The lack of a robust media is a major reason why MMP is performing so poorly in New Zealand, according to New Conservative Leader Leighton Baker, as lawyers today file court documents against the publicly-owned TVNZ’s refusal to include New Conservative in their 8th October Multi-Party debate.
“The 5% threshold of MMP is a huge hurdle for smaller parties lacking corporate or taxpayer funding,” said Baker. “It’s made so much harder by the media failing to do its duty to fairly and reasonably provide information about candidates, parties, and policies so the public can make informed decisions.
“Suppression is not just by police and jackboots. Suppression of political speech, middle New Zealanders, and the disadvantaged, is just as effective by exclusion,” he explained. “In addition to our publicly-owned media playing this despicable game, there’s privately owned media, like Stuff, actively ignoring and distorting information about voters’ options. The best message in the world is pointless if no one is allowed to hear it.”
Baker cites the NZ Herald’s Election Special published today. Alongside parties already in government, it promotes one already rejected by voters in the last election. Two of the highlighted parties are actually polling lower than New Conservative which is given just a few centimetres on page 21 of the 24 page ‘special’.
“Journalists used to be so proud of their role in investigating and conveying the truth. It’s disheartening to see them now as manipulators and propagandists,” concludes Baker.
The facts are that New Conservative is the 5th highest polling party. It is an established, committed political option, and is standing candidates in all 72 electorates, including the Maori seats (this achievement only matched in seat numbers by Labour).
Leighton Baker, Leader New Conservative