United Future "Party" leader Peter Dunne isn't known as the country's most charismatic or inspiring politician, but his latest blog post seems to have really offended Tumeke! blogger Tim Selwyn. (Although Selwyn does correctly point out that Dunne has a fight on his hands to retain Ohariu next election).
I certainly couldn't describe myself as a fan of Peter "party of one" Dunne, but he does sometimes come out with some good thoughts, and his most recent blog post contains a number of interesting truths about the so-called Green Party of Aotearoa NZ.
He comes to this conclusion by arguing that "the usual hallmark of political success is being part of a government", which of course the Greens have spectacularly failed to accomplish, even under Hillin Cluck's watch!
First, no member of the Greens has ever held office as a Minister in a government.
That sets them apart from every other small party that has emerged under MMP. The Alliance, ACT, New Zealand First, the Maori Party and UnitedFuture have all had Ministers in government, able to push through key aspects of their respective parties’ policies.
And to give Dunne due credit, he has managed to extract more in policy concessions over the years than ACT's Rodney Hide has managed to get out of National in the current parliament with 5 MPs.
Dunne sounds frustrated but is correct in his assessment of the attitude of the self-proclaimed "mainstream" media towards the Greens. There is a definite media bias towards the Greens here, with reporters happy to repeat statements and assertions by the party's MPs verbatim, while often treating comments from other MPs with scepticism.
"... the news media and the commentariat have failed consistently to acknowledge this point, let alone draw it to public attention.
Moreover, they have actually gone to the other extreme and generally lauded the Greens for their “success”, although they have been noticeably light when it comes to pointing out what those successes have been."
The Greens received 32.6% positive media coverage, 49% neutral, and just 18.4% negative coverage. In comparison, National's positive media coverage was just 22.3%, along with 39.8% neutral and 37.9% negative coverage. Labour got 25.4% positive, 39% neutral, and 35.6% negative.
Stories specifically featuring the Green Party made up 7% of the stories during the election campaign. (The Green's other big political failure is the fact that their pre-election poll ratings have never translated into the same level of support on election day.)
Electoral statistics guru David Farrar blogged last year about New Zealand's 5% MMP threshold, and the effects on representation if the threshold was lowered or abolished altogether.
The Royal Commission recommended that a hundred MPs in a new MMP system would work. We ended up with 120 because the two old parties reckoned that the 20 extra would put voters off the change.It's time for MPs to become bold enough to introduce MMP as the Royal Commission recommended... Reducing the threshold to 4%, axing the separatist Maori electorate seats, and increasing the Parliamentary term to 4 years.
In time, the Maori seats were supposed to go. We were all to be blended in – as we should be!
* Peter's Position - A couple of Unpleasant Facts to Ponder
* Kiwiblog - Final Results of the 2008 Election Media Study
Posted at 5:26 p.m.