Major props to Campbell Live last year, they did a fantastic job looking at issues such as SkyCity and gambling, Novopay, poverty and lunches in schools et al, so I was dead keen to see what they would bring to the table in their first episode last night. I was, unfortunately, a little bit disappointed.
The first segment, following an ACC recipient who was living the good life in Fiji, and by the accounts of his neighbours was routing the system, was something snapped straight out of the pages of Fair Go. We had hidden cameras, we had an out of breath reporter ambushing the no do-gooder with accusations...to be fair they have apparently written to ACC to ask how many people are receiving benefits who are living overseas so there is an indication that this story will be followed up. But I felt the real questions were why it was taking so long for allegations to be followed up by ACC - was this typical, atypical - were never addressed? This was an emotive story where we can get angry indignant, but I don't really feel like we learned anything. But yes, hopefully this is still to come.
The next story was on NZ firefighters in Australia battling the flames, or in reality, creating fire breaks. I learned that smouldering branches can reignite, that apparently it wasn't as hot as they were expecting, and that fire is bad as I got to re-watch previously screened footage of trees and homes ablaze. So much learning! Again this was strictly an emotive story where we were meant to feel proud of our own getting stuck in. Aussies were interviewed and said how glad they were of their volunteer firefighters, but they failed to get the sweet pop shot of them saying they were glad of the NZ firefighters, so that was added as a voice over by the reporter, ahaha.
What we need now is a bit more outrage, and what's better for doing that than bureaucracy gone mad. In this case it was someone who had planted two fruit trees on council property who asked for retrospective approval and was told that it would cost $1,000 for an inspection. I bet the PM denies all knowledge. Except apparently that's wasn't really the case and there was a mix-up and the fee is for inspecting retaining walls etc? Who knows what the actual story was about, but hey, outrage and close up shots of guava trees. Then there was the live cross over (wtf?!, maybe they were hoping to see the guava tree miraculously blossom?) which was completely gratuitous, weird and unnecessary but it did allow two grown men to wrestle about in the background, of which I was eternally grateful for. They should be hired to do that in all live cross overs from now on in.
So in conclusion, little bit disappointed. They were fluff pieces where you didn't actually learn anything and they were after an emotive reaction - outrage, pride, outrage. But, to give them their due there is potential with the ACC story, and it's only the first episode of many to come over the year. They bought their A game last year and I'm really hopeful that we'll get a bit more insight into issues that count.
So don't forget to send them your cat pictures where tonight Gareth Morgan will come on to talk about banning cats (not purely emotive, at all!) and we live cross back to see how that guava plant is doing.