Home News and Politics Extreme Clickbait: All Despair, No Empathy – Hearts and Minds Vanish in Campaign

Extreme Clickbait: All Despair, No Empathy – Hearts and Minds Vanish in Campaign

Extreme Clickbait: All Despair, No Empathy – Hearts and Minds Vanish in Campaign

Analyzing the Lowest Point of the 2023 Election Campaign: Rumors and Innuendo Over Dinosaurs

During the final week of the 2023 election campaign, National leader Christopher Luxon found himself discussing dinosaurs, not by choice but as a result of a rumor prompted by comedian Guy Williams. The rumor suggested that Luxon, during his tenure as chief executive, blocked the production of an Air New Zealand in-flight safety video featuring dinosaurs because he did not believe in their existence. Luxon clarified that he does believe in dinosaurs and dismissed the rumor as rubbish.

However, the rumor gained traction, particularly on left-leaning social media platforms, with an underlying inference that Luxon’s religious beliefs influenced his skepticism towards dinosaurs. Such a use of rumor and innuendo in response to poor polling is a disappointing low point for the campaign.

The Desperation of the Left and the Close Contest

The left-leaning camp has exhibited a growing sense of desperation not witnessed since 2008. With polls consistently indicating a higher likelihood of a right-leaning government, many online voices have emphasized the influence of small percentage swings that can alter the outcome. The latest 1News Verian poll confirms the trend, also reflecting the migration of voters to minor parties.

While Luxon has acknowledged the dinosaur distraction, he voiced frustration that it overshadowed the pressing issues facing New Zealand. This sentiment is valid considering the negativity and finger-pointing dominating the campaign, instead of offering clear vision and inspiration from both major parties.

The Challenge for Luxon and Hipkins

Despite maintaining decent poll numbers, Luxon has struggled to fully capitalize on the desire for change. The hoi polloi, while receptive to the notion of change, have not yet aligned themselves with the National Party. The neck-and-neck preferred prime minister ratings, where both Luxon and Labour leader Chris Hipkins maintain 25%, showcase this challenge.

Becoming the prime minister after the election may provide Luxon an opportunity to sway more voters over the next three years. However, he has not managed to secure enough support on his own or with his “preferred” coalition partner, ACT, and may require the involvement of New Zealand First’s Winston Peters.

Hipkins has faced similar difficulties in a less favorable position. However, his recent energetic appearances during walkabouts indicate a late resurgence, though it may not be enough to secure victory.

The Lack of Captivating Policies and the Need for Independent Advice

Neither major party has managed to introduce policies that captivate and engage the nation beyond a 24-hour news cycle. Instead, the campaign has primarily revolved around accusations of fiscal plan inadequacies, resulting in unproductive bickering.

While the scrutiny of fiscal plans is vital, the lack of an illuminating discussion has underscored the need for an independent body dedicated to providing public advice on this matter. The proposal for an independent policy costing authority was briefly discussed last term but was put on hold due to the absence of political consensus, with concerns raised about potential undermining of the Opposition’s role. However, given Labour’s general support, it remains to be seen if their stance changes should they move into opposition.

Such an independent authority could effectively separate substance from empty rhetoric, ensuring a more substantial and visionary election campaign from both major parties.

Unfortunately, some politicians appear more interested in the sound of their own voices rather than providing meaningful solutions for the nation.


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