by Sebastian Mackay
t doesn’t take a lot to realise the New Zealand government gets it easy from the media. In fact, when you open the Herald the first five pages are sport related. As for Stuff.co.nz, I realised today that the politics section is relegated to the far corners of the internet. Without actively searching for the politics section, the only symbol of its existence is the lone title “Labour blunders on ‘fixit’ bill-govt” which is under the national section, under the headlines “Jersey Shore can’t get a break” and “Will Kindle fire start a tablet war?”. By the time this is edited, published and distributed, there will be only 54 days until the election is upon us and we, as nation, get to decide if National will stay or go and perhaps more importantly, if MMP will survive the referendum. After the TVNZ bailout earlier this year, it begs the question of which side of the election the state-owned media
will take. Will they be critical towards National or will they be flattering? Will Labour see the limelight or will they not? There is no doubt that what happens within TVNZ due to this and other contributing factors (fulfilling its number one priority of creating a dividend) will have an effect on the vote of the general populous. New Zealand’s political apathy could eventually lead to its political downfall. According to an elections.org 2008 media release, up to 110,000 of eligible voters aged 18-24 are yet to enrol. This election year has seen political parties move on those statistics and in the case of ACT and Labour, lowering their sights to policies that affect the students and young people of New Zealand. Labour’s initiative is to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, manage the cost of living and promise a policy to increase youth (defined by Labour as those under 20)
skills. As for ACT, Don Brash’s comments on the decriminalisation of marijuana are clearly those of populist policies. Although it is not ACT policy and has caused a rift in the ACT caucus, populist policies seem to be a recurring theme in this year’s election. National can’t be left out from this, their populist policies, much like Labour’s with the political left, affect those on the political right. The tax cuts introduced by National increased the amount in of money in the pockets of the lowest income band by approximately $10 a week, while those same tax cuts increased the amount of money gained by the top band of income earners by upwards of $100 per week (approximately). Interestingly enough, the partial asset sales introduced by the National government also assist the top band of income earners, increasing the
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