Phil Twyford has been joined by Andrew Little in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They had a moderately successful conference with a big policy release.
One media outlet pointed out that their costing of it at $60 million did not add up, and they them revealed that they were assuming beneficiaries would only spend four months in paid work, despite the policy saying six months.
Now if they had just accepted that they did not make their communications material at all clear, then the story would have been a one day wonder.
Instead Twyford and Little have successfully managed to have the narrative all about their attack on the journalist concerned, and the fact their policy wasn’t up front on the assumptions for the entire week. There’s been multiple stories in all the major news outlets and it has knocked out any positive coverage of the conference.
So a totally self inflicted blow.
The latest story in the Herald reports:
Little said Labour’s concerns with 1 News’ report were “being dealt with formally” but would not confirm if an official complaint had been lodged.
Twyford said they were lodging an official complaint. But presumably they realised it would have no chance of being upheld by TVNZ or the BSA so decided to settle for the Trump tactic of declaring you will take action, but not actually doing it.
John Gillespie, 1 News head of news and current affairs, said the network “absolutely stands by the journalism and the journalist.”
“We are more than happy for Labour to follow the standard process and submit a formal complaint which will be assessed against relevant Broadcasting Standards.”
So if Labour really think that a story pointing out that their costings were based on four not six months is “unprofessional” and “biased” then why haven’t they complained?
Anyway the issue isn’t so much the story, but Labour turning one minor bad story into a week of bad stories. Why did they think having a senior MP attacking a press gallery journalist on Twitter would be a good idea, and then have the leader follow up?