Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged '2011 General Election'

How Phil Goff may come into his own in the televised election debates.

There’s general agreement that the three televised debates between John Key and Phil Goff scheduled to take place between now and the election could  play a significant role in changing voter perceptions of the two contenders.

Television viewers have seen a lot of Goff over the last three years primarily because he has, on principle, made himself available for cross-examination. He regards that as something any politician aspiring to the highest office in the land ought to do. Key, on the other hand, has been largely unavailable for media interviews, preferring, it would seem, to be seen rather than heard. It’s interesting that the video which preceded National’s phoney debate TV opening was a montage of the Prime Minister’s photo ops with famous people.

If the polls are anything to go by, not being available to answer questions is a more effective strategy than being available to answer questions. But it can hardly be described as a more responsible strategy.

The televised debates thus assume a particular importance since they represent the first occasion on which the PM will be available for media interrogation before a large audience and the first occasion, outside Parliament, when we will see him in a face to face encounter with Phil Goff. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lazy – or just plain ignorant? Why the under-25s aren’t voting.

More than a quarter of the under-25s haven’t bothered to get themselves on the electoral roll.  Again. The media and the politicians are wailing that they’re not showing civic responsibility, that they’re not exercising their democratic right, that they don’t care about politics. Again.

Every election year we go into this chant about the irresponsibility of the young; every election year we seem surprised that the same old pattern reoccurs, as if some miracle or mind-shift might have happened in the ensuing three years.

Well, we shouldn’t be.  We should be amazed and grateful that so many young people actually do enrol and vote, because we’re giving them damnall incentive to do so.

In other democratic countries Civics is taught in secondary schools. The kids learn how government works nationally and locally, how policy is developed, how it becomes or fails to become law, and the part citizens play in determining their own future.

In New Zealand first-year Law students have to be taught all this, first-year Politics students have to be taught all this – and nobody else gets taught this at all.  So it’s not very surprising that our young people have little or no interest in politics. It’s very hard to be interested in something you don’t understand and even harder to become interested in something you know nothing worthwhile about.

Of course they always have the endless knee-jerk opinions of those around them. They may listen, may parrot, may believe. It’s what they do believe that’s the worry.  If they listen to the voices in the bars, the voices in the street and the voices in the workplace what they’re likely to hear is that politicians are rogues and vagabonds, that those in Parliament are intent on making our lives as difficult and as costly as possible and that there’s no point in voting because one lot is as bad as the other. Read the rest of this entry »

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