Matthew Hooton looks at new prime minister Bill English and his media persona:
Mr English has some cheerleaders in the daily print media but he has always struggled with the electronic media, both radio and television. Partly this is because of his sometimes awkward speaking style and Dipton drawl.
Far more importantly, Mr English lacks a certain respect and rapport with the likes of TVNZ’s Hilary Barry and Jack Tame, NewstalkZB’s Mike Hosking or Morning Report’s Guyon Espiner and Susie Ferguson.
Paradoxically, though, he also seems to think he has an obligation to answer their questions as fully and honestly as he can. It is a recipe for a prime minister to come across as weak, indecisive and even bullied by popular media personalities on whom vast numbers of voters rely for their daily or weekly steer on politics.
Worst of all, Mr English’s approach allows the very people he lacks respect for to set the daily news agenda – along with those who quite legitimately feed them with stories aimed at damaging him, including the Labour-Green axis.