I am  late to the party with this one, but wow. Bonallack is off. Off to the armed forces to write riveting newsletters. Because his wife doesn’t like Featherston and wonga-wonga vines apparently.

That was some weeks ago, and now we find out the current GM Andrew Denholm is buying the paper. Coincidence?

Nah. I’m betting he got the arse card handed to him.

He was a surveyor before he was a journalist, so he spent a lot of time looking at things upside down through a theodolite. Clearly it had some long term effects.

A theodolite.

For all his incoherent protestations in his editorials about him fighting the good fight and holding “them” to account, all we have seen is what was an interesting regional paper slide further and further towards becoming a mere habit of the elderly and fire-lighters  for the rest of us. There is very little investigative content anymore- just bleak crime summaries, press releases from the larger organisational bodies in the Wairarapa, and space filling write ups invariably on weird things that most people have zero interest in reading about. The paper lacks balls. Andrew Bonallack is a tweed clad  plank of wet particle-board who is all Hui and no do-y.

I don’t know Denholm at all save a few pleasantries.  I can only hope him and his new editor’s vision is a good one. He doesn’t have that air of pussy about him like the Bonallack does. But something is keeping me from celebrating just yet.

Let me tell you something one of the lad’s at the Wai News told me once, in casual conversation:

“You are not going to see a lot of attention put on the Councils, or the Trusts, because they spend so much on advertising [with local media].”

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to work out what that means.

It must be added here that none of this is aimed at the reporters. They have to work within a framework the editor sets out, but presumably will take all the leash they can get given the chance.

I’ve heard from several other people, possibly from the Times Age,  who have said when anything remotely negative about the council is published they get a finger wagging representative of council (who with his pin striped suit and love of clogs shall remain nameless) call on them. In my eyes, that is mild corruption. Council of course would call that part of a communications strategy.

This coming election needs some good honest, old fashioned reporting done by the Times Age. Because if Masterton gets hung with another dud council filled with a few too many sycophants, self interested career politicians who have failed in the private sphere, and people who fall asleep in meetings and can’t be bothered doing their readings and due diligence,  a dunce cap will be delivered to WTA management for their part in it. Don’t take my word for this though Mr. Denholm, just have a chit chat to any members of staff at MDC who have sat in on council meetings…

…It’s sadly all true.

Thankfully there are several fantastic new candidates who have put their hand up, who I believe are of a calibre much higher than we are used to seeing. However, if the paper is too afraid to be a bit harsh and tell people how it really is, they might struggle to break in.

Well, Denholm needs advertisers. But who’s he going to focus on- them or the readers?


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Matthew 23: Beware the Hypocrite in robes.
Councillor Jonathan Hooker.