Joe Hendren

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Disappointing TV3 coverage of the Winniebox inquiry

Rather disappointed with TV3 coverage of the Peters issue tonight. Despite promising extended coverage of Winston's appearance before the privileges committee many times throughout the 6pm news bulletin, with a hint of going until 8pm, coverage was curtailed half an hour early.

Worse of all, they missed the question time.

I suspect a TV3 network executive screamed at people 'This is boring, get it off!'. But were TV3 really expecting Peters to be anything but an arrogant, overly legalistic pompous a***? Did they really expect him to come up with significant evidence in his defense, other than 'I will tell you tomorrow?' Surely if he had evidence he would have used it by now? While some journalists attempted to build up the hype by claiming there was a small chance Peters would stun the select committee into finding his innocence, given the way most have behaved over this issue I doubt this outcome was expected either.

In their appearances before the select committee both Winston Foreign Minister Peters, and Owen I have a university building named after me Glenn have made it clear they think the world of themselves. For those who do not follow the precise details of who said what to whom, when and where, I suspect the overall impression of this week will be the clash of two over sized egos. People will also remember Winston getting the sack after being evasive with the truth.

Apparently Helen Clark also watched the hearing on TV3 - I can't imagine she was impressed with the coverage or her foreign minister.

Helen Clark is widely expected to remove Peter's ministerial warrant tomorrow. In some forms of coalition government one option may have been to appoint another NZ First MP to act as foreign minister, maintaining the current balance between the parties. I think it says a lot about NZ First that they do not have another MP who could credibly take over Winston's portfolios, even for a few short weeks. Former minister Brian Donnelly would have been the only one worth even considering, but he left to become High Commissioner to the Cook Islands in February 2008. Sadly Donnelly had to resign his position of High Commissioner in August due to ill health. There may be a few in NZ First - assuming there are people who look beyond the Winston personality cult - quietly wishing Brian was still in Parliament. As it has turned out, Brian could not have timed his exit better.

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