It is hard not to feel that there is a major problem with mainstream media bias when the main opposition party announces that it plans to raise the minimum wage by $2 to $16.25 an hour by early 2015 (14% rise) and the only comment they can raise is the Government, who says it will “cost 6,000 jobs”. (A response that has been disproved on a number of occasions in both NZ and US economic history).
You won’t find it in the headlines. In the NZ Herald political section it is included in an article headed “Labour unveils intention to axe Hobbit laws” (10th) and its own article “Labour promises $2 boost in minimum wage” (19th) along with a photo of a gormless looking David Cunliffe.
“Labour pledges $2 rise in minimum wage to $16.25” is 23rd in the politics section of Stuff (more political headlines section) behind such important pieces as “Taxpayers pay minister’s $300 tab” (1st) , “Parliament bill addresses ‘No 1 threat’ to sport” (6th) and “Ministry chief’s flying visits” (19th).
There are no opinion piece and no articles from interested parties like Unions (who have several press releases in Scoop) or the Business Round Table, who has never been short of a comment each time the Government has raised the minimum wage by 25 cents! The latter barely has a mention in the Stuff article.
I can’t help thinking that if the National Party cannot think up a newsworthy diversion quick enough, then the papers are simply depriving policies that warrant serious discussion any oxygen.
If my perception is correct then it is a very sad reflection on New Zealand media and the state of our politics. I hope I am wrong.
– Nick Wright