Monday, September 29, 2008

Squashing the fleas

The decision to prohibit the minor party leaders from the so-called "Leaders Debate" is understandable, albeit disappointing.

After all, people in New Zealand are pre-programmed into voting for National or Labour. It's intergenerational. When it comes to anything in politics all that matters in NZ is what National or Labour think.

People say to me all the time, and I mean all the time "how come ACT is still only 2%. I like most of their policies [you can't please all the people all the time], and Rodney and Heather are doing great jobs."?

I tell them the answer is Coke and Telecom.

Coke and Telecom?

You see, politics is a battle of ideas. The ideas are portrayed through the media to the public. The major parties win the control over the media because, well, er, they are the major parties. Who cares what Rodney Hide says! What does John Key think?!?!

National and Labour are established brands like Coke and Telecom. They have a duopoly. National passed a law in 1996(?) prohibiting parties like ACT buying their own TV time. Labour passed the Electoral Finance Act which prohibits a candidate spending more than $20,000 in an entire year trying to win an electoral seat. Meanwhile the "damn good ideas" that Mike Williams propogates disabuse small parties of that notion.

ACT gets 4 minutes to give an opening address for this year's election. National and Labour get 15. ACT gets $100,000 broadcasting allocation for TV ads. National and Labour get $700,000.00 each (I think). And if all this isn't bad enough, ACT had to fight its 'friend' National in 2005 which thought, and still think I am sure, that ACT is a flea that needs squashing. And of course National has the Waitemata Trust to help it do that.

So you see, it's like the chicken and egg thing. Which comes first, votes or profile/brand? Without profile/brand you don't get votes, without votes you don't get profile/brand.

Dogs, fleas, chickens and eggs.

That's minor party politics for you in New Zealand.

It's bloody hard work.


Caleb said...

National are promising to revise electoral law - maybe a coalition with ACT will force them to allow all parties to spend anything they want on TV adverts as long as they come up with the cash themselves.

Heine said...

National don't want to explain their lack of beliefs to their supporters, nor do they like the fact that 2 MPs from ACT say all the good stuff while their own caucus are left behind.

mawm said...

But then the smaller parties, who prop up minority governments, get a disproportionte say in Parliament and in making the laws of this country such as Bradford's smacking bill.

The system sucks.

Psycho Milt said...

Don't blame S59 repeal on "small parties" - Bradford's private member's bill came up in a ballot, and could have done so no matter the size of her party. As ever, the fact it passed into law is down to it being picked up by one of the two big parties. In other words - blame the big parties, not the small ones.

Anonymous said...

PM is exactly right. We have the anti-smacking bill because National and Labour voted it into law, with the Greens.

The only way it could have been stopped was ACT (the only party to vote against) having 62 MPs, and somehow I don't see that as ever being achieved.

Barnsley Bill said...

The fleas need to be squashed.
I have posted on this.