Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Government spins an own goal

Things are getting serious for the Government when it's not only late in getting its side of the story out but that its story gets shot down. Helen finally addressed the negative reaction to last Thursday's budget by claiming that it was a media beat-up and that Mike Williams, the alleged source, had never said what the papers claimed. Unfortunately for her, the Herald had kept the tapes of the conversation and used it to refute her allegations (Nota Bene: correct usage of refute). In addition to this, the new NBR blog revealed that Mike Williams had been making similar noises to them before the Budget.

About this fiasco, two questions arise. Why did it take the government so long to respond? On Sunday and Monday there was the Bay of Plenty Floods to attend to but critical commentary about the Budget had been appearing in the news media as early as Friday. Why, once it appreciated the scale of the PR disaster, did the Government come out with a story that collapsed at the slightest scrutiny? After all, Helen knows from the Doone affair that the media are taping everything that she and her minions are saying to them and are not afraid to use the tapes.

My guess, building upon what I've speculated about before, is that Helen initially mistook the negative media reaction as a discomfiture of Mike Williams with whom she has fallen out with for reasons unknown. Once she had understood that the reaction posed a threat to the credibility of her government, she thrashed out a story with Mike Williams to put forward to the media. But Mike, furious at being made to look a fool, lied to Helen about what he had said so that she would be put in the same position as he was. Although totally guesswork, it makes more sense to me than the possibilities that a) the Government suffered an attack of idiocy or b) the Government is trying to throw the upcoming election.