And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern deserves time and credit
The curse of Labour Party, with a deficient and wanting media and communication cell had plagued it since the leadership of Phil Goff, David Cunliffe, David Shearer, Andrew Little and it seems to have stuck around with the Hail Mary goal-scorer, Jacinda Ardern.
While having the blessings of (Opposition Leader Simon) Bridges digging a hole in the travel expense leak fiasco, she is nevertheless cursed with some right-wing commentators in the mainstream media, namely ZB News and New Zealand Herald.
Colouring the Team
Lest I be accused of hate speech, one glaring fact is that the mainstream media in New Zealand is still very white, and despite some plea, even the Labour Party did little to colour its media team. And what I am writing should have been written by one of their well-connected and well-paid Kiwi communications person and not this Fiji Indian, writing voluntarily for Indian Newslink, the leading Indian community newspaper, and his blog, Fiji Pundit.
There is nothing wrong with an Anglo Saxon team.
The only problem is their lack of exposure to other better ways of seeing things, and missing on diversity and alternate views.
Unbalanced and tainted views
Most commentators, including Mike Hosking, Matthew Hooton and Larry Williams, among others, appear to be spin doctors of the opposition party, tainting the fourth estate with their unbalanced and slanted views, which may even go to the extent of blaming Ardern for a very wet winter.
They have been harping about her lack of business experience and lack of decisiveness in party discipline and expecting her to be her brother’s keeper.
While the editorial writer of New Zealand Herald could appreciate the issue of cabinet discipline, some of its columnists and radio commentators appear to be very naïve about Cabinet responsibilities.
New Zealand Herald summed it up well in its September 1, 2018 issues, when it rejected former Labour Party President Mike Williams’s contention that such lack of discipline reflected a lack of training for those appointed ministers.
The Herald corrected him, by stating: “Voters and taxpayers have a right to expect that all of the people a political party offers for election – let alone those chosen to be ministers in government- possess the personal qualities needed at any level of leadership.”
The Curran and Whaitiri fuss
The question that arises is, did Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri meet this criteria?
Do you expect Ardern to nanny-sit these two experienced persons in management in their own rights? Should she be held responsible for their lack of performance? And should she be roasted for having a heart for them and allowing them natural justice that the older generation of Prime Ministers, may have denied them?
Why, as with heartless military type operations, heads need to roll for moments of indiscretion? (Read Bill Clinton)
People need to realise, for the first time in New Zealand history, we have a millennial Prime Minister, a person of the new generation, with immense personal charm and aura. She can be classed as the first Prime Minister with a semblance of a heart.
She has delivered for the vulnerable in our community, having a heart for poorly paid people ignored by previous governments.
Hence you cannot expect her to show ruthlessness that you expect her to have inherited from previous decisive, but merciless and cold-blooded leaders who gave little room for natural justice that she is demanding.
She has a right to carve that new culture and the Kiwi middle class media commentators need to realise that.
That is where ethnic journalists can appreciate the Pacific kind of leadership of compassion that our leaders give to their astray Ministers.
The fact that she has roped in rock star chief executive, Christopher Luxon who was caught on the wrong side of Shane Jones speaks volumes for her charm offensive.
And the fact that she has not reigned in Jones makes sense.
Jones deserves the loose rope that Jacinda has given him-he is a hero to a great number of people who have been victims of big corporate (read Air New Zealand, Warehouse, Australian Banks, among others) and had nobody speaking for them until Jones came on the scene.
The pundits of doomsday need to realise that the so-called lack of economic confidence is not supported by economic indicators.
People who seem to taint the Fourth Estate need to realise New Zealand has a new government. It has the agenda to correct weaknesses they inherited: skills shortage, lack of investment in productive sector (inflated house price is not one of them), under-investment in infrastructure, low productivity, low-wages, environment neglect and little care on social welfare with an obsession for healthy books but extremely unhealthy everything else.
Perhaps it is not too much for an ethnic journalist to request better understanding from the mainstream journalists who need some refresher course on ethics, morals and balance in journalism. I hope that it is not asking too much from media which still fails to reflect the country’s demographic colour in its newsrooms.
Sadly, political parties also mirror such deficiency, including the Labour Party.
Thakur Ranjit Singh is a Media Commentator and runs his blog, ‘Fiji Pundit.’
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern chairing a meeting of her Cabinet Ministers