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David Seymour said yesterday that the media can’t be trusted to fairly carry ACT’s message.
Based on the texts we got yesterday from people who attended the ACT launch rally, there may be some truth in that. In general, I don’t think we’re being well served by election coverage at the moment... but from all sides. The annoying disruptors, the shadow boxing politicians, the agenda driven clickbait media who proclaim not to have any agenda at all. Give it up, we can see your agenda, it’s plain as day. When you start insinuating someone is racist because someone else disrupted their campaign launch when that same person is a serial disruptor at multiple political party events, then you’ve lost the plot.
I think it’s just disingenuous all round. There is so much sideline noise this election campaign that it’s very difficult to actually hear any policy or detail over the hubbub of accusations and claims and counter claims. The hysteria around the coverage is drowning out any facts. I don’t know if it’s because the media are desperately trying to keep people engaged in the campaign and keep it interesting, therefore beating things up? Or are they worried about engagement dropping off now that the polls show a clear mood for change? Or are they doggedly trying to change people’s views in the hope a left-leaning government is restored? Either way, this ain’t it.
Which brings me to tonight. Tonight is the first televised leaders' debate, on TV One. All eyes will be on Christopher Luxon... the newbie, the rookie, they’ll be watching his every move and breath. That’s a lot of pressure on his shoulders, maybe he should’ve asked Shaun Johnson for some tips on how to carry a lot of pressure. I spoke to Nicola Willis on the show yesterday and asked her if he’s up for it and if we’re going to see him fire up a bit. She reckons he’s passionate and set to go.. the proof will be in the pudding.
Because an area ACT is getting cut through is on is their messaging that the Nat’s are just Labour Lite. We’re hearing that a lot from people at the moment. That Luxon needs more mongrel, he’s not hungry enough, not strong enough, he’s too corporate and soft.
So, it’s a fine line isn’t it for him tonight. He’s got to balance those who want to see a bit of a harder edge and a real difference between National and Labour, with those soft middle swing voters who may be scared off by too much mongrel. He’ll be walking that line in a difficult setting, live TV, maybe a studio audience, every commentator in the country watching him, up against a seasoned debater and scrapper who we know will be throwing everything at it.
I’m not sure what to expect, I suspect Luxon’s been doing his homework and prepping for this as much as he can, but all the prep in the world can’t prepare you for what can go down on live TV or what a moderator may choose to pick up on. By contrast, Hipkins doesn’t go into this with underdog status, but the expectations from within his party for him to perform are immense... he is currently dead man walking. Tonight either flicks Hipkins to life in stupendous fashion and silences his internal party critics, or it’s the death knell for him.
High stakes for both. How many of us will actually be watching though?
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