Dr Michael Bassett

Dr Michael Bassett

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Radio New Zealand


Yesterday I complained about TV1 and their excitable journalists on Q&A who jumped all over interviewees when discussing the Dirty Politics fallout. This morning, Radio New Zealand's Morning Report was much worse. Guyon Espiner seems to have turned into some kind of feral attack dog. Not for the first time he was extraordinarily rude to the Prime Minister when quizzing him at 7.10am about his thinking regarding an inquiry into the background to Judith Collins' resignation. First he'd ask a question, and before John Key could get three words out, he'd ask another; as soon as Key got another three words out, Espiner's jabber started up all over again. Then he was demanding yes or no to his questions, failing to remember that with complex questions few can be answered so simply. In the end it was difficult for the listener to get much sense out of Espiner's interview. I came away with the feeling that he must be on some kind of substance. For a while Mai Chen was subjected to the same sort of treatment. She did manage to convey to listeners that the issue of setting up inquiries that Espiner had been on about was not simple, and required careful thought, more than Key seemed to intend. But our opportunity to hear from the Prime Minister and to get an insight into his current thinking had long gone, due to the obnoxious conduct of his interviewer.

Was Paul Thompson, CEO of Radio NZ listening to Morning Report? Does he condone this sort of behaviour by his reporters? Can he provide any justification for Espiner's conduct? It would be nice to know. And while he's thinking about this, perhaps he can tell us whether RadioNZ has spent any time checking on the link between Kim Dotcom and Nicky Hager? It isn't enough to accept declarations from each of the people concerned that there was no collusion. After all, Dotcom has skited about his hacking being a factor in the demise of another government, and he is pledged to destroy John Key's. Nicky Hager is clearly intent on the same thing here. Two hackers with the same goal? Too much of a coincidence isn't it? Worthy of investigation surely? Or is RadioNZ's only ambition too, to destroy New Zealand's current government by whatever means at its disposal?

Radio New Zealand, like TV1 has a contract with the government to provide a news service. Right now it seems singularly reluctant to provide quality coverage of the coming election.

One thing's for sure: I wouldn't want to be in Thompson's shoes unless he can do better with his team than he currently seems to be doing.