It's a time of change for New Zealand television news and current affairs, with TV3 announcing that its Sunday night 6pm news bulletin will be reduced from an hour to 30 minutes, with revamped current affairs show 3D as the other half-hour. Nightly current affairs show Campbell Live is under threat, and Prime has recently changed the supplier of its 5.30pm news.
Current affairs has long been a significant part of our television landscape - with critical acclaim and controversy often coming in equal measure. One of our first TV current affairs series to make a big impact was Gallery, which ran from 1968 to 1973. This episode of the show was an award-winner at the time, and has gone on to become one of our most famous pieces of current affairs television, with interviewer Brian Edwards turning conciliator in a long-running Post Office industrial dispute. Producer Des Monaghan managed to get the Postmaster General Mr McCready and Mr Reddish of the Post Office union into the studio together. In the interview's final minutes Edwards forced an agreement between the two men to stop union action and go back into mediation.
You can see Gallery - Post Office Go Slow here:
Moving to the 1980s now, and another of our most memorable current affairs moments comes from six days before the 84 election. Prime Minister Robert Muldoon and Leader of the Opposition David Lange face off across a table in a TVNZ leaders' debate, chaired by Ian Johnstone. A tired Muldoon, on the back foot since calling the snap election two weeks earlier, attempts to claim the high ground of experience in office and on the international stage; but he seems no match for Lange, and his parting shot of "I love you, Mr Lange" has passed into legend, as the moment when the power shifted from the old to the new.
Watch The 1984 Leaders' Debate here:
Currently making the news himself, broadcaster John Campbell also has his own classic current affairs moment - his fiery July 2002 interview with Prime Minister Helen Clark, which came to be known as "Corngate." The interview was from a 3 News special, rather than Campbell Live, which was still three years away. Clark later labelled Campbell a "sanctimonious little creep."
View 3 News "Corngate" interview with Helen Clark here:
As well as the famous leaders' debate featured earlier, the 1984 snap election generated a piece of news footage that has also passed into legend - PM Muldoon announcing the election from the Beehive corridor, in a rather "tired and emotional" state.
You can see the legendary snap election announcement here:
Our last selection isn't famous for the quality of the interviewing or reporting, or for the significance of the story being told, but - for better or worse - it is one of the most viewed news and current affairs titles on NZ On Screen.
It comes from July 1985, when New Zealand Party leader Bob Jones had surprised many by announcing the nation's then-third most popular party was taking an 18 month recess. TVNZ went searching for comment, and after chartering a helicopter, found Jones fishing near Turangi. Jones was not amused; he punched reporter Rod Vaughan, arguing later he would fight any charges in court, since the journalists had subjected him to intolerable harassment. When fined $1000, Jones asked the judge if he paid $2000, could he please do it again?
Watch Eyewitness News - Bob Jones Punches Reporter Rod Vaughan here: