No transcripts on the Herald on Sunday front page, but a new game-changer which threatens to cast a shadow over the final week of campaigning: Sonny Bill Williams is single again. A kiwi “hitman” is convicted in Scotland, the daunting cost of modernising Starship (hospital not the band). We are also pointed towards the news that Aroha Ireland, the girl John Key took to Waitangi in 2008, is moving to Australia. “There’s not many opportunities here … I don’t see us catching up,” she says.
“If I had a gun I’d shoot them – put them out of their misery -because they have gone rabid and they may infect others.” Michael Laws’ thoughts on the Sunday tabloid and journalists more generally is summarised.
Police will execute the search warrant on the HoS tomorrow and the aptly named Key Research poll conducted this week confirmed that 44% of people supported the Prime Minister’s stance on releasing the tape; 33% say set it free.
Corn anybody? Nick Smith denies having knowledge of an upcoming Ministry of Environment study into the economic effects of our strict GE laws and what the financial gains would be in relaxing them.” I don’t run a ministry that’s not allowed to think for itself” he said.
The “average New Zealand family” chosen last week are probably off to Australia after facing redundancy.
Jonathan Milne advises how to apportion your vote: “Decide who you trust. Vote for them.” He has met most of the leaders outside campaign time and thinks they have truly gone into politics to make NZ a better place.
Pita Sharples’ electorate manager Martin Cooper has been stood down while the Parliamentary Service investigate email correspondence in which he is alleged to have asked for money in return for “political pressure”.
Kerre Woodham writes on the teapot scandal and says it’s lucky for Key that the public opinion of the media is even lower than its estimation of politicians.
Ahead of a documentary screening this week on child poverty investigative journalist Bryan Bruce tells us we must have a Minister for Children.
Further inside a two page Q&A spread on the major party leaders – Except that one is missing. Jonathan Milne has a lengthy Q&A with Phil Goff. Opposite where John Key’s would have been, had he not pulled out of the exercise, is a review of the “longest week in politics”. The longest week mainly consists of a dig at Key over the countless times he has declined to appear for interviews with Morning Report to talk about the “real issues”, and the failure of the party to answer policy questions on their website.
Paul Little talks about the Greens, their popularity is rising as they continue to align with the bigger issues facing the world, “the two main parties have also been of enormous assistance to the Greens by continuing the practice of politics as usual in a world which is clearly looking for something more”. he says.
The editorial, predictably, is a robust defence of the paper on the teapot scandal. It says of Key’s response “Plainly the PM is being very poorly advised……We take no pleasure in the discomfort Key has felt this week, though we are not unhappy that someone who has deliberately set out to harm us is being held to account for his evasiveness.”
A second editorial notices just how much things have changed for the Greens when denounced activism is to put witty stickers onto billboards.
Matt McCarten advises centre-left voters in the battleground seats what to do on election day.
Deborah Coddington, full with the family dinner at the Turias, says Key is right not to release the tapes. It is an ethical matter and the release would send a message that he “sanctions the unauthorised garnering of information by the media and sets a precedent”.
The Sunday Star Times leads with the results of a Horizon poll which has NZ First in prime position to decide who will govern after the election. It shows 46 seats for National, Labour and the Greens on 50 in a 122 seat parliament and Winston Peters’ party 13. Winston, of course, is not surprised by the numbers. “That’s what we’re feeling around the country” he says in their front page lead, headined “Poll no shock for Winston“.
Inside John Hartevelt asks us to consider the “considerable rump” of undecideds and looks at the campaign policies that have worked – compulsory KiwiSaver – and those that have not – asset sales, retirement age. He predicts more of the same for the final week. “So expect more ‘show me the money’ talk from Key and much more ‘last chance to save your assets’ stuff from Goff,” he says.
Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers president, says the choice for Saturday is clear. The world’s population is growing as are our trading partners and food production is what we do best. So vote for the future of farming, he says.
Anthony Hubbard talks MMP and asks whether Winston can once again resist the “baubles of office”. He uses the current Key government and previous Labour government to point out that opponents of MMP are wrong in saying it produces weakness. On Peters he dismisses the scaremongering. “Peters’ Bark is much worse than his bite, in coalition he was moderate and did not give effect to his more lunatic ideas.”
Hubbard then writes an open letter to John Key over the teapot tapes. “Most people saw the storm in a teacup for what it was: nonsense. You’ve turned it into a force five political hurricane that raises all kinds of questions about your judgement, commonsense and even integrity” he writes.
However Michael Laws thinks the media have reinforced their reputation for lack of integrity and the cameraman Bradley Ambrose comes in for special attention for his “appalling” behaviour.
Rod Oram writes in support of MMP and compares the two major party’s economic strategy as we face huge challenges ahead.
The editorial gets stuck into the current version of MMP. “There is no good reason why a party that wins an electoral seat should be able to avoid the 5% threshold faced by all other parties,” it says, adding “we don’t want a parliament bristling with nutty, 2% parties. That really does run the risk of putting power in the hands of tiny fanatics”.
Megan Nicole Reed laments the bluewashing of her local suburb and makes a plea for us not to assume she supports National just because she likes “nice clothes and polenta fries, flash cars and Pinot Gris”.