I see that John Drinnan has caught up with my post about Shearer’s dinner with Sky TV’s lobbyist, Tony O’Brien. Drinnan appears to get the serious perception issues around Shearer meeting with O’Brien in a private setting.
The dinner party was alluded to by the right-wing blogger Whale Oil.
Alluded to? I wrote a full detailed post about it, that said this happened…if that was alluding I wonder what I have to do to be obvious…post a video of Shearer pulling up outside?
Anyway…Does anyone remember ‘Dinnergate’? Shipley and Saatchi’s Kevin Roberts spent weeks answering questions about the appropriateness of their dinner and what was discussed. It all came on the back of Saatchi & Saatchi being awarded a $30M account with the Tourism Board.
The difference of course is that Shearer is only Leader of the Opposition. O’Brien is no mug and will know it is all about positioning… even for the long game. If Shearer isn’t the next Prime Minister in waiting then I am sure O’Brien will have a new best friend over for dinner, who just so happens to be the next Labour leader.
So, why aren’t the mainstream media asking more questions of Shearer? May be Tracy Watkins could have a go.
Simple stuff like:
- What was discussed over dinner? Anything to do with politics, positioning, the work of Sky TV? Shearer has said “mostly football, US politics, the role of the Citizens Advice Bureau and what my wife and I had done while working overseas for the UN and other humanitarian organisations”. Really, no mention of NZ politics… none at all?
- Was Shearer a tad naïve to think as Leader of a major party he can have a private, no strings dinner with one of the most competent lobbyists in New Zealand? Would he do it again?
- Does Shearer understand that O’Brien is undertaking good lobbying practice? i.e. get close to those in or likely to be in power, know a bit of personal information, be seen to be a nice guy and develop the relationship all so that when the time is right said lobbyist can have a more specific and direct conversation about what he (and who he represents) needs from Shearer.
- Would the discussions count as lobbying under Holly Walker’s lobbying disclosures bill?
- Shearer says broadcasting policy wasn’t talked about… does he mean Labour’s? What about broadcasting policy in general, perhaps even US broadcasting policy?
- What would happen if another guest at the dinner party had brought up broadcasting policy, would Shearer leave the room, operate a cone of silence or perhaps hum ‘Country Roads’?
Here’s Shearer’s problem. He really is that naïve. He really thinks Tony wants to be his friend, to listen to his wonderous UN back story about he fed starving African with just the skins of mangos and laugh at his witty jokes. Shearer is just as naïve to Robertson’s positioning. Next he’ll be saying “Oh no, he’s a nice guy, he’d never do anything like that. We speak every day.”