The TVNZ7 promo ads

October 28th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

When I first saw the promo ad involving for a series of programmes on 7, I thought it was actually a promo ad for Bill himself :-)

So I am not surprised are upset:

Labour is crying foul over a TVNZ promotional advertisement in which Finance Minister Bill English appears as the poster boy for a series of programmes on the economy. …

The aim is to draw attention to a series of economy-focused programmes on Freeview Channel TVNZ 7 next month.

Labour’s finance spokesman David Cunliffe has questioned whether it is appropriate for the state broadcaster to use one of its shareholding ministers in what amounted to a party political broadcast. It also raised questions of editorial balance.

“It is not OK to give the Minister of Finance 135 minutes of free air time, completely coiffed and scripted, with no balancing comment.”

Even though they are advertisements, I can see Labour’s point. I doubt Nats would have enjoyed a couple of hours of ads with Michael Cullen.

He also queried whether it was appropriate for Mr English to have agreed to do the promo, given the need for ministers to adhere to strict conflict-of-interest rules. …

A spokesman for Mr English said he was invited to do the promo. He was not paid and had not scripted it himself, but had seen it and some minor adjustments were made for accuracy.

“We exerted no influence over the process.”

Oh it is silly to suggest Bill has done anything wrong. Hell what politician would turn down 135 minutes of free TV time. It would be like turning dowm Christmas.

A TVNZ spokeswoman, Andi Brotherston, said it was not considering pulling the advertisement, which is due to run until November 21.

She said the creative unit at TVNZ chose Mr English partly because of the pun on his name in the series’ title “Plain English”.

The promo went through internal approval channels, which “are set up to consider all aspects of programmes”.

When asked if it conflicted with TVNZ’s own editorial protocol, she said there was a clear delineation between news and promotions at TVNZ and the promotion had “nothing to do with news and current affairs”.

“We are not within an election time frame, so there isn’t a requirement on us to give equal time to specific parties.

“The other thing is while other parties might think it’s an ad for Bill English, if we consider it from the viewers’ point of view, they see it as the Finance Minister.

“The series is about demystifying the economy. Viewers might see it differently and they’re the people we have in mind.

“Those people may not care about the other politicians and the time they have on television.”

Yes the average person won’t care. Having said that, I do have some sympathy for Labour’s concerns. At the minimum you wouldn’t want this to become a habit.

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34 Responses to “The TVNZ7 promo ads”

  1. emmess (1,420 comments) says:

    While I said that the promo looks like a party political broadcast when I first saw it
    Labour are doing themselves no favours with their pathetic whining

    For example from the Herald
    “It is not OK to give the Minister of Finance 135 minutes of free air time, completely coiffed and scripted, with no balancing comment.”
    Ahh, Cunliffe, what do you exactly want here? A few seconds tagged on the end of the promo where you get to say “No your wrong Bill, the economy is actually in the the shit”

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  2. david (2,571 comments) says:

    Surely part of the Finance Minister’s job description includes – “talking up the economy” when necessary.

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  3. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    A spokesman for Mr English said he was invited to do the promo. He was not paid and had not scripted it himself, but had seen it and some minor adjustments were made for accuracy.

    Channel 7 head Eric Kearley told Morning Report the ad was developed by the station’s creative team and altered by Mr English’s advisors.

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  4. Big Trev (15 comments) says:

    @cha – that would be the adjustments that he mentioned already.

    So are you using the Channel 7 quote as confirmation that Bill was telling the truth – or playing conspiracy games using semantics?

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  5. CircusMind (24 comments) says:

    – She said the creative unit at TVNZ chose Mr English partly because of the pun on his name in the series’ title “Plain English”. —

    Frankly, and I say this without any hint of sarcasm, blurring the constitutional boundary between the executive and the supposedly politically neutral state sector is *totally* worth it for that fantastic pun. I lol’ed.

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  6. STC (52 comments) says:

    I’m sure they could have found people who could credibly talk about the country’s economy without wading into a political furore.

    Perhaps someone from Treasury or the Reserve Bank? I mean, if English can find the time why not Bollard?

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  7. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Ahh, Cunliffe, what do you exactly want here? A few seconds tagged on the end of the promo where you get to say “No your wrong Bill, the economy is actually in the the shit”

    That would be great – then English can add another line

    “Well thats what you get after 9 years of Labour!”

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  8. anonymouse (709 comments) says:

    You have to really wonder if TVNZ 7 a channel with no public profile, ran their promotion this close to the political wind to get themselves a pile of publicity.

    When I saw the ad after Q/A on Sunday, I thought “this will cause someone some grief”- and I am now told that it ran during the 6pm news also.

    It does appear that TVNZ 6/7 are being given much more freedom compared to the straightjacket that is the rest of TVNZ news, ’cause I am fairly sure that this would not have run for a programme on TV1.

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  9. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Oh it is silly to suggest Bill has done anything wrong. Hell what politician would turn down 135 minutes of free TV time.

    So he took 135 minutes of free TV time from a station he’s a shareholding minister in? Odd – that sounds like an argument that he has done something wrong.

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  10. David in Chch (512 comments) says:

    When I saw the ad, I thought it was a clever ad for TV7 – Plain English indeed!! It was a nice play on words, and I saw it as such. I think a lot of people need to lighten up. I mean, c’mon! Can you imagine “Plain Cunniliffe”? Doesn’t have the same ring now, does it. (Although it does make me think of something else started with a similar couple of syllables. :-) )

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  11. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    You have to really wonder if TVNZ 7 a channel with no public profile, ran their promotion this close to the political wind to get themselves a pile of publicity.

    I don’t wonder at all, they’ll be high-fiving themselves all round the office this morning…

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  12. pete (428 comments) says:

    Oh it is silly to suggest Bill has done anything wrong. Hell what politician would turn down multiple undisclosed $9999 bribes from the insurance industry 135 minutes of free TV time. It would be like turning dowm Christmas.

    Sometimes you have to resist temptation. Especially when you are tempted to do something wrong. This ought to apply to politicians too.

    [DPF: How pathetic. You compare bribery to agreeing to do a promo for a TV show. In case you are so devoid of any moral principles, let me make it simple. 99% of MPs will turn down bribes. The one Labour MP who didn't is serving six years in prison. 99% of MPs would also agree to do a promo ad for a TV show on economics. That is because most MPs, unlike you, know right from wrong]

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  13. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake… Ahead of the election, Radio New Zealand was promoting a series of debates on the economy with a prominent audio grab from Michael Cullen. At the time, I didn’t think this was some cunning plot by the liberal media to score Labour some free (and illegal) campaign ads but because… well, he was the FRAKING FINANCE MINISTER (and incidentally, a shareholding minister in Radio New Zealand). Nor do I think it’s a particularly useful exercise to go back and count how many times Helen Clark appeared into promos for TVNZ and RNZ programmes without a “balanced” grab from whoever was leading the Opposition at the time.

    And if anyone really thinks this promo was some kind of National Party advert in drag, then I’ve got my doubts they have the brain power to find a polling place, let cast a valid ballot.

    Meanwhile, I notice Cunliffe isn’t so outraged that he’s pulled out of the all-party debate moderated by TVNZ political editor Guyon Espiner… and some of us are a little more concerned that One’s supposed prime time news and current affairs coverage isn’t so much braindead as totally zombified.

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  14. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    It doesn’t look right to me and I don’t think English should have agreed to it. It’s not just that English is in the ad, the entire ad is Bill English talking up his own government.

    English featuring in the show itself is probably not such a big deal because probably no undecided voter will watch it.

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  15. Sarkozygroupie (206 comments) says:

    Wahhh, he was airbrushed, and and and he was in a suit one minute and then a polo shirt, wahhhh. quelle horreur!

    These idiots *still* haven’t got why they lost.

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  16. pete (428 comments) says:

    You compare bribery to agreeing to do a promo for a TV show.

    Don’t be disingenous. I was making the point that wanting to do something doesn’t make it right.

    99% of MPs will turn down bribes.

    Not if the bribe is in the socially approved form of an ‘anonymous’ donation to the Waitemata Trust.

    The one Labour MP who didn’t is serving six years in prison.

    The one MP who got caught, because he wasn’t receiving his bribes in the socially approved manner.

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  17. PaulL (6,030 comments) says:

    Pete – do you know the difference between a donation and a bribe? Or are they the same thing to you?

    What would that make a meeting where large amounts of money are put into a bowl and become mixed up, so “we can’t tell who donated”. Would those donations also be bribes?

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  18. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    I’m more galled that Bill English can come on my TV and talk so disingenuously about catching up with Australia, when he and John Keyless have so palpably failed to do a single thing in the last year to achieve that aim.

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  19. pete (428 comments) says:

    do you know the difference between a donation and a bribe? Or are they the same thing to you?

    The line between donations and bribes is pretty fuzzy. I’d say it’s up to voters to decide where the line is. In order to do so, they need to be aware of the donation/bribe in question.

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  20. Shane Wallis (97 comments) says:

    I am not seeing the issue in using our Finance minister to promote economy-focused programmes. From where I am looking this seems to be a highly logical thing to do.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    Thankyou Sarkozygroupie.

    Once again, whether its right or wrong or Liabore did the same (and in fact much worse) isn’t the point. English just doesn’t get it. Just like he didn’t get the point over allowances. He is becoming a liability and is trading on unprecented goodwill that will evaporate pretty smartly if this sort of rubbish continues. He was lucky this time in one respect in that this follows recent embarassments for Liabore and the meolns. On the other hand, it just drags National a little closer to the same sandpit in terms of perceptions.

    And Pete, that line is not in the least bit fuzzy. One is a bribe; the other a donation

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  22. big bruv (13,700 comments) says:

    I love the TVNZ advert for no other reason that it drives the left crazy.

    Of course the same people who are screaming blue murder thought nothing of Labour doing the same for the last nine years.

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  23. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    Having said that, I do have some sympathy for Labour’s concerns.

    As you are already aware David you have been tossed from the VRWC for previous rules and prtotocol breaches, there may have been some redemption at some time in the future but now after that egregious statement possible reconciliation is impossible.

    Might I suggest you realign your blog from Right wing to lily-livered pinko trougher.

    [DPF: If TVNZ started running promos every hour of Cullen and Clark, many on the right would have complained.]

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  24. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    Might I suggest you realign your blog

    Might I suggest that trying to realign a blog could be about as effective as trying to realign a comb-over outside in Wellington tonight.

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  25. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    “I doubt Nats would have enjoyed a couple of hours of ads with Michael Cullen.”

    I’m sure they would’ve. Otheriwse, why did this government give incompetent Cullen a NZ Post sinecure?
    NZ politicians are members of a cozy club and are all “mates”, despite their shallow differences.

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  26. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Nine fucking years of state sponsored socialist propaganda and these clowns have the nerve to get upset about an one hour programme on a channel that most don’t know exists, give me a break.

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  27. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    “Together, us Kiwis can do it.”

    I don’t know about Plain English, but it certainly isn’t the Queen’s!

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  28. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    Yes Colonel, but it is the Key’s English.

    But who knows for how much longer

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  29. V (715 comments) says:

    Good to see Labour focused on the issues that really matter once again.
    Perhaps Labour can put forward Michael the tank-theeconomy-engine Cullen to explain why he wasted so much money in government.

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  30. Viking2 (11,367 comments) says:

    She said the creative unit at TVNZ chose Mr English partly because of the pun on his name in the series’ title “Plain English”. –

    Ha,”Plain English” is a very apt description.

    Cause he is Plain, boring and lacking in imagination unless of course its to his advantage.

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  31. Alistair Miller (557 comments) says:

    Liarbore have fomented a strategy here. Their honey-traps did not work, and their own back yard is so littered with incompetence, failure and immigration scams, they have no possible way of winning in 2011 on their own merit. They have realised, however, that English and Smith are Key’s weakest links. They can’t get at Key directly, but they’ll take as many potshots as they can at Mr 20% and the godfather of the ETS. If New Zealand, Inc were a business, Key would cut English and Smith now, before they do any more damage. But it is not a business, and I suspect he thinks he needs these two to carry the South Island in 2011. I think otherwise, but I’m not the boss.

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  32. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    I doubt Nats would have enjoyed a couple of hours of ads with Michael Cullen.

    For nine long years, I reconciled myself to the unpleasant fact that Governments tend to be considered more newsworthy than Oppositions. That’s not “bias” but reality. If John Key visits London or Washington as Prime Minister, that’s going to get a damn sight more attention than any visit he paid as Opposition Leader.

    As Teddy Roosevelt famously said high office is a “bully pulpit” (in the sense of ‘very fine indeed’) when you want to be heard.

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  33. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    What side show bob and craig ranapia said.

    Although I will add “fuck off Labour”

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  34. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    This promo makes Bill look much more likeable than any of the ads National ran of Bill in 2002. With this performance, he might have got a lot more than 20%.

    But for a state broadcaster to run a free party political broadcast like this is outrageous.

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