The final Backbenches in Auckland review - the night David Shearer became PM
So the legacy of Backbenches final Auckland show will be the killing off of Nikki Kaye's future chances in Auckland Central? No wonder National want to end tvnz7.
Last nights final Auckland show was Backbenches at it's best. Nikki Kaye, David Shearer, Winston Peters and Russel Norman. Damien quipped that the name of the show was wrong for the first time and it should be called Frontbenches plus Nikki Kaye.
It's worth re-watching the show just to see the daggers Nikki glares at him for that comment. It was however the least of her woes, trying to sell shit to people who don't want shit is always a hard task, but watching Nikki trying to justify smaller class room sizes and a convention center for pokies was only for political sadists and masochists. She drowned live on TV, it was ghoulishly entertaining.
Nikki Kaye slipped off Backbenches and will end up permanently on them after last nights performance.
The audience was fascinating. The animosity towards National is startling for a Party that is supposedly loved by 47% of the country, there is a lot of anger at Key and Co that is building beyond the spin lines.
The star performer was Shearer, who for the first time since becoming leader looked and sounded like a leader. Shearer got his groove back, and whatever the hell has happened in the last couple of weeks, he has finally started stamping some authority on his performance, this was the show that turned my perceptions of him and I saw for the first time a real chance one on one with Key. If he can articulate the confidence he did last night, then he can be election ready by 2014. All Labour need now is some policy and Shearer has a chance. If they promote Cunliffe to Finance, the left have a chance.
After Shearer's performance on Backbenches last night, I dreamed in color for the first time since he took the leadership.
Russell's stilted performance is a reminder that the Greens co-leader, while building an impressive Parliamentary presence is still too closed in public performances and comes across as chilly. With all the hype of the Greens of late, there hasn't been much acknowledgement that Norman can't generate genuine populism beyond environmental 'believers'. That should reassure some in Labour who have been angsting over the rise of the Greens, they shouldn't. Russell's appeal is very much like free trade carob, it's a very acquired taste.
Winners & Losers:
Shearer had a 'get off the grass' confidence that's modest enough to be mainstream NZ acceptable while inspiring toothy support.
Winston was the roguish charm pro he always is. His grin over what was an Auckland landmark, Showgirls or White lady is priceless.
Russell Norman's rise to respectability leaves him like the older sensible uncle tonight. He became green wallpaper.
Nikki Kaye had to defend the indefensible but her frosty head prefect routine was so the wrong strategy to use. Epic fail x 2.
If David Shearer replicates the fire he showed on Backbenches last night, then he is the PM in 2014.
But let's also note the anger, we are losing something very special by killing off Backbenches, shame on National for what amounts to cultural vandalism. Topping this would require the entire Cabinet to start burning books.