Brian Edwards Media

The notorious Simon Walker/Robert Muldoon interview.

 This is still one of New Zealand’s most famous – or should that be infamous? – interviews.  Simon Walker v. Robert Muldoon, broadcast in 1976.

It’s pertinent that Walker and Muldoon were in separate studios at the time.  It’s much harder to be tough when you’re face-to-face with your subject, particularly when that subject is intimidating. Intimidating would be a mild description of Muldoon – journalists were terrified of him.

Still makes for good viewing.

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/tonight—robert-muldoon-interview-1976

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15 Comments:

  1. Does anyone know the exact date when this was broadcast?

  2. I saw that interview on TVNZ on demand a few years back, and I felt it to be very underwhelming.

    Mind you I suppose being only 30, I am probably judging it by today’s standards.

  3. A very bleak time of Ignominy, Infamy and Shame, that: NZ journalists should be cowed by this glowering, surly, odious oaf. A thuggish power-obssessed squat-looking half-pissed thug, who blighted our political landscape.

    I do remember seeing that interview when first broadcasted. To be fair, Simon Walker made a reasonable fist of it, dealing with this weeping
    wart-covered surly toad. But, it would be fair to say: our own “emboldened derring-do journos” had the cajones resembling two peas in a pod. We needed a Brit journo to show us some real ones.

    All-revealing, as to how immature and stunted our journos were. And they’ve never fully recovered since that time. Too friggin’ jovial and nicey-nicey.

    • A very bleak time of Ignominy, Infamy and Shame, that: NZ journalists should be cowed by this glowering, surly, odious oaf. A thuggish power-obssessed squat-looking half-pissed thug, who blighted our political landscape.

      No doubt that Muldoon was a bully, but the rest is just name-calling. He was also hugely intelligent man, an effective leader, a brilliant debater and, despite his reputation, a man who had a genuine concern for the lives and welfare of ordinary people with whom he was most at home. Judy and I came to know him very well and developed a real affection for him in his later years. What ‘squat-looking’ has to do with it, I have no idea. He was a heavy drinker, but the night of the election announcement was the only occasion I recall him having been seen ‘pissed’ in public.

  4. Nice Post judy/Brian
    I’d be interested to hear – its a different time of course and Muldoon got menacing – but in the context of the times – how do you think Muldoon performed? I imagine that a of Rob’s Mob heartily supported his aggressive stance.

    • Nice Post judy/Brian I’d be interested to hear – its a different time of course and Muldoon got menacing – but in the context of the times – how do you think Muldoon performed? I imagine that a of Rob’s Mob heartily supported his aggressive stance.

      Clearly a highly effective politician, John. He remained in office for 8 years which is a significant achievement. It’s true that he was aggressive and bullied the media, but then they allowed themselves to be bullied. It was not a proud time in New Zealand journalism. The Walker interview was one exception. Muldoon had his own way of handling television interviews. He intimidated interviewers before the interview simply by not engaging in the normal small-talk with them in the green room. All you got was grunts, which was very unnerving. In the interview itself you could expect to be taken up on the slightest error or misinterpretation. There was plenty of scope for this in the Walker interview, since, as I said somewhere else, almost everything Simon said was wrong. Early in his career Muldoon talked to camera and ignored the interviewer altogether. He argued that he was there to address the viewers and that the interviewer was merely there as an intermediary. Directors started to show him in 2-shot, emphasising the rudeness of looking away from the interviewer, and he eventually gave this up. He admired interviewers who were willing to take him on, but not to the extent of praising them for it. He appeared in a ‘Brian Edwards Show’ pilot programme which was never shown, in a debate with 3 young radicals of the time: Tim Shadbolt, Alister Taylor and Chris Wheeler. Three to One. It was a rout. At the end of ths bout Muldoon was the only man still standing. I thought he handled the Walker confrontation well. He’s tough but remains determinedly polite throughout. Simon, as Judy rightly points out, would have had a much harder task if Muldoon had been in the studio with him.

  5. We don’t have the exact date, but we know that it was broadcast in May 1976. There have been quite a few comments made on the site – certainly an interview which has struck a chord with viewers!

  6. Muldoon an “intelligent man”?! How the hell, do you account for the drooling sycophants, that he stocked his Cabinet with? And I’m not talking
    Johnny Walker Black, either. Ben Couch, Minister of Police?! Whom could neither add nor subtract, without using his fingers. And what about the
    droopy-eyed, half-sozzled, stumbling dimwit Keith Allen; MP for Tauranga. He thought, on being the Minister of Customs (precipitated by Hugh Templeton’s sacking in the failed colonels’ coup) meant, overseeing native cultural activities. Allen was seen, practising, twirling two pois and getting measured up for a grass skirt, blissfully unaware that his portfolio had to do with Government revenue collection, by way of excise and duty; setting tariffs; import and export licensing; border protection etc. Who can ever
    forget that earnest lobotomised look on his smug chops, at the swearing-in ceremony; where, he went from dolt-MP to dolt-Minister. This guy was a congenital cretin, supplanting the village idiot for rank stupidity. And that says something, because there has NEVER been a shortage of idiots in Tauranga.

    Muldoon was streetwise; adept in the black arts of behind-the-scenes machinations and manipulation — and power-crazed, which doesn’t necessarily conflate with “intelligence”. Not in my lexicon of words, anyway. He preyed on people’s fears and insecurities; made easy by the incredibly naive populace at the time. And, of course, aided by a shivering press corps.

    Do you remember, how, Muldoon acted immediately after losing the ’84 election, with regard to the NZ currency? That was the measure of the man. All about Self. Cynical, sneering and snide.

    • Muldoon an “intelligent man”?!

      Well Merv, just how intelligent do you think this apoplectic little rave is? Not very, I’d say. And if you’re going to attack other people’s intelligence or knowledge or education, it’s probablly prudent not to break the most basic rules of the English language. “Ben Couch, Minister of Police?! Whom could neither add nor subtract…” Actually, I’d say Rob Muldoon had a brilliant mind. Fought for his country too by the way. That’s got to be worth something.

  7. he = who
    him = whom

    I write, at speed; there will always be mistakes with — typos, spelling, grammar, word repetition etc. Besides, I’m not bothered about writing perfect English. But, since you’ve drawn my attention to it. At a quick glance:

    “Jonathan Hunt an Aunt Sally question …”
    “sales-man”
    “Both MP’s recorded…”
    “Still, who knows, Simon, you might even make it to PM.”

    You pose the question, albeit, rhetorical.
    Still, who knows, Simon? You might even make it to PM.

    “Fought for his country too by the way. That’s got to be worth something”.

    How much was it “worth”, when it came to leadership qualities, moral bearing and governance? Unless, you’re saying, it gave Muldoon licence to throw sewage at Colin Moyle. That comment is a fine example of a non-sequitur; sort of like grasping at straws.
    Though, when it comes to your arch angel, anything is permissible.

  8. It was broadcast in mid-1976. I remember shaking my head as I watched because Walker seemed to think he was being bloody clever.

    He could not even use Jane’s Fighting Ships properly. He knew very little about warships and the classes and types of them.

    I’ve seen this interview again since, probably a couple of years ago, on demand (or whatever it’s called).

    Muldoon had him on toast straight away because he made Walker sound and look like a clever-dick Pommy Oxbridge boy who was full of himself and trying to make a fool of the prime minister.

    Walker’s own ignorance didn’t help him.

  9. What I want to hear is the 1978 interview (approx April – June) of Ian Fraser on TV 1 regarding the Moyle Affair. I do not know if Fraser interviewed Moyle or Muldoon because I was forbidden to watch it.

    Also I really would like to read the full police evidence regarding the Moyle Affair. Why is this still in lock up?

    The part the police played in the Moyle Affair is still ongoing for me.