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  • rmacculloch

NZ's Media got conned by Labour & National's election campaigns & ended up chasing red herrings

It's official - our media fell hook, line and sinker for the shallow & empty election campaigns of Labour & National. Journalists got suckered into arguing with politicians about trivial, pathetic issues like how much of Labour's GST cut on fruit & veges would "pass through" to customers (we're talking amounts of money of the order of $5 a week) or how much of National's making-interest-payments-tax-deductible-from-rental-income would be similarly passed on. Or how much tax would be raised by making foreign purchases of real estate of over $2 million subject to a 15% tax. Who cares? Yet our media went off and charged down the rabbit holes whenever they appeared.

The big issues were never debated which has made the reporting of this election campaign so disappointing. What are those big issues? For one, the long-term fiscal blow-out meaning taxes must be hiked regardless of whether National or Labour win, unless ways to make the health system work more efficiently and open up large parts to private providers can be engineered. Instead our health-debate was derailed by the two big parties which turned it into a race-based argument of whether or not the Maori Health Authority should be kept.

Both major parties deliberately & cynically played the race-card during the campaign to side-track a gullible media away from the truly important health-care issues that have nothing to do with the future of that Authority. Should our health system move away from the failing centralized public-provider model that exists today in places like the UK and NZ (we copied each others) toward one more closely resembling the Singapore, French or Canadian models, for example? Of course it should. But neither Labour nor National have shown the road-map to achieve the change. I wrote a bunch of proposals together with a former Finance Minister to achieve such aims, yet both major parties scoffed at my proposals and threw them in the bin.

Aside from health-care, another big issue is how can competition law be reformed to lower prices and reduce the cost-of-living. That issue has similarly never been addressed during this campaign. Instead our gullible media let our politicians get away with the idea that the cost-of-living crisis can be solved by not changing the underlying cost of anything but instead by just giving tax cuts or benefits to the worst affected groups.

To summarize, this campaign has not been one about proposing supply side reforms to revitalize the Kiwi economy, aside from vague discussions about infrastructure projects - ones that should have been started 10 years ago (when I first tried making a case for them to a totally disinterested National Party leadership when Key was PM) but still haven't been started and won't be completed for decades to come.

I lost interest in this election awhile ago. It comes at a time which marks a turning point for our nation - yet nothing National nor Labour have proposed has struck me as profound & thoughtful & designed to bring a greater long-term prosperity for all to this nation. Instead the proposals have been characterized by one theme - how to target swinging voters with bribes for short-term advantage at the ballot box. This country will pay the price.


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