No longer leaders

Apparently Helen Clark and John Key consider themselves to be too important to be merely considered “party leaders” and are snubbing the traditional Party Leaders’ debate in favour of their own head-to-head debates where we hear from the candidates for prime minister.

TV3 had a lovely piece where political journalists complained about the public being shut out of the debate and John Key and Helen Clark colluding to frame the election as between Labour and National, and noted that they’ve been shot down in their requests for the candidates to reconsider showing up for the debate. Contempt for the media is evidently no longer exclusively a feature of North American campaigns.

Apparently it takes their own programming being affected to make them realise the trend of the major parties trying to shut out debate that’s more complicated than the old “left vs right” argument.

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3 thoughts on “No longer leaders

  1. Such actions by these two party leaders isn’t going to go down well with most of NZ I expect. NZ has always been egalitarian – you could be better off, have the newer car, more important position etc but you didn’t snub your neighbours. You talked to them, hell, even just a friendly greeting was enough.

    The leaders of the two largest parties have just told all of NZ that they think that they’re better than everyone else and have proven that they are completely out of touch with the rest of NZ. The sheer arrogance will echo throughout NZ and has left even me (I’m an arrogant bastard) flabbergasted. It is not a good look and I’m sure both National and Labour will take a hit in the polls because of it.

  2. As much as the idea of tall-poppy syndrome informing a backlash against both Labour and National appeals to me in results, I’d honestly just rather the two major party leaders acted like coalition leaders instead of autocrats.

    As for your final comment, I believe it was a Nat who said “bugger the pollsters”. It only matters if they take a hit in the elections.

  3. If I was TV3 and TVNZ, I would team up and exclude Labour and National from the debates then (that is, hold multi-party debates without them), and probably exclude them from political news coverage as well. Political news without a mention of labour or National… ahhh.

    I believe there is a precedent from many decades ago (go history monkeys, go!), a PM attacked a newspaper for not reporting him in a good light, and so that newspaper stopped reporting him at all. The “4th Estate” reckons its powerful, I wonder if they’re willing to prove it.

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