Prime is running a series of interviews every Sunday until the election with the leader of each party in Parliament, starting with Rodney Hide last night. It was surprisingly good. Hosted by Bill Ralston with a panel of Barry Soper, Audrey Young, and Colin Espiner, some good questions were asked and Hide himself was good in that he was perfectly willing to lay out his thoughts and views. Even if it did make him look awfully naive at least he doesn’t try to hide his true views to win more votes (unlike one party we could mention).
But I was a bit frustrated to see that the panel and the host were the same old crowd. Is there really no-one else than the dozen or so political commentators that seem to show up in every newspaper, radio show, professional blog and, TV programme? When did this tiny group get into the position where they could decide who would ask questions to our political leaders and decided that it should be only themselves?
Why can’t we have actual experts asking the questions? Couldn’t we have a panel of the great economic minds in this country that could take the leaders to task over their economic plans, instead we get hacks like whathisname the editor of NBR representing ‘business interests’. Couldn’t we have unflinching, well-informed, deep questions on political issues from the likes of Margaret Clark or the cutting queries of Kim Hill, instead of vapid questions on morning television?
The problem is, and its no criticism of these individuals who have a lot on their plates, the people we get asking the questions are simply not experts on all the issues they are trying to grill the politicians on. Politicians constantly get off easy as a result. Key is expert at this, fobbing off a question with a nonsensical answer safe in the knowledge that the questioner will not know enough to follow-up. Let’s get some real experts asking the questions and giving analysis. I don’t mean the Therese Arseneaus of this world who see politics as a values-free game, I mean real experts who genuinely care about their area of expertise and will make sure they get the answers the New Zealand public deserves to hear.
[But getting back to the Prime interview. I noticed that Hide says ACT used secret trusts to funnel donations to the Party but I’ve just had a look at their donations returns and there is no record of donations from any trusts.. now, that looks dodgy.