Q+A review: Jack, Grant & Willie all shine in final show of Year


As The Daily Blog start compiling our infamous Media Awards, one Journalist keeps coming up in our lists of best journalism, and that is Jack Tame.

All year he has brought true insight into our political landscape via Q+A that marks it as the Jewel in the Public Broadcasting Current Affairs Crown of TVNZ.

His interview with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at the beginning of the year as he desperately talked down middle NZ from using the military to indiscriminately sweep the protestors from the lawns of Parliament, literally saved us from ourselves.

At a moment of true panic and threat, where the middle classes demanded the military be used to clear the lawns, Jack calmly leaned into the debate and made us all understand what the ramifications of that decision would actually provoke.

His journalism talked us down from committing to a police action that would have required so much extreme violence by the State that we would have almost inadvertently triggered a civil conflict within our own whanau.

That takes true courage and true journalistic excellence.

Today’s Q+A final was another example of its power for insights.

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Grant is such a brilliant communicator when it comes to the economy.

He’s so busy behind the scenes, you forget how good he is when he is front footing issues.

He will be needed a lot more like this as we face a recession.

He is struggling to understand Reserve Bank predictions as well. We will go up 1.8 and then down 1, but the problem is there are so many Black Swans out there that anyone of them coming home could cause serious problems.

He’s talking about focusing on inflationary pressures. He is pointing towards subsidised universals that won’t exacerbate inflation.

(Free Dental would be great Grant!)

He is getting pushed on the petrol tax extension, it would be madness to drop it in January, but the closer it gets to the recession, the longer he’ll have to keep it.

Jack asks sharp questions about immigration noting KiwiBank are predicting a large influx of migrant workers. Once migrant labour inflows start hurting the unemployment rate there will be real friction.

Grant is selling himself as a safe pair of hands at a time when many Kiwis are going to feel frightened about the downtown.

He’s arguing about regulating capitalism when he should be bashing the bloody banks, but he’s being far too polite!

He deviates from Orr by refusing to just trash jobs.

Jack hits back with the quality of spending and asks what has Grant learned.

Grant’s answer is that in a real time crisis like a pandemic there is always a cost and he doesn’t recoil from that when he compares how NZ got through Covid compared to the rest of the world.

It’s that certainty in his decision making that voters need to hear and understand. He did a great interview.

The silliness of the 60% entrenchment is touched upon and accepted it can’t stand.

This is one of Willie’s best interviews of the year. Calm, across the numbers and very funny.

The Broadcasting Minister has been under a torrent of criticism over the RNZ/TVNZ merger because many private media see the loss of funding from NZ on Air as a direct threat to their own revenue streams.

His announcement that he has put legislation forward to create content licensing from the big Tech players to the tune of $20million to $50 million a year allows those private media a new revenue stream to fund the Journalism that those Big Tech players are undermining.

Google and Facebook should pay to fund the journalism their product undermines.

It is a market solution to a market problem and escapes the accusation that the $55million Public Media Journalism Fund is State propaganda.

This money can replace that revenue stream while the funds taken from NZ on Air to the new ANZPM should be seen less as money for ANZPM to increase capacity and more as budget to subcontract out to other private media partners.

Instead of NZ on Air giving Spinoff money for another angry feminist podcast, it will be ANZPM who will commission the Spinoff to do another angry feminist podcast.

Willie accepts that some people are always going to see money in public broadcasting as biased and he reminds everyone that the end product and viewer experience is ultimately what will decide the success of the merger. As a former broadcaster, he gets the end user experience is the ultimate adjudicator. Something many bureaucrats always forget.

He hasn’t released the redacted costings because he can’t release commercial secrets and he is very clear editorial sovereignty will rest with the journalists.

He can’t help if a change of Government comes in and destroys the merger and points out that National always underfund public services.

He shrugs off the cost of the specialist expertise because that’s the price.

The threat of Jack being left to host Treasure Island is too awful to consider.

With a new revenue stream and a newly commissioning public broadcaster on top of extra funding for Māori, Pacifica and Community media, Willie Jackson will have ended the year providing solutions while getting the TVNZ/RNZ merger across the line.

The newly merged public broadcaster would represent the first actual achievement of Labour implementing anything from their 2017 manifesto!

I know, the first actual achievement in 5 years.

Willie Jackson reminding everyone why he’s called the postman, because he always delivers.

Thomas Coughlan’s po-faced review of Willie’s interview is surprisingly humourless and disappointingly pearl clutching. Willie was clearly joshing around with Jack, he did answer the questions and I don’t think Jack seriously thought his job was under any threat. Thomas seemed triggered.


Q+A is must watch weekly political TV because its live insights are multi-platformable (which makes it a rare media product that is future proofed) WHILE maintaining a mass audience (which in an age of echo chambers is equally rare).

It will be essential viewing for the election next year.

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  1. An interesting insight. However I don’t believe that Grant could ever be considered a safe pair of hands in the way that say Cullen, English, or even Joyce were. Remember that Clark/Cullen were kicked out, as the country stare down the barrel of the global financial crisis, in favour of an unknown John Key. This government have poor financial management credibility and will go the same way.

  2. Jack Tame is truly the ”Forensic Scientist of Journalism”…thank goodness we have him to give us an analysis and overview.
    Well done Jack…appreciate your excellent crystal clear perception.

  3. Maybe you’re channelling what you hope to see @ Martyn – i.e. no shit Willie calling out the crap in his mischievious way. Unfortunately we’re in a different era, and the MSM and spin meister’s consensus is that he blew it.
    Nobody wants to see PSB more than me. I don’t want a ‘merger’. I want a fucking takeover of TVNZ by RNZ, AND as an ICE rather than ACE. And that – just as a 1st step.
    As usual, Labour appears to have complicated the uncomplicated because of their utter commitment to neo-lib/3rd way economic orthodoxy.
    Zero! that’s right Z E R O needs to be spent on consultants (and there are cloudy non-transparent figures around that).
    Zero! that’s right Z E R O needs to be spent on branding and spin, and certainly NOTHING on overpaid, template-driven, so-called ‘independent consultants.
    Nobody cares much whether RNZ National, Concert FM, RNZ Pacific, Television 1 and Television 3 and Duke have the same “branding” when they get the operation and transition.
    They’ve quite possibly blown it – but then they were always at a disadvantage as soon as Jacinder appointed the Fa’ aafoi to hold the reigns

    That latest Curia shit that puts 54% agin is somewhat disingenuous as well. A high percentage are likely to be pissed at the use and cost of those consultants for little gain AND the lack of trenzpearinsy in that space, going forward. And nor do they see the need for a ‘branding’ exercise,
    Don’t quote me – but I think that was around $4m. It was around the celery of the last TVNZ CEO anyway.
    Imagine how much content could one (including you) have come up with for that amount.

  4. I didn’t see Willie on that show. I saw TV1 news tonight which presented the view from the interview that what’s coming is Willie taking over editorial control.

  5. The right wing media from Tory talk Zb, Tory times herald, TV1 & 3 tory view, and various media lunatics. With regards Joyce, Prebble, Hooten they are all failures and losers of no consequence. Lowest inflation in the worls, record low unemployment, record export receipts, social and private building boom, lower hose prices, Hospitals coping, – Grant runs rings around willis and will do so in the future. Luxon and wills are do nothing fools. Wait for Jacinda and Grant on the war path in 2023 while Natz dirty politics tries to dig up dirt on Labour, Greens and NZ 1st.

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