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Tova O’Brien’s ‘gotcha’ political journalism lazy and tired – many better reasons to attack Simon Bridges

By   /  August 17, 2018  /  13 Comments

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There are plenty of good reasons to bash Simon Bridges, what he spends on travel really ins’t one of them. This is lazy journalism and we shouldn’t celebrate it, even if it’s embarrassing our collective enemy, the National Party.

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I’ve never rated Tova O’Brien. She is a creation of the Paddy Gower Gotcha Current affairs which manages to turn every molehill into a mountain.

Tova’s body of political journalism all looks like the policing of micro aggressions only she can see and be outraged by.

Newshub going to town over Bridges expenses is just more cheap Paddy Gower Gotcha current affairs.

What MPs spend is spit in an ocean of the Budget, it’s called the cost of a functioning democracy and constantly playing up what MPs spend simply seeks to tap into everyone’s dislike of politicians and that feeds the neoliberal small Government myth.

We’ve always had this in NZ, especially with the increase of MPS to 120 for MMP.

There are plenty of good reasons to bash Simon Bridges, what he spends on travel really ins’t one of them. This is lazy journalism and we shouldn’t celebrate it, even if it’s embarrassing our collective enemy, the National Party.



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  1. R.P Mcmurphy says:

    too right. it is lazy journalism but it is good enough to keep bashing him when there is nothing else. so how do you balance infantilism against political manoeuvre

    • Christine says:

      Bashing for the sake of bashing – a waste of time and energy – and a diversion, possibly a deliberate diversion – from major issues. It’s bread and circuses.

  2. Tom Gardner says:

    Quite so. It might be more sensible to bag those MPs with tiny travel budgets, likely reflecting that they are sitting around too much and not getting out and about.

  3. Aaron says:

    She’s not a journalist, she’s a sensationalist. Any journalism she produces is merely coincidental.

  4. Gary says:

    100% correct Martin. Its on a par with Rachael Maddow presenting a part of Trumps 2007 tax return. Fake news Kiwi style.

  5. Black Lemming says:

    Simon Bridges splurging $ 114,000 getting “out and about ” for 3 months is a glorified piss trip and should be payed for by the National Party not the tax payer .With so many families on the breadline every week its a total insult .

    The attempt to raise his appallingly low acceptance rating may have backfired .

    Don’t underestimate the anger of mainstream NZ ,a cheap shot from Tova maybe but I would bet his popularity will now track down not up .

    Maybe not such a cheap shot after all .

    I notice Jaccinda is putting all her MP’s in mini vans and driving around in an old ute. Smart move .

    We know what happened to Rodney ” Stop the perks” Hyde ,also caught ripping off the public purse .Bye Bye Rodney .

    Slurping the Moet , in the back of the Crown Limo while giving the finger to all those sleepy hobbit peasants outside ,is just plain offensive to ordinary Kiwi’s, even if it is a tiny fraction of government expenditure .

    Less ” arrogance and entitlement” and more” humility ” may serve Mr Bridges far better.

    Speaking of Mr Simon “Blue -Green ” Bridges , he has recently endorsed an Independent NZ Climate Commission under the Zero Carbon Act but won’t be bound by its directives .Real Leadership .

    Ok , so while we are entering the worlds 6 th Mass Extinction under climate breakdown ,he’s prepared to nothing other than preach growth , growth, growth till the planet dies.

    Got my vote .Yeah right .Top Guy .Another Moet anyone ?

    • Andrea says:

      Thank you, Black Lemming. Agree.

      Mr Bridges frequently hammers on about the Coalition’s feckless fiscal policies and black holes and incompetence.

      What this leak shows is – someone doesn’t like his hypocrisy and mendacity. Thrifty? Smart money management and economic nouse? Don’t think so, based on the figures and the reasons.

      Nice bloke? Not. He still carries that Key twang and simper when he speaks. But he’s a useful little sock puppet. Hope they keep him a while longer.

      Personally don’t like ‘Gotcha!’ reporting. Creepy. Curtain twitcher hot goss that seems to be a Kiwi staple. But it suits the National psyche, so let it stand.

  6. Keepcalmcarryon says:

    Bash away at Bridges, what’s this moralistic obsession with not pointing out reckless use of taxpayer funds?If the media let this slide we would all accuse them of bias and wonder why they werent pointing out National are a bunch of troughers spending 3 x what everybody else does out together. ( literally, read the breakdown of spending)
    I thought the Nats were the personal responsibility small government brigade?

  7. Andrew says:

    Whilst I agree with the thrust of the article (yes, obviously all NZ media are shit) I’m not sure why you think there are lots of reasons to attack Soimon Bridges.

    He seems a reasonable fellow, if inept as a political leader.

  8. Nick Stone says:

    Analysis of previous press releases and expense releases show that 2-3 years ago, PS (who get billed for Leader of the Opp and The Speaker) and MS (who get billed for Ministers) paid the same rate. Some time in the last 2 years PS’ rates jumped up. I’ve seen something in the past along the lines of MS also paying some kind of seperate bulk charge that pays for crown limo service overheads etc.
    I’d say that PS higher hourly rate accounts for the fact they don’t. I would suggest that in the wash up, they actually pay about the same, but in different ways. If MS do indeed pay a bulk charge, it would go against a specific Minister, so wouldn’t appear on the quarterly releases (which only detail individual Minister spending).
    The other thing which makes this a yawn is that the crown limo service is a 24/7 thing. There will be a substantial amount of sunk costs in providing that. In other words, if Bridges (or any of the crown limo service clients for that fact) say pay for a taxi or rent a car, they’re actually wasting taxpayer money. Because they are paying for a taxi, and also paying for a limo sitting in a garage with a paid driver NOT to do that job.
    I get that Ministers and LOO and all the other clients need a service. Hell…do you really want the Minister of Defence leaving cabinet papers in an Uber?? Do you think the PM can have a candid phone call with another Minister with a cabbie listening in?? That’s why they have a crown limo service with paid drivers who probably have top secret security clearance.
    So long as they can show that they are top of their controllable expenses (and maybe get a few more EVs into their fleet), I’m OK with this. No other country puts them in cabs. They all have a service like that for a reason. Besides, Ministers are time-poor. I’d suggest you’d want them working in the back of a limo, than driving themselves and wasting that time.

  9. sumsuch says:

    I know the Left blogs like to over-villainize the contemporary National Party. Since the present leader’s main moves are to out-progressive the government I can’t see much wrong with him. I do surveys for r & r and in a political one I described him as moderate. And apart from knots in their brains and taking up space temporally, the last 9 years was a Neolberal ode to Keith Holyoake. They didn’t understand their obligation to social democracy and thus couldn’t acknowledge it, hence their mean recognition at Jim Anderton and Ranginui Walker’s deaths … but it was in them, like us.

    Scared about their children who don’t understand these things in their marrow.

  10. Danyl Strype says:

    > “We’ve always had this in NZ, especially with the increase of MPS to 120 for MMP.”

    120 probably isn’t enough. We had 100 MPs when our population was a hair over 3 million. Now it’s approaching double that, it would probably be more representative to increase parliament to 150 MPs.

    Ideally, some of the new MPs would represent the 1 million or so kiwis who currently live outside the country. Imagine if we could sign up to a “diaspora roll”, with the number of MPs representing the diaspora chosen proportionately, as it is with the Māori roll. This would encourage kiwis living outside Aotearoa to register and vote, as there would be campaigns specifically aimed at making sure we do so, by those who want to be our MPs. It would also help to make sure that our views are not squeezed out of the political debate by the various economic factors that squeeze our ability to live at home.

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