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More to democracy than just Clark and Key

Media statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

More to democracy than just Clark and Key

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says the Prime Minister is just plain wrong to say it is more important for New Zealand voters to see only her and National leader John Key debating on national television 'because one of them will be the nation's leader after the election'.

"In fact, Helen Clark and John Key are extremely well-known to the voters because of the media's obsession and daily focus on the two of them during the whole three years of a Parliamentary term," he says.

"While Miss Clark is desperate to get a fourth term, and John Key seems an amiable bloke who will push her every step of the way, neither will be able to form a government without the support of one or more of the MMP parties.

"Therefore, it makes more sense for the television networks to promote debates involving the party leaders who will help make the decision about whether Clark or Key will form the next Government.

“It is not as though the all-party leaders' debates were the only leaders' debates being planned: TV3 was planning a separate Clark/Key debate as well as the now cancelled all leaders' debate, and TVNZ is planning two Clark/Key debates as well as its all leaders debate.

“So three of the five debates originally planned would have featured just Clark and Key, which makes their refusal to take part in the all leaders' debates even more arrogant.

"I congratulate TVNZ for its decision to continue with the multi-party debate and despise TV3 for its gutless decision to cave in to the demands of the two old parties with the weasel word explanation that a debate without Key or Clark would 'not be viable', which really means they won't be able to sell as much advertising.

"Our democracy is about much more than making money or television ratings – something Labour, National and their TV3 lapdog seem to have forgotten," says Mr Dunne.


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