Another day, another Kim Dotcom-related story. It just keeps coming, night after night as regular as Shortland Street, with a forgetful prime minister on Wednesday night's 3 News looking strained in a hard hat as he inspected the passing parade of chicken breasts on a factory conveyor belt.
He was having a bad week, but not as bad as Lesley Longstone, ''the Sheffield lass'' as her local paper called her, before she left for New Zealand to become the Education Ministry's chief executive and secretary.
Education Minister Hekia Parata had again declined to appear on Campbell Live and Longstone had valiantly stepped in on Tuesday night's show to take a real pasting from John Campbell, who ridiculed the nonsensical figures and findings the ministry had come up with pertaining to the closure and merging of Christchurch schools.
Campbell was beyond scathing, not letting Longstone retreat into blanket statements.
The host asked how it was possible for every building of every school of all the seven clusters to be damaged. Before the Longstone interview, reporter Natasha Utting had filed a report where she visited several schools where rolls had increased, not fallen, and where damage was so minimal that the cracks could hardly be seen.
Parata was a no-show the next night, but was bailed up by Campbell Live reporter Dan Parker after she had received a chilly reception from her speech to an unimpressed PPTA.
Parker repeatedly asked the minister if she was prepared to appear on Campbell Live, but Parata repeatedly evaded the question.
If she had agreed to appear on the show that night, she would have had to answer Campbell's assertion that 30, not 13, Canterbury schools were to be chopped.
The news that Close Up will close in November is sad for staff, but the show has lacked teeth this year.
Campbell Live got the drop on Dotcom early on, obviously knowing that the story had legs, and has stuck with themes, such as the child poverty issue, culminating with a fundraiser last week.
Instead of going light, as is rumoured (perhaps TVNZ will poach the talent from 7 Days), the replacement show for Close Up should become unashamedly pointy headed and go for a presenter like Wallace Chapman (Back Benches), rather than the mature tried and chewed.
- The Dominion Post
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