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National put limelight on itself

Wasn’t National having a field day, pummeling Labour on their refusal to pay back their illegally-spent $800,000? Nothing, but nothing was Labour’s way; even their own voters wanted them to pay the money back. And their proposed solution had “corruption” written all over it, left, right and centre. In short, National was wasting. Until their own caucus pulled themselves down.

You see, it’s not Labour that’s “dishing the dirt” on Don Brash. Sure, they promised to, but they didn’t bring the Don Brash affair into the limelight. The only thing about the affair that ever hit the mainstream media from Labour before National dropped a bomb on themselves was Trevor Mallard’s (trust Mallard to be in this) little comment, “And speaking of affairs,” which to the media was more about the parliament having reached a new low than the Don Brash affair.

Rather, the Don Brash affair was brought up in its own caucus. The party itself started picking on his personal life, and brought his leadership into question. Was it cleverness on Labour’s part, as suggested by former party president Michelle Boag? No. It was National, playing to Labour’s hands.

Normally, the media doesn’t report on politicians’ personal lives. They’ve apparently known about it (rumours or otherwise) for on the lines of two years, and considered it not worth reporting, as, well, it’s none of our business. That’s fair enough. It didn’t need to be our business—some would argue that it still doesn’t.

But, as horrible and insensitive the media may be, they do have some sense of judgement and it was exercised here. The alleged affair is, for starters, with another high figure. But more importantly, the caucus is questioning Brash’s ability to continue to lead the party, having unearthed this affair. (Wow, they only just found out.) Any major party leadership question is big news, and this was no exception, even if it did infringe on Brash’s personal life. Anyway, it’s not like it’s the media’s fault it became big news.

I could almost imagine being a reporter that knew about this. Waiting for the day when it all comes out, when it goes from no news to the entire front page of the Herald and the first ten minutes of the six o’clock news bulletin. Or moreover, wondering if you’d ever get to see the day—if you ever get to pull the thread on this one—and then, bam, just when you think it’s never going to matter, it happens—it spills out—and you, you cheeky little devil, you get to do the rest of the work on the party’s behalf. He he he. Excellent. (Journalists probably have more interesting lives, I’m sure.)

But yes, it is our business now, if for no-one else then those of us who are right-wingers because one of New Zealand’s leaders is about to go down. Should he go down? That’s questionable—it could well be fair to say that any affair should not affect his leadership. But will he? That’s the question we’re all asking, that’s what we want to know, and only by getting to the bottom of it—going into his personal life if it may be—will we find out.

Sorry, Labour—dirt was dished, alright, but you don’t get to take full credit for this one’s leaking to to the media.

Related Links

  • NZ Herald: MPs put skids under Brash (16 September)
  • NZ Herald: When MPs’ private lives become public property (16 September)
  • NZ Herald: Brash vows to keep leading National (15 September)
  • NZ Herald: National MPs question Brash’s future (14 September)
  • NZ Herald: Maverick MP confronted Brash at party caucus (14 September)
  • NZ Herald: Marital woes nothing new (14 September)

    I do not claim, by any means, to be an expert, of any degree, in politics or the media, nor do I claim to know this story back to front.

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    One Comment Post a comment
    1. DiPro #

      The media has no right to interfere in a politician\’s personal life – I have absolutely no doubt that Auntie Helen did instigate the whole thing and all it does is goes to show exactly how desperate the Labour party is to cling to its power and try to prevent its image from crumbling. I fear however the Labour Party has dealt itself a major blow – the affair may dispense of Mr Brash but he will only be replaced by an equally if not more able leader such as John Key and the chances of that weakening the National party is incredibly low.

      16 September 2006

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