REVIEW: Opening TV election addresses of National, Labour and the Greens
The opening salvos of the election started proper tonight with the National Party, Labour Party and Green Party opening addresses, and what a fascinating voyage into the psyches of the leafy suburb living campaign managers it was.
Why are National using The Feelers as their background song? Artistically The Feelers are that warm can of Fosters you only drink to wash down the pills during a suicide attempt. Can't buy good taste huh?
Okay so it's John Key answering more questions in this fake and boring question and answer set up than he has actually answered in his whole first term as Prime Minister.
He's talking about economic credibility? We had a credit downgrade under his watch and blew the budget out by $18 billion.
He is so stiff and robotic, and oddly dressed. Why doesn't his jacket and trousers match?
Usual deregulation, low tax free market stuff. Sounds like he's about to start singing 'always look on the bright side of life'.
Talking about decisive leadership, go forwards, blah, blah. Talking aspiration. Short speech, now onto the fake questions segment. Actually these soft patsy questions from National Party faithful are more critical than Key has been asked by the mainstream media all year.
Answers don't really stack up, what's he doing with his hands now? He looks like he's giving a sales seminar. Why is he doing that? It's like the sort of thing a motivational speaker presenting on The Office would do.
Crosby and Textor must be on the next flight into Wellington, National's opening address was woeful. If that stiff crap is what they think will inspire votes, they have misread the electorate by a type of margin so vast, only hubris can explain it.
This opening address is an utter failure, compare the energy Key showed in the 2008 election, it's gone in this flaccid attempt. They should be appalled by how badly it came across in comparison to what Labour did.
After such an epic fail, National will realize they've misread this election and will do what they do best - get nasty, oh for the days of old...
Next it's Labour's turn and BAM! They nail it...
It is a history lesson, necessary because most of the media probably aren't aware of it. The social justice basis of Labour reminds NZers who they are, it gives them an identity and in times of economic uncertainty, that narrative creates more security than our multi-millionaires vacant aspiration.
It's a cry to arms, it's a rousing clarion call for solidarity, it says, 'we are the Government and we have a responsibility to you the people'.
Selected MP's explaining why they have the fire in their belly almost re-intriduced Labour to the masses and along with the history lesson managed to surprise the viewers.
Labour should feel bloody good after this, they have captured the zeitgeist of the moment; the uncertainty, the battle of ideas, the willingness for NZers who are feeling the recession to listen all combine to make Labour's opening address a rallying signal to those core Labour voters who didn't bother voting in 2008, and the way their opening address managed to stand head and shoulders above National's will see them as real contenders now.
It was a bloody good opening address.
The Greens are on with their multi faced diversity routine, and they interestingly decide to personalize Meteria's life and Norman's life. Meteria's is fascinating, Norman's is as painfully dull as Canberra.
Strong push for research, great desire to harness State Power to generate new technology, looks like it's been produced by Prime TV though in a 'trying not to be cheap' kinda way. Big on cleaning up water, will go down well in the provinces. Promoting gardens at school, everyone loves that. Real progress on the poverty front with an actual plan to get NZ children out of poverty by expanding Working for families to the poorest families.
Great ideas, well played, but in the wake of Labour's charge at the Government, it faded from green into lime. Suddenly the Greens look less radical and more quirky, they lacked the urgency Labour presented and as such came off limper than they actually are.
Perhaps the Greens have zigged when they should have zagged?
Phil Goff's TV debate will be the moment of truth. Most NZers see Key as a clipped one liner in the mainstream news, they chuckle and think John is nice. As an avid viewer of Parliament TV, I can tell you, Key is not nice. He has a nasty streak that simply isn't seen. Being the most spun PM of modern times, Key has also been shielded by having to answer hard questions by a critical media. Over his 3 years, John Key has cut back on more and more critical media so that all he had was Paul Henry's racist joke comedy act duo, the Tony Veitch blokefest, appearing on The Edge and most insanely, hosting his own radio show, where he doesn't have to talk about politics.
In short, Key hasn't had to sustain a 90 minute critical interview one on one since gaining office. What makes the stakes so much higher for National, is the fact that Key will be on with a guy the media have already written off. The tactic to rub Phil Goff's face in the mud and weaken him with leadership coup rumors has now backfired terribly, viewers are not expecting anything from the guy who they've been told by the media is so far behind in their deeply flawed landline opinion polls that John Key will waltz to victory.
Suddenly a wider electorate who are tuning in to see that nice John Key may be confronted by the nasty bloke you see in Parliament weekly who is woefully out of his depth in a debate where he's being overshadowed by the guy he's supposed to be thrashing.
The TV debate will make or break Goff, and the success of Labour's opening address puts the wind in his sail.