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  • rmacculloch

Is Newshub's putdown of NZ's only two female Finance Ministers, Ruth Richardson & Nicola Willis, misogyny?

Of all the Finance Ministers that MainStreamMedia & Jacinda Ardern could attack, how ironic they turn their fire on our first ever female one, Ruth Richardson, and second female one, Nicola Willis. Newshub's front page characterization of this year's budget is that it was the Mother of All Disappointments. The budget did not "disappoint". That implies a surprise. Yet most of us never expected the Nats would surprise us with something radical - and there's plenty to be said for doing what you were elected to do. Instead, Newshub directly connected Willis' budget to Ruth Richardson's Mother of All Budgets over 30 years ago that cut welfare generosity to reign in deficits in the early 1990s. Willis' budget did not cut welfare. Willis' budget had nothing to do with Richardson's budget - yet Newshub was determined to link the two women to one another, desperate to falsely paint Willis as a Ruth-style wicked, mean, mother witch.

For those of us who follow these things closely, Willis' budget was in the tradition of a conservative Bill English Budget. When the Nats came to power back in 2008, the size of government had been increasing under Labour's Michael Cullen & PM Clark. I remember English showing a graph at a presentation I attended tracking how spending & taxes as a proportion of GDP had gradually decreased over his tenure. So why didn't Newshub do what this blog did? That is, link Willis to English, who she used to worked for, to explain the ethos of Budget 2024? But no. Newshub targeted the women. It wrongly associated Willis with the only other woman who has been NZ Finance Minister - even though their budgets had nothing in common. In a recent speech at an Italian University, Jacinda Ardern also referred to the Mother of All Budgets and linked it to her neighbour's suicide in Morrinsville. How come Ardern, Labour & Newshub are going after Women in Finance & Economics with such negative zeal, especially when there are already relatively few in these professions? The NZ media scene will be the better for it when Newshub disappears, by popular demand.


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