portfolios and their Associate Minister responsibilities. When the Maori Party Ministers speak about issues within their portfolios and Associate Minister responsibilities, they will speak for the government and as part of the government, representing the government’s position in relation to these responsibilities. (my italics)

    So for example, the new Associate Minister of Corrections will soon be defending the hardline National/ACT legislation on sentencing, crime, gangs etc. He has no choice in the matter.

    His name is Pita Sharples.

  21. randal 22

    qtr
    you are right on the button
    100 days is one of those journalistic cliches that journalists are paid to write like an advertorial
    you can see who are the lackeys and the hacks by whoever supports this bit of paid flackery
    as for the epsinners of this world its about time TVNZ hada good cleanout and got rid of some of this dull deadwood that threatens to gum up the whole democratic process from their cushy little beehive numbers
    rotation anyone?

  22. Tim Ellis 23

    randal,

    I’m not building a case against you. You’re a parody of a radical left-winger, and I find you amusing.

  23. Lampie 24

    he finds you amusing too Tim, like Noddy

  24. Billy 25

    Noddy finds randal amusing?

    That figures.

  25. Wil 26

    the spam filter needs tweaking here. That spambot ‘tim ellis’ is spewing irrelevant spam on these pages again. Irritating little piece of script.. needs norton av shoved up its arse..

    ..

    Pundit.co.nz piece very good:

    “Why has the party that was meant to be looking forward to a brigher future chosen to dredge up two of the most divisive issues from the past decade of New Zealand politics bulk-funding and the Foreshore and Seabed Act?”

    The resurrection of these issues will be the smokescreen to help key steal a second term. And of course these issues will dominate the msm then.

  26. Ianmac 27

    Whenever I have watched interviews on Maori TV I have been very impressed. I usually found the gold by accident as the Listener does not tell you much. With the quality of the questions and the time to hear the answers, I found out more about individuals including Helen and John than all the other shows put together. Outside Maori TV, it is Brent Edwards on National Radio who expresses the most depth and neutrality. Go Brent!

  27. Carol 28

    I think Native Affairs can be good on Maori TV, and I agree about Brent Edwards.

  28. George 29

    “Now, more than ever we need a critical media”

    What a load of tripe. We needed it during the last government, and when finally we got it, it was accused of being the lapdog of the VRWC. Your short term memory would be laughable, if it weren’t for how obvious the selectiveness of it is.

  29. Janet 30

    Tony Ryall and his health sector lackeys have just been going on about the mythical growing bureaucracy monster. I suggest he starts by not having any staff (bureaucrats) in his office, and manages his own appointments, takes his own minutes and answers his own correspondence. The backbench Nat MPs could voluntarily decide they do not need PA or secretarial help. After all they are just ‘bureaucrats’ too.

    They could do away with more bureaucrats by not having a National Research Unit or PM’s department.

    Or is it do as I say not as I do?

  30. Carol 31

    hmmm. Well on TV One tonight there was an item covering the criticism of NACT revisiting the carbon tax, after they’d strongly when it was proposed by the Labour led government.

    Then later there was a promo for Close Up, with Paul Henry saying that we were about to get a new government, with a real chance of some “forceful” decisions that would start to prevent the appalling amount of child abuse in the country. I wonder how fighting abusive “force” with some other sort of “force” will work out? I’m watching TV3 on the latest high profile case instead.

  31. randal 32

    thank you Wil

  32. Sarah 33

    The cabinet announced yesterday is in no way a greater move to the right than what was previously signalled. Both Maurice Williamson and Lockwood Smith got the boot, seriously undermining the whole idea of a conservative stronghold on the party’s cabinet.

    Say what you will about Paula Bennet, Steven Joyce and Pansy Wong, but they certainly do not bring the party more to the right.

    Your eyes must have lit up when you saw that headline. Shame it’s not true at all.

  33. Janet 34

    I don’t think Sarah’s read Nicky Hagar’s Hollow Men.

  34. Quoth the Raven 35

    2008 Roger Award Finalists Named.
    This is timely as we’re likely to get shafted by these guys even more now.

  35. ak 36

    It’s times like these that we need a critical media the most.

    Pono, Tane. And as if in answer to your plea on this important political occasion, in a quintessentially poignant vignette which depicts with horrific clarity the state of our media, on our premier media news show our Quantas Award-winning “best political reporter” eats paper to the gleeful delight of his equally-competent and deep-thinking colleagues……

  36. Mr Shankly 37

    Carol and Ianmac – Just beaause you agree with Brent Edwards does not mean he is neutral!

  37. Carol 38

    Mr Shanky. I said nothing about Edwards being neutral, or even that I always agree with him. What I do like is that Edwards does very good in depth, and often critical analysis.

    It’s pretty hard for anyone to be totally neutral. IMO, what is more important is that people are encouraged to look critically at the news and media generally.

  38. the sprout 39

    i agree, it’s really only RNZ and a few of the bloggers that can be consistently relied on to actually scratch the surface of most political stories (unless an msm outlet gets a story handed to them on a plate, which doesn’t really constitute investigative journalism, does it).

    absolutely we need a criticial media, but that need is never going to be serviced by corporate media when being critical is not in their commercial interest.

  39. Phil 40

    Gobsmacked,

    So for example, the new Associate Minister of Corrections will soon be defending the hardline National/ACT legislation on sentencing, crime, gangs etc. He has no choice in the matter.

    So, let me get this clear… according to general consensus on the ‘blogging left’ ACT, through its associate ministerial positions, will influence policy. The Maori Party, through its associate ministerial positions, will become a mouthpiece for a National-ACT hard-right policy…

    Do you see where I’m going with this?

  40. IrishBill 41

    Phil, if you compare the coalition documents ACT has negotiated a much better deal than the MP both in terms of concessions and in terms of autonomy from National. That means they are getting more done than the Maori party and are more free to attack National and to promote their agendas. It’s not apples with apples.

  41. gobsmacked 42

    Phil

    A minister must speak for the government’s policy in the minister’s portfolio. Simple as that. So the question is: what is the policy?

    National’s plans for the first 100 days were included with the published National-Maori agreement. There is no word in the agreement of any change to those plans. They include a series of measures which Sharples has previously opposed.

    If Pita Sharples changes the draconian “law and order” policy that was a core part of National/ACT’s campaign rhetoric, to something saner, that will be a huge achievement. It will also, of course, create a huge backlash from people who voted for National on this classic “hot button” issue.

    It’s not going to happen. Still, I’d be delighted to be proved wrong. Good luck Pita.

  42. the sprout 43

    exactly IB – the gains for ACT are hardly comparable with the trinkets the Maori Party have been given.

    powers to possibly effect a veto are a rather pale shadow of the power to propose and enact.

  43. Phil 45

    IB,

    Pull the other one old man – ACT got “review” after “review” after “review”. They are also bound by the same “follow gov’t policy in your associate role” requirement, so saying they are ‘more free to attack National’ is not credible.

    GS,
    The Maori Party wanted more done in rehabilitation, and ACT want 3-strikes. There is plenty of room for National, politically, to do both.

  44. IrishBill 46

    Phil, they are not required to follow the cabinet manual.

  45. Tigger 47

    Yep, that Varnish piece by Gordon C is superb. I actually felt like cheering after I read it – it shines light on some dark little corners…

  46. Mr Shankly 48

    Er…. Carol did you read what you actually agreed about Brent Edwards? I believe he is interesting to listen to and has some indepth analysis but he is very left wing as are most political commentators and media in New Zealand – despite what some on this site express.

  47. randal 49

    shankly
    they might be left wing or right wing for all I know or even calathumpians but they are told to express their owners point of view and have become increasingly insisitent and strident of late with uncalled for attacks on the outward going government who may in all likelihood be back in some form next november
    anyway
    people on this site unlike others are free to express any opinion they like
    even you

  48. gobsmacked 50

    “he is very left wing as are most political commentators and media in New Zealand”

    Name them.

  49. Mr Shankly 51

    randal you probably have a point that post election the tide has turned – or are commentators pro government

    gobsmacked
    – chris trotter
    – brent edwards
    – willie jackson
    – dene mackenzie
    – lialle harre
    – duncan garner
    – vernon small
    – matt mccarten
    – sandra lee
    – barry soper

  50. gobsmacked 52

    Shankly

    Half of those people aren’t even employed as political journalists. You might as well say “David Farrar” or “Matthew Hooten”. The hired talking heads aren’t the media gatekeepers. They are there because they are left or right.

    It’s utterly absurd to compare (for example) hours of Leighton Smith / Danny Watson / Larry Williams every day, with a few minutes of Barry Soper on Newstalk ZB. (even if Soper is “left”, a debatable point)

    You’re just proving how weak your claim was.

  51. Pascal's bookie 53

    Good old Duncan Garner. Did he ever get around to doing a segment on a budget in the last three years without begging for a tax cut.

    He doesn’t lean left or right, he leans gotcha and trite.

  52. Mr Shankly 54

    Am I just paraniod? I know your answer – no need to reply! But most papers, news channels and radiobroadcasts have a left wing bias!

  53. gingercrush 55

    Um lol.

    Duncan Garner, Brent Edwards, Vernon Small and Barry Soper are journalists. They may well have left leanings but that doesn’t mean their ability to report the news is compromised. Though Garner is incredibly crap at making predictions.

    Is Dene a commentator or journalist?

    Willie Jackson works in media but he has never hidden his left views and hasn’t been asked to.

    Laila Harre, Sandra Lee, Matt McCarten and Chris Trotter are commentators. And commentators rarely are non-partisan and nor should they.

    —-

    Linda Clark for years was TVNZ’s political reporter and she had left leanings. But never did she compromise herself.

    Guyon and Colin Espiner and Audrey Young you would call right leaning. Now others may disagree but most of the time they give pretty balanced coverage. The thing with journalism is its often not the reporters who are the problem. Its the editorial team behind newspapers, television and radio. Its them that shape the political leanings of media.

    If I had to choose. Newstalk is right wing, National Radio leans left but always offers mostly balanced news. TV3 tilts left but their coverage seems to look for critical issues in politics and if a member of a party does something wrong they tend to be highly critical. I think you could say TVNZ has increasingly developed political persuasions to the right. New Zealand Herald leans right while Independent Newspapers are overall pretty centrist. And Otago Daily Times likely tends to the left.

  54. gobsmacked 56

    Two main TV channels. Two main newspaper groups (and websites). Two main commercial radio stations.

    TV – not so much biased, just very shallow. Which usually helps the right.
    Newspapers – clearly pro-right
    Commercial Radio – ditto.

  55. bobo 57

    The Herald is leaning so far right its laying down. It will be interesting to see when Garth George the Victor Meldrew Troll of NZ opinion columns starts to moan at the new gov.

    Duncan Garner and Barry Soper left ??

  56. Carol 58

    Mr Shanky: yesterday @10.37pm.

    Well I didn’t actually state I thought Edwards was neutral. I guess it could be said I did say he was more neutral than most, in agreeing with Ianmac who said:

    it is Brent Edwards on National Radio who expresses the most depth and neutrality. Go Brent!

    I was thinking more that I agreed that I liked his indepth analysis. I also do agree with Ianmac, that Edwards is more neutral than alot of other political reporters. I don’t see him as being very left wing. Actually, he doesn’t come across as obviously left wing at all to me.

    But note also in responses to your last question I said I thought total neutrality is impossible.

  57. Irascible 59

    I received this comment from the Sunday Star Times Editor today. Amazing that the election result was preordained.

    I would like to introduce myself, I am Mitchell Murphy and I have just taken up the post of Managing Editor at Fairfax Media Sundays. I know that former Sunday Star-Times editor, Cate Brett was a strong supporter of the reader panel and took a personal interest in panel surveys and comments. As an experienced editor and journalist I also recognise the benefits of working with a dedicated reader panel to poll and engage with Sunday readers.

    You may be interested to know that the mysundayview reader panel picked the outcome of the 2008 general election well in advance. Your mood for change was noted in response to our May politics /budget survey and your comments preordained the election. (48% supported John Key, 31% supported Helen Clark)

  58. Ianmac 60

    Carol: “I was thinking more that I agreed that I liked his indepth analysis. I also do agree with Ianmac, that Edwards is more neutral than a lot of other political reporters.”
    And what seems remarkable is that when Sean Plunkett is with Brent on Morning Report, Sean tries to intimidate Brent into changing tack, but to his credit, Brent sticks to his guns and won’t deviate from what he was apparently going to say. Sean is a bully!

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