Agenda: NZ's Early Morning Political Programme, TVNZ, Saturday March 24

Saturday 24 March, 8.30am

TVNZ’s in-depth political discussion programme ‘Agenda’ screens its 100th episode this Saturday (at 8.30am on TV ONE). Over the past two years, ‘Agenda’ has earned a reputation as the country’s most influential political programme and one that sets the news agenda for the week.

Executive producer Richard Harman is one of New Zealand’s most experienced and accomplished political journalists. He conceived ‘Agenda’ as a New Zealand equivalent of American political talk shows like ‘Meet the Press’ and ‘Face the Nation’. Harman describes ‘Agenda’ as a political interview programme which adds value to the news of the day through in depth interviews and analysis, “an old fashioned current affairs programme which focuses on ideas as much as actions”.
A must-watch show for anybody who wants to know what’s going on in politics, ‘Agenda’ is fronted by ONE News’ former European correspondent Lisa Owen, who each week interviews headline-makers from politics, business and the media. Transcripts and video clips from each programme are posted on There’s also a panel discussion and Dairy Diary, a weekly trip to gauge opinion at a neighbourhood dairy.

Harman says that the most memorable moments in ‘Agenda’s 100 episodes include major breakthroughs in interviews and panel discussions – and stories that didn’t actually go to air. “One of our biggest stories was when former presenter Simon Dallow clashed with Pakistan’s President Musharraf over his human rights record at a media function, after Musharraf withdrew from an interview with us. That got a lot of publicity in India and Pakistan.”

Then there was the 2006 interview where Lisa Owen got National Leader Don Brash to admit he had had more meetings with the Exclusive Brethren, an admission many commentators say was instrumental in his losing the leadership. 2006 also saw Maori Party MP Hone Harawira tell panellist Deborah Hill Cone that he was happy to take koha from constituents he did things for, leading to widespread criticism that he was opening himself to bribery, says Harman.

With 2007 shaping up to be a big political year, Harman says viewers can expect the same quality of debate from ‘Agenda’. “Astute panellists and riveting politicians (I hope), an edgier and more pertinent dairy diary, and we are planning to bring some very interesting in-depth polling information into our panel debates. And we’re changing the set!”

Top of his list of New Zealanders making the news that he’d like to see on the programme are Taito Philip Field, Dame Sian Elias “and of course Stephen Fleming, Grant Dalton and Richie McCaw together to talk about winning, after they all have won their respective internationals.”

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  • campgrrls

    Pity it isn’t on at a more sociable time.