Following Metiria Turei’s resignation as leader of the Greens, The Spinoff TV writers report back on how our news outlets and commentators reacted to the political bombshell/earthquake/catastrophe.
“A catastrophic, disastrous result… an absolute political nightmare,” said a typically chilled-out Paddy Gower last night as he thundered out the news of his Newshub poll, and Metiria Turei’s possibly connected resignation. The shock news spread across three channels and seven different shows – so we watched them all to see how the big bombshell went down.
1 News at Six
“The pressure just got too much,” Wendy Petrie said from in front of an ominous Metiria Turei backdrop at the start of 1 News at Six. “Metiria Turei has stepped down as leader of the Green Party just over six weeks from the election.” Sidekick Simon Dallow crossed to political editor Corin Dann, who was sequestered in a room at Parliament. In a measured tone he described Turei’s resignation as “a staggering turnaround on 24 hours ago, when she was toughing it out in the face of two of her caucus members being withdrawn from the Greens caucus.”
He then crossed to a clip of Turei speaking to an assembled media scrum. “Corin,” Dallow jumped in, “did she jump voluntarily or was she forced out?” Dann said yeah, nah, sort of but not really, and let a clip of James Shaw at the aforementioned scrum do the rest of the talking. A little bit later, political reporter Katie Bradford came into the room and the pair discussed the news in a chilled out and impartial manner. / Calum Henderson
I haven’t witnessed a Patrick frothing so hard since my own dog Pat ate a whole container of rat poison. He survived the ordeal, but the jury is still out on whether Paddy Gower is going to pull through. He was talking with fire and fury and fizz. This is a catastrophe. This is a disaster. This is a nightmare. All thanks to one thing and absolutely no other things: a killer poll.
“This poll spelt the end for Metiria” he bellows, gesticulating in a frenzy at the murderous data. The poll has forced Metiria Turei to resign, the poll has caused a political explosion for The Greens, the poll has cleared my skin and allowed me to drop five kilos just by following an easy and affordable meal plan. The poll knows all, and all know the poll.
“Tonight,” Paddy says, eyeballing the camera, “they’ll be freaking out.” / Alex Casey
Surely Mike Hosking would be different to the measured calm of 1 News at Six. Surely he wouldn’t be able to contain his right wing neoliberal glee; we’d cross to the Seven Sharp bit of the studio to find him vigorously rubbing the thighs of his already distressed denim jeans, cackling good riddance to the taxpayer-swindling beneficiary witch. Alas, he was sitting down and seemed more excited about talking to special guest Stephen “Beaver!” Donald later in the show.
“Finally she woke up, saw sense and is gone,” was his appraisal once they got to talking about it. Toni Street brought up the poll numbers and they talked about how NZ First had dropped by almost the same amount; how much of the Greens’ bad result was Turei-related and how much was ‘the Jacinda Effect’. Hosking warned viewers this is just one poll and not to read too much into it; Street made a good point about how watching Turei face the media scrum made her wonder why anyone would ever want to go into politics. “You know one thing about her today?” Hosking added. “No contrition. Still no contrition. Amazing, eh?” / CH
Mikey Havoc is in the house after a big day of “political poll dancing” which is not the same old song and dance because, classically, pole dancing is a sex dance. Paddy Gower is back after a brief 10 mins backstage making out furiously with a print out of his poll, and they team cross live to Greens (née co-) leader James Shaw.
James Shaw describes a “profoundly sad day” and looks like he’s going to hurl into the pot (lol) plant behind him. Paddy is only keen on one thing. “James… the truth is… you had a terrible result in the Newshub-Reid Research poll” Say it James. Say it to his face. The poll made Metiria do it. It’s a “pollquake” and you are up poll creek without a poll paddle. Say it all together now. Poll poll poll poll poll poll poll poll.
“Sorry to disappoint Paddy…” Shaw begins, trying desperately to explain that the scandal was distracting from the campaign, and that Metiria’s family were suffering massively from the scrutiny. But it’s too late. The vengeful poll had come through the screen like Samara from The Ring and wrapped around his throat, the letters P-O-L-L singed into his clammy forehead forever.
Luckily, Josh Thomson is here to save the day with a joke because this is, famously, not the same old song and dance: “just while the Greens are getting everything out in the open… have you done any benefit fraud you want to tell us about?”
“No, I think that’s a little soon Josh.” / AC
Events like yesterday’s would drive anyone to drink, so the politics show set in a pub should have been the best place to end up after a night spent absorbing the day’s spiralling revelations. And what luck! A huge news bombshell coming mere hours before you broadcast. And yet Back Benches seemed unable to think on its feet – largely rolling out its pre-prepped segments, resolute in the face of chaos for the second straight week, leading to a distinct lack of urgency.
Sure, it’s about the issues – but when a party’s very existence is threatened, maybe that takes precedence? The worst part is the Trump impersonator, who parodies a man who is beyond parody, and not particularly well. The lesson is that when political disaster strikes and it’s all anyone wants to talk about then just give in / Duncan Greive
The AM Show
“WHAT DID SHE EXPECT?” belched Duncan Garner, referring to a noose around Metiria’s neck which is a totally healthy image to have in your head at 6am when the sun rises on yet another beautiful day alive on Earth. Amanda Gillies has sympathy for Metiria, referencing how she managed to turn her life around despite starting from nothing. Meanwhile, here’s Mark Richardson trying to figure out what the word “sympathy” means:
Mark says he’s been flipping and flopping on Metiria. He liked how she was fallible, he didn’t like it when she did the-thing-which-shall-not-be-named. But he’s come round to her again. “When she blamed it on the media, then I was with her again” says Mark Richardson, notoriously not a member of the media now or ever. “It’s the media, come on!” says Mark, broadcasting online, on radio and on the television simultaneously.
Also: Paddy’s back baby and this time… he’s a guilty Denver. Things have changed overnight. The honeymoon period with his poll obsession is over. They’ve grown apart. Paddy apologises for getting the tone wrong on The Project last night, and wants to move on with the rest of the election coverage. “Good on you Paddy” says Garner, “you’re going soft.” / AC
By the time Breakfast arrived, the news cycle had moved on to ‘What next for the Green Party?’ “Will the resignation of Metiria Turei be enough to turn around the disastrous poll result?” wondered Hilary Barry. There was a news item outlining the timeline of the whole saga, then political editor Corin Dann came back with a more editorial angle than the previous night’s news: “Now she’s quit all those people who might have come to the Greens who felt ‘yes, finally someone who understands what it’s like for people who are on benefits, doing it tough’, they’re going to be demoralised, angry and frustrated,” he predicted. “They may still vote for the Greens, but they also now may not vote, that is the risk.”
Jack Tame brought this up with James Shaw in an interview later in the hour, asking “what message does it send?”. “Thank you for asking me that question, because nobody has asked me that,” said Shaw. “That is one of my primary concerns over the next six weeks – to let those people know that the Green Party is as committed to ending poverty in New Zealand as we were the day before yesterday.” / CH
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