The Working Group Ep 2 – with Matthew Hooton, Matt McCarten & Damien Grant


7.30pm tonight is the The Working Group – the Newest & Greatest weekly political podcast not funded by NZ on Air!

Coming to you live from the Auckland MediaWorks Studio –

The Working Group – hosted by beloved left wing broadcaster Comrade ‘Bomber’ Bradbury with the best political panel in New Zealand media!

This week libertarian liquidator and Ctullah of capitalism, Damien Grant, Moral Shepard of the Right, Matthew Hooton and Former Labour Chief of Staff & left wing Obi Won Kenobi, Matt McCarten.

Providing insight and oversight to the 3 big issues of the political week.

The podcast broadcasts live at 7.30pm Mondays on Facebook, YouTube & The Daily Blog and posted up afterwards on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Rova & Youtube.

We we’re going to call it the ‘heteronormative white cis male hour of power’ but apparently Mike Hosking already has the rights to that name so we considered ‘They can’t cancel us all’ but feared giving the woke a goal.

TDB Recommends

We settled on ‘The Working Group’ which is the name of our weekly MagicTalk Friday night end of political week wrap up because we are basically very lazy and have short attention spans. We decided that everyone else’s Political Podcasts were awful so why shouldn’t we produce the greatest and funniest podcast not funded by NZ on Air.

It will be politics like you aren’t allowed to listen to.


  1. I really enjoyed that Martyn. There were some interesting thoughts and I agreed and disagreed with things that each person said but it was funny and thoughtful. The best part, however, was that four people with some very differing views (and some they agreed on) could discuss politics with humour and without hate. While there are many issues that concern me probably the ones I get most concerned about is that, as a country, we seem to be losing our sense of humour, our ability to laugh at ourselves, the ability to genuinely listen and reflect and to debate and disagree without hate and trying to denigrate others and use perjorative terms rather than reasoned argument.
    I think it was one of the most important lessons my parents taught me. One voted National (as did their parents) while the other voted Labour (as did their parents). Each election they would go to the polling booth and cancel out each others vote but the idea that they shouldn’t vote was anathema to them. They considered it their civic duty. I came to recognise the influence of their respective backgrounds and upbringings on their political allegiances. What I was never in any doubt of though, was both their commitments to helping others, social justice, the value of community and civic responsibility. And it wasn’t just talk. They put time and money into practically helping people and being involved in community action and support. Over the years I’ve heard countless stories from people who they helped in different ways and at times when they themselves were in very tight financial circumstances. It was a huge lesson that people of different views can work together when they look beyond personal differences.

  2. One or two of Matthew Hooten’s comments were more than a little disturbing. In particular, his repeated claim that Jacinda must be “hoping” (his word) for Covid to return (next winter, I think he said).

    There was no sense that he was “just kidding”.

    Isn’t that just a tad psychopathic?

    • I wouldn’t call them disturbing. More a reflection of what most of the commentators said at some point. The reality is that a disaster is generally a major boon for an incumbent leader. Ardern has had wall to wall coverage in a way that no politician would normally get. She’s been on our screen making pronouncements like “be kind’ and appearing to keep us all safe. In the early days any voice that took a different view was treated with virtual hate. Unless you make a meal of handling a disaster they are actually a godsend for a politician. It was Jim Anderton who once said, after standing for mayor of Christchurch, it is near impossible to run against an incumbent during a crisis unless they majorly stuff it up.
      And some do. Trump was a virtual shoe-in for re-election until Covid happened and he seriously mis-managed it. What has become more obvious in NZ politics in recent weeks is that Ardern’s communication skills have taken a little bit of a hammering as people have got fatigued with Covid and tired of being locked down. She has been avoiding some of the tough questions and they are only going to increase. As long as Covid is largely contained the focus will go more and more on housing, poverty, inequality etc and Labour seem bereft of ideas. If the economy starts to tank then the pressure will intensify and she seems a lot less comfortable with situations she can’t control. Up to now they have been able to ram through legislation without much scrutiny or opposition but that will change.
      What Hooton is saying is essentially correct. As long as there is a national crisis like Covid the government can keep things locked down, appeal to the ‘team of 5 million’, appear of TV with patsy questions from Jessica and Tova and not have to deal with some of the real issues. As the crisis diminishes so the focus goes on the problem areas. Another crisis means they can shift the focus away again.
      That’s not a left, centrist or right view. It is not saying another government would have handled it better or worse. It is just a simple political reality that a major disaster or crisis gifts a government the potential for powers, media coverage, adulation and lack of hard scrutiny that they would otherwise never have.

      • It is not saying another government would have handled it better or worse.

        Had we had a National govt during the pandemic we would now be in a quite different situation, as the Nats were continually calling to “open the borders”.

        If Hooten had acknowledged the outstanding success of this govt in dealing with the pandemic, then his words may have sounded less macabre.

    • I think it was said in the spirit that unless Ardern has a covid situation to handle, she will need to face up to the real problems of child poverty, health, schooling, 3 waters, Maori sovereignty, house pricing, etc. issues.

      A situation she and her fairly lacklustre team (below the top three) may well find difficult to address.

      • Agree that there are serious problems that need to be addressed. How ironic that it’s now down to National and Act to call out inequality, poverty, house prices etc.

  3. Quote of the week.
    About Labour’s achievement to date.
    “In a post-modern way, 100,000 houses have been built!”✊

  4. What struck me most was that all 3 (Hoots, Grant and McCarten from across the political spectrum) were in broad agreement with the concept of bureaucratic managerialism. As McCarten said (to paraphrase) – they don’t actually have to DO anything of any use.
    And since, as Robert Reid said:
    “No one mentions that every government is a coalition between elected governing party(s) and the senior bureaucrats.
    The bureaucracy acts as more of a handbrake than NZ First ever did.
    But most *ruling* parties let it continue to dictate policy.

    The managerialist bureaucrats are also the gatekeepers with a vested interest in preserving the status quo, even though at times they may not be consciously aware of it. Usually it’s not the worker-bee public servants at the coalface either.
    It has all become an artform however.
    Virtual action: You can just say something, and it shall be so – for example being kind and transformational, which would imply doing things differently and being a bit progressive.
    Being on message and good communication skills are one thing, but if and when you don’t achiever the things you say you’re going to do within a reasonable timeframe, people begin to see through the PR and spin, and that’s where we at now
    Hopefully Labour won’t be in for too rude a shock in ’23 because the alternatives are worse, but if they do can out – nobody should be surprised.
    Worker exploitation. Immigration fuckuos. MIQ fuckups, Building and Housing problems. Krekshuns. Etc., etc., etc.
    Labour really do need to call in the bullshit detector specialists because it’s going to be their downfall

Comments are closed.