Hewitson on Shearer

Michele Hewitson has done a column on David Shearer and I get the impression that she isn’t impressed. I suspect that Michele simply had nothing to work with, so bland is David Shearer.

He said, seriously: “I am what I am.”

I’m afraid that made me laugh my head off, because who says that? And what the hell does it mean? But, later, after spending an hour and a half with him, and after having transcribed that hour and a half, I concluded that he’s probably absolutely right. It’s one way of saying what you see is what you get, whatever that means. But I still think he should never say it again; it’s seriously awful.

That is Michele’s way of saying “I’ve got nothing”.

Shearer though has manged to kill off the carefully crafted back-story created by campaign supremo Conor Roberts:

He knows the value of a good back story. He says the PM has a good one: “rags to riches.” His might be even better: did he really save 50 million lives? That Key went overseas and made 50 million dollars and he went overseas and saved 50 million lives was a line doing the rounds during the leadership battle with David Cunliffe (they get on terribly well, of course, and of course there is no animosity – I should have known better than to have asked.)

The answer is “no”. Well, where did it come from then? “I don’t know! You’re the journo!” All right, how many lives did he save? Any? “Um. Not personally!” That made the journo laugh immoderately, which made him just the tiniest bit defensive, the journo thought.

He told me a longish story about working for Save the Children in Somalia and heading a team feeding 30,000 starving children. “So when you look back on your life and you think these people who would now be in their 20s are alive because of the work we did … Which is pretty neat.” That’s a nice story, of course it is. I was sorry to have to be a journo but I had a not-so nice follow-up question: is that better than going overseas and making $50 million, did he think? He gave me a look which was more Helen than Phil. He said: “I don’t know. Now, that’s not right. That’s not a fair comparison.”

I guess we won’t be hearing much more about that back-story.

Is he nice, or nicer than Phil? “He’s a very nice man.” But is he nicer than him? He said I’d have to ask Phil, which obviously I’m not going to do. So I’ll answer my own question like this: after an interview with Goff I got a sweet little peck on the cheek; from his successor I got another of his handshakes.

Comparisons, if not odious, are not terribly helpful, and I hadn’t set out to make quite so many. But he’s hard to fix in your mind. I can’t quite work out why.

Again Michele is teling us that after an hour and half she got nothing except her hands crushed. And then we find out that Michele is an avid reader of Cactus Kate:

Everyone used to bang on about how good-looking Key was, which I never understood. I’ll stick my neck out and say that Shearer is better looking (if it matters and it may), although not in any flashy way, and certainly not in any way that translates to the telly. And I bet he doesn’t turn up at another event with his shirt unbuttoned as he did at the Big Gay Out.

He said, slightly snippily, that it was a hot day and that he does get around on hot days with his shirt unbuttoned. That just made it worse, I said. He said he probably wouldn’t do it again: “Now that you’ve told me.”

Michele Hewitson will be disappointed with that article, but given the clay she was given to mould it was the best she could do.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.