ZB

Kate Hawkesby: Media need to stop letting press conferences be a gloat party for Labour

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Mar 2022, 8:21am
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: Media need to stop letting press conferences be a gloat party for Labour

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Mar 2022, 8:21am

I said yesterday that I thought the PM would use the opportunity to bang on about two years of Covid and our response and sure as eggs, she did. Is anyone still buying into this – as John Key rightly called it, ‘dog and pony show?’  

Is anyone still subscribing to the PR spin and bollocks that’s spewing out of these press conferences? I mean I know dyed in the wool Jacinda lovers, like my mother, will forever – no matter what she does or says – applaud her every word, but seriously, it’s getting beyond a joke. 

Yesterday we needed a specific piece of information. Media gathered, dutifully and diligently, to hear this information and pass it on. 

Radio stations paused programming to live stream it, newspaper websites ran it live and what we wanted and needed was the info. 

Two minutes worth of info. What we got instead, was a self-indulgent almost half hour monologue of the Labour party patting itself on the back. It’s taking the piss. 

Since when do media tolerate this? Why do we acquiesce to it? This Government has taken so many liberties with the simple tradition of the press conference, they’ve turned it into a vehicle for electioneering and spin that’s frankly intolerable. Governments calling press conferences used to be for big announcements of national gravitas and they'd get straight to the point because people are busy, time is precious, and voters are not to be abused with advertising when the job is just to pass on information.  

But this Government has turned it into a kindergarten session, a big sit down extended mat time of exaggerated expressions - sad face - happy face - and consoling words about how well we're all doing. 

Puhllllease. We shouldn’t get sucked into it. What would happen if no media turned up, there was no live stream, no cameras, no microphones, they were just forced to put out a press release? That’d focus the mind a bit surely. But we’ve given them this platform, which they continue to abuse, and we just sit there and take it. Media, busy with other stories to get on with, sit for ages to endure a political lecture that has no place at a ‘news’ conference.  

Just the news would be great, keep your spin and your hyperbole for the party conferences.  

The upshot? They’ve ditched everything, basically. The mandates, the passes, the gathering size limits outside, the scanning in, the whole lot’s out the door. As much as the Rod Jacksons and the Michael Bakers will be beside themselves, it’s time to fold up the fear tent.  

So, what I’m most interested in is – where to now? How many businesses will be slow on the uptake here and still ask you to scan in because they’re paranoid or don’t get the new rules? That’s going to be annoying. How many teachers mandated out of work will return? How many hairdressers? How many truck drivers? Will we see staff shortages in these areas get addressed – or have they already bailed off into other professions.. or worse, overseas? 

I’m hoping that this ‘new beginning’ as the PM called it, will see a wee bit of normality, finally, start to creep back in.