I’ve just been asked to meet a group of civil society leaders from Afghanistan who are coming to NZ to observe the election.
I hate to think what impressions they will go away with, based on the media coverage of the election. They will think New Zealand is such a perfect country with no crime, no poverty, no unemployment, no trade issues, no defence issues, no economic challenges, no debt as the major focus of the media has been on whether the Prime Minister said that NZ First support is dying off – something that has been said hundreds of times before by political reporters and commentators.
How will I explain to them that this gets more coverage than any other issue of the campaign?
When they refer to the debt crisis in Europe, and ask what did the party leaders say about the fact that France is hovering on the brink of a credit downgrade also, and what impact could this have on NZ, I’ll have to say I’m sorry but that wasn’t deemed worth talking about.
Thanks to TV3 everyone knows more or less what was said in the chat. There was obviously a reference to it being hard work to manage Don Brash at times, and to NZ First support base dying off. Neither of these statements are remarkable. The language used was not as delicate as one would use in public, but that is the difference between a private conversation, and a private chat. when you are chatting to someone one on one with no (known) recording devices in front of you, you don’t carefully consider every vowel you utter. This is not hypocrisy or inconsistency – it is human behaviour.
I do heaps of media work now. How I talk on air is quite different to how I talk one on one to people. I never say anything I don’t believe, but I carefully weigh up my words on air. The same goes for every journalist in the land, except maybe Colin James whose columns and conversations are near identical 🙂
So yes John Key said the NZ First support base is dying off. Wow wee. Does this mean he hates pensioners and wants them all to drop dead so they can’t vote for Winston? Of course not. He simply told John Banks why he didn’t think NZ First were likely to make it back.
UPDATE: For my 2c worth, if I was the PM I would go on Close Up tonight and give Sainsbury permission to quote from the transcript and have PM answer questions on it. Then everyone sees what a beat up it is, and the election can focus on the important issues.