Alf sees a bright future in the Parliamentary Press Gallery for Leeana Tamati, a 17-year-old journalism student from the Southern Institute of Technology who is reporting for the NZ Herald on the antics of the Youth Parliament.
She has quickly displayed many of the attributes that shine through from typical Press Gallery hacks, such as (a) political bias and (b) dubious judgement.
Mind you, Alf will acknowledge (if pressed on the matter or bribed with a beer) that his jaundiced view of political reporters stems largely and maybe entirely from their strong disinclination to report what he has to say.
Thus he opens himself to the charge that he is biased against them, and moreover that he has long harboured a grudge, although he would deny this.
But let’s examine his analysis of Ms Tamati’s prose and why (in his always-humble opinion) she is shaping up to become a great political reporter.
She says the highlight of her first day at Youth Parliament…
was getting my photo taken with Trevor Mallard and a 48-year-old bottle of cognac, which is quite a big experience for a country girl from Invercargill.
See – she is in the bloody place just one day and already she is gushing about having her photo taken with a Labour MP (the bias), not a National one, and especially not Alf.
Moreoever she is gushing about an encounter with Trevor Mallard (the dubious judgement).
She proceeds to tease her readers with a hint she knows something she is not going to share with them. This is typical Press Gallery behaviour.
I’m afraid I can’t tell you much about the cognac incident. You will have to read the New Zealand Herald article tomorrow by Derek Cheng.
Oh, and let’s take note that she was not in the best of shape for reporting on anything much.
Today started off reasonably slowly, due to lack of sleep.
This lack of sleep thing is almost a badge of honour among Press Gallery hacks. Alf has been told it is often a sign they have been wining and dining into the small hours at joints like the Green Parrot, often in the company of politicians, but never him.
Then our youth reporter concedes, in her enlightening account of her first day on the job:
I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen over the next two days and was relieved to find that a lot of my fellow youth reporters didn’t know either.
Ha! There you have it. Ms Tamati is shaping up as ideal material for the next generation of political reporters.
Youth Affairs Minister Paula Bennett welcomed the young MPs into a briefing of the bill they will be discussing tomorrow, when the Youth MPs speak in Parliament. It’s called the Age of Majority Bill, apparently, although our young reporter does not tell us much about it, presumably (as political hacks are apt to do) because she did not bother finding out.
Rather, she says:
I somehow lost myself in the Parliament building after the briefing as I had no idea what I was to do.
This reinforces Alf’s belief the young lady will thrive as a political reporter.
He will know for certain when further details emerge about the bottle of cognac. The big test will be finding she scoffed more than her share of the contents.