Election Coverage - None Better Than Trans Tasman
22 September 2014
Election Coverage - None Better Than The Trans Tasman Political Alert
To get a steer on what was going to happen in the election - away from the histrionics of the mainstream coverage - the best place to go was The Main Report Group’s weekly political reportTrans Tasman.
This long-running publication got to grips with the campaign - and its implications - like no other. Here are some of the key out-takes from the September 18 issue, just days before National’s landslide win.
The Dotcom “moment of Truth” was a Waterloo for the left, and a Trafalgar for National:
“…the slugfest has worked in National’s favour: Key has been National’s trump card. His popularity, and more importantly, his integrity have remained intact. Where support for National at the end of last week was softening at the edges, it has hardened up. For Labour, starved of the political oxygen it needs to make a late run… It may find itself polling even lower than it did in 2011, when it got only 27% of the total vote. So National is heading for a big win on Saturday.”
The question was asked - where was Labour’s support going? But Trans Tasman had that base covered, and so it eventuated:
“Both NZ First and the Greens appear to have been hoovering up disaffected Labour supporters. The prospect of a Labour-NZ First coalition, possibly including the Greens as long as they are shut out of major portfolios, has caused a re-think among many voters on the right who were considering voting tactically for NZ First, as a potential coalition partner for National.”
So was Cunliffe going to survive what looked like a Labour thrashing? Trans Tasman’ssentient coverage suggested he would be toast:
“Cunliffe’s problem has been to project himself as the leader of a potentially credible Govt, given the diversity (and to a degree the exceedingly limited appeal) of Labour’s possible coalition partners. Labour being held hostage by Internet/Mana is a turn-off for the vast majority of NZers. Cunliffe’s failure to condemn the rorting of the system by Hone Harawira, Laila Harre and Kim Dotcom and leaving Kelvin Davis pretty much on his own in Te Tai Tokerau constitute a strategic misjudgement which is rebounding on Labour across the country.”
Trans Tasman’s resident satirist also had a field day - getting to grips wit the meat of the moment, but not avoiding the human side:
“The campaign has not had much to say about what NZers can expect from the next three years, whoever gets to govern over those three years. To their credit, Labour and the Greens have been pushing out policy like they have an inexhaustible supply of the stuff. But - gaffes over capital gains taxes aside - most of the coverage has been about hacking, blogging, counter-espionage, and Kim Dotcom. These are all things which fascinate the political class, but they induce a mix of yawns and wrinkled noses of distaste among most voters.
National has released some policy, but has mostly run on a combination of its record and leader John Key’s appeal. Key himself has been out of sorts most of the campaign - the attitude has been a mix of the trivial and the snarky, selfies rather than substance.”