Broadcasters consider running election night coverage next week ‘just to get it over with’

Responding to extremely unpopular demand, 3 News has promised that it will recycle footage from 2011 for this year’s election night special.

Responding to extremely unpopular demand, 3 News has promised that it will recycle footage from 2011 for this year’s election night special.

New Zealand’s major news providers, One News and 3 News, are considering moving up their election night coverage – originally planned for September 20th – to next week, in an attempt to get the whole thing “over and done with.”

MediaWorks news chief Mark Jennings said that there was a general sense in the newsroom that “everybody already knows what’s going to happen,” and revealed that the election night team had “pretty much written everything already.”

“I mean, if you look at the polls where they stand now, and you look back three years ago, to this time in 2011, they’re more or less identical,” said Jennings. “Nothing has changed, and I don’t think anyone has the realistic expectation that it’s going to.

“So really, when you think about it, rather than being six months ahead, we’re actually three years behind.”

Jennings said that TV3’s election night special will feature a “substantive” and “explosive” discussion between political editor Patrick Gower and a bathroom mirror, while TVNZ’s John Gillespie promised his channel would convene an expert panel to conduct a detailed post-mortem on why Labour lost the election.

Labour leader David Cunliffe would appear live to concede defeat and discuss his mistakes with the panel, he said.

But speaking to media earlier this afternoon, Cunliffe denied that he had agreed to appear on TV One, saying that his concession speech had, instead, been pre-recorded.

Gillespie said that the decision to run election night coverage six months in advance of the actual election was a “logical” one.

“When you’re in the business of providing news, you always strive to be the most credible, most up-to-date source of information you can be,” he said. “There’s obviously an element of competition in this, and with any news event – whether it be this or anything else, really – you want to be the first to break it.

“So when we become aware of a story, we want to get it out there as soon as we possibly can. Because if we don’t, if we sit on it, then obviously we’ll get beaten to it. And I’d say we’ve been sitting on [the news that National won the 2014 election] for at least a couple of months now.”

Today’s news comes after Governor General Jerry Mateparae yesterday confirmed that he had already called Prime Minister John Key last week to arrange a swearing-in ceremony for his third term, one that could place as early as Friday.