What Next? Nige and John mind the economic gap | Stuff.co.nz – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: June 15, 2017 at 6:40 am


Last updated07:57, June 14 2017


Futurist Derek Handley finally lost patience with the gloomy discussions on Tuesday night's episode of What Next?

REVIEW: "Idon't know about this whole episode.I'mnot able to get to grips with thisstuff. That makes me feel like we're not dealing with it in the right way...We're getting a little bit bespoke withthis stuff."

It's What Next? night three and frustrations with the show's format have finally boiled over.

Surprisingly it was one of the tight-five "Futurists" who broke ranks, but the monk-like Derek Handley seemed to be channelling the mood of home viewers and those interacting on Facebook with his mild-mannered rant. It moved even Nigel Latta to crack a gagthat shouting at the tele won't do you any good.


The broadcasting dream team hasn't quite lived up to expectations .

Tuesday night's topic was jobs and money, which saw hosts Latta, John Campbell and their Eggheads (seriously, squashed around that table the Futurists look like an all-conquering pub quiz team) attempt to tackle issues like poverty and inequality.

READ MORE: *What Next: Campbell and Latta show us a depressing future *What Next? Bugs are NZ's farming future Nigel Latta and John Campbell declare


Squashed around their table, the Futurists look like an elite pub quiz team.

That meant covering a little of the same ground as Sunday (automation, the need for retraining), as well as introducing ideas like democratic workplaces and the Universal Basic Incomes (UBI). Accountants were once again singled out for having dire future prospects, while those playing the Shay Wright-mentions-his-far-north-background or the boys'-plug-the-University-of-Auckland's-longitudinal-attitudes-study drinking game would have finished the hour happy.

But while the show's twin bedevilments of an ill-conceived set (Latta and Campbell really should be issued with sneakers) and bizarre graphics (are they a pie graph or a speedometer) continued, at least there was some passion on display this time around.

Handley urged everyone on the show "to be a bit more upbeat and positive" and came up with the quote of the night when he said that "the only place that poverty belongs is in Te Papa". He also lashed out at the idea of democratic workplaces, suggesting "we need to get more people to vote once every three years" before we could even consider that.


When the TV cameras aren't on them, it looks like the Futurists are having way more fun.

Even Latta finally showed his true colours when he near-goaded Campbell for not believing that Kiwis would be in favour of trialling a UBI. "It's true, I poo-poohed it," aslightly ashen-faced Campbell intoned, perhaps relieved that they were coming up to a break.

It was an episode that Campbell described as "segueing wildly" around the topic, but while it seemed like a positive step forward for the series, we're more than halfway through and still not sure about it's actual purpose.

Yes, it's important to discuss these big picture ideas, but What Next? feels like a telethon crossed with an election night and party political broadcast. Slight squabbles aside, the Futurists are seemingly of one mind, while the journalistic dream team of Campbell and Latta have been disappointing because they are simply too similar to each other.


Either John Campbell or Nigel Latta needs to go rogue for What Next? to make for compelling viewing.

We desperately need one of them to play "bad cop", or get some disruptors into the mix like a Gareth Morgan, Winston Peters, Sir Bob Jones, Richard Prebble or even Bill Ralstonwho could challenge the Futurists.

In the end, it all feels like the Christchurch City Council's "Share An Idea" campaign after the 2010-2011 earthquakes. It's a great way to get community engagement (and TVNZ more "subscribers"), but you can guarantee the politicians won't have a bar of much of the discussion that has taken place.


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