The headline in the Herald was:

Henare not up to the job, indicates PM

The first paragraph was:

Prime Minister John Key has given a brutal assessment of what he thinks of National MP ’s qualifications for the job of .

So what brutal things did John Key say about Tau?

 Mr Key said National would work with other Parliamentary parties to find somebody who was acceptable to them

That’s it? Out of that statement you run a headline of PM indicates Henare “not up to the job” and call that a “brutal assessment”.

It is quite reasonable to do some analysis of context and speculate that the PM’s comments indicate he may not think Henare would be acceptable to other parties. Reading between the lines is part of the job.

But you can take that too far. In no way did the PM indicate Tau is “not up to the job” let alone make a “brutal assessment” of him. How can anyone call his fairly bland comment a brutal assessment? There is also a difference between being supported by other parties, and being “up to the job”. Before he became Speaker, Labour were very hesitant about Lockwood becoming Speaker – and he turned out to be brilliant.

A brutal assessment would be saying “MP X is not up to the job of Speaker, and would not be acceptable to Parliament”.

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