I have been challenged to a game of table tennis by a NZ Herald sports reporter. Personally, I have better things to do with my time - talk about issues which are important to NZ. I think a better way to measure a person's character is to know what they stand for rather than how they play a game of table tennis. Have a look at the email exchange below. 

So what do you think? Should I take him on?

On 13/06/2017, at 3:59 PM, Stephen <> wrote:

Dear Mr Morgan,
Greetings. I work as a journo with the Herald and  am challenging each party leader to a game of table tennis, to write up for the paper as a series before the election campaign begins in earnest. It would be awesome fun to take you on. There is a stadium in Epsom. It would take oh say 1 hour all up I reckon to play 4-5 games and then have a chat after about the game and whatever else about sport and fitness. A photographer would be present.
I am looking to do this within the next few weeks. Is there a time and a place that you can name?
Best regards

On 13/06/2017, at 4:02 PM, Gareth Morgan <[email protected]> wrote:

No Sorry, I’m on a roadtrip & fully committed. 

TOP of the day to you


Dr Gareth Morgan
PO Box 19134, Wellington
<TOP signature-logo2.jpg>
On 13/06/2017, at 5:55 PM, Steve Braunias <> wrote:

What - for all of the next 4-5 weeks? All the leaders are up for it, be a shame not to include yourself. After all its free coverage in nz's biggest paper. 
is there an hour-long gap in your time between now and end of July? It dont have to be auck - there are other stadiums....what reckon?
On 14/06/2017, at 7:27 AM, Gareth Morgan <[email protected]> wrote:

You may be aware there is a general election on September the 23rd.  Given that I am the founder and leader of a new Party contesting that election I am sure you understand this is a busy time for me - far busier than for leaders of Establishment parties who have substantial party infrastructure to delegate to.  A game of ping pong might be appealing under different circumstances but I doubt it would contribute much to the public discourse about the many problems facing New Zealanders in their everyday lives and the policy solutions needed to rectify them.
If you get time between playing games with the other political leaders why not jot down some serious questions about housing affordability, growing economic inequality, our unfair tax system, government inaction on environmental degradation and any other issues that are important and I will be happy to respond to them - as I have already done for a number of reporters at the NZH.
I’m sure the country’s biggest newspaper and it’s readers would be far more interested in those matters than a game of amateur table tennis. My view only of course.

TOP of the day to you


Dr Gareth Morgan
PO Box 19134, Wellington 6149

From: Steve Braunias <>
Subject: Re: Steve Braunias / NZ herald challenge
Date: 14 June 2017 at 8:49:57 AM NZST
To: Gareth Morgan <[email protected]>
hi Gareth
NZ Herald press gallery journalists such as Audrey Young, and many on the general reporting staff, perform all this work that you describe. 
I'm more interested in the character of the party leaders. What I have established from our brief correspondence is that you're a chicken.
best wishes

Showing 5 reactions

  • James Crawford
    commented 2017-07-05 19:03:58 +1200
    Pathetic New Zealand on display again. What the hell does any serious reporter of news in New Zealand think he is doing by distracting himself, his newspaper, and the public with such brainless “look at me” displays of ignorance and unawareness as the nation informs itself of what its politicians stand for and are committed to deliver. Except, of course, New Zealanders do not bother, or demand, to know what their politicians are really doing or who influences them or where their country is really going … provided that the sideshows and trivial events are spoon-fed to them on a regular and on-going basis. This non-incident and its disproportionate coverage illustrate the point.
  • Christopher Cookson
    commented 2017-06-20 08:49:39 +1200
    What I have established from this brief correspondence, is that NZ Herald is wasting their money employing ‘award winning journalist’ Steve Braunias. It is precisely because of this sort of trivialisation of news into ‘infotainment’ that I no longer visit the NZ Herald website.
    I’m sure he’s disappointed at missing out on his game of ping-pong, but I’m sure there are many underprivileged kids who also miss out, so perhaps you could offer to donate a table-tennis table and gear to somewhere the kids wouldn’t otherwise have that opportunity, and invite him to come and teach them how to play, and he can interview you while he’s at it.
    If he’s not up for it, ‘Tegal’ and ‘courier delivery’ come to mind.
  • Oliver Krollmann
    followed this page 2017-06-16 18:15:29 +1200
  • Tim Harrison
    commented 2017-06-15 13:26:04 +1200
    Hi Gareth.
    I fully support your stance. The request is a ridiculous and frivolous waste of your time.
    That the establishment parties have (apparently) said yes to the invitation unfortunately only points to their views about and desire for cheap publicity at the expense of substance.
  • Kevin FitzGerald
    commented 2017-06-15 08:33:21 +1200
    Ignore him. He’s just after the publicity for himself. In fact it is deeply insulting that he even feels that it is appropriate to suggest this stunt. So far as I know a capacity for winning at table tennis has no connection with sensible policies for running a country or journalism for that matter.