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  • rmacculloch

The NZ Election was Bought by the Rich, my foot: our Mainstream Media Tries to Undermine Democracy

A leading NZ Herald columnist today assigns blame for Labour's election loss. He claims, amongst other reasons, that the election was bought. Wilson says, "In Britain in 2017, $2.1 billion in donations helped the Conservative Party keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power". Is the Herald arguing it believes Corbyn deserved to be elected but was denied by rich people? Is this the same Mr. Corbyn, Granny Herald, who last week "defended his decision not to condemn Hamas in the wake of deadly attacks on Israel by the Palestinian militant group"? That prompted criticism from the UK Security Minister, who attacked Corbyn for once describing Hamas representatives as his “friends”.

Aside from that matter, Wilson goes onto say, "The same thing happened here .. Since 2021, National and its allies have banked $13.5 million in donations of $20,000 or more. That’s over 5 times as much as Labour and its allies".

The Herald should not be misleading its' readers about how much was spent on the election campaign by the different sides. To do the analysis properly, one must take account of the vast sums spent by all Labour-aligned organizations which tried to get Hipkins re-elected. Here are two examples. First, the Council of Trade Unions ran a series of attack ads on National. The CTU Chief Economist, who used to work for Finance Minister Robertson, went through National's tax & spending proposals line-by-line, putting out documents & press releases with covers like the following:

Do the Herald's numbers include the cost of such documents in its "donations" figures? No. Here's another example. OneNews reported a group of Auckland University academics from its Public Policy Institute "fact checked" the Leaders Debate. Its headline stated Luxon made four "false" statements - versus none for Hipkins. Of the statements about economics, the academics got the "facts" in their "fact check" wrong when I studied them. Does the Herald include funding to tertiary institutions whose staff campaigned on Labour's side? No.

Before the Herald argues our democracy is failing and the election was bought, with no analysis of the total sums spent by all Labour-aligned compared to National-aligned institutions, the paper should refrain from undermining trust in our nation's integrity. My impression is that overwhelmingly more money & power was brought to bear by Labour, using its affiliate organizations in the unions, media & educational "establishments" than National to try to swing the election. Even with it, the people were not fooled.



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