Our national political debate is in a sad sad state. Agenda is meant to be our premier political interview and analysis TV show. Today, they had John Key on for the main interview. In twenty-odd minutes he was not asked a single question about the policies his party has released over the last three weeks. No question ‘why should Kiwis vote for less secure employment’ no ‘why should our ACC levies become a source of profits for foreign insurance companies’ not even ‘why are your policies only bullet points and why are you releasing them only as press releases, why no press conferences?’
Instead it was all the same old same speculation about Peters – Key slipping around trying to avoid (as he must) ruling Peters out of a ministerial spot on a Key-led Government while trying to say Clark should be threatening Peters with the sack from her government.
There were some reasonable questions about foreign policy and Key was shown as the lightweight we know he is. His answers literally sounded like his knowledge of foreign policy is limited to a cursory reading of the Herald World section. He couldn’t pronounce leaders’ names, he didn’t know the terms for various types of diplomatic actionsthat are being considered around Iran, he didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on the issues, or the countries and organisations involved in Iran, the Pacific, and the US/NZ relationship. His answers were a grab-bag of foreign policy-sounding terms thrown together in illogical ways. Why couldn’t we have some questions about his domestic policies though?
Getting all orgasmic over Condi Rice referring to us as allies, rather than friends is equally pathetic. I’ve worked in foreign affairs and I know that, yes, the word was chosen on purpose. I also know that the American embassy will be finding it hilarious how excited our media is about a minor change in wording by an outgoing Secretary of State. Rice calling us an ally does not mean we’re about to get an FTA, and we look like excitable children when we speculate that it might.
This is why more and more people are turning to blogs like The Standard for their political news – all they want is some debate and analysis on substantive issues that matter to people’s actual lives.