Saturday, September 27, 2008

A conspiracy against democracy

Adam Smith once said of businessmen that they "seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public". The same could be said of our two major political parties. Rather than acknowledging that we operate in a multi-party system now, they have cooked up a cosy little deal, refusing to appear in any leaders debates which involve the leaders of other parties. As far as they're concerned, the only choice the public need to make is a binary one between National and Labour. The public doesn't need to hear from anyone else.

This is simply a conspiracy against democracy, and we should not tolerate it. And rather than accept their conditions, TV3 and TVNZ should cook up their own deal to defend our democracy against these would-be oligarchs, and jointly insist that both leaders attend at least one debate featuring all other Parliamentary party leaders before getting their chance to go head to head by themselves.

We voted to get rid of the two-party oligarchy in 1993. We shouldn't allow the big parties to introduce it through the back door by conspiring to deny their smaller competitors any media coverage. If our media is to inform the public, and if our democracy is to be meaningful, we must allow everyone a fair chance to have their say.