Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'John Key'

Congratulations David and Karen from Brian and Judy! And why John Key’s days are numbered.

Next step: the big desk on the ninth floor!

Next step – the big desk of the ninth floor!

 

I hadn’t intended to do anything more on this mini-post than congratulate David and Karen. But I’ve decided to stick my neck out and make a prediction. I predict that a Labour/Greens coalition will win the 2014 election and that David Cunliffe will be New Zealand’s next Prime Minister. Labour might even go it alone.

I’ve been provoked into this rash course of action by my former media partner on The Nation, Bill Ralston, who tweeted something to the effect that Cunliffe’s win was just another example of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Here’s my principal reason for thinking that Bill’s got it wrong.   Read the rest of this entry »

83 Comments , , , ,

Yond Cunliffe has a lean and hungry look!

SNPA/ Ross Setford

SNPA/ Ross Setford

I note the many reasoned calls for unity in the Labour Party once the new Leader has been selected. I’ll happily add my name to that list, but the odds on a harmonious outcome seem to me slim.

It’s a matter of simple mathematics. The largest group in the current Caucus is the ‘Anyone But Cunliffe’ group, including no doubt most Robertson supporters and a few Jones supporters.

If David Cunliffe wins the leadership, this large group will, to put it mildly, be extremely miffed. Faced with the near impossibility of mounting a challenge to a newly elected Leader, making Cunliffe’s life as difficult as possible for the next 14 months might just seem an attractive option. True, the resultant disharmony and internal division would almost certainly mean losing the 2014 election, but the upside of that is that, having led the party to defeat, Cunliffe would be gone. So strongly is this group opposed to the Member for New Lynn, that they might just see three more years in the wilderness as worth it.   Read the rest of this entry »

54 Comments , , , , , ,

A Sort Of Open Letter to the ABCs in the Labour Caucus

A good mate pointed out to me that it wasn’t very smart to heap abuse on the heads of people whose opinion you hoped to change. He was referring to my most recent post On the extremely rare danger of overestimating Labour Party Stupidity, in which I called the ‘Anyone But Cunliffe’ brigade ‘numbskulls’.

My good mate is right. It wasn’t very smart and you aren’t all numbskulls. But I was angry with you. Very angry.

I’m still angry with you because, though I’m not a member of the Labour Party, that’s where my political sympathies lie – left of left. Like you, I want Labour to win the next election. I want to see the back of a government that rewards the rich and powerful and punishes the poor and powerless. So I’m unlikely to have time or sympathy for anyone whose words or actions make that Labour win unlikely.  That is what you are doing by supporting either Grant Robertson’s or Shane Jones’ bid for the leadership. Robertson can’t win for Labour and Jones is a harmful distraction.   Read the rest of this entry »

151 Comments , , , , , , ,

Campbell versus Key – the wider issue.

index

The wider issue is television itself. Television does not deal well with complexity. This is particularly the case with commercial television which subscribes to the view that the average viewer has a short attention span, is easily bored and likely to reach for the remote within minutes or possibly seconds of the first hint of tedium appearing. Commercial television executives have assessed the attention span of the average viewer at a maximum of seven minutes, less if the viewer’s interest is not frequently stimulated.

In the areas of news and current affairs that stimulation generally comes in the form of conflict:  the reporting of conflict in the case of news; and actual conflict between antagonists in the case of television current affairs. Third Degree’s ‘The Vote’ provides a classic example. As did the Campbell/Key debate.

However unpalatable, this view of things is probably more or less correct. Commercial television viewers do bore easily and will desert a channel that does not offer them excitement. Such desertion leads to declining ratings and  loss of advertising revenue – the commercial television executive’s nightmare.

The discursive (big word for ‘long’) examination of significant social or political issues simply does not fit the commercial broadcaster’s agenda. So programmes like Campbell Live and Seven Sharp, which play in prime time, are normally made up of three segments with a combined duration of around 22 minutes. I’m told the average sound-bite in a commercial news bulletin is now around five seconds.

Programmes which do attempt to take a more in-depth look at social and political issues – such as The Nation and Q & A – are deliberately marginalised by commercial television executives to the audience wastelands of early Saturday and Sunday morning. Read the rest of this entry »

117 Comments , , , , ,

In the red corner John Campbell; In the blue corner John Key; Your Referee – the good doctor!

The last time I really got stuck into John Campbell was when he interviewed ‘moon man’ Ken Ring after the February earthquake. That was on 28 February 2011. You’ll gather I find very little to criticise in John’s approach to his work – and a great deal to praise. I’ve described what he does as ‘advocacy journalism’ and many thousands of New Zealanders, most particularly those teachers, parents and children adversely affected by the Novopay debacle, and the dispossessed and seemingly abandoned victims of the Christchurch earthquake, have benefited from that advocacy.  It would not, I think, be an exaggeration to claim that both groups and a great many other people regard John Campbell as something of a hero. I share that view.

I don’t want to revisit the Ring interview. My criticism of John for browbeating his subject was harsh and I later regretted its harshness. I followed the first post up with a second, A Gracious Apology from John Campbell. It included this sentence: ‘For my part, I believe that my critique of his performance on this occasion was justified, but the manner in which it was expressed may not have been. Like John himself, I was angry.’

My impression last night was that John was angry again, this time with the Prime Minister, John Key. Key had refused numerous invitations by Campbell Live to discuss the GCSB legislation. That is his right. Television programmes have no power of subpoena and nor should they have such a power. Read the rest of this entry »

105 Comments , , , , , , ,

Of knuckleheads, long-running stories, media beat-ups and Judith Collins parting the waters

images (13)

Referring to John Key’s current dissatisfaction with the ‘knuckleheads’ of the Fourth Estate, a prominent journalist, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, observed to me recently, ‘No Prime Minister who ever attacked the media got re-elected.’ He was evidently out of the country during both Rob Muldoon’s and Helen Clark’s three terms, but his remark was less than flattering to the members of his own profession. Journalists, it seems, will revenge themselves on politicians who criticise them, in the process abandoning their duty to report objectively and dispassionately.

Key’s response to media attacks on his credibility, and to the Press Gallery’s  dealings with him during ‘stand-ups’ in the corridors of Parliament, has been to suggest that he’ll either abandon the stand-ups altogether or at least greatly reduce the number of questions he will take.

I would suggest the former. It makes absolutely no sense to throw yourself into a pit of hungry bears who have been practising tag-team mauling while they waited for your arrival. It would be hard to think of a more uncontrolled, uncontrollable or  dangerous arena.    Read the rest of this entry »

56 Comments , , , , , ,

John Key on 41%, David Shearer on 10%. That can’t be right. Can it?

images (8)images (7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s been debate about the latest TV3 Reid Research poll. The poll, which was taken between February 12 and February 21, has National on 51.4%, Labour on 32.6% and the Greens on 11%. No other party reaches the 5% threshold.

In the ‘Preferred Prime Minister’ stakes John Key is on 41% with David Shearer on 10%.

Where the parties are concerned, the poll is out of step with recent TV1, Fairfax, Herald and Roy Morgan polls by between 2% and 7%. Commentators have also pointed out that in the last election all the major polls overstated National’s support by between 3% and 7%.

Given Labour’s and Phil Goff’s woeful results in that election, one might think it barely mattered.

But when you take into account the current level of unemployment, the Government’s abysmal handling of the Christchurch school amalgamations and closures, the Novopay debacle and the Prime Minister’s complicity in the shonkiest political deal I can remember since I’ve been in this country, National’s and its leader’s high ratings do seem somewhat strange.

But in one sense, the accuracy or lack of accuracy of the polls really is irrelevant. This is because the pollsters are objectively proved right or wrong only once every three years: after the election, when it’s too late for their influence on the outcome to be undone.   Read the rest of this entry »

94 Comments , , , , ,

Why David Shearer should give up acting: He’s just no good at it.

State of the Nation speech 2013

 

In her post yesterday first-class honours graduand in Political Studies, JC, explained the rules for next week’s confidence vote on the Labour Party leadership and for the selection process which will be automatically triggered if David Shearer fails to win 60% plus one (or 22 out of 34 Caucus members) support for his leadership.

If Shearer doesn’t get those 22 votes in Caucus, it seems highly unlikely that he will survive a leadership contest a month or so later, in which Caucus, the party membership and union affiliates have a 40/40/20 say. Failure to gain the required numbers in next week’s Caucus vote would itself be corrosive of confidence and support.

On the other hand, Shearer’s chances of getting those numbers have been enhanced by his improved showing in the polls following his Labour Party Conference speech last November and his axing of David Cunliffe from Labour’s front bench. And it is the polls which will decide Shearer’s ultimate fate.   Read the rest of this entry »

48 Comments , , , , ,

The writing’s on the wall for David Shearer – and it’s in Tapu Misa’s hand.

A quite remarkable thing happened this morning. Herald columnist Tapu Misa gave it as her view that David Shearer should stand down as leader of the Labour Party.

Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements. More importantly, she is never cruel or unkind. Unlike most other columnists, including myself from time to time, she never sets out to wound. In keeping perhaps with her strong religious beliefs, she is ever a charitable critic.

Her politics are to the liberal left.

For these reasons I believe she will have thought long and hard before sending this morning’s column to the Herald for publication. It will not have been an easy decision. I can only assume that, after long deliberation, she concluded that this was something that, in the interests of the Labour Party and the country, just had to be said.

Misa’s message is by no means new. The opinion that Shearer, however decent, however nice, is the wrong man for the job, is now regularly expressed by both right and left-wing commentators. Shearer claims not to be bothered by this groundswell of disfavour, but he is either in denial or putting on a brave front. It must be a dismal experience to be subjected day in, day out, to such relentless public humiliation.

What is both new and remarkable is that Misa, albeit reluctantly, has joined the chorus of opinion that Shearer is harming rather than helping Labour’s cause and that he cannot continue to lead the party. The writing on the wall could not now be clearer.    Read the rest of this entry »

85 Comments , , , , ,

John Key denies having made Beckham ‘batshit’ comment

 

[Courtesy of Greg Goodyer}

14 Comments , ,

$5 on Key to step down before the middle of next year thanks.

One of the pleasures of our daily morning walk around Ponsonby/Herne Bay is stopping and chatting to other locals enjoying their long blacks and flat whites outside the numerous restaurants and cafes. Politics is the most popular topic with left and right more or less equally represented. There are few arguments and, remarkably, few disagreements. While we each have our loyalties and preferences, none of us is one-eyed. This also goes some way to explaining why Michelle Boag and I rarely disagree when we’re on Jim Mora’s Panel. Reasonably intelligent people… an example of false modesty, since I actually think I’m hugely intelligent and Michelle is quite smart … reasonably intelligent people are likely to agree on most things.

Until recently the talk has been around David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party and his chances of being our next Prime Minister. The left/right consensus has been that Shearer is the wrong man for the job, but if he survives beyond mid-2013, he’s likely to get it anyway. A Labour-led coalition will win by default.

But the really interesting development among the Ponsonby/Herne Bay political intelligentsia is the number of right-wingers who expect John Key to stand down in the middle of next year. While I’m not going to risk $5 on iPredict, I’m reasonably sure there’s a more than 50:50 chance that they’re right.  Read the rest of this entry »

88 Comments , , , , ,

Question: Can being fabulously rich and still in one’s prime affect a Prime Minister’s approach to the job?

 

liberation.typepad.com

This question arose in my mind a day or so back: how, if at all, would being fabulously rich and still very much in one’s  prime affect a Prime Minister’s approach to the job?

I was of course thinking of John Key, billed ‘the fifty million dollar man’ when he first came to the public’s attention as a potential prime minister in the early 2000s. It would be reasonable to assume that Mr Key is worth a lot more now. He could presumably have lived quite comfortably off his parliamentary salary and perks for the last ten years, and certainly for the last six as Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister. So even if he’d been earning a measly 5% on his investments, he could theoretically have increased his wealth by 50 percent. His $50 million could now be $75 million.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining about Key being rich and I don’t begrudge him the money. What I’m interested in is how such absolute long-term financial security might affect a 51-year-old former investment banker and  foreign exchange trader’s approach to his future career. How might a graduate of the bourses of Singapore, London, Sydney and Wall Street feel about settling down to a long-term career as Prime Minister of New Zealand or, heaven forefend, as Leader of the Opposition?   Read the rest of this entry »

66 Comments ,

The Urewera Six – the new face of terrorism.

Image created by Alison Withers

69 Comments , , , , , ,

I find myself wondering…

I find myself wondering whether I want to be bothered with the Labour Party any more. Increasingly, it seems to me, the Greens reflect the philosophical and moral values to which I subscribe more accurately than the Labour Party whose philosophical and moral values are now so ill-defined as to be beyond definition.

I’m a socialist at heart and, whatever it is, New Zealand Labour is not a socialist party. It wasn’t just Rogernomics that scotched that idea; Tony Blair’s ‘third way’, a significant influence on the Fifth Labour Government, was really just a watered down version of Douglas’s ‘trickle-down’ economics. The ‘third way’ was, by definition, a ‘middle-way’, neither one thing nor the other and ill-suited to political idealism of any stripe – a Clayton’s political philosophy.  

I read that Labour’s new leader, David Shearer, wants to move the party to that ideological no-man’s-land that is ‘the centre’. National already occupies that space but, as the distinctions between Key and Shearer lose focus – both promising to deliver ‘a brighter future’ and the Labour leader ditching policies specifically directed at putting more money into the pockets of the poor – I’ve no doubt that an accommodation can be reached between centre-right and centre-left. The centre is a wide church.  Read the rest of this entry »

99 Comments , , , ,

Here it is: The Teapot Tape. Listen and marvel!

Here’s the tape that’s caused all the fuss. Fairfax has confirmed that it’s the real thing.

After listening to it, you might well decide that it is truly a storm in a teacup. But – it got Winston Peters and his motley crew into Parliament, so the PM may now be wishing he’d released it on the spot!

It’s difficult to decipher, but here’s a link to a transcript on The Jackal’s blog.

 

41 Comments , , ,

TV3 provides a great debate. Goff wins. Pity about the panel!

OK, I’m one of a number of people advising Phil Goff and you’re entitled to think I’m incapable of being objective. So I’ll stick to the demonstrable facts.

I was worried about ‘the worm’. TV3 had made the indefensible decision to allow viewers at home who could afford a particular type of phone to vote on who was winning at any particular time in the debate. ‘Indefensible’ because the owners of those phones would come from a social group much more likely to support National than Labour. They then decided to combine the indefensible with the defensible – an audience of 65 uncommitted voters who would be given meters to record their preference for what each leader was saying during the debate.

Here’s the outcome: for three quarters of the debate, Phil Goff registered approval and John Key disapproval. For one part of the debate, where Goff spoke of the possibility of an arrangement with Peters, the worm favoured Key.

More significantly, the economically-biased ‘rich folks’ worm produced virtually the same result.

Those are the facts.   Read the rest of this entry »

60 Comments , , , , , ,

‘Ello, ‘Ello, Ello’, I’ve come to raid your media premises on the instruction of Prime Minister Key.’ A far-fetched fantasy.

‘Ello, ‘Ello, ‘Ello, I’ve come to raid your newspaper/radio station/TV station on the instruction of my superior officer, PrimeMinister Key. So hand over the document or recording, according to whichever is in your possession.’

‘What document or recording are you referring to, officer?’

‘Now don’t play the smart-arse with me, sonny. You know very well it’s the recording illegally and criminally made of Prime Minister Key having an entirely private chat with the former Minister of Police during an entirely private meeting in an off-the-beaten-track Auckland eatery. Oh, and the transcript thereof.’

‘You mean the recording made when a cameraman accidentally left his microphone on the table, and couldn’t go back in to retrieve it, because your people wouldn’t let him back in.’

‘No comment. Just hand over the recording or document before I slap the cuffs on and escort you back to the station.’

‘No, I won’t.  And I’m still waiting for you to tell me what I’m charged with and to read me my rights.’

‘Harbouring an illegally and criminally obtained,  subversive recording or transcript thereof, likely to destabilise the government.’

‘But Prime Minister Key has said there’s nothing of consequence on the recording/document. He called it “bland”.’

‘We’ll have none of your clever-clever, smarty-pants media debating tricks here, mate. If Prime Minister Key says you’ve broken the law, then you’ve broken the law. And if you haven’t, he’ll change it.’

‘Really? I thought we lived in a democracy.’

‘That’s a good one!’ Read the rest of this entry »

51 Comments , , ,

Why Labour is both right and wrong about asset sales. (And how I’ll be voting on 26 November – as if you didn’t know!)

I’m against selling our state assets. I’m impressed by Labour’s argument that you can only sell an asset once, and that, as soon as you’ve sold it, you’ve lost the revenue stream forever. Forever is probably the key word. You have to calculate the dividend loss for an indefinite period that ends – never.

And I’m not impressed by the Government’s intention to use the money from asset sales to fund hospitals and schools. Funding for hospitals and schools shouldn’t come from  selling the family silver, it should come from general taxation. If it doesn’t, where are you going to find the cash to fund health and education next year, and the year after that, and the year after that,  when the assets are gone?

I’m familiar with the Government’s answer: ‘We aren’t selling off the lot; we’re keeping a controlling 51% share and we’ll still have the dividends from that.’ Well, 51% of the dividends! And I hope you won’t think me unkind, but I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you on this. When you run short of dough, and you will run short of dough, you’re going to sell the rest. Of course you are. You’re philosophically opposed to the idea of governments owning and running businesses. That’s the private sector’s job.

And this is where you’re out of touch with the essentially chauvinistic view of a majority of Kiwis: ‘Hey, this is our bank; it’s got our name on it – Kiwi Bank; this is our airline, it’s got our name on it – Air New Zealand; this is our power station – we built the bloody thing! This stuff is all ours and you want to flog it off to foreigners.’ Ours and foreigners are probably the key (but not Key) words in this debate.   Read the rest of this entry »

67 Comments , , ,

The origins of JK’s threesome handshake

 

Photo: Rob Pharazyn

He got into practice a long time ago!

8 Comments

So Here Is The News

The little word ‘so’ has recently taken on a new meaning for New Zealanders. People have started using it as a space-filler at the beginning of an answer, in the same way that they use ‘well’.  In reply to the question, ‘How are you going to get the country out of this recession?’ you might have heard:

‘Well, we’re going to kick-start the economy by selling off the Southern Alps.’

Now you may hear:

‘So, we’re going to kick-start the economy by exporting beneficiaries.’

This sounds a bit odd – and it is a bit odd.  Starting a sentence this way turns ‘so’ into a type of conjunction and implies that you are expanding on or explaining something that has preceded it:

‘Social Welfare is costing too much and we need more exports, so we’re going to…etc’

But in this strange new construction nothing has preceded ‘so’. You’ve got a conjunction hanging in mid-air with nothing to join up.

‘What are you doing for Christmas this year?’

‘So I was just saying to Nigel that we should consider going to Afghanistan.’ Read the rest of this entry »

28 Comments , , ,