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www.policy.net.nz ramps up ahead of election

Press Release: for immediate distribution
8 September 2008
see attached

www.policy.net.nz ramps up ahead of election with the addition of New Zealand's top two political commentators

Political policy comparison website www.policy.net.nz is ramping up its service ahead of the election by adding blogs from prominent independent commentators Chris Trotter and Matthew Hooton.

This election will be the first in New Zealand's history where debate will be just as intense in the blogosphere as on the hustings and in the mainstream media. policy.net.nz now has two commentators from either end of the political spectrum who can cut through the political spin and noise of the debate.

They will deliver an insightful and often trenchant view of the politics and the politicians doing battle in this campaign. Their commentary and the online debates they spark will complement the comprehensive comparison of policy details published on policy.net.nz from all political parties. Moderated comments from readers will add to the flavour of the debate.

"Chris and Matthew pull no punches and their style will provoke intense discussion about the issues and the personalities dominating New Zealand politics," said policy.net.nz publisher David Chaston.

"Spirited debate is at the heart of our democracy and policy.net.nz aims to be the leader in putting the debate together with the policy details in a website voters can use to consider the choices they face," Chaston said.

policy.net.nz is not affiliated to any of the political parties and aims to be a non-partisan repository of the parties' key policy detail that is published online in a form that's easy to use, reliable, free and up to date.
"There is no doubt this election will be fought and won online as much as it will be on television, radio and in newspapers. policy.net.nz aims to be at the forefront of this shift in the landscape for political debate."

policy.net.nz welcomes advertising from all advertisers, be they commercial or political. The site is generating over 100,000 page impressions a month and that is expected to rise sharply in the weeks ahead of an election expected in early to mid November.

Trotter and Hooton alternate as columnists for the country’s largest circulation newspaper, the Sunday Star-Times,newspaper, and both appear regularly as commentators on television and radio, including TV3, RadioLIVE and Radio New Zealand National.

Trotter is also the publisher of the Political Review magazine and a weekly columnist for The Independent newspaper. A voice from the left of politics, he wrote the political history book "No Left Turn" in 2007.

Hooton is a former staffer for the National Party and now runs corporate and public affairs consultancy, Exceltium.

Hooton and Trotter said they were excited to join the debate online.
”The immediacy of feedback from readers on the internet creates a discipline on commentators and politicians alike, that is not always apparent in the daily or weekly media – and that’s what makes debate online so leading edge ," Hooton said.

"The blogosphere has the potential to become a place of genuine and increasingly sophisticated political interaction. A substitute, perhaps, for the public squares of old, where the issues of the day were debated by an active and informed citizenry," Trotter said.

*Note to editors. policy.net.nz is part of the stable of websites owned by David Chaston's JDJL Ltd, including www.interest.co.nz and www.agridata.co.nz


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