Craig’s injunction blocks debate

Colin Craig has won an interim injunction against TV3 after it refused to include him in a debate between leaders of the minor parties:

. . . Leaders from ACT, United Future, the Greens, the Maori Party, NZ First and Mana are scheduled to appear in the 34-minute debate. 

“The debate this weekend is part of a series of more targeted debates running on The Nation, and involves minor parties who have seats in Parliament and have been in Government or Opposition during the past three years,” a TV3 spokesperson said this morning. 

Mr Craig’s lawyer, John McKay, said his client had been excluded from a “vital part of democracy”.  

“It’s about voters,” Mr McKay told the court.

He said it was “extraordinary that TV3 had chosen leaders to appear on the debate based on their place in Parliament from the last election, rather than current polls”. 

Part of the issue was the show’s studio could only accommodate six lecterns for leaders, not seven, meaning there wouldn’t be enough space for Mr Craig. A wide shot can also only accommodate six people, as can the studio’s lighting. 

“There must be a trade-off between comfort and the importance of the occasion,” Mr McKay argued. 

TV3 lawyer Daniel McLellan acknowledged Mr Craig had a right to be included in televised debates in the heat of the election campaign, but tomorrow’s minor debate was not that important. 

Mr McLellan said it was “not likely to have a significant impact on the 2014 general election”, and media have a right to decided what is newsworthy without having it “dictated” to them. . .

I don’t like the idea of politicians dictating what media does and how it does.

But when TV3’s lawyer admitted Craig had a right to be included he weakened his case for his exclusions considerably.

It might only be political tragics who are fully engaged in the election campaign.

But it is only six weeks to polling day.

2 Responses to Craig’s injunction blocks debate

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m not a Conservative supporter but if TV3 only based their decision on those who already have representation in Parliament it seems a bit unfair when (according to Wikipedia) the Conservatives are the fourth largest party based on electorate candidates. They currently have 36, while NZ first have only 4 confirmed, United Future has 11 and Act has 16. Perhaps the Democrats should have a look in too as they have got 28 candidates.

    Electoral success seems to be largely about media exposure and who we vote for should be based on more than who the media deem worthy. Stephanie de Ruyter may come across far better than Craig or Whyte and the Democrats may see their vote grow again if they actually had some media time too. The number of candidates standing does give an indication of the size of a party and its level of organisation. Act and United future are largely propped up by National and United Future even lost it’s status as a party at one point. Why should they continue to be given so much attention when their party conferences could almost be held in a phone booth?


  2. Paranormal says:

    Again DK you are full of your previous nom-de-plume. You start off reasonably then descend into, as JC put it, mendacity. The number of candidates does not reflect the size of the party, it purely reflects the campaign strategy, not the support in the community. Act, UF and Winston First all have had full candidate complements and been wiped out electorally.

    As for your BS that Act & UF are propped up by National – no matter how many times you say it won’t make it true. Three news approach was quite understandable in that they wanted to talk to those that are represented in parliament and are most likely to continue to be.

    For my part, whilst I think it is wrong for the courts to get involved, I hope CC does get on the idiot lantern to show his true form.


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