Six weeks back the Dominion Post newspaper’s very competent political reporter Stacey Kirk wrote a sign‑off farewell article. She’s moving to fresh fields and good luck to her.
Amidst the various anecdotes and highlights she recounted was this passage.
“… if there’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time covering the day‑to‑day grind, the cut and thrust of New Zealand politics, it’s that nearly everyone in this place is here to make a difference.
Out of 120 MPs I’d argue there is potentially only one whose motives were entirely self‑interest and he is sitting in political Siberia – those ones always get discovered.
So why they may disagree on the way to do it, MPs on all sides genuinely tend to be in it to make New Zealand a better place.”
A shade generous but well said girl.
I knew every MP in the 1970s and 80s and lots thereafter and largely would endorse those sentiments.
The pariah Stacey alluded to is that world‑class sneak Jamie‑Lee Ross, much given to public weeping performances to justify his character weakness and rottenness. His snout will be removed from the public payroll, namely your pocket after the next election and he will certainly not be missed.
There’s a reason I mention all of this and that is the universal practise of endless abuse of politicians.
As The Herald’s parliamentary reporter Claire Trevett reminded us in a recent article, “Politicians don’t get public holidays off. There is no such thing as overtime or regulated lunch-breaks, five day weeks are a luxury, and by and large, an eight hour day is as much a myth as a unicorn.”
In New Zealand the public wring their hands at the general mediocrity of local government candidates. But it’s not a local concern, rather it’s universal. The whole world is bewildered that an ignorant abomination such as Trump can be elected to the head of the wealthiest nation and that among a third of a billion people, the likes of Biden, a staggering lightweight, is the best to date the Democrats can muster.
The reason is as Stacey inferred. The relentless abuse of politicians is a huge put‑off for quality potential candidates to offer themselves. Even after retirement it can carry on by the media, epitomised by the over‑the‑top attacks on John Key of late. The Herald for example, last week decided that the sale of Key’s holiday home for God’s sake justified several thousand words. Why? The short answer is they had nothing else to fill their pages, sadly the principal problem for now anachronistic dailies.