What happens when your competitor gets airtime

Last night, John Campbell had an exclusive interview with Labour Party leader hopeful David Cunliffe on Campbell Live. The interview was a bit of a coup for Cunliffe who, after leading the Labour Party to one of their worst results ever, is hoping to be given the nod over challenger Grant Robertson.

While you’d expect there to be equal air time for general election rivals, a party primary doesn’t necessarily require a fair share of coverage by broadcasters. Nonetheless, Robertson sent out this somewhat embarrassing tweet, practically begging for some prime time exposure.

Is this the kind of statement of someone who is Prime Ministerial?

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • David Finch

    What’s wrong with it? It’s more witty than petulant, hardly embarrassing. If John Key had said it we’d be told it was an example of him being down to earth, good-natured and accessible. (But I can think of many Key quotations which are hardly “Prime Ministerial”).

    • Regan Cunliffe

      That response pretty much sums up why Labour just had the worst result in nearly 100 years.

      • David Finch

        Umm…. Does it? I truly don’t understand your point. Please explain.

      • Alex

        Uh yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get a job as a political analyst anytime soon, Regan. Maybe stick to posting celebrity birthdays?

  • Tania

    I thought Grant Robertson did an okay job on Q&A a couple of days ago – he answered the questions well and came across as a likable chap … which is not an easy thing to do when you’re being interviewed by someone who constantly interrupts you, doesn’t hold eye contact and says ‘right, right,’ to move the conversation along all the time (I’m looking at you, Rachel Smalley). The ‘panel’ that they had on was made up of a group of people who didn’t seem to like each other … maybe that’s the intention, to stir them up for ratings or something? (I don’t know, because I don’t normally watch it) … it made for very uncomfortable viewing.

    Anyhoo, TV3 only having David Cunliffe on both their interview segment shows (Campbell Live and then Paul Henry later last night) is probably the right thing to do as more than one person is being touted as potential leader and they’re (I’m guessing) trying not to be seen to be casting favourites. If they invite Grant Robertson on then they have to invite Jacinda Ardern, etc., on too.

    Fast forward three or four years and I think an obvious leader will emerge to move the Labour Party forward, in the form of Kelvin Davis – nobody else will even come close.

    I don’t even know why I’ve put so much thought into typing this – I’ve had a gutsfull of politics and I’m a blue supporter! 🙂

  • Tom

    This is the worst post I have ever read on this website, and I have read many. I understand that you are not a journalist and don’t require any professional courtesy, but the unbelievable pettiness and naiveté in this post just is not acceptable. Robertson’s tweet was tounge-in-cheek and quite frankly, legitimately appropriate. He and Cunliffe are so far the only announced contenders for the role and the fact that prime time coverage has only given perspective to one of the MP’s is hugely biased. Not only that, but personal opinion was reflected in the interviews in a manner that smeared the opposing candidate. Robertson has not been given this opportunity and as a result is subject to the criticisms being indulged by potential voters and is not getting an equal opportunity to fight back. I agree with ‘Alex’ in that you should stick to celebrity birthdays and NZGT conspiracy theories, political and social media analysis is most certainly not your thing.

    • Regan Cunliffe

      You appear to have missed the point that there is no requirement by the media for any balance or equal publicity for primary candidates of a party leadership contest. There will be no televised debates as fairness to all of them simply isn’t required in the same way you’d expect with a general election.

      Sure, it may have been tongue-in-cheek, but it smacks of desperation. We’re talking about two people who are wanting to not only lead the largest opposition party in parliament, but also ultimately one day be Prime Minister.

      While the vote collapse has some foundation in the dotcom show, there has been plenty of commentary, like this one: http://publicaddress.net/speaker/an-open-letter-to-david-cunliffe/ that suggests the issue was more around the leader simply not connecting with voters.

      I don’t know about you, but I want a strong leader of the labour party who is going to be able to hold the government to account. The sideshow that is the Labour Party primary isn’t going to help voters.

      Publicly begging on twitter for a TV host to interview them doesn’t instil any confidence in me and based on the way the country voted, I doubt I’m alone.

      There are huge problems within Labour which really isn’t good for the country. We need a strong opposition, even more so now that the government has an outright majority in their third term. It’s really not a comforting situation.

      The reality is, neither Grant Robertson or David Cunliffe will ever be Prime Minister of New Zealand. The once proud and strong Labour Party is no more and it saddens me.

      I would much rather see some of the old guard resign and a new champion of the left take up the reigns after winning a by-election.

      The media will then be jumping over themselves to interview them and have them on their shows to hear the much needed new vision and direction.

      But in the meantime, feel free to bang on about the two limp horses and the words of someone you don’t agree with. I think the country deserves better than we have.

  • Citizen Cane

    Has anyone ever seen Rachel Glucina and Regan in the same place at the same time? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Regan Cunliffe

      Yes. For the record though, you wouldn’t catch me dead writing for the Herald..

      • Citizen Cane

        You’d be more positive than Colin Hogg 🙂

        • Regan Cunliffe

          That wouldn’t take much, would it…