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The difference between Simon Wilson and Mike Hosking

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, October 3rd, 2022 - 47 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, efeso collins, local government, Media, supercity, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags:

Wayne Brown’s mayoral campaign hit a really big pothole on the weekend.

He was caught bad mouthing Herald reporter Simon Wilson.

He committed the most basic mistake of talking on an open mike and while being recorded.  This raises questions about how he could possibly run the biggest city in New Zealand.

And you may ask why he said what he said.  Apparently it was because Simon publicly stated how old Brown is.

From Radio New Zealand:

Auckland mayoral candidate Wayne Brown has described a prominent journalist as “a prick” and said if elected he would stick pictures of him in urinals so people could “pee” on him.

The comment was caught in what Brown thought was an off-camera moment with a Newshub crew earlier in the week, but it was replayed in the television channel’s live mayoral debate on Saturday.

It was about the only line in the broadcast that had not been previously well-traversed by Brown, and his rival Efeso Collins, and came in their final campaign encounter before the 8 October election day.

The pair are locked in the closest contest yet to become mayor of Auckland.

The pre-recorded clip, showed the camera move away from Brown, as he responded to a question about his age (76) being commented on.

“That prick Simon Wilson dug it out,” Brown joked. “Now, he’s been at me for all year long and the first thing I’m going to do when I get to be mayor, I’m going to glue little pictures of him on the urinals, so we can pee on him.”

Wilson has been critical of Brown for a while.  He has been asking some very pertinent questions trying to flesh out what a Brown Mayoralty would look like.  Really important questions like what would happen to infrastructure spending, how he would handle governance and conflict issues, how he would handle the CCOs after sacking their boards en masse, why he has such a terrible reputation with staff, and why he is thinking of stopping all PT projects.

Previously Wilson asked other really pertinent questions like why does Brown want the infrastructure pipeline to close and does he understand this will undermine local construction companies and cause congestion to worsen?  And why haven’t the Ratepayers Association and the Taxpayers’ Union criticised Brown for sometimes combining his personal and public roles when he was mayor of the Far North?  And why does he have a reputation for reducing staff to tears?  And is he up to the job at his age?

His age is a very relevant question.  The past two Mayors have had heart attacks on the job.  A physical ability to handle the stresses of the job is an important and relevant consideration.

Wilson’s questions are very valid and very pertinent.  Brown’s response is the sort you would expect from a 10 year old.

I tweeted about the incident on Saturday.

The interactions were interesting.  Most shared in the hilarity.  But there were a significant number who flexed to the position that Simon Wilson was a left wing shill, or a communist or a Labour plant and that he deserved the treatment he received.

And a discussion yesterday morning at Avondale Market with a National Party activist replicated my twitter experience.  He opened his mouth and a series of buzz words matching those I saw on twitter came out.

This made me think.  I cannot abide Mike Hosking.  He is clearly biased, has strongly held evidence free reckons and takes every opportunity to denigrate the left.  But the right clearly have similarly strongly held views about Simon Wilson.

Are their views warranted?  Simon writes passionately about climate change and urban form and what is needed to transform Auckland to make it more sustainably.  And make it a nicer place to live in.

Although some of his views are radical in local terms what he advocates for has been tried overseas and is working.  It is information rich comment backed by clear analysis and thinking, unlike Mike’s reckons.

And he is clearly deeply concerned about climate change.  Is wanting to prevent our world from being devastated something that a reporter should delve into?  Of course.  Is it wrong to question one of the major contenders for the second most important political position in Aotearoa to see what would happen if they won?  If this is not a role of a reporter then I do not know what is.

This is Fox News quality culture wars right in our own backyard.  Where there is a gulf between two positions which on the face of it cannot be bridged by reasoned debate.  I guess it has been around a while.  Remember when John Key talked about finding an expert with a contrary opinion to back up his position in an argument?

There is no immediate solution, just the hope that peaceful communication can gradually forage a consensus or at least a majority view that means that action that needs to be taken can proceed.

But in my view three things are clear.  People seeking public office who speak like this should not talk like this.  And Simon Wilson is a very exceptional writer and Mike Hosking is not.

47 comments on “The difference between Simon Wilson and Mike Hosking ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Rod Oram writes:

    "How would he work with our diverse communities? “I have huge support from the Indian and Chinese communities. They're very transactional. They just want businessmen as mayors. They don't care anything about the rest of it.”

    What is his long-term vision? “I haven’t even thought about being mayor longer than three years. It's probably more than I could handle.”

    All of those answers are from Brown’s comments on the campaign trail, including some from my interview with him three weeks ago.

    For that same column, I also interviewed Efeso Collins. His answers showed he is a candidate highly qualified for the immensely challenging job of Mayor. Quite simply, Collins has the skills and experience to help us create our future. All Brown, older and dogmatic, seems to want is the fun and kudos of fixing stuff."


    • Peter 1.1

      I'm trying to work out the relevance of Brown's age. I mean is he an idiot because of his age or is he just an idiot who happens to be old?

      • Sanctuary 1.1.1

        Brown's age is relevant because 1) the job is very demanding, and Brown at 76 is VERY old to be taking it on 2) Gerontocracy is a major problem in the United States and the issue of the age of politicians needs to be discussed given the way the boomer bulge is moving through the population profile.

        Assuming you survivied childhood, up until the mid-20th century your average punter died somewhere between 60-70. We've increased this substantially, your average Joe should hope to live to somewhere between 75-85 at the minimum.

        We live in the oldest society history has ever known, and we are conducting a gigantic experiment of what happens when old people dominate society and yet we barely talk about the anthropological implications of that – loss of cultural vigour, increasing fear of change, behavioural changes – to our society.

        In particular, it is pertinent because the proposition is we elect a 76 year old curmudgeon who appears to believe the era where he flourished in the salad days of his career – the 1970s-90s – represents the golden peak of our civilisation the norms of which must be defended at all costs. Is a 76 year old who thinks like that well placed to grapple with climate change? With changing transport needs? With the politics of a multi-ethnic city with lots of voices demanding to be heard?

        For what it is worth my view is no one over the age of 75 should be eligible to stand for public office. You shouldn't be making decisions for decades ahead the consequences of which you won't have to live with.

        Perhaps even no one over 85 should be able to vote, after all no one under 18 can vote although that is a very thorny one I am not completely convinced of myself.

        • Jack

          Joe Biden is 79. He has a somewhat bigger job than the mayor of Auckland. On your arguments Sanctuary you would also preclude him on age alone, not the quality of his presidency. How odd.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            The age of a candidate for political office is much less important than their behaviour, in particular how they behave under pressure.

            Auckland mayoral race: Candidate Wayne Brown attacks NZ Herald journalist Simon Wilson [1 Oct 2022]
            "These are undignified comments – and as mayor you have to be a team player, a collaborator, and be able to handle criticism."

            NZME managing editor Shayne Currie said: "We're not really interested in commenting on Brown's pathetic remarks but we stand by Simon Wilson as a highly skilled, experienced journalist who brings much required scrutiny to the policies and character of potential mayoral candidates."

            Not only does Auckland have over 30,000 ghost houses, we now have ghost mayoral candidates. But it’s not good enough and Aucklanders deserve better – which is a contest of ideas.

            In 22 [now 5] days the Super City will either have its first brown mayor or its second Brown mayor.

          • Sanctuary

            Biden is too old to be president of the United States.

            • Peter

              So it's got back to where I started. A person the 'right' age but an idiot is preferable to someone who is the 'wrong' age but is perfectly suited to the role?

              I've seen people in roles where I considered them 'too old' because of the way they thought and operated. "He was an old woman before he was 40." I've seen people who were considerably older but were refreshing and 'young' in roles which needed vitality.

              • Anne

                A person the 'right' age but an idiot is preferable to someone who is the 'wrong' age but is perfectly suited to the role?

                So you're saying that Efeso Collins is the right age but is an idiot?

                And Wayne Brown is the wrong age but suited to the role?

          • bwaghorn

            Have you seen Biden, he recently asked where someone was , they'd been dead for weeks ?

            I have no problem with an upper age limit of say 65 on election day,

            • Bearded Git

              Do you mean for the candidates or the voters?

              And if for the candidates, what about an upper voting limit of 85 (see above) and a lower limit of 17 (rather than 16 as has been mooted. I think 17 year olds, as 6th formers, have enough nous to vote. 16 is a bit too young)

            • Peter

              I saw the thing about Biden in the situation of asking where someone was when they'd died in a car crash a few weeks earlier.

              Ah …… the choice! Do you go for someone who is so confused they forget that someone had died?

              Or someone who is so confused they think they won an election 22 months ago and try to convince the world of that? Oh, an election where they were outvoted by a mere 7 million.

            • Sanctuary

              I don't think Biden is anywhere near as bad as his opponents would have it. But there can be no doubt that by the age of 79 cognitive decline has set in and he isn't the man he was even ten years ago.

              Trump is only three years Biden's junior and if it wasn't for the fact he has an unreasoning cult built around him it would be widely remarked that he has now completely lost his marbles.

              • Ad

                Biden has delivered more and better legislation than Obama did in 2 terms, excepting maybe health reform.

                Winston was the best Deputy and best Foreign Affairs minister we'd had since Cullen was Number 2.

                And Lord Sauron made the trains run on time at least.

              • bwaghorn

                Not sure trump had marbles to begin with

  2. Anne 2

    "But he's a Labour plant. A Communist. And he's Samoan. We can't have a Samoan mayor. He wouldn't have a clue how to run a city."

    I'm not repeating the general view but my own relatives. Very sad.

    This is not new. Many of us were accused of being Communists back in the 70s and 80s. Some of us were eventually driven out of our jobs/professions because of it.

    Nothing changes.

    • Barfly 2.1

      These days I think a lot more people throw words around without understanding what they mean.

      • gsays 2.1.2

        "These days I think a lot more people throw words around without understanding what they mean.

        I agree. Anti-vaxxer is a term tossed a lot recently. Like a lot of descriptors, it isn't so much about what or who is being described, but more about othering them.

        Kind of like the pantomine villan, they are just the bad guy, no redeeming qualities and must be booed at at every opportunity.

        • observer

          What would you call somebody who is against vaccination?

          "Anti" means "against". "Vaccination" means "vaccination".

          • gsays

            It is also used to describe those that are wary or hesitant of new vaccines and those that are against the mandates.

    • Nic the NZer 2.2

      I'm left wondering why you even raise politics around your relatives.

      Though if that was a carefully prepared statement your probably in the clear, they seemed more worried about Samoan than Communist.

      • Anne 2.2.1

        Because they are typical of how a great many people think these days. That is what makes them topical. Pretty obvious I should have thought.

  3. Leighton 3

    Even if Simon Wilson and Mike Hosking were journalistic equals (they are not!), the comparison doesn't hold water. Imagine if Jacinda articulated a desire to denigrate Mike Hosking in a similar way. NZME would run it as front page news for a month and the phone lines at ZB would run hot. The right were outraged enough when she decided to discontinue her weekly standing appointment on Hosking’s garbage show (special treatment that other broadcasters were not afforded in the first place).

  4. Enough of the 'boys will be boys' stuff snigger. snigger…..I thought I was being unduly 'square' when confronted with someone aspiring to leadership using the words & idea. I just think it is grubby and offensive.

    Also offensive to me is that Brown talks about 'ratepayers this, ratepayers that'. Does he use this as a shorthand to mean ratepayers and renters? I somehow don't think so. I also don't like anyone, who making a hash of a previous job has the gall to think he is suitable to hold down an even more difficult one. Self reflection is not a strong point, self reflection is a much needed trait in our leaders.

  5. Ad 5

    Agree it was dumb for Brown to get caught.

    But very hard to consider Wilson a "reporter" when his policy bias is so clear. We wouldn't want it any other way would we? Both Hosking and Wilson make our ridiculously thin political economy slightly more lively.

    • observer 5.1

      You can't "both sides" this, not when one person can check facts and write coherent paragraphs and the other doesn't bother.

      But you can "both sides" Hosking, because he likes to disagree with whatever he said the previous month.

    • James Simpson 5.2

      I completely agree. I have never understood why people get upset with media personalities who have a clear and obvious political leaning.

    • Stephen D 5.3

      What policy bias? He asks reasonable questions. Isn't that a journalist's job?


      • Ad 5.3.1

        Oh please. He's done op eds stating his position really clearly.

        • Stephen D

          So, he's not a right wing nut job.

          And wants what's evidentially proven to be the best for Auckland. How does that make him biased?

          • Ad

            Wilson doesn't have a lock on "what's best for Auckland" – in fact it's just your perspective. He needs to figure whether he's a journalist or an opinion leader – he certainly shares that feature with Hosking.

            • Hanswurst

              You missed out the word 'evidentially', and still pretended to be quoting (which wascprobably more sloppiness, rather than dishonesty, especially since the actual statement was directly above to make a mockery of what you wrote). The point wasn't about who knows best, but about how they inform themselves and others about whatcits going on, which is crucial to the question of whether they can be termed a reporter.

              • Ad

                This is the worst part. Evidence in the keyboard of an opinion leader now becomes just your version .

                There is no longer a useful definition of reporter.

                The particularly irreversible step for Wilson is that should Brown get elected he is no use to anyone: he won't be getting interviews with a Brown Mayoral Office for the term. More than useless: a liability for NZHerald.

                Even Todd Niall at Stuff can do a more even job and arrange this stuff called "evidence".

                • Hanswurst

                  Politicians will always seek out the interviews they think are list favourable to them. I don't think the fact that Tracy Watkins' or Audrey Young's obvious biases preclude their being considered reporters. One needs to filter every account criticality. What definition of 'reporter' did you have in mind? 'A writer whose views you don't know' seems like a fairly poor requirement to me.

                  Nor is your point about what constitutes evidence clear. Is it supposed to suggest that he isn't a reporter, or that he is just like Hosking?

        • Hanswurst

          So anyone who writes opinion pieces is excluded from being deemed a reporter?

          • Stuart Munro

            Ordinarily. The privilege of editorializing was once restricted to sound and sober persons with at least 30 years in the profession.

            Standards have largely been abandoned over the last 2 decades, and opinionistas wonder why circulation continues to drop. Vapid ill-informed opinions are of little value to the public at large.

    • newsense 5.4

      What are you talking about?

      Quite often Wilson is the ONLY reporter. He goes to the meetings, reads the reports, checks the stories and does the basics which many news outlets deprioritise as it is costly and time consuming.

      If he also has a perspective, this is undoubtedly a highly informed perspective and a legitimate one to consider and respond to.

      They don’t like him because he does his job thoroughly and isn’t a slanging match participant.

  6. observer 6

    As an Aucklander I'm willing to sacrifice our city for the greater good.

    Wayne Brown will be a disaster (I've already voted for Collins, E) but he epitomises the robotic right, like a living parody. In the General Election next year the left's task is to get voters to consider what would happen, a task made easier when you can point to what is happening. Short-term cuts, costing far more in the long run. Going backwards on climate change. Avoiding (or privatising) infrastructure investment. And "hilarious" speeches based on the bar banter of a 1970s golf club.

    He's not real, he was made up by Labour and the Greens in a brainstorming session that got out of hand.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    Meh – Hosking is not a journalist.

    I am not a journalist. Much commentary was served up on the basis I was.

    It is a convenience for the inept far-right to replace objective journalism with biased drivel – so we get Hosking, Whaleoil, the Taxevader's Union, and the various other third rate copies of Drudge, Fox News, & Alex Jones, together with the destruction of public media, against which, if professionally conducted, their bullshit can not compete.

    I don't really read Wilson (he's in that sub-Truth quality rag the Herald after all), but it seems that he is actually a journalist – which makes him infinitely more credible than the rest of this subhuman trash.

    It's important not to humour the false equivalences the far right conspiracy is so desperate to peddle. Hosking is shit, beneath contempt, and unworthy of a moment's consideration. That is because he draws the pay and attention of a journalist, under false pretenses. There is not a journalist in NZ that isn't better than him, and the sooner the fuckwit is off our airwaves the better.

  8. James Simpson 8

    This raises questions about how he could possibly run the biggest city in New Zealand.

    I think you may misunderstand the power of a Mayor, of which they don't have much. A Mayor certainly does not run a city and has no authority to make any changes (big or small) without the support of the Council.

    • mickysavage 8.1

      I think that I understand the power of the Auckland supercity mayor quite well. They have special powers over and above those of other mayors including budget and the power to form committees and appoint chairs and write the annual budget. The position is the most complex in local government and a mayor who does not understand how to make things work is going to get into major difficulties.

  9. AB 9

    I'd expect a journalist to have opinions, but to base these on at least some some respect for facts. To deliberately distort, selectively ignore or misinterpret facts should be disqualifying. But facts can be deceptive. As John Ralston Saul said (Doubters Companion: 1995): "the trouble is that there are enough facts around to prove most things… confused armies of contradictory facts struggle in growing darkness."

    So in addition to the respect for facts we should add a basic understanding of political philosophy, a knowledge of history (or at least the curiosity to find out) and a quality of memory. Without these things, you are an ideologue, not a journalist.

  10. Can think of several differences. Simon Wilson is 2 standard deviations higher in IQ than Hosking. Wilson actually does research, I don't know if Hosking even knows how to use Google (or what work is). Wilson has empathy for other humans, Hosking is a twerp in a Ferrari. Wilson made a mistake when he was fed scandalous tat by WhaleOil, but he owned up to it. Hosking is still enthusiastically engaged in Dirty Politics to this day.

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