Not a good time for politicians trying to gain public attention

EDITORIAL

New Zealand is in the midst of two major sporting events but as interest in the America’s Cup and Lions rugby tour reaches fever pitch, there is a small group who will be wondering if it is a good thing — our politicians.

A significant milestone passed last week and it is now less than 100 days until the election, a time when traditionally the parties have finalised their campaign plans and begun the struggle to get the public’s attention.

Good luck with that at the moment. Jimmy Spithill and Warren Gatland continue to hog the headlines, and Bill English and Andrew Little are unable to break in — short of a John Banks-style paternity case.

All of which is a bit of a shame because there are some interesting developments behind the scenes.

One of these is conjecture on whether a “youthquake”, similar to that which rocked the Conservatives in Britain, might be possible here.

The statistics show what an impact one would have. Almost 220,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 who were actually enrolled did not vote in the last election. As many as 300,000 in the slightly older 30 to 40 age group also did not vote. Even 160,000 50 to 60 year olds, considered the group most likely to vote, chose not to.

There can be little doubt about how valuable those votes would be, as can be seen by the fact veteran activist Matt McCarten has been tasked with trying to get this large group, generally considered to be disinterested in or cynical about politics, to the voting booths come September.

The latest Newshub poll has only confirmed what Bill English said last week — this is going to be knife-edge election.

Some polls have the combined Greens and Labour within a few seats of the Government and its supporters — with either side clear if they attract the support of Winston Peters.

Some people in the capital will be wanting Team New Zealand and the All Blacks to get on and get the job done, so the public might be a lot more interested in what they want to say.

New Zealand is in the midst of two major sporting events but as interest in the America’s Cup and Lions rugby tour reaches fever pitch, there is a small group who will be wondering if it is a good thing — our politicians.

A significant milestone passed last week and it is now less than 100 days until the election, a time when traditionally the parties have finalised their campaign plans and begun the struggle to get the public’s attention.

Good luck with that at the moment. Jimmy Spithill and Warren Gatland continue to hog the headlines, and Bill English and Andrew Little are unable to break in — short of a John Banks-style paternity case.

All of which is a bit of a shame because there are some interesting developments behind the scenes.

One of these is conjecture on whether a “youthquake”, similar to that which rocked the Conservatives in Britain, might be possible here.

The statistics show what an impact one would have. Almost 220,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 who were actually enrolled did not vote in the last election. As many as 300,000 in the slightly older 30 to 40 age group also did not vote. Even 160,000 50 to 60 year olds, considered the group most likely to vote, chose not to.

There can be little doubt about how valuable those votes would be, as can be seen by the fact veteran activist Matt McCarten has been tasked with trying to get this large group, generally considered to be disinterested in or cynical about politics, to the voting booths come September.

The latest Newshub poll has only confirmed what Bill English said last week — this is going to be knife-edge election.

Some polls have the combined Greens and Labour within a few seats of the Government and its supporters — with either side clear if they attract the support of Winston Peters.

Some people in the capital will be wanting Team New Zealand and the All Blacks to get on and get the job done, so the public might be a lot more interested in what they want to say.

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