After weeks of 'shambles' in politics, commentators hope for focus to shift to ideas, policies

Source: 1News

New Zealanders are over political point scoring and this election needs to be a contest of ideas and policies, two political commentators say.

It's been a "shambles" for National the past few weeks after Todd Muller's short-lived leadership, which came to a halt after Covid-19 patient information was leaked to the media by then-Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker. Michelle Boag also stepped away from the party for her involvement.

Then top MPs Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams retired last week after Judith Collins took the reigns as leader.

This week, though, another of its MPs, Andrew Falloon, dropped from the party before it emerged moments later he was involved in a text scandal, with Mr Falloon confessing to sending a pornographic image to at least one young woman.

But according to Josie Pagani, who is a communications consultant, and Thomas Pryor, associate director of Sherson Willis, Labour is in danger too.

Ms Pagani told TVNZ1's Breakfast the party is looking "slightly above politics" by not yet releasing any policies.

"The problem for Labour is that they're saying, 'We're not going to launch policy or we're not going to launch some until really close to the election,'" she said.

"There's a danger of Labour, and I would say Jacinda [Ardern] too, looking slightly like they're above politics and all the dirty politics is beneath them. Well, I don't think that's going to cut it with voters.

"This election has to be about ideas, it has to be about policies, it has to be about what the hell we are going to do as New Zealanders in these absolutely unprecedented times. And I think people will just get really frustrated if we keep doing this horse race, blood sport, American-type he-said-she-said, who won in question time - no one cares."

Ms Pagani said Ms Collins was veering on the right path with her infrastructure announcements at the weekend, but she criticised the party's campaign focus.

"That's the problem, is they're campaigning as the great team and the great team is looking really a bit rubbish right now."

She agreed with Mr Pryor, also speaking to Breakfast this morning, that National will be hoping the Government messes up.

However, Mr Pryor said the election was still winnable for National.

"For National to have any chance they've got to stop these distractions, they've got to get on top of their political management. They've got to stop all these unforced errors that they're producing. I mean, they're hits from their own side, they're not really hits from Labour," he said.

"It's been a pretty extraordinary period. I mean, the pace of change and the kind of absolute shamble upon shamble upon shambles that the National Party in particular is being confronted with, it's pretty extraordinary times."