The Dim-Post

June 6, 2013

Hello darkness my old friend

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 12:55 pm

Via The Herald:

Journalist Rachel Smalley, the host of TV3’s political programme The Nation, has been called on to apologise to Education Minister Hekia Parata over questions she asked during an interview.

In an interview on May 25, Ms Smalley asked Ms Parata, “How Maori are you?” and, “Are you a bitch to work for?” – the latter in relation to the resignation of staff in Ms Parata’s ministerial office.

There’s a nebulous, shifting zone around Hekia Parata, in which she is (a) not a very good Minister, (b) trying to implement poor policy in her portfolio that she might not necessarily agree with, charter schools, say, and (c) a Maori Woman who is very self-confident and successful. Smalley’s questions here seem more like she’s being held accountable for point (c), instead of points (a) or (b). The high staff turn-over in Parata’s office is a legitimate question: it’s a cost to the taxpayer; but you don’t hear interviewers asking, say, Murray McCully if he’s a dickhead, or a cock. He is, but he’s still a senior Minister – just like Parata – and you have to respect that.


  1. you don’t hear interviewers asking, say, Murray McCully if he’s a dickhead, or a cock

    Maybe they should. Our politics could do with a healthy injection of truth.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — June 6, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

  2. Doesn’t seem right to restrict that ‘healthy truth’ to MPs who are female and Maori.

    Comment by danylmc — June 6, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

  3. Yet somehow he managed to score Jane Clifton. Now if only Hekia Parata could do that, the minister might finally get some of the respect she so clearly doesn’t deserve.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — June 6, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  4. I noticed a similar thing watching NZQT. Lockwood actually made Parata and Bennett answer questions, which is exactly what he should have been doing, but the old boys always got a little more protection.

    Comment by pete — June 6, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

  5. The answers that are given reflect on the character and intelligence of the person being interviewed; the questions that are asked do the same for the journalist.

    Comment by Ataahua — June 6, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  6. Someone’s been watching the new Arrested Development episodes.

    Comment by Hugh — June 6, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

  7. Rachel Smalley, how much of a journalist are you? Do you have a brain or do you just read autocue? Do you most want to inform your audience or entertain your audience? Who writes your questions and do you check them before going to air?

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — June 6, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

  8. “Are you a bitch?” is worth a 2% rating bump for a week. Trying to coax out a telling slip up that might not happen? Nothing at all.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 6, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  9. 8.“Are you a bitch?” is worth a 2% rating bump for a week

    Unless said bitch lives in apartment 23, in which case the ratings fall further each week until it’s quietly dropped at the end of the season.

    Comment by Phil — June 6, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

  10. Finally sacked those students, eh Danyl. Good one. Look forward to TV3’s next foray in Maori certification.

    Comment by Roger — June 6, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

  11. Respect has to be earned. Parata hasn’t.

    Comment by northshoreguynz — June 7, 2013 @ 6:20 am

  12. “Hello darkness”?

    Hardly appropriate when talking about our Maori members of Parliament.

    End of the day this women will be judged on how she does with Maori under achievement. That does not bode well for the Right Honourable member.

    Question Time has become the best thing on tv- for all the wrong reasons. Come back Lockwood, all is forgiven.

    Comment by costansa — June 7, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  13. “Are you a bitch?” is worth a 2% rating bump for a week

    I’m not sure that The Nation has enough viewers that it can actually get a 2% bump.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — June 7, 2013 @ 10:20 am

  14. Come back Lockwood, all is forgiven.

    That’s Sir Alexander Lockwood to you, beyaatch.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 7, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  15. It’s embarrassing that a minister would be treated so disrespectfully, regardless of whether you agree with her policies. Embarrassing but not surprising. Generally speaking NZ journalism is disgraceful.

    Comment by Seb R — June 8, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  16. Two names on this thread… how will he keep track of himself?

    Comment by MeToo — June 8, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

  17. You guys are such bitches, how do you keep your saucers of milk full?

    Comment by Darren — June 8, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

  18. Agree wholeheartedly, Danyl. The way Rachel Smalley phrased those questions was unprofessional and she needs to apologise to Hekia Parata for that. It’s not hard to avoid the ethnicity question, is that not Journalism 101? And the obvious question to ask about the resignations in her office is, “Are you difficult to work for?” or “Has anyone that has resigned told you they feel you are difficult to work for?” If they haven’t, she has the leisure of being able to say so. If they have and she denies it, then those that worked for her will come forward and Rachel Smalley will be given kudos for bringing it to light and for professional conduct in journalism.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 9, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

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