Well, if that was the best they could manage for the final Agenda then we haven’t lost much. There was one decent question in an hour. That was from the business editor of the Press asking Rodney Hide why if people wanted their councils owning local assets and bringing in a profit that wasn’t a good thing – it sparked a serious and nuanced answer from Hide and a good counterpoint from John Roughen. Other than that is was an absolute waste of my Sunday morning. Guyon Espiner, once again, wasted a great opportunity by not asking good questions. I mean, Key is about to push through a series of laws under urgency yet Guyon did not ask any critical questions about those laws. One would have through he might have said:
-‘why is it a good idea to take tax cuts away from the working class?’,
-‘why is it a good idea to pay for tax cuts for the rich by cutting Kiwisaver in half’,
-‘you’re going to put through legislation requiring Pharmac to fund Herceptin for 12 months, why are you more qualified to decide that should be the priority for the limited funds available for subsidising cancer drugs than Pharmac’s medical experts?’
But, no. Instead we got the usual crap that has passed for the best political interview show on New Zealand TV. Maybe Guyon missed the press gallery consensus that emerged last week: the honeymoon is over, Key’s incompetent handling of his foreign affairs tests saw to that – even Fran O’Sullivan admits as much.
Key enjoyed his free ride and reverted to his campaign lines. But there’s a danger for him in that. He doesn’t sound prime ministerial he sounds like he’s still spinning. One day, he’s going to get a hard interview, be forced to answer some tough question (I know, you’re laughing, but just because it hasn’t happened in the two years since he became National leader doesn’t mean it won’t happen some day) and all this patsies are not putting him in a good place to deal with it when it comes.
So, good-bye Agenda. I would like to say I will miss you but I won’t. Let’s hope TV1 comes up with something decent to replace it. For starters, lets not have a reporter do the interviewing, have someone like Kim Hill, a proper interviewer. And change the format. No more time wasting with whichever pair of rightwing commentators are available that week asking dumb questions and stupid bits at the dairy. Let’s try to do something like the BBC’s Hardtalk, a single, in-depth interview with an interviewer who really knows their stuff. Now, that would be worth getting up for on a Sunday morning*.
*[although, surely we could get a decent time slot too, how about getting rid of just one of those ghastly ‘Downsize my New Zealand’s next top house’ shows that dominate primetime]