A primary role of Opposition Parties in our adversarial system, is to hold the government to account for its actions. Nominally, the current Opposition comprises the National Party and ACT.

The always cautious Nats are currently missing in action, as they’ve always been wherever in Opposition since Rob Muldoon’s 1973-1975 golden days.

ACT has largely replaced them in this function although still tinged with caution, mindful of Jacinda’s Second Coming status with the masses.

The indisputable fact is that the salient issue of Covid has involved a great deal of bungling by the Health Department. The worst was Minister Hipkins, not once but twice, six months ago, telling the media we were at the front of the vaccine queue. In fact we weren’t even in it.

Consequently, we can anticipate, particularly in Auckland, more hugely depressing occasion snap lockdowns as it’s clear we will not achieve mass inoculation for probably two years and will continue to be locked off from the world.


That said there’s no doubt in my mind about our true Opposition.

First the husband and wife duo of veteran journo Barry Soper and Heather Du Plessis-Allan.

Both are writing brilliantly for the New Zealand Herald, exposing the Health Department’s Covid-dealing blunders and other inevitable local and central government mishaps.

Let’s get one thing clear. Neither are rabid right-wingers. Barry’s political sympathies were probably fairly leftish three decades back but with the passing of time are now centralish.

Heather was and remains liberal right but certainly not rabid.

Second, credit to Mike Hosking for his plain fare, but no punches pulled first rate job on this front. He is of course of the right, but again, not rabid, just sensible.

The media love to claim that aside from news-reporting their role is also to expose local and central government and indeed, corporate cock-ups.

The reality is different as currently in New Zealand, any criticism, particularly by the struggling Stuff fleet, is fairly muted.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the nation should be hugely indebted to Soper and his wife and it’s a great pity their observations don’t have a wider audience.

I say that, not because I’m anti-Government as I’m not, but instead because our lapdog media do a great disservice in their failure to reveal the inevitable government balls-ups, inevitable as they’re part and parcel of all large organisations.


Richard Prebble also wrotes na pretty good column in The Herald

You’d be pro-Government too if your failing business model was on life support and dependent on yearly $55M cash injections from the taxpayer to survive. The fawning and self-serving ploy of dismissing inconvenient facts as “conspiracy theories” and labelling anyone who opposes the leftist narrative as “far-right” is another sign that journalism is serving its masters in the political State and not the general public.

Richard Prebble should be added to the list of those making direct but fair criticism. He also has very good political insight, as you would expect…

Absolutely correct Sir Bob.
I would also add Richard Prebble to the team in opposition trying to keep the government honest.
His column in today’s NZ Herald is his best yet.
He methodically eviscerates Ardern, Bloomfield and Hipkins for their innumerable lies over the past 12 months regarding Covid – 19 and their response – or, in most cases their lack of response in keeping us safe and informed.
Prebble is correct, a Royal Commission is urgently required.
After all, Ardern in her first year set up 206 inquiries and working groups to tell them how to govern.
Unlike those, a Royal Commission will have plenty of grunt and can not be ignored.
Ardern will lie and obfuscate to ensure the unpalatable facts never see the light of day in exposing her gross incompetence in destroying our economy for generations to come.

    Sorry John. These days Ardern & co are a protected species. A Royal Commission takes years and then Cindy releases it with minimal affect. Hipkins is a complete fibber with St Ashley in hot pursuit. These reporters sit there in dazed headlights. . Ardern is all style. Her flock are mesmerised. ACT is the only party with anything like a working brain. God help us because no one else will.

Not to mention the fact that the mainstream media is dependent on government funding to stay alive.
Dont bite the hand that feeds you.

Globally the media have become lapdogs. This is largely thanks to the ownership model which sees a handful of corporations pumping out celebrity clickbait. It’s not an individual Journalists fault per se, it’s that media magnates like Murdoch and Facebook have no particular interest in upsetting the apple cart that has made them fabulously wealthy. Facebook in particular is the biggest propaganda machine the globe has ever seen.

As a result of the continuous need to “fill in the blanks 24/7” any longer or more complex stories are largely overlooked in favour of the soft focus presentation model of a semi-celebrity politician.

Hard to get traction when the press ignore you.
I have tune away from Barry especially as the left emerges from him regularly and Heather is similar
Hosking is a ray of hope but regurgitates the same noise over and over never achieving much.
Sadly L Smith has moved to pod casts and has narraowed his solid input hugely.
Morial Newman also does a great job but requires people to find and support her.

We need a Kristi Noem see below desperately.
Watch “JUST IN: Kristi Noem rips Joe Biden in CPAC 2021 speech” on YouTube
God bothering aside.

National is a floundering mess and Seymour appears to be trying to go centrist which will only hurt him. He has a chance to pick up all of Winston voters who will have forgotten Cindy saved them all by the next election and are looking for a strong voice to support.

Well said. No real advancements on Covid tracking apart from Bluetooth. Why would you be clogging up traffic getting INTO Auckland when Level 2 was bought in. Surely the resources could have been better spent tracking those Aucklanders heading North and South to escape lockdown. Sending letters to people needing Covid tests and isolation. They probably only deliver letters every second day and then not even registered so who knows where the letter went. Blaming a 21 year old for locking down Auckland when most of the blame rests with the Ministry of Healy and Government. This idiocy is unbelievable.

    Amen-when has any of our media asked Jacinda to explain what she was doing that was so important that she wasn’t involved in acquiring vaccines?
    JA is the first to have her pretty face in the media looking faintly troubled when she is removing civil liberties, but apparently far too busy to be on the phone or in the room when it came to chasing up the purchase. No one in their right mind would have just “left it to a functionary” but seems its not OK to ask her any difficult questions around this massive mistake? I’d love to be in the media pack when a senior person has royal screwed up-thats the perfect time to make them squirm, but it appears having a backbone rules me out…

There’s a huge raging debate associated with the lockdowns–that is, whether they should have happened at all and in what way–and the real dangers of covid-19, or dangerous not.

Thanks to our media, that debate and the arguments around it, though extremely important and legitimate, is now seen by most as the domain of conspiracy theorists.

That’s one hell of a service. Thanks media!

    I, like a large number of ‘non Aucklanders’ still cannot understand why we are included in Auckland’s covid problems. Whether you agree with lockdowns or not, what type of madness forces the South Island to be included when to my knowledge they’ve never had any ‘ deaths’ attributed to the flu? Or any real outbreak…its just overkill, and if there has been any ‘kickback’ from the South then it hasn’t been properly reported. But then, what would you expect from a sycophantic media who plaster arderns face over nearly every news ‘release’ when often they aren’t even concerning her?
    National and Judith Collins may well have made statements, but if actually reported are usually buried anyway. I refuse to buy the Herald, won’t pay to read it online. And I won’t watch TV1 or 3 news as they are usually just propaganda for ardern or the covid ‘busters’

Not just the written media, the television media (one owned by the government) has a group of lefty snowflakes who think the sun shines out of JA. Their dribble can be easily deciphered as support for the current government with zero balance or objectiveness

The ” crusher ” has become ” cuddles Collins ” …. it’s time for the Gnats to boot her to the curb , and that toad Muller with her …. bring back Soyman …. the Gnats need a plain speaker , someone unafraid of Ardern & her slavish acolytes , the media : Mr Bridges , front & centre man : your nation needs you !

Most of Stuff’s readers are as banal as its writers, judged by their comments. And most articles that need corrective comments do not allow them. When the media are afraid of holding themselves to account there is no chance they will do it to the Government that is paying them.

Do you notice how, since ardern is copping some flak from various people, Herald And Stuff now find an interview showing her as a working ‘ mum’ how she is coping, usual toothy photos.What a coincidence…NOT

    ..ha ha yeah you’ve got it. Pure fabrication of woke “upping the anti” in case common sense happens to break out.
    Who would dare say negative a negative word.

I’ve just realised with one photograph in the Herald today that you were very correct in assuming/asserting MOH peoples along with prominent epidemiologists, virologist and other assorted “ists” quite fancied the camera and are loathe to give it up… This is likely on the basis that their professions were often ignored in mainstream media for the most part (thank goodness), considering the topic in normal times is as interesting as dry toast.
Well observed.
The photo is beautifully staged and innocuous to the actual intent of why one would end up in front of Wellington steps in front of the camera vying for NZer of the year, pontificating on life and loves and this virus and your role.
Wonderful reading for some

Muldoon framed issues with clarity. Once he was gone, our strategic assets were plundered and debt, ignorance, and pandering, became our currency.

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