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Lecture series to provide insight into 2014 election

Lecture series to provide insight into 2014 election

Could National’s refusal to reform MMP lead to the defeat of the government? Is the media providing voters with the information they require to make an informed electoral decision? What directions might John Key’s leadership take if he secures a third term?

These questions and more will be part of a five-week course about the 2014 New Zealand election, run by Victoria University of Wellington’s Continuing Education programme.

Five academics from Victoria’s Political Science and International Relations programme will offer a variety of perspectives on the general election. Members of the public can sign up to the full five-week course or join individual sessions.

Jeff Ashford, Director of Victoria’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, says the course is for anyone interested in politics and the electoral system in New Zealand.

“It will provide a valuable context for understanding this year’s election and insight into the parties, personalities, media and policies that will feature.”

Course outline:
Wednesday 6 August
Continuity and Change in Electoral Politics: The 2014 New Zealand General Election
Professor Stephen Levine

This talk will set the scene by looking at cycles of change and continuity in electoral politics, providing a sketch of the historic context in which the 2014 competition for votes will take place.

Wednesday 13 August
Foreign Policy and the General Election: Positioning in an Age of Asian Growth
Dr Jason Young

Trade relations with Asia already dominate New Zealand exports and imports and business, and investment links are quickly following. Diplomatic and security relations in the Asia-Pacific will remain central to New Zealand's foreign policy over the coming decades. This lecture will examine the positions of the major parties on New Zealand's place in the Asia Pacific.

Wednesday 20 August
The Electoral System and the Election
Professor Nigel Roberts

How our electoral system converts votes into seats in Parliament has profound consequences for the government and politics of New Zealand. Given the rules governing MMP, it can spell success or disaster for political parties. What’s likely to happen on Saturday, 20 September? This lecture will question whether National’s refusal to reform MMP could lead, ironically, to the defeat of the government.

Wednesday 27 August
John Key in Political Time Redux
Dr Jon Johansson

This session will examine Prime Minister John Key’s leadership in political time. Looking at how New Zealand’s politics has developed post-1984, Dr Johansson will locate John Key and his government as continuing the long post-Rogernomics consolidation. Projecting forward, he will discuss some of the underlying dimensions of Key’s leadership and what future directions it might take should Key secure a third term.

Wednesday 3 September
Media’s Role in the 2014 New Zealand Election Campaign
Dr Kate McMillan

What role has the news media played in the 2014 election campaign? This lecture will assess the degree to which the New Zealand media are carrying out the roles expected of them in a representative democracy. It will also look at a range of challenges currently facing the media and ask how these challenges have enhanced and diminished its ability to provide voters with comprehensive information ahead of the election.

The full five-week course costs $110 and individual sessions cost $25 each. For more information or to register visit http://cce.victoria.ac.nz/courses/248-elections-2014-be-informed


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