New Conservative today put a case to the high court in Auckland seeking to be included in the scheduled Multi-Party debate by state broadcaster TVNZ. The case was turned down by Justice Woolford, and the debate will proceed with the initial list of participants, unless another party polls at or over 3% in tomorrow’s Colmar Brunton poll.
“Where does this decision leave our democracy?” asks party leader Leighton Baker. “When a party with longevity, candidates in every electorate, polling the 5th highest in the country over a long period, and currently polling higher than three parties included in the debate is excluded from having a voice, where is real democracy?”
Our democratic system declares that participation in parliament is determined by a party’s level of support. TVNZ does not use that same basis in determining which parties should be included in their debate, but has created its own criteria.
New Conservative produces probably as many press statements/releases as any other party, has social media engagement rivalling major parties, and stands alongside only Labour for the number of candidates standing in the 2020 election.
“Inclusion in the debate needs to change from criteria that parties like Advance NZ and the Maori Party can exploit, to criteria that puts the parties with the highest general support debating each other. We are not getting an election on ideas and policy, we are being fed historic ideas from parties already in parliament getting a free ride,” says Baker.
One third of New Zealanders when polled in 2019 said they would like a conservative voice to vote for in the election, and this result is at odds with giving those people a chance to hear a different point of view.
Internal polling suggests that the margin of error in both Colmar Brunton and Reid Research polling is in New Conservative’s favour and as other parties decline, New Conservative is rising.
Democracy is meant to be a contest of ideas, but where is the contest when the media controls what ideas are voiced on prime time television?
Whether on the debate or not, New Conservative is the party of fresh ideas and hope for tomorrow.
Leighton Baker, Leader New Conservative