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Tame shows media how to interview Luxon

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, April 26th, 2022 - 45 comments
Categories: benefits, Christopher Luxon, Economy, Living Wage, Media, minimum wage, politicans, tax, uncategorized, wages - Tags:

On Sunday on Q&A Chris Luxon received a grilling from Jack Tame the likes of which I have not seen yet.  It was a sight to behold.  An interviewer holding Luxon to account.  Up to now he has received a very easy ride from the media.  But Tame’s interview suggests that the post leadership change honeymoon may now be over and some very targeted questions demonstrated that Luxton does not really understand how difficult a job being Prime Minister would be.

Here is the video.

Tame did something which other media should take note of. He went past the generalised statements of policy grandeur and certainty Luxon is prone to utter and asked him specifics.  He called on Luxon to identify the spending that he would cut and what difference it would make. Luxon identified the Hamilton to Auckland Train service, the employment of more bureaucrats, spending on mental health most of which has not happened yet, and spending on the health restructure most of which has not happened yet.

Tame did the maths and showed that combined these items comprised a very small part of Government spending and even if cut completely would make a negligible difference.

Luxon has repeatedly said that unnecessary Government spending has added to inflation. When pressed to explain how he could change this he clearly could not.  And he later admitted that National’s tax cuts would be inflationary.  His minders must have been on high alert at this time.

Tame’s next series of questions were brutal. He asked Luxon which New Zealanders were being squeezed and who would benefit from National’s tax cuts. National’s focus is clearly on the “squeezed middle”. The poor do not feature in Luxon’s calculations. He could not adequately answer how he as Prime Minister would get a tax cut of $18,000 a year and how this helps the squeezed middle.

It was put to him that he had opposed the winter energy payment, the minimum wage increase, and the increase to benefits but he still supports someone on almost half a million dollars receiving a $18,000 tax cut.  That was such a good question.

He trotted out the need to attract wealthy people to New Zealand. A cut in the marginal rate which is still below that of most nations was thought necessary so that the wealthy would want to come here. How does that figure?

He conceded that he does not need the tax cut. He also conceded that his proposed tax cuts would be inflationary.

He admitted that National’s tax savings calculator on its website does not allow for the removal of the top tax rate. I am not surprised. This would have been the source for some pretty embarrassing graphics.

He admitted at one stage that he was not a polished, career, beltway politician.  If he wants to become Prime Minister he will have to learn these skills really quickly.  Being PM is way more complex and difficult than being chief executive of an Airline.

So it looks like the media honeymoon may be over.  At least outside the NZME media stable.  But it is about time.  Luxon has been spreading magical fairy dust all over the place for a while without being called to account.  Hopefully this will now change.

45 comments on “Tame shows media how to interview Luxon ”

  1. Ad 1

    Last time we had an interviewer who could do this was Ian Fraser. Keep it up Jack.

    I would be slightly less anxious about a Tame-Ardern interview, because Ardern would do her homework and be ready with results.

    4 weeks to Budget and the Carbon Zero plan. Does Labour have what it takes to turn it around?

    • tc 1.1

      David Beatson did similar to blinglish on community tv in their first term. He admitted they'd done no analysis on impact of the GST rise to 15%….simple question blinglish had to answer yes or no to he avoided but Beatson persisted.

      Community tv/freeview sorted out not long after

  2. Kat 2

    I haven't got a link handy but I do recall those early times when Key became opposition leader with similar gaffes and everyone expected Clark to wipe the floor with him. We know how that turned out. Luxon maybe way out of his league as a politician against Jacinda Ardern but his sound bites are bound to resonate with many of his target audience in the middle rows.

  3. Reality 3

    Luxon's personality comes over as very cold. He seems self-satisfied and unconcerned about making life tougher for those who are not on high incomes, while believing he is entitled to an $18,000 tax cut. Not admirable traits.

  4. He stated the $55000/70000 are having a hard time and needed a tax cuts,and then 10 minutes later ,tax cuts would not cause inflation as most would put the money in savings

  5. Blazer 5

    Attracting wealthy people to NZ is something I just do not 'get'.

    From what I see their main activity is buying up property .

    The Peter Thiels of the world don't even bother living here.

    Citizenship should require that you have only 1 passport imo.

    • tc 5.1

      Worth digging into just to hear trickle down or similar old world reasoning that's been outed as spin.

  6. The Nats screwed-up by releasing their tax proposals so far out from the election.

    The excluding on their website of the removal of the top 39% from their tax calculations is devious but also stupid-the voters will not be impressed.

    I thought Luxon was hopeless. Willis was also pretty useless on First Up (RNZ) this morning but wasn't picked up on her utterances the way Jack Tame did to Luxon.

    Still it will all be fine because Double-Dipton is to be the real finance minister.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Sirkey got the rose water and hot towel treatment consistently from NZ media channels despite what was actually happening for working class people, so Micky’s take on Mr Luxon looks right. Tame’s was but one (very good) interview, there will countless “handie under the table” type ones ahead but this one may stick regardless.

    Baldrick presents as a bit of a cross between slightly creepy and a numpty, without the emotional intelligence to realise some might not share his pride in owning 7 pads–or more likely perhaps he bloody well knows and just does–not–care. Another hollow numbers man. If Sirkey could reply “well I can find other experts” when cornered on climate disaster on BBC “Hard Talk” then so can Mr Upper Room on NZ economics.

    I remember “Stevie’s hole” when Mr Joyce put up a bollocks financial contention on NZ Labour’s 2017 election platform. It was shot down by professionals all over, but nonetheless cost Labour several vital percentage points of vote share.

    As I say here regularly, it is now up to gens X Y & Z to step up and get political. My millennial son says that so many people he knows have had enough of renting over priced dumps, paying off student loans that did not get them the dream job, working for arseholes and now putting up with COVID and the fragile supply chain.
    Change is coming one way or another in 2023 and 2026 and lets make sure it will not be Natzos and ACT!

    • Tiger-the election should be about Climate Change this time, at least in part. XYZ may get involved because of this.

      One of Baldrick's problems is that he doesn't seem to have a sense of humour…no amount of media work can change this.

      • Robert Guyton 7.1.1

        Bearded Git – it will be! The Zero Carbon hoo-ha will be the cat, thrown, amongst the pigeons – we need to be ready – there will be heat!!!

        • Bearded Git

          I hope you are right Robert….if the election follows the Australian election, where ScoMo and Albanese are avoiding CC like the plague, it will be a massive lost opportunity…though the Greens will poll well of course.

      • Tiger Mountain 7.1.2


    • tc 7.2

      A great example of nationals media bias that Joyce continued to get oxygen for something the experts had dismissed as politics i.e. BS.

  8. Reality 8

    Posted comment earlier on Open Mike but probably more relevant here – find time to read Dave Armstrong's hilariously funny send up of Luxon and his "crew" in the Dominion Post today. Brilliant.

  9. Tricledrown 9

    Trickle down economics is alive and well in the National Party.Austerity for the poor tax breaks for the very well off.Most of the stimulation packages ended up in the hands of the wealthy now the poor will have to pay the debt down under a National govt.Labour not much better with house prices going through the roof the only positive was the building industry creating a lot of jobs and increasing house supply.But now many headwinds face the economy the supply chains of just in time delivery have been turned upside down.Neo liberal economics has left the world divided and huge cracks are appearing fundamentalist fwits are gaining in popularity except in Estonia. Labour has to step up get seasonal workers in to keep food supplies going and reasonably priced.This could help with Pacific diplomacy we desperately need.Labour shortages in care facilities nurses and hospital staff.The next election is not that far away and if inflation is still high Labour will suffer a Backlash as JFK once said when reporters asked how his policies were being implemented was having an effect of his voter supported he retorted "its the economy stupid" its how the economy is going that affects my support

  10. Peter 10

    Luxon opposing the winter energy payment and a tax cut of $18,000 a year for someone on almost half a million dollars?

    For the average Joe and Joanne, Hohepa or Hoana that means nothing, It's ethereal, in some other universe, some other, "can't do anything about that" reality.

    In places like Whangarei someone says "3 Waters" or they drive past advertising and the shivers up the spine are like Muldoon in the mid 70's saying "Reds under the bed."

    The Labour MP of the time Murray Smith, accepted as a very good MP, the only Labour MP elected since the 1938 election, got booted by the dancing Cossacks. Emily Henderson will be washed away by the 3 Waters not Luxon.

  11. James Simpson 11

    Agree with what you have said, but just to clarify Jack is part of the NZME stable doing Saturday mornings on ZB and being a regular contributor to the Herald.

  12. Cricklewood 12

    Wonder how many undecided voters actually watch Q&A…

  13. Patricia Bremner 13

    Christopher Luxon was startled, which gave Jack an edge.

    He will study Jack on video and be ready next time I suggest.

    Jack could have asked him what differences we would see as he is taking 2B out of a 6B budget fund. What will be unfunded to cover that?

    I appreciated Jack reminding him of his voting record, which shows what he doesn't support…. Minimum wage rise, winter warmth payment, and the current Public Transport support.

    He will use slogans and sound bites in stand ups with reporters, but being interviewed in depth, he has to understand the nuances and details. His final smile was slightly teeth clenched. Jack forced him to answer the questions, and did not accept platitudes.

    Luxon admitted his lack of experience, and said "I will learn." Though he has spent much of his tenure as Leader of the Opposition insisting he could do better and the Government has wasted money, he has not offered any new ideas.

    Jacinda Ardern spent 10 years honing her skills and working with people, Grant Robertson has kept us on track by keeping employment high the tax take remains high.

    Inflation is forcing property owners to pay more for their loans, which will slow the creation of more private debt. Public debt has kept us afloat and the direction of travel needs to stay people focussed, as those on fixed and low incomes will be most impacted by inflation. The disability allowance needs to be doubled and Public Transport free.

    We are facing a recession at least, or a depression at worst so keeping a circular economy going domestically while we strengthen our connections and trade through continuing to pivot to meet shortages through innovations. Government could support ventures replacing imported short supply materials and crops.

    As houses return to a truer value line, some who succumbed to FOMO will have to add to their deposit, or make an arrangement with their bank.

    Greed comes in many forms. Buying larger than you need. Borrowing to the hilt. Taking advantage of systems which are aimed at the well off only (Air B&B).

    However, citizens have shown courage and consideration in these two years. Most have complied, most are donating a third more to others, and many feel we have done well compared to other countries.

    This is a new situation, which is not over yet, and is still causing problems world wide. The added problem of Putin straining systems further. We are by the failure of Health Systems facing the world equity divide, the failure of Politics and Diplomacy facing war, the failure of meaningful Climate Change progress facing famines and storms droughts and resulting crop failures as never before.

    For Luxon and National to offer $200 a week to his high earners, $15 a week to the "squeezed middle, and $2 a week to the "bottom feeders" Wow!! That is going to achieve what?

    It will not assist our inflation fight and if I hear him say it will "create jobs" [email protected]#&#***

    • JO 13.1


      Luxon admitted his lack of experience, and said "I will learn."

      Hmmm, sounds faintly like somebody who decides to be an opera singer after hearing Pavarotti on a foreign trip. In spite of a tin ear, with a useful inheritance he has booked a few lessons and a large concert chamber in which to perform his favourite aria, 'None shall sleep' with its unattainable, interminable final note. Faint echoes of Florence Foster Jenkins maybe.

  14. ozaki 14

    Tova gave a good interview today, I cannot find the link, but she gets stuck in about the tax Luxon will get back under the proposed Nat scheme & also the fact it's 4 white dudes up for National in Tauranga seat.

    FOund link https://www.todayfm.co.nz/home/politics/2022/04/nationals-bid-for-more-diversity-conjuring-up-more-white-men.html

    • mac1 14.1

      She really quizzes Luxon about his commitment tp diversity. Four white men for Tauranga, replacing a Maori man.

      Tauranga is a National-held seat. Their candidate will be the MP most likely. So they are not going to give a safe MP place to diversified candidates.

      Luxon was all on about the need for diversity. I got the impression "but not just yet". He hasn't persuaded his party, if he has tried at all.

      He does recognise their need for talent, but I suspect that come Election '23 the diverse candidates will be in difficult seats and lower on the list.

      The start to the rebuild of the National Party MP talent base has not impressed.

      God forbid they win in 2023. But if they do, we Kiwis need a government that is more representative than National is promising to be at the moment.

      As Gordon Campbell wrote recently, in an April 26 article found here on The Standard and well worth reading, "a Luxon victory would prove once again that governments get voted out, not voted in."

      Be very wary, people.

      • Patricia Bremner 14.1.1

        He would be Bill Birch all over again. Causing lasting harm to the fabric of society.

  15. Jenny how to get there 15

    Being PM is way more complex and difficult than being chief executive of an Airline.


    The difference being; CEOs and Directors and owners of private companies run their businesses as autocracies. The mental change in gears is too much for some.

    John Key managed it, (I think he found the experience quite novel for a while), but eventually Key found the whole concept of democracy tiresome, and chucked it all in to go back to the private sector.

    Luxon's struggles with being held accountable, indicate that Christopher Luxon will flame out in a much shorter time than Key.

    • tc 15.1

      Different times as Key had mentors like Doug graham from the old school plus slater, eade etc for that new approach they took.

      • Jenny how to get there 15.1.1

        Indeed. And Key was probably a quick study as well, which would have helped the transition. It begs the question; who today are the experienced National Party politicians to willing to help Luxon make the transition?

        • Hanswurst

          This developing meme that "Luxon is no Key" has me rather puzzled. The Luxon I see in these interviews suggests to me that Luxon is exactly like Key. He has the same tactic of meeting straightforward questions with, "Yeah, so what you've got here is [completely unrelated tangent]," or, "What I can tell you right now is this: [on-message soundbite]," in an identical display of transparent weasel-flatulence that Key had. The difference is that Luxon has actually been called on it a couple of times. I can't say why interviewers let Key talk, instead of calmly returning to questions that he clumsily (more clumsily than Luxon, mind) and obviously refused to answer; perhaps it was because Clark's style was so familiar by that stage that they wanted a change; perhaps it was because they could feel that Key's matey-potatey style resonated with the electorate; perhaps it was because they sensed that the slow creep of minor government scandals fuelled by the dirty politics machine and the NZ-First implosion provided them with enough political red meat; perhaps it was because the general tenor of fiscal and economic analysis was uncritical of cuts to tax and spending; perhaps it was simply that, at that point in time, the generation of still energetic but established journalists consisted of Tracy Watkins and her tiresome ilk. Regardless of the reasons, Key in 2007/8/9 was just a leaden-tongued version of Luxon as he is now. If Luxon fails, it will not be because he is "no Key", it will be because he is Key, but the tide has gone out on that political brand for the time being. Good.

          • Incognito

            Yes, good points.

            I think that Key and now Luxon literally went to the same School of Media Training.

            Of course, they both went through the same internal ‘selection process’ withing the National Party.

            So, no wonder they come across as clones of each other.

          • Patricia Bremner

            I think his glaring at Jacinda Ardern at question time, was a signal to those protestors that he hated her too. imo He is dangerously cheerful and engaging when he is with his peers, but has shown expressions that do not go with balanced Leadership. imo

          • newsense

            Nah, Key would have either just owned the 18k (yeh, Jack I’m pretty relaxed about it. If I was on 60k, I’d be ambitious to earn 100k and we believe in incentives and rewards for endeavor and ambition etc etc, plus 880 is a good amount of…), or he would have had a percentage or he would have cut it from his manifesto that moment. He wouldn’t have been surprised by the most obvious criticism of his flagship policy.

            Wasn’t prepped or thought the top NZ TV politics show would be a soft ball, which might be worse.

            Edit: read your full comment and maybe I’m comparing vintage Key to early Luxon, but I don’t remember Key being so sloppy?

  16. pat 16

    It matters not how incompetent Luxon is, or the policies he promotes …National have an assist to win the next election…Labour.

    • Incognito 16.1

      Confidence often trumps competence.

    • Patricia Bremner 16.2

      Pat, more like shortages supply disruptions and inflation caused by covid spend world wide in an already shaky system topped off by Putin. However the simplistic view is "they failed" chorus from Nat supporters. Even when we have not, and we are in the same wave of money chasing assets worldwide.

  17. newsense 17

    Wowee, what a dishonest slippery…didn’t expect him to be so bad. Perhaps he thought the media were in line.

    Happy to say day is night and so on. Guna be a messy campaign- Key was never as much of a bs artist as this guy.

    When someone like Andrey Young criticizes him for being an opportunist and not having much moral spine…

    Heard mixed things, and perhaps he’s been stitched up on the tax package, but it’s his now so he should at least have some honest seeming deflection. It could be a nasty campaign. He just wants to make the wealth transfer worse and he doesn’t give a f-. And he’s going to try to coast that into government, with, you’d assume, one or two other targeted pork promises closer to the election.

  18. observer 18

    Kim Hill interviewed him on Morning Report today. He's hopeless.

    How can he possibly still be waffling on Matariki and Labour Day? Kim asked him SEVEN times before she got an answer. Count them …


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