Matthew Hooton at the NZ Herald office
If stating the bleeding obvious and demanding praise has an award, it would have Matthew Hooton’s face all over it.
His claim is that the decision by the new government to ban future oil exploration was driven in part by politics and media optics.
Oh the humanity!
Of course the decision to ban future oil exploration was driven in part by politics and media optics, how is this a surprise?
Cast you mind back to April and the new Government was in trouble and kept getting hit with media generated scandals that they weren’t handling well at all. The Summer School fiasco, Clare Curran’s coffee dates, criticism over our lack of criticism towards Russia, Kiwibuild hiccups – the Government was under pressure and required a game changer that would reset the narrative.
While this omnishambles was eroding the governments ability to set the narrative agenda, the new government were desperately looking for a new media team, Newsroom did a story on this in early April, just before they announced the oil exploration ban.
That the Government reset the agenda with a bold ban on oil exploration shouldn’t shock or surprise anyone the way Matthew Hooton is trying to sell it. If it should annoy anyone, it should annoy the Left that this is just climate change window dressing without a much more dramatic and immediate investment into renewables.
Let’s just remind everyone what actually happened here.
Andrew Little sees the jump in support for the Greens, realised he wasn’t connecting with the electorate in a way that Jacinda was and makes the most courageous move in NZ politics by standing down and handing it to her.
Those inside the Labour bubble get terribly excited that Labour+Greens will = 51%. Internal polling suggests this could be the case. Labour lose this as an option when their sunshine campaign of super positivity got tripped up in the 3rd week of the election when National stared down the barrel of the camera and lied directly to peoples faces by claiming Labour had an $11.7billion budget hole.
A positivity campaign only works if your opponent is being honest, the second they start lying directly about you, not pushing back makes you look weak and that’s what happened to Labour. Buy not fighting back against Joyce’s lie, Labour immediately started losing male votes who didn’t think Labour could handle the economy.
This was the difference on election night between Labour+Greens being able to govern to requiring Labour+NZFirst+Greens. This explains why Jacinda’s speech was so down, they thought they had lost it, despite being told explicitly by several of us that the specials would go our way and that we better be in a position to start thinking about how to run a Government.
The shock of not having Labour +Greens government was still there when negotiations opened. The Wellington Labour Mandarins wanted to wait this election out and restart for 2020 and they certainly didn’t want a deal with Winston because Winston’s economic agenda was actually far more interventionist than Labour were considering. The first 6 days they kept blocking any possible Labour+Green+NZFirst Government, it wasn’t until back channels were created directly between Jacinda and Winston that they managed to forge a connection and push the Wellington Mandarins to one side.
Why does any of this matter in relation to Hooton’s attempt at insight?
This Government didn’t know they were going to win and came to this without a clear path or vision. They are up against a neoliberal public service who refuse to go Left and up against a right wing corporate media who believes they were cheated.
While the new Government get to grips with how the levers of power work, they need some bold vision narrative setting like the ban on oil exploration. That shouldn’t surprise anyone the way it surprises Hooton.
The simple truth is that oil is an extinct industry and we have no choice but to end it, climate change is a reality not even Hooton can spin. That this environmental truth met with a Governments marketing strategy to regain the narrative shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Other than Hooton and the people he’s trying to convince.