Editorial: Side shows blur focus

By Kim Gillespie

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Kim Gillespie.
Kim Gillespie.

Once, as a youngster, I visited Parliament and watched from the public gallery above as the politicians below did their best to lower my opinions of them.

They bickered and ridiculed each other and my strongest lasting memory of that day decades ago was that it resembled a rowdy kindergarten.

Little seems to have changed, though now I'm a lot more aware of these things going on in news releases and reports as well.

Hopefully at some point before September 20 we'll see an election campaign that involves key policy discussions rather than sneering barbs about opposing parties.

The latest is National sniping at Labour for refusing to rule out Internet Mana as a possible support partner.

It was a tit-for-tat attack following Labour's criticism a day earlier of National's coat-tailing deals in Epsom and Ohariu.

I'm not surprised there are so many people forming splinter and minor parties when the traditional Big Two are acting like this.

Of course it's the nature of our political system to have opposing sides - sure beats a dictatorship. And at least New Zealand's elections don't descend into the mire quite as much as the muckraking attack politics of the US.

But aren't there more important stories to be told than who's hosting a TV debate, who went skiing in Queenstown, who went through the wrong airport door (he's a Cabinet minister, get over it), and whether or not National and Labour leaders are hypocrites because they're considering post-election deals?

The more pointless white noise and inflated meta-discussion - endless analysis of election coverage - there is the more we lose sight of what's important. In just over seven weeks we will elect this country's leaders - those whose actions and decisions will affect our daily lives. Are you going to vote for the party best at criticising the opposition, or the party whose policies speak to you the most?

- Rotorua Daily Post

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