Mike Hosking: Why I'm congratulating Jacinda Ardern

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Mar 2020, 3:18PM
I disagree with what she said to Scott Morrison, but am glad she said it. (Photo / Getty)

Mike Hosking: Why I'm congratulating Jacinda Ardern

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Mar 2020, 3:18PM

This morning, I congratulated the Prime Minister on two things.

One, her performance with Scott Morrison over deportees. Not because I agree with her, because I don’t. If I was Scott Morrison I'd be doing exactly the same thing.

What everyone seems to continue to forget is we have unfettered access to Australia. It’s a unique arrangement, and as part of that arrangement there is a quid pro quo element. We don’t get access to certain social services, and because entrance is so easy and requires no paper work, far less a visa, many turn up, set up camp, and never become citizens.

In other words, they remain New Zealanders while looking for all the perks of another country. When they then go on to be criminals, Australia exercises its rights to send those New Zealanders back home. We can’t have it both ways. You either want unfettered access or you want a visa system.

But, having said that, the Prime Minister was spectacularly undiplomatic in expressing her view, and in that is a level of fortitude and strength to be admired. In a world of diplomatic hot air where nothing is said, there was no doubt about Ardern's view and she said it standing right next to the bloke she was giving a spray. "Whoops that’s awkward" was one headline. The message wasn’t missed: she stood her ground and represented her view and all who share her view well.

But then, two, far more importantly, came her message to the media over the virus. In my view, some of the headlines we've seen have been irresponsible, she said, and she is 100 per cent right.

I spent the better part of last week on this programme trying to deal in fact. Not hyperbole, not scare mongering, not click bait. Many others in the media showed no such inclination, professionalism, or restraint. They were not just irresponsible but scandalously unprofessional.

I presented facts, figures, and reality based on what we know, not what we are guessing, or freaking out about. For the Prime Minister to call out newspapers, for that’s the word she used, newspapers should be to the embarrassment and shame of those who work in those news rooms.

This is not a time for clicks and noise and hyped up BS. It’s a time for fact and information. This is not as bad as they make it out to be.

But it's not all their fault. We all, of course, carry a level of responsibility, and having seen those headlines myself, I at least had informed myself to a level that I know a lot of what I read wasn’t true. And if it was true, didn’t need to be delivered in the frightening, salacious way it has been.

Hence I didn't line up Saturday morning to panic shop. If you panic shopped, get a grip on yourself; grow up and be more informed. Panic shopping when we have one bloke getting better in an isolated room in hospital is as embarrassing as a headline designed to get clicks.

Let's hope with the PM's upper cut this week is a hell of a lot better than the last.