But there is another sadness I want to keep separate from that tribute. Some of the MP and audience behaviour was, sadly, inappropriate.
Sad note #1
Clare Curran started on Twitter before the show began:
Peter Dunne has a cheek turning up to
#backbenches how’s he going to spin it? #SaveTVNZ7
Curran has a cheek. Perhaps she’s annoyed she didn’t get invited on for the fianl panel. Peter Dunne was invited to be on the panel, so why shouldn’t he “turn up”.
Dunne has been a vocal supporter of TVNZ 7. I’m not sure what more Curran expected of him.
Curran has been campaigning hard to retain TVNZ 7 – but this has been over the past couple of months, when the close of the channel was inevitable. So her campaign has been far too late.
Curran has put forward a Member’s Bill to try and save TVNZ 7, but this only happened in the last few weeks, and there hasn’t even been a ballot for Member’s Bills since. It appears to be a “Look at me! I’m doing something!” – but far too late. If she was serious about saving TVNZ 7 this shouldn have been tried a year ago.
Sad note #2
The crowd at Back Benches has become more partisan, and at times very disrespectful. This was evident at the start last night, as described by David Farrar on Kiwiblog- The final TVNZ7 Backbenches:
So many good things about Backbenchers, and I will miss it. But there were two or three issues which did detract from it.
The first is the behaviour of some in the audience. We saw this tonight where they booed and hissed as Peter Dunne got introduced. I will heckle (hopefully something humourous) an MP when they say something worth heckling, but would never ever boo or hiss an MP – as would be the case for most people.
But the partisan activists who regularly jeer, boo and hiss those they disagree with did the show a dis-service. And if no other broadcaster does pick up the show, then I happen to know their behaviour has been an element in that. Certain broadcasting executives have commented on some of the appalling rudeness.
It was a rude beginning to the programme. Shame.
Sad note #3
The show always ends with the panellists giving a final word with “I’ve been thinking”.
Peter Dunne was first, and he paid tribute to Back benches and TVNZ 7. Similar sentiments were expressed by some of the other panelists.
Jacinda Adern had the final word. She paid tribute, but then chose to address Peter Dunne and asked him to use his “balance of power” vote to save TVNZ 7. How the heck does she expect him to do that? He is not responsible for not renewing funding for TVNZ 7 – a Labour government put a limited timeframe on funding and National chose not to extend it.
There has been nothing in parliament for Dunne to support. The shutting down of TVNZ 7 is not his responsibility, as far as I can see. I suppose he could have not supported the budget because it didn’t include funding, and that may have broiught down the government. I guess that’s what Adern wants, and she doesn’t care about how ludicrous that would have been.
What was Adern thinking? I doubt she thought it through much if at all. She often speaks in repeat stock phrases, so saying something thoughtful may be difficult for her.
I’ve been thinking – that some Labour MPs (and some supporters) spend far too much time on petty and thoughtless politicking, and not enough time being thoughtful.