Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Media - stuff


Top 10 political themes for 2007

By IAN LLEWELLYN - NZPA | Tuesday, 01 January 2008

2007 was been a busy year for those interested in the world of politics, full of high, lows and the plain absurd.

During the year the NZPA press gallery wrote more than 5600 items. Here is a list of its top 10 biggest political stories or themes of the year.

Three – It's the economy, stupid:
The biggest three political stories in NZPA's unscientific survey were all so close it might as well have been a three-way dead heat. The resilient state of the economy, unemployment staggeringly low, interest rates causing pain, monetary policy seemingly ineffective and the dollar being too high for many, were never far from the front pages. The political problem for Finance Minister Michael Cullen is that it has been so long since an even mild recession, that most people have forgotten the pain it can cause. The economy and the debate over tax cuts will be a dominant feature of the political landscape in 2008, with Dr Cullen trying to shrug off his scrooge label.

Two – Labour takes a smacking:

The sleeper story of 2006 woke up with a vengeance in 2007 when Green MP Sue Bradford's bill removing the defence of reasonable force when assaulting a child re-emerged on the parliamentary agenda. The debate morphed into a many-headed row over child discipline and abuse, as well as the role of the state in family life. Labour forced its MPs to vote en masse for the bill and the point of principle caused much pain for the party. Many National MPs were horrified when their leader, John Key, did a last minute deal with Miss Clark to back the bill if it was watered down. Many in National felt it would have been better to keep kicking when Labour was down but most of those now link the move to National's rise and Labour's fall.

One – Electoral Law:

After brooding about the 2005 election for a year, Labour and its allies thrust the Electoral Finance Bill on the opposition. Labour's attempt to stamp out big-spending election campaigns came back to bite it as, once again, the debate morphed into a freedom of speech issue. It did not help that the bill was terribly written, confusing, contradictory and plain draconian in places. Labour is hoping that once voters realise it does not affect 99 per cent of people, the fuss will die; how many voters want to spend money persuading others how to vote? However Labour's failure to get wider support and undergo a much-needed overhaul of the dated Electoral Act on a bi-partisan basis may come back to haunt it in 2008.

1 comment:

Andy Moore said...

Good article. I disagree with their take on the Electoral Finance Act, however. The new law does indeed affect far more than 1% of voters - it's implications will not be known for sure until a little while down the track.

Check out... www.dontvotelabour.org.nz