Helen Clark and John Key have done themselves no favours
by refusing, apparently in unison, to appear in televised
debates with any party leaders except each other. Gross.
Who the fuck do they think they are? They're our elected
representatives, not our born-to-rule sovereigns. Faced
with this ultimatum, the two main channels reacted
differently, TV1 saying it would go ahead anyway with a
debate involving the other leaders and TV3 opting for no
group debate at all. As I said on Radio New Zealand
National a couple of hours ago, TV1's was the better call,
given the circumstances, but maybe Lynn Freeman was
right in suggesting that the two networks could have jointly
told Clark and Key to get lost, ie, no show with the other
leaders, then no show at all. Even if it had had the remotest
chance of succeeding, however, it would have been a
dangerously political move for the media to make, trying to
dictate terms like that; but what they could do, as indeed
could all other media, is stop giving all our politicians such
an easy ride. I'm still waiting to see some really hard,
prolonged interview questioning of Clark, Key et al that
doesn't let them off the hook of whatever policy point or
promise they're squirming on.
Most New Zealand journalists, myself included, are far too
polite and accommodating towards politicians. Sean
Plunket is a rare exception. For all his abrasiveness, or
rather, because of it, if he really is leaving Radio New
Zealand then he should be given his own TV interview show.
That might spice things up.