The Herald just loves printing rubbish stories. Yvonne Tahana reports, or more accurately dramatises, an apparent Hone Harawira’s outburst at a hui in West Auckland. It is a total non-story delivered without a pinch of context. It is just a collection of statements that could be interpreted in a thousand different ways.
Yvonne Tahana has done journalism a huge disservice. She immediately frames Hone in a negative light, she then applies highly evocative language and then, as if emotive overuse were not enough, she indulges in hyperbolic abuse. The sort of writing you would expect from a third former unsure of the difference between creative writing and reporting. The piece exposes Yvonne’s desire to please her bosses and stroke her reader’s prejudices. The media was becoming increasingly desperate for a Hone Harawira “outburst” story. Now, thanks to Yvonne Tahana, they have managed to concoct one. She should expect a promotion any day now.
This whole issue is about feeding the narrative. The media knows people will react to this story. This has nothing to do with informing our democracy. The Herald wants to sell more newspapers and further their anti-Hone agenda. The drongos at the Herald appear to have taken it upon themselves to destroy Hone Harawira and, by extension, Māori aspirations.
Any who, that is enough whinging for today. One story the media have not covered this week is the release of the Mana Party’s treaty policy. From a strategic point of view, it made sense to release the party’s treaty policy during the byelection. All northern Iwi are engaged in the treaty settlement process with many approaching the final stages. Treaty settlements are a live issue up north and there is considerable interest in the Mana Party’s position on the issue. Having said that, I would have approached the first policy drop differently. As far as I can tell the Mana Party did not create any expectation - there was no formal launch among the faithful and the mainstream media. The party just seemed to quietly slip it in through the Māori media. It came out of nowhere really.
In my opinion the Mana Party missed the opportunity to create a talking point. Treaty settlement policy is, to be very honest, boring and does not really excite anyone outside of Iwi leadership and other stakeholders. It is not tangible policy in the classic sense either. With treaty policy you cannot wow people with big numbers and hopeful projections. Te Mana should have released policy that people have a tangible interest/close connection with. Jobs policy for example. The byelection provided the party with the perfect opportunity to throw out some progressive policy that will excite New Zealanders – not just Māori with a direct stake in the issue. In between now and the election Hone and Te Mana will not enjoy the sort of intense media coverage they have received over the past 4 weeks. All eyes were and are on Te Tai Tokerau. It was, therefore, a prime opportunity to release some big policy. Vote winning policy. Substantive policy can wait because, to be honest, no one outside of the political beltway is even interested in substantive policy. It was the perfect opportunity to launch the details of a financial transactions tax and perhaps throw in a surprise like “Te Mana will increase the top tax threshold from $70,000 to $100,000”. I am sure many New Zealanders agree with the idea of easing the tax burden on individuals and shifting it towards the finance sector. This sort of policy announcement would stir debate in the media, academia, the business world and in homes.
Ultimately, an opportunity missed. Don’t get me wrong though, I appreciate that Te Mana is releasing policy. I quite like it too. Hopefully I have time to analyse it in depth. This is probably my last blog post until Sunday. Hopefully I will be blogging on Hone’s victory.