With the recent change of leadership of the Labour Party, NZ media have once again shone in their abject failure to rise to the occasion and probe those key areas of interest to voters who are at the early stages of deciding who to vote for. What do they want to know? Whether Jacinda might want to have babies! Seriously! Not just once, but twice did they go there & the second time seemed to think they really had a right to know. As an ex-Brit, who has worked in media related areas for many years, I despair at the quality & intelligence of journalism in New Zealand… overall it is puerile & petty. Just take a look at the good newspaper & magazine articles - too many come out of the UK & sometimes Australia. It is always a 'whoop whoop' moment when we read a witty, intelligent or well-researched article generated domestically. That's print. TV? Can't think of anyone world-class, or even close.
That's part of the problem with politics in NZ. We have a dearth of good politicians. Whatever you thought of John Key, he was a leader we could be proud of when he appeared internationally, unlike someone like Boris Johnson! Labour have had a credibility problem ever since Helen left & John appeared. Andrew Little is obviously a good solid bloke, but was never a leader. Cunliffe? What I have to say about him simply can't be published. The words snake, grass, knife and back simply spring to mind. Then Jacinda pops up; fresh, assured, natural, believable and the media go into hyperdrive not only about whether she should have kids, but whether we should be discussing it! As if we are? Only the media are…
So, for the last decade (almost) we have had John 'charisma' Key versus the self-destructive ones. Now, we have Bill 'I'm a good, solid, boring grey bloke' English versus Jacinda 'personality' Ardern. Now, mainly due to the lack of credible choices I have voted National in the last couple of elections. If this were an ideal world, I would vote for a party that could manage the economy, make the tough decisions about looking forward with regard to the environment, have a heart about caring for the vulnerable in our community & be brave when it came to investing in the brains for our world's technological future. None of them seem to be able to adopt all of these, so it becomes Hobson's choice.
Come on Jacinda, move Labour to being this all-encompassing party & you'll get my support & my vote. Too young? Pahh! Youth is what we need in politics. Too many politicians rely on this 'experience' card to stay in power, when what it really means is they become entrenched & intractable. Our world is changing faster & faster & we need younger politicians who are more able to adapt & change with it, or preferably in front of it. Over the next couple of decades, the world will move to a model of personal sustainable power, local manufacture, total electronic communication & information management & local organic food supply. The current crop of politicians have demonstrated clearly that they simply don't understand this & our media are also in the dark because no-one is pushing them hard on the real issues.
So come on NZ media. Get your act together & start pulling together some really important projects & pushing our leaders on what they are doing about them. For example, NZ is heavily dependent on cows. We know that they pollute our waterways, fill our atmosphere with noxic fumes & are full of chemicals that are not good for us in a world that is gradually weaning itself off beef. So what is going to fill that hole in 20 years time?
Politics is a polarising issue. Generally speaking, you either take an interest or see it as an irrelevance. The younger you are, the more likely you are to see voting as a waste of time. This, in my opinion, is primarily because our media waste their air time on petty issues that may be gossip-friendly, but certainly will not hold the attention of anyone even vaguely interested in who should lead our country. This election has just got interesting with a young political personality who is capable of challenging the status quo. If she can weigh her policies right, I think she has a serious chance of forming a government. And if she does, it will be with the youth vote & I hope she then gives preference to young, enthusiastic politicians, not the solid, stuck, 'experienced' ones we have now.