I’ve always been reluctant to believe in media conspiracies, but having watched the way in which Radio New Zealand and TVNZ have been covering this election campaign I have to conclude that those driving the election coverage on those channels are either wildly Left-wing or plain ignorant, and I’m genuinely not sure which explanation is the more plausible.
The media have almost entirely ignored what ACT has been saying, even when Jamie Whyte drives a horse and cart through the economic policies of other parties. They give only minimal coverage to what the Taxpayers’ Union is saying about the cost of the political promises made by most parties, even though those comments are based on the research of an economist who did the costing of election promises for the Inland Revenue Department for a number of years.
The media give extensive coverage to the comments of Winston Peters, even though his promises are so outrageous that the policies of New Zealand First are the only ones which the Taxpayers’ Union has been unable to put a dollar cost on – they are extremely vague and very expensive.
Winston is portrayed as an honest politician, even though he was the man who held up the “NO” sign for the media when he should have admitted that yes, New Zealand First had indeed received a large donation from Owen Glenn. He is also the man who gets away with claiming that the Reserve Bank Act needs to be changed, as he did during the 1996 election campaign – and I haven’t yet seen a reporter ask him why, when he was Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in 1997 and 1998 (and therefore had ministerial responsibility for the Reserve Bank) he made not the slightest attempt to change the Reserve Bank Act, and never discussed the possibility of doing so with me.
Yesterday, Radio New Zealand’s coverage of some of Labour’s promises took the cake for me. Every time I turned on the radio to hear the news, the bulletin seemed to be led by the story that Labour would introduce a “Kiwi Share” to prevent future governments from ever selling government-owned businesses.
Apart from being a seriously stupid policy even if it could be implemented, a future Labour-led Government could not actually stop future governments from doing anything!
What Parliament can do, a future Parliament can as easily undo. But nowhere did I hear a voice of scepticism expressed – Mr Cunliffe’s “promise” to stop future asset sales for all time was breathlessly reported as if it had some relevance.
I’m pretty critical of the John Key Government, as anybody who has read my book “Incredible Luck” will know. But with a few ACT MPs to help drag them back to the values set out so clearly in the National Party’s own constitution, a John Key-led Government is vastly to be preferred to a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First-Internet Mana combination, and it angers the hell out of me that even the media funded by me and other taxpayers makes not the slightest attempt to cover the election campaign with even a modicum of detachment and objectivity.