The Kiwi way with blather

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The Independent Online
LIKE your correspondent Christopher Hill (Letters, 2 April), I was in South Africa in the two years leading up to the joyous elections of April 1994. We longed for a Humphrys or Paxman to tear into the nauseating Afrikaner politicians instead of the tame, grovelling political interviewing that was going on.

I rather liked the approach taken by an interviewer on a New Zealand current affairs programme recently when interviewing the leader of a teaching union and the minister in charge of education over a pay dispute.

The teacher stated that the union would call off planned industrial action if the government would make a commitment to sit down to pay talks.

"Well, that's a very straightforward request minister," said the interviewer. "Will you give the teachers that commitment?"

Blather from the politician.

"Come on minister, yes or no?"

Further blather.

"Is that a yes or no?"

Even more blather.

"Right, I've had enough of that verbiage. That's obviously a no."

Why shut up and let them finish when they are not saying anything?

David Saitch

Wellington, New Zealand