UPDATE: GUEST BLOG:Catherine Delahunty – “Doesn’t It Just Make You Want to Vomit?”: Breakfast TV, the C word and the stolen Alpaca

By   /   April 3, 2018  /   22 Comments

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Later at home my partner showed me the tape of the end of the show. I was somewhat surprised to hear the comment I had missed just following mine made by Amanda Gilles who is always on the show. She says quietly “doesn’t it just make you want to vomit”.

Last Tuesday I was a panellist on the AM Breakfast show. The panellists are there to comment on the latest stories but much of the panel time is spent on light-hearted banter. Naturally I was unable to stick to the formula and threw in some serious points about the failures of capitalism. One topic was theft, inspired by the very sad story of the stolen alpaca whose blind comrade is now sitting lost in a field missing their guide and companion. Alpaca are herd animals, as indeed are human beings. Asked if I had ever had anything weird stolen I commented that Roger Douglas stole my country. What else can you say when Jordan Williams from the Taxpayers Assoc is sitting next to you? Asked what I would want to steal I said I was brought up a Communist and taught to share not steal.  After the inevitable reaction from others I commented that socialism had a lot to offer and capitalism was not working and we should at least debate this. The show ended on this ideologically controversial note.

Later at home my partner showed me the tape of the end of the show. I was somewhat surprised to hear the comment I had missed just following mine made by Amanda Gilles who is always on the show. She says quietly “doesn’t it just make you want to vomit”.*

She is entitled to her opinion, in fact it’s her job to have opinions but her comment has caused me to reflect. It’s a strong statement to make when someone is a calling for debate. I am not sure if even mentioning the C words provoked her nausea or my audacity in attacking capitalism. I know breakfast time media panels meant to be fun and games but I am the kind of person who does want to talk about system change at breakfast. Everyone is welcome to our house where every meal time we debate changing the world and I can sense you all wish you were there right now.

However the media at any time of day seems increasingly allergic to serious discussion. The opinions of some of us informed or otherwise are taking up more and more space. I do not actually know but I think Amanda Gillies was being honest that talking about the failures of capitalism and socialism having something to offer does make her feel sick. She will not be alone.

These days everything is about the individual, good people and bad people, fun and sad stories. To talk about systems and their failures and to attack the capitalist norm is deeply alien. Call me a conspiracy theorist but I do think this is no accident and that someone (possibly the 1%) is benefitting from a depoliticised culture.

Naturally we had no time to discuss why I think a system that leaves increasing numbers of people homeless, water unswimmable and a destabilised climate etc needs to be questioned. But why not throw in the C words and have the debate? If not at breakfast what about over dinner? The only serious political debate is corralled into a bubble on Sunday mornings when much of the population is vacuuming or jogging.

The public are not the blind alpaca; helpless without its companion, but the companion of a decent society which rejects gross inequality is a media capable of system critique and we are lost without it.

If people can get over their nausea at the very thought of naming and critiquing economic systems we might be able to talk about the naked emperor “ progress” and the devastating effects of “growth”.

My goal in life is not to make people feel sick, but I feel sick already about the level of debate in the mainstream media. We worry for the blind alpaca in the field whose lonely isolation touches the heart.  However we are also capable of more than passive emotional empathy for charismatic mega fauna. After the Am panel I was walking in Cornwall Park , a jogging man came up to me and said “ I just saw you on TV and you were great, its common sense, capitalism is not working” .

So let’s not assume everyone is disinterested or sickened by this debate.


Catherine Delahunty is a former Green Party MP and high ranking Left wing Jedi.



We’ve ben contacted by Amanda Gillies with the following explanation…

…this is a great relief because Amanda Gillies is the only reason you would ever watch The AM Show and it was incredibly surprising that she would say anything like this. While Gillies didn’t make the comment, the point remains it was made by Garner pressing his toy box of sounds and that the type of contempt for any actual intellectual rigour on The AM Show remains. Thank Allah that there will soon be a brand new late night politics show which will specialise in actual political comment starting soon. 

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  1. R.P McMurphy says:

    they all make me want to vomit everytime I see them. I refuse to watch their show because it is so ugly. They are like three evil witches in a gingerbread house.

  2. Michal says:

    Great stuff Catherine, personally I would never watch the programme, apart from the right wing ex sportsman whose opinions I loathe, we get Garner’s column in the Press and it is inceasingly right wing, but then Duncan has done well out of capitalism and that is probably all he gives a shit about.

    I recently read an interview with Joan Baez one of my heroes. She did an interview with someone in London where he had attempted to grill her on the ‘failure of pacifism. He said the non-violence movement had been a flop, and she replied with ‘Oh, not like violence then? Would you say that’s been a huge success?’.

    I’m with you – we won’t have the debate until people get over the words ‘communism’ and ‘socialism’.

  3. esoteric pineapples says:

    To paraphrase Henry Ford – You can have any economic system you like, as long as its Capitalism.

  4. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    Duncan’s deliberate(?) anti-intellectualism combined with Mark Richardson’s pro-National rhetoric is more than enough to make me never want to watch it (I wouldn’t even flick to it during ads). Without Paul Henry’s humour to liven up the proceedings there is simply zero point watching it. You can actually feel yourself getting dumbed down, in real-time, when watching either of the mainstream media’s morning TV offerings, but TV3’s is especially worthless and stupid.

  5. Brian F says:

    I gave up watching these three front-pieces months ago.

    They constantly deride Labour and laud National, conveniently turning their six blind eyes to the utterly appalling record of the last 9 years of National.And forgetting that Labour have only been in the job 5 months. Garner began it on election night when he wanted J Ardern to come out of “hiding” – his words – and answer his questions about her policies. The arrogant sod (why didn’t he listen to her during the election campaign?)

    The whole three of them are so myopic in their narrow, boring views and have thus become so predictable and therefore not worth watching. Anyone who does is wasting precious minutes of their life. Nothing new at all to be learned from them.

    Three closed minds. No surprises there!

    Thank you TDB for bringing some balance like no one else does!

  6. Dotti says:

    I do not view /listen to Newshub’s Breakfast Show and I am shocked to learn that Amanda Gillies made such an unethical comment.
    I also grew up in Gisborne and certainly hope that I have learned to be
    much less narrow minded.
    Let the debate begin !

  7. monkeyk says:

    they all make me want to vomit everytime I see them. You can have any economic system you like, as long as its Capitalism.

  8. Kim dandy says:

    How did public television come to this…?
    Brought out much. Just switch off.

  9. Francesca says:

    I can’t stand them, the smugness, the unexamined certainty that they are the creme de la creme.
    God knows what the shallow life of TV personality does to a soul , but judging by Gillies, it aint pretty
    I came along to a meeting you held about increased irrigation and protection of unique water qualities in the Sth Island and was so impressed by you.An authentic voice, I realised, this is why I joined the Green Party in the first place
    Wish you were still there Catherine, miss you, but good on you for still speaking out!

  10. ababy says:

    obsolete reductionist shepherding

  11. Michelle says:

    Privately owned and rubbish I don’t watch this anymore it is not news it is garbage.

    • countryboy says:

      @ MICHELLE.
      That’s because it’s, in truth, U$A-esque.
      We’re being groomed to be colonised by corporate, capitalist ‘merica.
      The sundry, elite U$A few will be building houses near Queenstown and will have been moving here.
      Once they’re all here?
      Booooooooooooooooom! Up she goes.

  12. Aaron says:

    It’s not a conspiracy theory to say the rich and powerful use their unfluence to stifle debate that’s inconvenient to them – it’s just common sense.
    I’m mean, why wouldn’t they use their power that way?

    • Francesca says:

      and you also employ the most shallow and vacuous so they wont inadvertently get serious about something

  13. David Stone says:

    The start of a debate could be to present a structure of a socialist society identifying the necessary decision making processes, and the power hierarchy ; who decides what everyone does, how are these people chosen, how are peoples needs assessed and distributed etc. “Socialism” without any such detailed description / explanation can only conjure up in peoples minds the historical attempts under the name of socialism, namely the Soviet Union and Communist China. Neither worked except by way of vicious dictatorship and a complete lack of personal freedom, and both failed. With their failure improving the outlook for the population in general.
    Rampant lassez faire capitalism isn’t the answer either, but a balance between the two is probably the best compromise with money interests having much less power, and government being much more truly representative of the welfare of the majority. Our democratic system is failing to serve the interests of the majority.
    I would genuinely like to see what the ideal structure of a “socialist” society would be. How it would work. From someone as conversant with the philosophy as you are Catherine. Could you do an article on that?
    I guess you don’t get up to Coro that much now that Esther is in AK.
    Cheers D J S

    • John W says:

      David clear thinking and honest are needed to examine the best way forward.

      The first step would be to get media ownership out of capitalist hands and remove the gravy train from banks.

      While the media, politicians and public opinion are all controlled by private wealth stolen form society using the capitalist monster, then we will not develop a way out of this mess.

      Capitalism and corruption are genetically entwined.

      • David Stone says:

        your first steps are good but they are a necessary fix of the capitalist system rather than a transfer to socialism to my way of thinking.
        But a good start.
        D J S

  14. Heather Tanguay says:

    Makes me want to vomit about what has been discovered at Middlemore Hospital. Not really discovered, Lester Levy and Coleman would have known about the shameful condition of this hospital, where children were in hospital because of damp and mould and the hospital just gave them some more of the same – now that really makes me vomit.

  15. mosa says:

    Never watched them and never will.

    I prefer not to start my day by making myself sick or angry.

    Also watching and listening to these people just encourages them and the media organisations that fund it.

  16. Victorina says:

    Did you know there’s a big peace march tomorrow in Samoa about the government selling customary land to pay off debt to China.

  17. savenz says:

    I don’t watch MSM but I would more if there was something serious to watch. I’m not really turned on by communism but I think modern Capitalism has gone seriously wrong somewhere – there is defiantly room for debate on bigger pictures like ideology and new ideas.

    We are in the 21c and I think what we need is a different approach from both modern capitalism such as the US and UK and modern communism like China.

    I always enjoyed Waatea Fifth Estate and hope it returns! At least we got real news and run by a real commentator who had panels with different views not faux different views like MSM and Fairfax Lite like Spinoff.

    As for focus on trivial, it is defiantly being promoted out there. I vomit when I get FB pics of people’s dinners, coffees or what have you. There is an alternate reality out there all right but it’s fake!