I’ve discussed Matthew Hooton a few times here at The Paepae. My views of his ‘service’ to political commentary in New Zealand have hardened lately.
I find Matthew a personally very engaging, even charming man. There can be few smoother and more persuasive spin doctors in the slippery ‘opinion-shaping’ game in New Zealand – especially when he is trying to recruit one to act as a proxy.
There’s a type, the PR agency types that go into ‘government relations’. They’re all good at greasing up people. I met a bunch when I worked in the press gallery. Matthew is the equal of any of them.
I have been struck at, for instance, Radio NZ’s codependent embrace of Hooton (which shrieks ‘Who will I be if you leave me?’). But there’s also his frequent, near-ubiquious presence on cosy commentary couches such as those on TV current affairs shows only political tragics like me watch. But at another level, having myself briefly basked in the warm glow of one of his charm offensives, I can understand it. He makes people feel like they’re ‘savvy’ – and he is available … don’t underestimate the value of that noble attribute to a hard-pressed producer of a current affairs programme. (I know that from my days producing Paul Holmes.)
Matthew does slip up at times (see Govt’s mischievous pet monkey flings own dung at zookeeper. (Matthew Hooton disgraces himself. Again.) and Frankly, I can’t see how ‘bomber’ Matthew Hooton can survive as a political commentator [UPDATED] and Matthew Hooton regrets (cough) using ‘that particular word’. Of course he does.
In what can no longer be seen as just a testament to the ‘thinness’ of political commentary in New Zealand, the right wing Energizer® bunny just keeps going, and going and going. For some reason, despite the (obvious?) conflicts of interest, and Hooton’s openly declared political allegiances and voting intentions (see below) he’s still in demand. Continue reading →