- Date published:
11:03 am, March 20th, 2009 - 41 comments
Categories: national/act government, spin - Tags: ACC, hit and run, jobs summit, Morning Report, nick smith, out of her depth, paula bennett, radio nz
If you haven’t heard the interview yet, download it now. You won’t be disappointed.
What’s clearly happened here is Bennett was sent into this interview by National’s PR team armed with little more than the usual attack lines designed to frame Labour as grubby, corrupt and irrelevant. There’s no substance, because they know there’s nothing there. It’s just a quick, cheap, hit-and-run attack.
I mean, have a listen and just count how many times she says “petty politicking”, “taxpayer funded” and “desperately trying to find relevance”. If it sounds like she’s just reading these lines out from a sheet in front of her, it’s because chances are she probably was.
But the problem with this kind of PR, as we saw from Nick Smith with ACC last week, is that as soon as the spin is challenged with some substance the whole thing falls apart, sometimes spectacularly. Phil Goff made an absolute meal out of Bennett, and she was left sounding nasty, shrill and hollow live on public radio.
The irony, of course, is that Bennett isn’t just a participant in National’s game of government-by-PR, she’s a living, breathing example of it. After all, why else has this inexperienced, untested newbie been put in charge of the government’s largest ministry but for the fact her down-to-earth Westie image provides a centrist facade for National’s neoliberal project?
With any luck this morning’s fiasco will cause John Key to rethink not just his confidence in Bennett, but the continuing usefulness of the hit-and-run PR model National has been running for the last four years.