Saturday, February 17, 2007

What they should have asked John Howard

Yesterday, Helen Clark took the extraordinary step of shutting down a press conference in response to aggressive questioning of visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard about Iraq and his comments to US Senator Barack Obama. But there was an obvious question he wasn't asked: New Zealanders overwhelmingly oppose the US occupation of Iraq. Does this mean we're all on the side of Al Qaeda?

It would have been nice watching him try and squirm out of that one...


We are, aren't we?

Posted by Hans Versluys : 2/17/2007 11:45:00 AM

While it was Muldoonesque of Clark to shut Alistair down and actively avoid his questions - going so far as to make eye contact with other journo's and encourage their questions - it has to be said that Alistair doesn't make life easy for himself in the way he handles himself.

I note an Australian reporter at the same press conference put a couple of toughies at Howard on David Hicks quite easily because he asked them in a civil and non-hectoring tone.

I'm all for Scoop asking the tough questions. Good on them for doing so. But where does it say you can't ask hard questions in a measured tone?

Sure if they're messing you around be confrontational by all means. But what do you gain by going in like that from the get go - hostility and stonewalling perhaps.

Posted by Randominanity : 2/17/2007 05:26:00 PM

New Zealand does have SAS troops in Iraq, so what is Clark talking about.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/18/2007 09:36:00 AM

Anon: Afghanistan, not Iraq. Same war, different country.

Posted by tussock : 2/18/2007 01:38:00 PM

I doubt Howard would have much trouble handling any questions from the faux journos who fill the NZ Press gallery; Howard deals with far tougher, more "mongrel" journos in Australia all the time.


Posted by Anonymous : 2/18/2007 04:25:00 PM

" While it was Muldoonesque of Clark to shut Alistair down"

Really. I listened to the recording and Alistair got in about threee questions. Far more than what could be considered his fair share. If he cannot get his point across concisely in one or at most two questions he really shouldn't be at these things.

I hardly think a press conference lasting over 20 minutes where "one more question" had already been flagged has "shut down".

Scoop is great at times, but shambolic at others. That was a good example of the latter coming through.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/19/2007 12:29:00 PM