Word around the traps is that this week Key and English have added veteran financial reporter Rod Oram to their list of journos they won’t speak to and Key has canceled his weekly chat with Wammo on Kiwi FM until after the election.
This adds to Key striking Duncan Garner off his interview list after the secret agenda debacle (although after last night’s uncritical view of National’s tax cut package Garner may be back in favour).
When I first heard about Rod Oram being blacklisted I was surprised because although he has had a few hard things to say about them such as:
[National] has yet to demonstrate it has an economic transformation plan of its own that could put the money to good use.
I’ve seen nothing that stands out as particularly negative toward National.
However when I saw National’s tax package I understood. Oram has an excellent reputation for being a straight shooter and being very good at digging into a financial subject and analysing it objectively. That’s the last thing Key would want to be faced with in an interview situation this week given his how shonky his tax package is.
The decision to cancel the weekly chat with Wammo might just come down to a campaign cost-benefit analysis in terms of time spent versus people reached but there’s also a good chance it’s part of an attempt by Key’s handlers to limit the amount of long-form unscripted interview exposure he gets as the importance of not making a serious publicity error increases. I suspect its a bit of both.
By all accounts there’s been lot of time and money going into getting Key positioned and match-fit for the next month of campaigning and it seems that part of that strategy is about trying to make sure he can speak no evil.
[update: Key’s regualr interviews on RDU with Spanky have also been canned]