Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Paula Bennett'

New Voice for National


Well we were spared the icy Amy Adams, and the feisty Paula Bennett remains as Deputy Leader of the National Party. So there is some good news for those of us who believe that it’s at least preferable that our leaders present a tolerably pleasing impression to the rest of the world.

I’m on shaky ground here, I know. New Zealanders have the admirable quality of placing greater weight on substance than appearance or mellifluous voices in choosing their political leaders. Think Savage, Kirk, Rowling, Key, Clark… But their tolerance for idiosyncrasy is not without limit. Bob Jones effectively put an end to Rowling’s career by dubbing him ‘the mouse’ on account of his very light voice.

I have reason to remember this particularly well. In a previous incarnation I hosted a late night TV show called Edwards On Saturday. We had Bill and Glen Rowling on one night as the main guests. Glen played the piano and Bill talked to me. The programme was broadcast live.

About half way through, as I was interviewing Bill, there was a minor commotion. Bob Jones walked in through the studio door accompanied by a human-sized mouse on a leash, squeaking. Inside the mouse costume was broadcaster Jim Healey. Bob had told security that he and Healey (sans mouse costume) were late guests on the programme and been allowed in.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this guest appearance of ‘Mouse Rowling’ was a factor in ending a very decent politician’s career.

You may not like it but, in politics, image really matters.


Memo to National Party Caucus: Please Pick Bill. Please, Please, Pretty Please!

Bill English

I like Bill. Bill is just great. Really, really great. And – sorry to blow my own trumpet – but if anyone should know, I should. Well, me and Judy really – the team that brought you Helen Clark. Back from the dead, some would say, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Anyway, back to Bill. Did I say Bill was great? What an understatement! Bill is stupendous, charismatic, a master of oratory and, no point in denying it, a real stud. The stats never lie. And here’s the thing: I’m a dyed in the wool Labour man. A socialist, to be strictly accurate. So this is really tough for me to have to say. But hey, truth is more important than politics. And it will out. Bill is supercalifragalistic, expial… Oh never mind. Bloody brilliant on the box too. And if anyone should know, I should. Did I say that already? Never mind, the truth will out. And here’s the acid test: if I had to choose between watching a 45-minute interview with Bill on some TV show on Sunday morning and watching Paula Bennett figure skating naked on ice, I’d pick Bill. And so would Judy. Charisma, mastery of the language, sex appeal. It’d be riveting, wouldn’t  it? Think of Bill as a rivet: solid, reliable, holding things together, grey-coloured. So please, please, please pick Bill to lead you into the next election. If only to please me and Judy and Labour Party voters from the Cape to the Bluff. Bill’s your man. And mine. Thanks. Brian


A Media Trainer Muses on John Key, Helen Clark and the Nightmare Prospect of New Zealand under Paula Bennett

John Key

Being a media trainer is a bit like being a singing teacher.You have to have a very good ear. It’s not merely about being able to correct glaring examples of poor pronunciation, diction or tone. John Key’s tendency to insert a ‘sh’ into certain words usually before a ‘t’, producing a somewhat Germanic ‘sch’ sound (Aushtralia), and Helen Clark’s rather mannish tone and overly forceful delivery both invited derision and had the potential to prematurely end their stellar careers.

I once had the opportunity of giving a few pointers to John Key on his interviewee performance. TVNZ had decided to arrange some interview training for its high-profile newsreaders, including Simon Dallow. Each had to arrive with a guest of their own choosing, whom they would interview under the critical eye of Brian Edwards and Judy Callingham. Simon introduced us to his choice of interviewee, a chap called John Key, whom I had not only never met, but never heard of. Read the rest of this entry »


Confessions of a sentimental socialist and unkind thoughts on Paula Bennett


I generally define myself as ‘a Socialist’. This may seem at odds with living in the most expensive suburb in New Zealand, having no mortgage or other indebtedness, dining out on a regular basis, treating Rarotonga as you might treat a bach and, in general, being what people euphemistically call ‘comfortably off’.

If I were a supporter of the National Party, I’d probably argue that being ‘comfortably off’ was the product of more than seven decades of application and hard work and that, if I could do it, every other able-bodied and averagely intelligent Kiwi should be able to do the same. We aren’t a Third World country after all.

That would be a dishonest argument because I’m one of the laziest people you could hope to meet, rarely apply myself to anything for long and have got through life largely on my wits, a unique ability to read other people and, according to the late lamented Rob Muldoon, ‘an intriguing Irish accent’.

I can’t claim responsibility for any of those characteristics. Heredity and environment combined to make me what I am. I’m what they call a ‘hard determinist’. But that’s another story. Except for this: you can’t be a hard determinist and judge other people as if they were the authors of their own misfortunes – or fortunes.

If this sounds a bit nutty, the science of genetics is very much on my side. On almost a daily basis we are discovering that this or that characteristic, trait, predisposition, behaviour is genetically determined. Even the psychopath has a defence – there’s an important bit missing from his brain.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Urewera Six – the new face of terrorism.

Image created by Alison Withers


Short Post




                            AND TRAITOR TO HER PAST


State House Leopards Do Change Their Spots








Today’s Herald makes interesting reading for anyone who thinks that, despite his Wall Street millions, John Key’s state house background makes him more sympathetic to those on lower incomes. GST is to rise by up to 2.5%. Such an increase disproportionately penalises those at the bottom of the economic heap – lower income earners and beneficiaries – since a much greater proportion of their income is spent on essential items such as food, power and rent. They are to be compensated by an unspecified decrease in personal taxation and an unspecified increase in benefits and Working for Families.

On last night’s Campbell Live, the Prime Minister gave Campbell a guarantee that lower income earners or beneficiaries would be no worse off after the changes in the budget. ‘No worse off’, but not necessarily ‘any better off’. Middle and higher income earners, on the other hand,  will of course be better off as a result of any decrease in income tax, since that is an economic truism. So, in a nutshell, the rich will get richer and the poor stay where they are, which in real terms means ‘go backwards’. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Paula Bennett Is Not Fit To Be A Minister


Last night’s Close Up and Campbell Live both debated Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett’s decision to publish details of the benefits received by two women who have gone public with their criticisms of the government’s cuts to the Training Incentive Allowance.

There are two issues here: Was it appropriate for a Minister of the Crown to publish personal details relating to the benefits paid to clients of her department without first seeking  their permission or informing them of her intention? And did her action amount to a breach of the Privacy Act? Read the rest of this entry »


Blethering Bennett Rides Again








You really have to wonder how much longer John Key can keep the Blethering Bennett in his Cabinet. Here is her latest effort, reported in this morning’s Herald:

Ms Bennett today said she had reiterated to Ms Rankin Mr Key’s position that she should not campaign against the law.

“She certainly been made very clear that we don’t expect her to be actively campaigning on the no vote,” she told reporters.

Ms Bennett said the interview was Ms Rankin’s personal opinion. Read the rest of this entry »


A considered opinion on Paula Bennett, based on close analysis of her media appearances since the election, and in particular her recent interview with Cameron Bennett (Hopefully no relation!) on the ‘Sunday’ programme


The woman is a blethering idiot.

Watch her on Sunday