A Holt to impartial Breakfast TV?

News tellers were again news stories yesterday. Hillary Barry is moving from one TV show to another. Whoop de do. The content of Breakfast and Seven Sharp is largely dictated by producers and their commercial interests. Presenters are more entertainment actors than anything.

A more controversial show shift was also broadcast, ensuring pre-publicity for TVNZ.

Megan Gattey at Stuff asks Is it OK for ex-Green Party candidate Hayley Holt to host TVNZ’s Breakfast

Is it ethical for a former political party candidate to host a national TV show when interviewing other politicians is part of the job description? How will former Green Party candidate Hayley Holt juggle her greenie convictions with her new job hosting TVNZ 1’s Breakfast?

Holt, who stood for the Green Party in the 2017 election, is replacing Hilary Barry on Breakfast. She will start in the role on the first show of the year, this coming Monday, presenting alongside Jack Tame.

Journalists must remain independent from political and commercial influences, but Holt has insisted her political past would not lead to biased interviewing.

“I’m quite happy to play the role of devil’s advocate for any political party – or any guest in studio,” she said.

“When I was representing the Green Party, I was 100 per cent true to their message. In this new role I have the opportunity to look at things from all perspectives.”

That doesn’t say much for her political credentials, but if she was able to act 100 percent true to the Green message then perhaps she is capable of switching to being 100 per cent true to a TV show message.

No longer a Green Party member, Holt said she was “excited for this new venture”.

“I’ve ceased my party council work and resigned my Green Party membership,” she said.

TVNZ head of news and current affairs John Gillespie said he was confident Holt would interview fairly and objectively.

“Hayley is well aware of her journalistic responsibilities and the need to conduct interviews fairly and impartially. There are a number of editorial producers and relevant systems in place to make sure this occurs,” he said.

I have no idea whether Holt will be fair and objective or not, I don’t think I’ve seen her doing anything on TV, despite her being promoted (when a Green candidate) as some sort of ‘celebrity’.

At least if she interviews James Shaw or Marama Davidson some viewers will be aware of her previous political obedience.

Massey University journalism programme leader James Hollings said it was not unethical for Holt to host Breakfastgiven that she’s resigned” from the Green Party.

“As long as she can claim to be impartial then I don’t think it’s too unreasonable,” he said.

But a more important point:

Hollings said it was disappointing that Holt was “the best New Zealand could come up with”.

“She’s not a trained journalist for a start,” he said.

Actual journalism seems to be not that important any more for TV shows, at least on the surface.

(AUT journalism programme leader Richard) Pamatatau said Holt seemed to fit the kind of look Kiwis were used to seeing on their TV screens: “a sporty, blonde, white woman – interesting, edgy but not too edge – very conventionally attractive”.

How superficial is that? Especially from a journalism programme leader – is that what they teach these days?

“There is plenty of lived experience. She is very relatable.”

She is “a New Zealand snowboarder and ballroom dancer notable for her appearances on several reality television series”. Has reality TV become the new breeding ground for politicians?

Pamatatau hoped Holt would be “smart enough to leave politics behind”.

“The next question is, will she use this to boost her profile even more, so when the next election comes around she’ll be even more of a household name?”

That’s a good question. In Hayley Holt: Why I’m starting again she stated:

“I’ve always been interested in politics. I thought I might get into it a bit later in life but it’s just happened that it’s now.”

I guess presenting Breakfast is another way of being involved in politics, amongst the dross of morning TV. Is it another step in her broadcasting career, or a stepping stone for her political ambitions?

She may make a good presenter even if it’s a sideshow in her career path. I may or may not find out, breakfast TV has too much trivial and trite stuff to attract me usually.

How Green is this PR?

When I saw this headline I thought it was relevant to a post I wanted to do:  How PR ‘completely transformed’ New Zealand politics: Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader

But it was another sort of PR – proportional representation. The post was by the UK Electoral Reform Society.

What I wanted to write about was this ‘Public Relations’ exercise by the Greens:


That image is very young female dominant.

Remember Jeannette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald? The current crop of Greens seem to have forgotten about the past.

The Greens are obviously trying to repackage themselves and attract more voters.

The target of this PR is not the hippy greens, nor the impoverished people the Greens say the represent, nor the Maori that Metiria Turei had seemed keen on targeting not long ago.

This is certainly a new Green image, without much green showing at all, in colour and in character.

It’s a curious combination of personal. The only ones on the North & South cover who are current MPs are co-leaders Turei and James Shaw, neither of whom look like they would be at home in a garden.

The others are all candidates for this year’s election.

Only one of them, John Hart, has stood for the Greens before. He was 18 on their list last election, and has climbed to 12 on their ‘initial list’ announced last week. If he remains around that position on their final list (after members vote on it) he stands a very good chance of becoming an MP. It doesn’t look it in the cover photo but he’s a farmer.

Next is Chloe Swarbrick, placed at 13 on the initial list so a god chance of success. She is young (22) and was given a lot of publicity by media in the Auckland mayoral contest last year, and more since then. She chose Greens to advance her political career, but she’s a young urban whose green credentials aren’t clear.

Then there’s Golriz Ghahraman, at 15 on the initial list in the maybe zone. They currently have 14 MPs and will either have to increase their vote or Ghahraman will have to improve her position on the final list. She has impressive credentials – Barrister, United Nations Consultant (International Human Rights Law, Justice), United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime – but is far from a typical Green.

And there is Hayley Holt, she has pretty much no show from 29 on the initial list (the Greens only show the Top 20 Green Party Candidates on their candidate photo page. She is “snowboarder and ballroom dancer notable for her appearances on several reality television series”. gain not a very typical greenie.

I presume the Greens have done their research and are targeting the trendy urban celebrity (mainly Auckland) voter types.

But they risk losing traditional green support.

Possibly more importantly, they may find that the fluid Green support, those who like a strong environmental voice in Parliament (I’ve voted Green on that basis in the days of Donald and Fitzsimons), may not like what they see in the New Green look.



…is barely green.

I barely recognised James Shaw on the cover, and didn’t recognise John Hart. This is his Green candidate photo:


Maybe the typical North & South readers don’t like the typical Green look. (I think Hart would be a good MP).

Remember how Greens used to look?


Will Greens refresh?

Will the Green party refresh by promoting new talent up their list?

They have a democratic process for selecting their list, but this has tended to favour incumbent MPs over new blood.

Recently Chlöe Swarbrick announced that she had joined the Greens and wanted to stand next year.

Greens have just announced another recruit: Hayley Holt to run for Parliament as Green Party candidate

TV presenter and sportswoman Hayley Holt will stand for the Green Party at next year’s general election.

In a major coup for the Greens, the popular broadcaster, former competitive snowboarder and environmental activist has formally signed up as a candidate and will be added to the party’s list.

The 36-year-old also believes Parliament needs younger, more interesting MPs.

“I don’t want politics to be boring. It looks boring at the moment and we’ve got some really fresh, exciting faces with the Greens coming through and hopefully we can add some energy into it.”

I don’t know if “it looks boring at the moment” was meant to the Greens, but it easily could. But:

Holt’s chances of getting into Parliament will depend on her list placing, which is decided by party members.

This will in part depend on whether any more Green MPs decided to stand down – they have already replaced Russel Norman and Kevin Hague this term.

The Greens can’t rely on a 50% increase in party vote and MP numbers like they did last election – they were disappointed to make no gains.

Swarbrick has said she wants to contest an electorate. Holt ‘is considering a bid for the Helensville seat held by Prime Minister John Key.

The Greens have preferred, strongly, to promote the greater Green good which means party vote.

New candidates wanting to promote themselves via electorates may not be appreciated.

The Green list will be interesting, especially whether “some really fresh, exciting faces” get winnable rankings.