The election campaign concentrated too much on the main leaders and not enough on issues and policies, visiting British MP Austin Mitchell said today.
The electronic media kept dishing up a confrontational battle between Labour's Helen Clark and National's Bill English but the focus was too narrow, Mr Mitchell said today.
"The real problem now is no one knows who many of the new MPs are, with an increase in the number of NZ First and United party members. They have entered the political arena without any press scrutiny.
"The campaign shouldn't have been presidential in style because under MMP everyone has a chance.
"They (media) concentrated over-heavily on two personal leader confrontations to make it sexy, but the campaign should have been about issues," he said.
Speaking from Rotorua, Mr Mitchell said Labour had performed well enough to survive with only one partner, as the Opposition would be more divided than ever.
The Labour MP for Great Grimsby and the former Otago and Canterbury universities lecturer is in New Zealand for a fortnight promoting his new book.
He has been a British MP for 25 years which he said was a long time for New Zealand politics.
"We last longer over there. There is a tall poppy syndrome in New Zealand which is why the campaign focused so much on Helen Clark."
Mr Mitchell said Miss Clark was an outstanding leader and had made a big impression on her visits to England.
He rated David Lange and Norman Kirk as outstanding prime ministers in the past 40 years.
"In retrospect, Rob Muldoon had to be admired. I hated him at the time. He was a bully, but he kept the rickety machine together and in a sense he was the last New Zealand socialist prime minister."
Mr Mitchell will speak to the country's mayors at the Local Government Association conference in Rotorua today.
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