Geoff Robinson this morning hosts his final Morning Report after almost four decades with Radio New Zealand. The veteran broadcaster’s exit, however, has been clouded by revelations that any retirement from the public eye may be very brief indeed, with insiders tipping an imminent announcement that he is to join the nebulous Internet Party, as its star parliamentary candidate, and very likely a potential leader.
The announcement, expected to be made by Robinson personally during this morning’s valedictory programme, will reveal the Internet Party to be a real force in this September’s election. Robinson is understood to be the secret “sitting MP” that party founder Kim Dotcom had promised.
According to one Coatesville source, the flamboyant German entrepreneur is preparing to hail the veteran broadcaster as “so much more than just a member of parliament, more than a hundred members of parliament, Geoff, you know, is an institution, a man who wakes up right there in New Zealanders’ beds.”
Radio New Zealand is said to be bracing for fresh criticism, having faced waves of scrutiny for having become what one commentator called a “political hothouse”. The state-funded broadcaster has produced a series of outspoken partisan figures in recent years, among them Maggie Barry, Mike Hosking, and Tamati Coffey, and faced condemnation – including from Robinson himself – for failing to keep pace with developments in social media.
Robinson is expected to stand in the Ohariu electorate, a constituency famous both for the Wilton’s Bush Reserve and its above-average take-up of broadband. Sources described the seat, currently held by United Future leader Peter Dunne, as “winnable, very winnable”.
The veteran broadcaster, a well-known champion of the power of the internet and designer of several games for iOS devices, is understood to have grown frustrated at Radio New Zealand’s sluggish progress in entering the digital age, especially in failing to embrace the potential of 3D printing.
According to sources in Wellington and Coatesville, Dotcom has been pursuing Robinson for some time, having first made contact through the messaging function on Playstation II.
Documents posted on the Whale Oil blogging website suggest that senior Internet Party strategists regard Robinson as “a leader, a mentor, an innovator and a man”. An unattributed list of the qualities of the veteran broadcaster highlights his public profile, respect, political acumen, contact book, and “he could probably lay down some mean beatbox shizzle”.
Amid rumours of dissatisfaction over restructuring at Radio New Zealand, several other personalities, including Wayne Mowat, Catriona MacLeod, and the people who host the Matinee Idle programme, have also been linked with a move to the Internet Party.
Several sources have confirmed that the multi-award-winning host Kim Hill was close to accepting an offer as the new party’s apps editor, but withdrew late in negotiations, citing, according to one staffer, “the whole too many Kims thing”.
Political insider and age-grade Poleconomy champion Matthew Hootah said the rumours had been circulating for weeks. “Sir Geoff is a well-known pinko socialist, and the veteran broadcaster’s attraction to crypto-anarchic groups is well known in certain circles,” he said. “As one window closes, another window opens, and Windows is well known in certain circles as an operating system on computers.”
Confronted with the allegation by the Listener shortly after 9pm last night, Robinson’s gentlemanly mask suddenly and unexpectedly slipped. “I’m terribly sorry, but it’s well past my bedtime,” the veteran broadcaster raged, before falling into a deep sleep.
Morning Report co-host Simon Mercep said he had “frankly no idea” about the rumours. But, he added, “I’d be the last to know. No one ever tells me anything.”