Consider Barry Soper, who together with Helen du Plessis-Allen, his wife, are the main opposition pundits left in the press. (The blogs are another story). This was his most recent missive, reported almost everywhere. Transparency, in this world of Xiden, is simply not fashionable.
Having worked with the past 10 prime ministers, Jacinda Ardern would be the most removed from the media than any of them. This woman who has a Bachelor of Communications doesn’t communicate in the way any of her predecessors have.
She’s the master of soft, flattering interviews and television chat shows, blanching at tough questions.
She’s commanded the Covid pulpit to such an extent that the virus has become her security blanket, without it she’d be forced to face the reality that her Government has been moribund.
The Prime Minister’s press conferences usually begin with a sermon – it took eight minutes for her to get to the fact that she was moving the country down an alert level last Friday. When it comes to press conferences her forearm stiffens and her hand flicks to those she’ll take a question from. Some of us are left barking from the sidelines.
Ardern doesn’t relate to the messenger, the team of journalists who make up the parliamentary press gallery, they don’t know her. All of her predecessors got to know the parliamentary media by inviting them to their ninth floor Beehive office, at least a couple of times a year. It puts a human face on the public performer.
Ardern is a celebrity leader and she’s determined to keep it that way, which is why she’s turned her back on the Newstalk ZB Mike Hosking Breakfast Show.
The questions were too direct, they got under her thin skin but, more importantly, she didn’t know the answer to many of them. She was exposed on a weekly basis and it simply all became too much for her.
In doing so, she’s turned her back on the highest-rating breakfast commercial radio show in the country by far and she has also turned her back on the many listeners who at the last Covid election (her description) switched their vote to her.
Leaders have in the past become exasperated with the media and at times with good reason but few, if any, have shied away from the tough questions. The regular Newstalk ZB slot for prime ministers has been jealously guarded by them for the past 35 years.
Over at No Minister they are running a pool to see how long it takes before she is deplatformed. My answer is that he won’t be. The caucus is too large, the pressures too great, and Labour discipline too fractured. Soper can and will cultivate sources and he will get leaks.
Barry is smart enough to understand that to do his job he needs to keep his nose cleanish and maintain cooperation from his sources, otherwise those sources will dry up PDQ, That said his latest linked above and also offered in the comments on Adolf’s post March 7th, is almost brutal in the summary of how why and when Ardernearly became our titular leader.
Those of us still retaining sufficient Brain cells to comprehend such real truths in opposition to the almost daily lectures from Pene Henare’s recently highlighted: “sole source of truth”, Barry has abandoned his facade of loyalty for strategic needs and someone will not be happy. Hot on the heels of the little contretemp that has slipped largely under the radar, Her Royal Highness will no longer keep her weekly spot on the nation’s leading Breakfast show. A sad departure after every PM since Holmes lured David Lange to participate, it appears the snowflake can no longer allow Hosking to cause her embarrassment. Following on from a similar attitudinal act of toy tossing by her pudgy Deputy who has abandoned a regular weekly appearance with Peter Williams on Magic Talk recently.
All from a declared ‘most open and transparent government ever’, under a leader who fatuously declared her personal stance, she saw no need to LIE in politics, her getting Chippy and then Henare to deputise at “The Podium Of Truth” at the end of last week gives a massive boost to Bazza’s musings. The Wonderful One does not do sacking, demotion, or take serious questioning while she embarks regularly on another homily based on the verbosity of her pronouncements.
Ardern is starting to lose the public as we all get COVID exhaustion and simply get on with life. She’s fragile.
On the other hand, journalists such as Soper, or bloggers like Slater (and Martyn Bradbury, from the left) thrive on Chaos. They are antifragile.
It would be interesting to watch if it was not my nation.