ON AIR: Kerre McIvor Mornings

9AM - 12PM

Mike's Minute: Winston the unlikely hero for the media

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Dec 2019, 9:44AM

Mike's Minute: Winston the unlikely hero for the media

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Dec 2019, 9:44AM

Winston Peters was right, he said I'd like it and I did. 

He has seen what the Commerce Commission wouldn't or couldn't. And in a fairly well engineered operation, presumably to add a bit of public oomph to a campaign needing buy in, not least of which by the Labour Party, he went public in a speech yesterday and out lined why NZME, the owner of this station, should be allowed to buy Stuff.

It's in moments like these, you can see how he's survived as long as he has.

Behind the noise and the bluster, the occasional racist barb, and naked political gall, lies a bloke who's seen enough, understands enough, and carries a certain centrist common sense. And once in a while rolls it out to show you there is a lot of smoke and mirrors that shrouds real world life experience and political acumen.

In fact I agreed with virtually all he said, including the bit where he gave the media a serve. I am embarrassed by too much of the media these days, it's obsession with clicks and crap, it's inexperience, it's agenda hidden behind the facade of neutrality. It’s a shadow of its former self.

And for all the Googles and Facebooks you want to blame for local troubles, at least some of the demise and issues lie directly on the doorstep of those who have directed it, and watched it sink to the level it has.

But he's also right, it’s a critical part of democracy, and any country's right to information and debate. And there are bits, mainly free to air TV and newspapers who are in a world of trouble, and need saving or at least a lot of help.

The potential NZME/Stuff buyout was the industry dealing with its own frailties, hence the Commerce Commission's decision, as we said at the time, was egregious, short sighted, dangerous, and wrong.

Yes, two into one leaves one, and there was a plurality issue, as all the theoretically driven pointy-heads argued, but the alternative has been laid out very clearly since that call. Stuff is going backwards, it can't be sold, is owned by a person who doesn’t want to own it. There is no bright future in that, and it only gets worse as each day passes.

NZME has radio and radio is in growth, it's what's saved Mediaworks as well, who's TV arm is for sale. And I am told most likely has a buyer, that might, might just give it a future. But TVNZ makes no money, pays no dividend, and it's hard to see that ever changing.

So argue around the nuances all you like, the way they did at the NZME hearings, but a lot of unemployed people in a shrinking industry as companies go bust, surely isn't what the Commerce Commission was aiming for.

Which is what makes Peters' intervention so ironic. How is it a bloke who has battled the media so hard and so long ,can see the obvious, when the coalition  partner and the Commission seemingly can't?

He can put this bit of common sense in the same portfolio as the Capital Gains Tax he got us out of, and the ETS deal for farmers. So having made the speech is one thing, getting it across the line is still presumably another.

But imagine next year, the campaign trail, and what's Peters telling the voter? He's the saviour of New Zealand media, who saw that coming?    

  

ON AIR: Kerre McIvor Mornings

9AM - 12PM