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Public good overrides commercial interests

11 August 2005

Public good overrides commercial interests

The Alliance hails a court ruling overriding the commercial interests of TV3 in favour of the public interest in fully informing voters.

TV3 has been ordered to include United Future leader Peter Dunne and the leader of Jim Anderton's Progressive Party, Jim Anderton, in tonight's Election '05 televised leaders' debate.

However, Alliance co-leader Jill Ovens notes that the Alliance Party, a registered political party formerly in coalition with Labour, remains sidelined from the debate. This, despite the fact that the Alliance has consistently polled higher than Jim Anderton's Progressives since Anderton left the Alliance in 2002.

"As usual, the media's election coverage has not fulfilled its 'Fourth Estate' duty to fully inform voters as part of the democratic process. Only the parties that already have MPs are reported on. This reinforces the status quo," Ms Ovens says.

The Alliance says the only way new parties make it into the news is when MPs leave the old parties. NZ First came from National. Labour spawned Act, United Future and the Maori Party. The Greens and Progressives broke from the Alliance, which came into Parliament via Jim Anderton, who himself split from Labour in 1989.

"The Alliance is now sidelined as a political prospect by almost all commentators and reporters because it currently has no MPs. Yet the Alliance is stronger and more active now than at any time since the split with Anderton," Ms Ovens says. The Alliance advocates policies that would substantially lift incomes and in so doing, go a long way to eliminating child poverty.

"We also advocate a return of electricity and other assets back into public ownership and control so these operate in the interests of people, not profits." Why are these policies not scrutinised and publicised, Ms Ovens asks?

"Without serious coverage by the media, it is almost impossible for any party to break through the 5 per cent threshold. "The only way to get into Parliament is to already be there. This chicken and egg situation does not serve democracy well."

Ms Ovens last night spoke at an education forum in Auckland attended by more than 200. Her speech was punctuated throughout by applause, the only candidate to be so well received. Trevor Mallard (Labour), Brian Donnelley (NZ First), Bill English (National), Deborah Coddington (Act) and Metiria Teria (Greens) also spoke. "It is clear that there is substantial support for Alliance policies, but we are being prevented in getting our message out because of a media blackout," Ms Ovens says.

ENDS

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