Tracy Watkins

Red Tracy and Media party self importance

The Media party would have you believe that writing one story of about 450 words per day is onerous work…even harder when they are “on the run”.

But there may be an element of the old adage about idle hands making mischief as well; stories filed on the run mean there’s less scope for the news agenda to suddenly blow out of their control.

All of which is why Frank Bainimarama’s explosive speech hitting out at criticism of his administration very nearly didn’t get covered by New Zealand media at all.

Really? Could have fooled me, there were stories posted on all media site within 230 minutes of Frank Bainimarama’s hard hitting speech…so her claims of not covering it at all are somewhat specious. Plus moaning about an arduous flight on an Air Force C-130…spare me.

So when the state banquet happened after a long day in the Air Force Hercules, an official welcome and traditional sevusevu ceremony followed by a standup with the PM, the travelling media party were feeling the pressure of too much information and too little time, with a growing list of stories to update and file.

Really? Feeling the pressure. Oh the poor dears. what a bunch of precious prima donnas.   Read more »

Finally a media person gets the point of Twitter

Tracy Watkins wrote an opinion piece the other day about Sue Moroney’s troubles.

I don’t think we need to relitigate the issues of her stupidity around that, but Watkins did note at the end of her column something that seems to have passed politicians by.

It is also something I have been talking about for years.

It’s a graphic reminder to MPs that while social media might be a potent political weapon in the right hands, used badly it can be a quick route to self-destruction.

British MP Emily Thornberry discovered that when she was forced to resign for perceived snobbery over a tweet picturing a working-class house flying the St George flag.

Moroney’s tweet no doubt reflected back the views of those in her Twitter clique. And that’s the problem with Twitter especially.

It has became an online echo chamber, in which its users follow others who share their own views and political opinions. And that in turn leads to a mob mentality when the group turns on the views or opinions of those who don’t agree with them.    Read more »

Tracy Watkins proposes Key’s teapot “backdown” is significant, somehow

Tracy Watkins has written an opinion piece that is long on wishful thinking and short on logic.

Anyone who thinks John Key’s backdown over the teapot tapes isn’t a huge deal to him personally clearly can’t have been on the election trail at the time.

Key’s temper is slow to the boil and the teapot tapes bombshell was the first time any of us who followed his political career had seen him truly angry.

There is only one other occasion during which most of us can recall Key really losing his rag like he did over the teapot tapes and that was a whole election campaign later, the day after Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics landed.

Key’s clipped answers to questions on Monday about his legal settlement with cameraman Bradley Ambrose is an indication of just how deep his feelings still run over the teapot tape saga.

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Knock me down with a feather, Tracy Watkins agrees with John Key

Tracy Watkins agrees with John Key.

She thinks the the organisers of Te Tii marae are “mickey mouse” as well.

John Key launched National’s third term in office with a plan to craft his legacy by changing the flag. Would a more lasting legacy be gifting us a national day free of acrimony that everyone can celebrate?

After a week of will-he won’t-he politics, Key’s decision to turn his back on Te Tii marae will probably come as a relief to Kiwis who have spent much of the last week rolling their eyes at the usual threats of protest and conflict that accompany our only national day each year.

The Prime Minister’s description of the to-ing and fro-ing over whether he should be welcomed onto the marae as “mickey mouse” was as on the money as it was overdue. The row has exposed the same egos, tribal divisions and personality clashes that have marred Waitangi Day for years.

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Tracy Watkins is right but also very, very wrong

Like most media living on Twitter and supping from the trough inside the beltway Tracy Watkins has an opinion on the flag debate and the “refugee” crisis, and that opinion is that it is possibly, maybe, hurting John Key,

It may not have been tectonic, but the political ground appeared to shift under John Key this week.

There was suddenly a gap between Key and public opinion on more than one front – unfamiliar territory for the prime minister.

On the refugee crisis, Key was slow to wake up to the swelling consensus that it required a bigger humanitarian effort from New Zealand.

As graphic and tragic images from Europe put a human face to the crisis, the Government looked isolated in its view that New Zealand’s quota of 750 refugees a year is enough.

Key’s partial backdown on Thursday belatedly coat-tailed public opinion that we can and should do more.

On the Maurice Williamson debacle, Key’s usually reliable sniff test also failed him.

The Pakuranga MP delivered an after-dinner speech that was more strip club than black tie, with its references to oral sex and “attagirl knee pads” (you can probably fill in the blanks here).

Round the Cabinet table, Key’s ministers run a “woman voter” test over every decision before it gets the final sign off.

They know their fortunes are directly tied to the female vote which, till Key took over the leadership, was firmly in Labour’s favour.

Williamson’s boorish speech cuts across that by carrying with it the dinosaur-ish overtones that once acted as a giant turnoff to women voters at the ballot box.

But where Key is usually ruthless with MPs and ministers who step out of line, his reprimand was about as lacklustre as his defence that Williamson wasn’t acting in his capacity as an MP.

That’s a new test which MPs will be very glad to hear about. It’s a bit like excusing a police officer for drink driving because he or she wasn’t acting in their capacity as a police officer.

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Watkins blames Key for media publicising his kids

Tracy Watkins has decided that the media fascination with publicising anything John Key’s kids get up to is all his fault.

It is odd that no one has pointed out that this kind of thing is a vote winner in the selfie generation…but then again no one in the gallery would know anything about that.

They must be frustrated that after nearly a decade of trying to undermine Key the public still like him…so journalists like Tracy Watkins and Barry Soper need to target and blame him.

John Key’s enduring appeal to voters has always boiled down to one thing – he is just like them.

That’s why they forgive his goofy moments, and even the really awkward ones, like ponytail-gate.

Everyone makes a dick of themselves occasionally, right?

Yeah including journalists, yet for some reason they never show up in the pages of their own newspapers…yet.

Does Max Key posting videos of the family living the dream in Hawaii with a glamorous girlfriend at his side undermine that? Hardly.

People know John Key is rich. That has always been part of his appeal – the fact that he managed to remain a regular guy despite his rags-to-riches backstory.

And Hawaii is not unattainable. It’s not exactly a budget destination, but plenty of Kiwis holiday there.

Key’s reaction to questions about Max’s video, meanwhile, would resonate with many parents.   Read more »

Key is squandering any remaining media goodwill

Fairfax journo Tracy Watkins is letting her wishful thinking get in the way today in a piece where she posits Key is “burning political capital” over the Hager/Fisher GCSB “revelations”.

Are the latest leaked documents important? Yes, of course.

Actually, they’re not.

They detail the vast and indiscriminate store of information gathered by the Government Communications Security Bureau, including plenty that must surely breach the spirit, if not the technicalities, of the 2013 GCSB Act.

Once the media get back to the “spirit” of news reporting instead of running the country, they might actually have a leg to stand on.

The Act spells out that it is illegal for the agency to intercept the private communications of New Zealand citizens and residents, except in specific circumstances or when it is “incidentally obtained” – which, as we now know, is likely to include while they are lying on a beach in Samoa.

There are bound to be diplomatic ripples, meanwhile, over the extent to which the GCSB reaches into the Pacific.

There are bound not to be.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, are particularly unaware of how the real world works, or you have your own ‘outrage’ agenda, people 1) know their stuff is up for grabs, and 2) they truly don’t care.

We are told that the targets include friends and foe alike, though we are yet to see any direct evidence of  that claim – say, for instance, a transcript of a private phone call between the prime minister of Samoa and his mates.

Nonetheless, it is probably no coincidence that John Key will embark on a goodwill tour of the Pacific later this year, including a likely stop-off in Fiji.

Yeah, that’s right.  John Key wasn’t going on a Pacific trip until Hager and Fisher dusted off some Helen Clark era stolen documents to try and blow some life back into the same old issue.   And now Key needs to go around a tour to calm down his Pacific neighbours.   That has to be the reason.   Read more »

I’ve got bad news for Bryce Edwards

Bryce Edwards must have hit the crack pipe before writing his last woeful column of the year.

Apparently National had a horror year…or so the headline screams.

Yes, John Key’s National Government won a spectacular third term victory. And yesterday the Herald gave the reasons that National can be positive about its achievements – see the editorial, Govt comes out on top in colourful year.

And nearly every political journalist has awarded John Key the title of Politician of the Year – see, for example, Patrick Gower’s Politician of the Year.

But, it was still an incredibly torrid year for National, and even the PM pointed to the election campaign as one of his low moments of the year – see TV3’s Key found campaign ‘a low-light’ for 2014.

Tracy Watkins also stresses that it’s been a terrible year for the National Government: ‘His government was assaulted on every front with scandal, trouble and controversy. Ministers resigned, his coalition allies ended the year diminished, and he ended the year looking evasive and tarnished by his links to dirty tricks and shock jock blogger WhaleOil’ – see: One clear winner, plenty of dashed hopes.

Not only did the election campaign take its toll, but as I pointed out recently in another column, The downfall of John Key, the challenges and allegations of Dirty Politics were really starting to bite after the election. See also, A year of (neverending) Dirty Politics.

Even Matthew Hooton thinks the Government has suffered, especially since their election victory, and he details National’s incredibly arrogant behaviour since the election, pointing to the main offenders: John Key, Christopher Finlayson, and Gerry Brownlee – see: For John Key: summer of reflection please (paywalled).

Likewise, Duncan Garner says that although Key deserves to be the ‘politician of the year’, ‘The first few months of the new regime have been largely underwhelming. Not telling the truth about his contact with attack blogger WhaleOil hurt the prime minister. It was a royal stuff-up and he admits this privately’ – see: Key my politician of the year, but now for the third-term blues. Garner believes the Key’s reputation is on the decline: ‘It’s happening for Key, slowly. His jokes don’t seem as funny. He looks more haunted and hunted these days’.

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Dominion Post political editor Tracy Watkins flails about wildly for relevance


Tracy Watkins, via Twitter

Tracy Watkins, via Twitter

Key’s wise-cracking has a new edge.

He used to call his opponents muppets and it would come across as disarmingly friendly.

These days it sounds more like a profanity than an affectionate put-down.

And to say National’s third term began disastrously would be an understatement.

Key continues to be wrong-footed by the toxic fallout from Dirty Politics.

He is badly tainted by his association with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, whose brand is repugnant to most voters.

I’d love Tracy to back that up with some fact.   My brand is so repugnant that I continue to build an ever-increasing audience.  But hey, don’t let facts get in thew way of trying to damage Freed by association.

The Dominion Post reaches nearly half of Wellingtonians aged 15 years and over and has an average daily readership of 234,000 people aged over 15.

I just have a little old repugnant blog with a similar following Tracy.  Wait until we start Freed!

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