TV Election Debates Just So 'Old School'

New Zealand First is disappointed that both TVNZ and TV3 have again allowed themselves to be pushed into the “old school” first-past-the-post mode at election time.

“Their decision making on election debate participants reflects the fact they have been heavied to stick with the past, despite MMP being here for 21 years,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Both have been bullied into running televised debates with only the two old parties, Labour and National.

“Contrast that with the UK elections and the BBC telling Prime Minister Theresa May that they were going to hold a multi-party leaders’ debate whether she turned up or not.

“How can it be fair that a procession of Labour Party leaders are able to force television into doing things the old parties’ way?

“The voices of the parties that would challenge both Labour and National are being shut out – especially around issues they have both failed on, for example, the housing crisis and mass immigration.

On TV3 debates:

“New Zealand First confirmed that we would take part in the TV3  debate with leaders of the four parties in Parliament over the 5% per cent threshold on September 13.

“However, National refused to take part in it.

“Instead of going ahead, regardless of Prime Minister Bill English turning up or not, TV3 cancelled it. Why?

“Mr English clearly is shying away from confronting us head-on as much as possible.

“Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse refused to debate me on immigration one-to-one on TV3, not once but twice.

“We give a bouquet to TV3 for trying to get this off the ground as mass immigration has wrought so much havoc in this country – as those waiting for surgery and parents of kids doing their lessons in corridors will know.

“It is an important topic in which the National government should be asked the hard questions on – head-to-head by the party that has stood for putting New Zealanders First and common sense immigration for decades.

“The four-party TV3 debate (September 13) was eventually cancelled after National’s refusal. We learned this about a week ago.

“We had declined to take part in the TV3 debate this weekend, that excluded Labour and National, and was solely for ‘other parties’.

“In all the confusion and having to prepare one’s own campaign diary I am continuing my campaign this weekend in the North rather than spending three-quarters of the day travelling to Auckland and back, particularly as Labour and National are not turning up.

“As for Mr Seymour’s nonsense, his hysteria is understandable. Some polls have him losing in Epsom (according to Steven Joyce) and that means he will be gone from Parliament and so will ACT, that is, bye-bye chihuahua.”