The above Tremain cartoon illustrates why, by a country mile, he’s currently our most outstanding political cartoonist and probably our best ever.
New Zealand cartoon historian Ian Grant, despite his soft left negativity, would be hard pressed to argue any New Zealand cartoonist in history could match Tremain’s brilliance, albeit some abroad have achieved greater fame.
This “His Master’s Voice” effort aptly sums up the disgraceful sell-out by our print media to tow the government line.
The dying Stuff fleet of newspapers, purchased for the excessive price of one dollar and now fighting for survival, willingly prostituted itself to the government bribe in return for the taxpayer’s unwitting subsidy in numerous different forms, but mainly ridiculously unnecessary full-page government Department advertising and bogus news stories reflecting government policy. The government did this on the pretence of helping sustain the print media but in fact solely to sustain their own political support. Thus the Herald’s competent cartoonists during the disgraceful bribery time were pretty much confined to non-political topics, albeit no longer. Stuff on the other hand, couldn’t afford cartoonists and run ridiculously pointless humourless efforts that have absolutely nothing to say.
The buying of the print media, so cleverly summed up by Garrick’s cartoon, was nothing less than political corruption of a scale hitherto unknown in New Zealand.