TV Review: The Nation

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1. Credit where it’s due!

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TV3’s  The Nation on 2 July was probably the most incisive investigative journalism this blogger has seen for a long time. The only “fault” is that The Nation is ‘buried’ at the ghetto time-slot of early Saturday (and repeated early Sunday morning). Mediaworks is wasting a tremendous opportunity to use their current affairs journalistic team as a critical lynch-pin of their broadcasting line-up.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

(Especially after the fiasco surrounding the cancellation of Campbell Live. But let’s not go there and rain on The Nation’s well-deserved parade.

In this episode;

  • Patrick Gower interviewed John Key and elicited some eyebrow-raising responses from him
  • An investigation by Phil Vine and Heather du Plessis-Allan into the Saudi sheep deal yielded  disturbing revelations

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2. Evidently, we’re “better off”?

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Following on from Bill English’s tragi-comical  assertion in Parliament on 29 June that  “there is no evidence that inequality in New Zealand is increasing“, our esteemed Dear Leader repeated the mantra three days later in response to a question from Gower;

Patrick Gower: “Good morning, Prime Minister, and thank you very much for joining us. Now, I want to take you back to your first big speech as leader of the National Party – that speech about McGehan Close. You talked in that speech about streets in our country where helplessness has become ingrained and said we have to do better. Now, on McGehan Close, when you went there, people were living in homes. Now we are looking at people living in cars. Is that really better? Is that better?”

John Key: “I think there’s no question New Zealand’s better…”

As reported in a previous story (see: Foot in mouth award – Bill English, for his recent “Flat Earth” comment in Parliament) practically every metric used  presents an unflattering picture of New Zealand in the early 21st century.

From the Children’s Commissioner;

Child poverty is now significantly worse than the 1980s. In 1985 the percentage of children in families experiencing income poverty was 15%, compared to 29% now

Put another way;

305,000 New Zealand children now live in poverty – 45,000 more than a year ago”.

Statistics NZ’s reported;

Between 1988 and 2014, income inequality between households with high incomes and those with low incomes widened

And the OECD was also damning, stating;

  “rising inequality is estimated to have knocked more than 10 percentage points off  [economic] growth in Mexico and New Zealand “.

Perhaps the most credible indictment of Key’s misguided view that “there’s no question New Zealand’s better” is from Key himself, from 2011;

He said he had visited a number of budgeting services and food banks “and I think it’s fair to say they’ve seen an increase in people accessing their services. So that situation is there.”

The difficulty with Key’s statement that “there’s no question New Zealand’s better” is that no one believes it.

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3. Unemployment is down?

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When Gower pressed Key that things had not improved much since Key’s visit  to  Aroha Ireland in McGehan Close in 2007, Dear Leader responded;

“The unemployment rate in New Zealand is now falling pretty dramatically.”

Well of course “unemployment in New Zealand is now falling“.  Unemployment has “dropped” from 5.7% to 5.2%.

But not because National’s policies have created twelve thousand new jobs.

But because Statistics NZ had conveniently revised its method of calculating the number of unemployed men and women by arbitrarily excluding those who were jobseeking using the internet;

Looking at job advertisements on the internet is correctly classified as not actively seeking work. This change brings the classification in line with international standards and will make international comparability possible… Fewer people will be classified as actively seeking work, therefore the counts of people unemployed will be more accurate.

The utter cheek of Statistics NZ to claim that   “therefore the counts of people unemployed will be more accurate” by excluding on-line job-hunting is matched only by Dear Leader Key who wasted no time in taking credit for “unemployment rate in New Zealand is now falling pretty dramatically“.

We are being lied to – and it is officially sanctioned.

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4. Cosying up to Winston?

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Gower then touched upon Key’s attitude toward NZ First leader Winston Peters, and asked;

Patrick Gower: “But what about deputy prime minister? Do you rule out Winston Peters being deputy prime minister in one of your governments?”

At this point, my mind immediately Quantum-Leaped back to 2008 and 2011 when Key categorically, absolutely, 100%, resolutely, ruled out any possibility of having Winston Peters in his government;

Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation [on the Owen Glenn donations scandal].” – John Key, 27 August 2008

“I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead. Historically, he has always been sacked by prime ministers. It’s a very different style to mine and it’s rearward-looking. I’m about tomorrow. I’m not about yesterday. If Winston Peters holds the balance of power it will be a Phil Goff-led Labour government. ” – John Key, 2 February 2011

Seems fairly straight forward; Key was holding up his own “No” card, a-la Winston;

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Key no

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Except, in the next breath, Key over-ruled himself and his previous pronouncements;

John Key: “Well, I’m not going to rule those sorts of things out.”

Perhaps Key mis-heard Patrick Gower’s question. Perhaps Key had mistakenly thought that Gower had asked him; “But what about deputy prime minister? Do you rule out Moonbeam being deputy prime minister in one of your governments?”

So, being the fair-minded journo that Gower is, he repeated the question;

Patrick Gower:  “Yeah, but do you rule out Winston Peters as John Key’s deputy prime minister?”

John Key: “No, because in the end, in 2017, we’re going to have an election, and when we have that election, what we’ll have to do is I’ll ultimately put together a government. I can’t determine that. The people of New Zealand determine that. What I have a responsibility to do is to put together a government — if I’m in the position to lead the largest party and to lead those negotiations — then to try and make that work.  But I’m not going to say who’s a minister and who’s not or what role they have and what they don’t.”

So there you have it. John Key – a Man of his Word. And principled. And flexible. Flexible with his Principles.

Or else, the John Key of 2008 and 2011 is not the same man who calls himself “John Key” in 2016? An imposter?

The only reason that people like John Key can get away with back-peddling; mis-information; and bendy-truths is that the voting-public are more cynical than ever. (Hence the rise of anti-establishment figure, Donald Trump; the in-your-face “Brexit” vote, and the success of Independent candidates in the Australian elections.) Voters expect politicians to be dishonest, manipulative, and abandon all principles in pursuit of power.

In this respect, Key has not disappointed.

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5. Matthew Hooton

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Well known right-wing commentator, Matthew Hooton, has been scathing in his condemnation of Murray McCully’s “Saudi Sheep Deal”, and has  conducted his own investigations into the scandal. His findings have been published on the National Business Review’s website.

Whilst Matthew and I hold wildly differing political views, and whilst his involvement in ‘Dirty Politics’ is questionable, his insightful analysis and  commentary on McCully’s dealings with Hmood Al-Khalaf has to be respected.

Matthew was a valuable contributor in analysing the “Saudi Sheep Deal” on The Nation, proving a credible counter-foil to Michelle Boag’s slavish and occasionally near-hysterical defense of Murray McCully’s dubious actions.

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6. Auditor-General

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The panelists lamented the fact that the Auditor-General’s report into the Saudi Sheep Deal was “not imminent”. I do not share those feelings.

Next year will be Election Year, and the closer the report’s release is to Election Day, the better it will be for the Opposition. If the Auditor-General’s findings are as scathing as many believe it will be, McCully will be sacked from his Ministerial position. The inglorious demise of his career will add to public perception that National plays “loose” with laws if there is a “buck” to be made.

The release of the Auditor-General’s report next year would be a strategic coup for Labour, Greens, and NZ First.

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7. Final Word

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Final word from that outstanding episode of The Nation has to go to Victoria University political scientist, Dr Jon Johansson;

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jon johannson

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“ People are utterly fed up with their Establishment, their elites, never accepting accountability for anything.”

Nailed it, Doc.

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References

TV3: The Nation

TV3: The Nation – Interview with John Key

Parliament Today: Questions & Answers – June 29

NZ Children: Child Poverty Monitor – Technical Report

Radio NZ: A third of NZ children live in poverty

Statistics NZ: Income inequality

OECD: Trends in Income Inequality and its impact on economic growth

NZ Herald: Key admits underclass still growing

NZ Herald:  A day out with friends in high places

Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey – Revisions to labour market estimates

Scoop media:  Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

NZ Herald: PM rules out any NZ First deal

Fairfax media: John Key’s Cat Moonbeam

NBR: Flying sheep endanger McCully

TV3:  Panel – Jon Johansson, Conor English & Mike Williams

Previous related blogposts

John Key: Man of Many Principles

An open letter to Winston Peters

John Key: When propaganda photo-ops go wrong

National Housing propaganda – McGehan Close Revisited

What will be her future?

I have seen one future, and it is bleak

State house sell-off in Tauranga unravelling?

The Mendacities of Mr English – Fibbing from Finance Minister confirmed

Why is Paula Bennett media-shy all of a sudden?

Park-up in Wellington – People speaking against the scourge of homelessness

Lies, Damned lies and Statistical Lies

Foot in mouth award – Bill English, for his recent “Flat Earth” comment in Parliament

Lies, Damned lies and Statistical Lies – ** UPDATE **

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shock collar for key

 

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= fs =

8 COMMENTS

  1. “…. people are fed up with the Establishment”. So much so that a good many people can’t be bothered voting anymore.

    It’s not just politicians that are failing us, but also our public service which isn’t servig its public. And usually it’s NOT frontline public servants either, but rather their senior, and sometimes ‘middle’ management, as well as cuts to staffing and resources in favour of ‘image and spin’.

    I commented somewhere before that our public service was being run like a number of little feifdoms headed by politically appointed yes men (and yes, predominantly men).

    We were told in the 80s (by the Douglas crew and all) that the restructured public service – complete with its purchase agreements and KPIs – run along business lines, that it would be de-politicised, more efficient and effective, and accountable.
    I’m still waiting.
    Where has the accountability been shown in MoBIE?, or WINZ, or CYFS, or MPI?, or STATS?, or Land Transport? …. the list is becoming endless.
    I also suggested that opposition parties could probably gain political traction by proposing a complete overhaul, and I still believe that.

    For a start …. given that the promise in the 80s was for de-politicisation (presumably after people, for some unknown reason used to cower under Rob Muldoon instead of just giving the two finger salute), why do we still allow Ministerial appointments to the public service without effective parliamentary scrutiny? If it’s apolitical, why is not any public service appointment subject to parliamentary veto?

    Any why do we allow our politicians to get away with spin and excuse such as “I can’t comment on operational matters”? The only excuse should be that something is sub judice.
    And what sanction against abuse of Ministerial Warrant?

    Opposition parties really do have an opportunity. I’m not sure they’ll pick up on it though – but until they do, democracy will continue to suffer and there’ll be low voter turnout, alienation, and when the disaffected finally stir a revolution that might prove nasty, rather than one that could have been cloaked in velvet.

  2. Mediaworks took off TV 4 and replaced it with ‘Bravo’. Says it all really.

    I found this online – The 10 worst channels in America.

    At No. 9 Bravo ( surprise, surprise)

    The network constantly shows people getting paid millions of dollars to party and have fun while contributing nothing to society. It’s like watching a stale, unfunny version of the spawn of the Wolf of Wall Street and The Hills. The Real Housewives shows are all GARBAGE that show air headed women who aren’t even that pretty make fools of themselves. Below deck is Jersey Shore on a boat (enough said). And Little Women is just real housewives for dwarves (see previous statement about Real Housewives). Don’t even know why this show is on the air or why people watch it.M
    It’s a toss-up between this and MTV (which incidentally shows no M). However, the prize for worst channel ever has to go to Bravo, a channel once devoted to actual arts but is now only a place to find crazy, self aggrandizing, over-privileged, middle aged women screaming at one another over nothing…oh, and competitions for extraordinarily mundane things, like cutting hair.M+10
    I can’t take this channel anymore! My mom watches it 24/7 for Housewives! I think I remember back when this channel would show cool movies like “Pulp Fiction”, but now I see shows about Stupid chicks fighting over personal things that the public shouldn’t know about! What about the 4th amendment where you can’t go around people’s business? I can’t believe this world has fighting, drunk people, and so much immaturity as entertainment. I could have said this about E! Entertainment and MTV, but Bravo takes the cake on this one! (also the music is so fake, they took short samples that came with the garageband app)M+7
    Tacky and tasteless shows. The commercials are just as bad! #!

  3. You’re very charitable to Matthew Hooton, Frank. I doubt he’s show the same appreciation of your peoples-journalistic talents.

    As for John Key’s referencing that we’re better off – the man is a pathological bullshit artist and I think more and more people are starting to realise this. We were having drinks with our neighbours last night and they are your committed true-blue Nat voters and even they are started to get tired of his crap. One of them said she’d probably vote for Winston next year. Oi vey!

  4. “ People are utterly fed up with their Establishment, their elites, never accepting accountability for anything.”

    Nailed it, Doc.

    Yes Frank a great blog, don’t you notice watching the Aussie elections still today, that all the Aussie MP’s will come into the TV studio and get a grilling?

    In stark contrast to these slimy NZ MP;s who simply duck and drive avoid the media when it is an issue they don’t want to talk about?

  5. More lies from Key.

    The man is shameless.

    Given enough time, no one will believe a word he utters, even Nat voters.

  6. John Key: “I think there’s no question New Zealand’s better…”

    And this last Five Year Plan, comrades, saw a 500% increase in the production of pig iron!!

    Yeah right, nah.

  7. it’s staggering that Key and co are still as popular as they are. I guess that is due to (a) slanted media and selective reporting (the TV show under discussion here being an honorable exception) and (b) poor public understanding of how economies actually work – i.e. the seductive myth of “enrich thyself and to hell with everyone and everything else” – as if wealth could somehow continue to increase without limit despite us living on a finite planet. To some extent the left-wing are guilty of promulgating that myth too. But now we really are coming up against a number of limits that nobody can magic away – finite fish stocks, arable land, water resources, strategic minerals and above all climate change. Both left and right need to accept that and to find a way for us all to live satisfactorily within those limits. And then to educate the public about that imperative. I’m not holding my breath…

Comments are closed.