I’ve had a chance to liksten to the final Waatea 5th estate of the year, possibly the final show altogether unless they receive NZ On Air funding for next year’s election campaigning.
In Martyn Bradbury’s introduction he said “where we wrap the most important news events with the best political panel on television. Joining us tonight to wrap the political year for our final show of 2016…”
He named a heap of people on the social media panel, saying “follow them tonight for the last time using the hashtag #waatea5thestate”. That sounds more final.
On the panel were deputy mayor of Auckland, Penny Hulse, union secretary Mike Treen, Marama Fox (Maori Party) and Grant Robertson (Labour).
The first issue discussed was housing and associated with that, welfare. The Government deserves a fair bit of criticism on housing but this was just about as over the top as you could get. It was a bashing.
The most notable comment was from Penny Hulse, saying that the Auckland council had given the Government the tools they needed via the Unitary Plan so the Government should just build houses now. The Unitary Plan took 6 years (although the building consents and land availability go back much longer) – has it even taken effect yet? To join in the Government bashing without a glimmer of taking any responsibility was a bit rich from Hulse.
Bradbury: “The second issue of the year was spin. Never before has information been so manipulated.” Pot (albeit a small one) calling a large kettle black.
He reeled of a number of justified and stupid gripes, one of the worst manipulation of information being “forty one thousand homeless people aren’t really homeless” – that was a dig at a supposed claim from the Government but it depends on how ‘homeless’ is defined. University of Otago researcher suggests the actual number of what most people would view as homeless is about 10% of that:
If the homeless population were a hundred people, 70 are staying with extended family or friends in severely crowded houses, 20 are in a motel, boarding house or camping ground, and 10 are living on the street, in cars, or in other improvised dwellings.
Also “and the three hundred thousand kids in poverty aren’t really in poverty” is an ongoing spin, depending on what ‘poverty’ is defined as.
It was another Government bashing and Grant Robertson joined in but got a return serve from Marama Fox.
Bradbury: Marama what was your favourite political spin of the year?
Marama: Look ah actually Bomber you know what I’ve found as a newbie to politics is that these guys, Grant I love you, you know I do, but you guys are just as good at spin as the blue ones are as good at spin.
You guys spin this stuff out of control all the time to get some political leverage over each other. I am absolutely sick of the spin. Can we just tell the truth.
You know everybody moans about “oh you’re at the table blah blah blah, what has that got for you. Well I’ll tell you what it got for us because we’re at the table. Paula Bennett now spends $41 million on emergency housing….because we’re at the table. She is now implementing the Utah model that I gave her.
Bradbury spluttered a bit over that, then said “um, imagine all of the things you’re going to be able to do ah Marama if you’re at a Labour Party government next year, you’ll be able to do a hell of a lot more”.
Andrew Little has attacked the Maori Party recently and Labour want to obliterate them from Parliament.
Then, ironically, the third issue of the year was “the appalling state of journalism and the rise of click bait bullshittery”.
Bradbury then said “how can you get progressive visions out to the public when most of our media sound like Fox News?” Slater thinks the ‘media party’ bats for the other side. Perhaps it’s mostly somewhere in between these two extremists.
Bradbury: “I mean if you look at the coverage of the Unitary Plan it was literally the end of Western civilisation as we understood it, cats and dogs would start living together, planes would fall from the sky. None of that has occurred”. None of that was hinted at or implied let alone claimed literally.
Hulse: “The Unitary Plan was landed despite the New Zealand Herald. The exciting thing for me is the rise of things like The Spinoff, then work that Gen Zero’s doing, the intelligent commentators who are now taking over that vacuum that’s been left by vacuous reporting”. She didn’t rate Bradbury or The Daily Blog as either intelligent or vacuous.
Bradbury: “Marama do you sometimes just want to slap Paddy Gower?”
Predictions for next year.
I think we will see a change of government. The Labour Greens MoU is one of the big political developments in this year that we’ve just had and that will get it’s chance to come to fruition to lead that government. It’s going to get ugly next year as it always does when the right field…are on the back foot. It’s going to be difficult but we will come to the election and we will get result and then Marama will be able to join in with a change of government.
If the Government don’t get Auckland right they are in for a very rough ride.
The Maori Party is going to take out four or five seats at least. [Exclamations from Robertson and Bradbury]
That’s probably no less realistic than Robertson.
We will be the king makers. Nobody wants to go to Winston. They want to see stable government. They believe in an independent Maori voice. And whether or not the Labour Party and the Greens’ MoU have said that they want us or don’t want us, when the time comes they’ll come knocking on the door and we’ll be ready with the things we ‘re gonna negotiate to push our policies further.
Bradbury: Would the Maori Party be able to work with the Labour Party next year in government Marama?
Marama Fox: We’ve always said we will work with anybody, whoever is the government. Geez if we can work with blue undies we can sure as heck work with red undies.
I’m very hopeful that it’s going to be a change of government ah this year. I’m less confident that the change of government is going to produce the changes that we need, and I think that Labour needs to, ah Labour and the Greens as sort of the joint parties of Opposition that are proposing themselves as an alternative government at the moment need to come up with some things that will capture people’s imagination in terms of the type of change that is going to move the country forward.
At the moment I think it’s just a little too itsy bitsy and incremental, and it’s not telling people that it’s going to be a genuine alternative to the government that we have.
Labour in particular have nowhere near revealed their policies yet.
But what’s good at the moment is that this government is losing it’s image of infallibility, and the midas touch of John Key seems to have disappeared, and the housing issue has done that in the first instance. And so I think the chances of a change in government are much more realistic and I look forward to it.
Notably no mention of the mana Movement in any of the predictions.
My final word. This is our final show. After seven glorious months a massive thank you to Andy at Face TV, the face TV crew, Will our director who’s a multi tasking technical superstar (I didn’t write that), Aaron and his team of metrosexual be-speckled uber nerds from Slipstream (I didn’t write that either), our amazing political multi functional Maori lesbian socialist friendly centre right producer and host Claudette (she totally wrote that).
Willie Jackson who shuts the bloody elevator door (I didn’t write any of this), to all our guest commentators, guest tweeters, amazing. Thanks also to our sponsors the Aotearoa Credit Union and Voyager Internet. Willie and I came up with this project because we couldn’t believe the diabolical level of debate from Seven Sharp and Story.
In our seven months we have done more public interest broadcasting than Story and Seven Sharp combined.
Bradbury is not using comparable examples. Story and Seven Sharp are only partly political and I don’t think debate is a normal part of their formats.
Q & A and The Nation are better comparisons that are not mentioned.
We believe that democracy is only as strong as it’s media and if you are only hearing one side of the story then you have a one eyed electorate.
I hear many sides of many stories where I look.
We have a funding application in with New Zealand On Air, so we hope to see you next year as the election campaign heats up. We hope to see you next year.
So they are shutting down due to funding – I think Bradbury asked for donations recently.
Should NZ on Air fund a hard left political activist show? I wonder what Bradbury would say if the funded Whale Oil.