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Dr Muriel Newman

Turning Ten

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HB10Ten years ago this week, we launched the New Zealand Centre for Political Research.  It was just after the 2005 General Election, when Helen Clark’s Labour Party had won a third term by bribing students with interest free loans. We thought a new public policy think tank could strengthen New Zealand’s democracy by helping to better inform voters about the dangers of socialism.

During that election, Don Brash, as leader of National, had come very close to winning. He brought the party back from their worst ever election defeat in 2002, when they won only 21 percent of the vote, to being within a whisker of the Treasury benches. National sought to end the growing racial divide Labour had been fostering, running a strong campaign on one law for all.

There is no doubt that under the Clark Government a gloom had fallen over the country. During the next three years, that gloom darkened. As Labour began to panic about the failing economy, their declining poll ratings and the increasing public criticism, New Zealand felt more like a dictatorship than a democracy. They even attempted to gag opponents by passing the Electoral Finance Act, which threatened anyone unregistered, who criticised the government during the whole of election year, with a $100,000 fine or two years imprisonment.

When we set up the NZCPR, our aim was to empower people through knowledge. We believed that if we provided quality research and commentary that people could trust, that not only explained the incentives underpinning public policy, but also bridged the gap between citizens and Parliament, more people would engage in the democratic process and speak out against the government’s ill-advised laws.

Along with a free weekly newsletter we built a website packed with information and ideas to assist readers to become more politically informed. We also encouraged grassroots feedback so the politicians and policy makers who followed our work could read first hand what knowledgeable voters really thought about their ideas.

The point that none of us should ever forget, is that while we are lucky to live in a democracy, it mustn’t be taken for granted. There are only 25 full democracies in the world right now, where citizens enjoy similar rights and freedoms. But as President Thomas Jefferson once warned, that can change: “Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

The reality is that democracy comes at a price. Citizens must be prepared to fight for what they believe in. That fight starts by becoming well informed.

Having produced almost 500 newsletters over the last decade, with over 1,000 articles published on our website, we are celebrating what the NZCPR has achieved.

Those of you who follow our work closely will have seen our influence grow over the years. That’s the beauty of what we do. By publishing information and ideas to not only inform the public debate, but also to influence opinion leaders and policy makers, we enable others to build on the sound foundations of what we produce. Whether through challenging politicians, influencing family and friends, writing articles and letters to newspapers, reporting on social media, or forming advocacy groups of their own, the NZCPR continues to contribute.

Just last week we heard that the outrageous sea level rise restrictions, based on the ridiculous United Nations’ predictions of melting polar ice caps, that had been forced onto ratepayers in Christchurch, and that we recently riled against, have now been withdrawn.

In that newsletter our poll asked, “Should the Ministry for the Environment be required to advise councils to base their sea level rise guidelines on local evidence, rather than UN modelling?” In response, 95 percent of newsletter readers agreed. So too, it seems did the Minister for the Environment who has now stated that he wants council sea level rise predictions to be based local evidence and historical trends.

This is a good example of the fact that in the end, common sense will often prevail – but only if the public are prepared to speak out and forcefully oppose the vested interests pushing their ideological agendas.

To celebrate our tenth birthday, and with a mind towards the next battlefield on the horizon (iwi control of New Zealand’s freshwater), we are asking for your help to support our work and ongoing influence. As you know, the current trend is for free publications to consider pay-walls – but we are very anxious to avoid that.

So, would you consider a regular gift – the price of a cup of coffee or two a week, fortnight or month – to help us stay strong to fight the battles ahead? An AP form can be downloaded HERE – or, you can use the “Recurring Donation” option on-line, HERE.

If you would prefer a one-off tenth birthday gift instead, the link is HERE.

In appreciation for your wonderful generosity, we will provide you with access to our new Information Network – a trove of the world’s leading think tanks – as well as an outstanding selection of free books and other electronic resources.

Looking back, our first NZCPR newsletter in October 2005 asked Why Subsidise Dependency?

We outlined how incentives are a driving force of human behaviour, and how their study is at the heart of economics. As economist Henry Hazlitt noted, “the art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups”. He explained that nine-tenths of the economic policies that cause dreadful harm around the world occur as a result of that basic principle being ignored.

In our newsletter we highlighted the poor incentives in welfare: “Back in the early seventies there were 28 full time workers for every full benefit paid, there are now only four…” By subsidising unemployment, sickness, family breakdown, and illegitimacy, successive governments have produced a system that creates long term dependency, breeds dysfunction, and harms children.

We concluded that the answer was to “stop subsidising what we don’t want more of”. We shouldn’t pay the unemployed to do nothing, but instead should require them to undertake 40 hours a week of work experience. If people are sick but capable of working when well, we should be encouraging their speediest possible recovery. We should stop encouraging family breakdown by requiring sole parents to get jobs. And we should acknowledge that children do best with two committed parents in a stable relationship, and stop subsidising single women to have babies.

In response to the column, one reader wrote, “I live in a rural community. I sit on the PHO Services committee. They formulate strategies to make the limited dollar go many extra miles. The committee struggles to come to grips with the social issues of long term dependency – teenage suicide among them. There are no incentives for the young people to improve their lot – they have no goals and are directionless – partly due to there being no encouragement from family/whanau, and mostly from the lack of positive male role models in their communities and families. We are now reaping the rewards of many years of welfare culture that has been bred into our society. It will take many years to grow out of the dependency culture. We MUST START NOW.”

Just last Friday it was reported that six young people in the Kaikohe area have committed suicide over the last three weeks. Tragically, it appears that in ten years, little has changed – and the cost is young lives.

Another reader said, “I have now sold my Motel. For 9 years I made it my goal to get the DPB ladies back into the workforce – ideal hours 9am to 1pm. Key reasons were to assist with self esteem and show them how to clean and take pride in their homes. Plus ultimately encourage them to use the FREE continuing education available to them. Success? NO! Only four over the 9 years took advantage of my assistance and moved into fulltime employment. Still I guess that is better than none. In my final year I gave up because it was too hard to carry the poor attendance rate and so I employed Chinese students whose performance and attitude was 100% compared to the Kiwi counterparts.”

While the government has now made some changes to the welfare system, that may improve the situation, their reforms have not prioritised women and children – they continue to be failed by state programmes that subsidise dangerous lifestyles.

Our second newsletter looked at The March of Maori Sovereignty. In that article we examined the agenda of the newly elected Maori Party. While their plan to make the Treaty of Waitangi the basis of a new constitution for New Zealand, was eventually defeated (for the time being) many of their other demands – some of which appeared quite radical at the time – have now been met.

We should not forget that politics is the battle of ideas, and vested interest groups pushing an agenda rarely give up. They prey on the uninformed, feeding them propaganda, as they seek a multitude of different ways to progress their ideology. Their hope is to wear the opposition down. Without strong objection, extremist demands no longer seem so radical. At that point, the political climate changes, and lawmakers – who had been constrained by strong public opposition – are then able to give in to the activists, confident that any fallout will not be too damaging to their poll ratings and their chances of re-election.

Over the years, the NZCPR has become involved in a wide range of important policy wrangles – usually ones where public voices have been weak.

When the issue is significant enough, we have run public information campaigns – such as the one opposing a Treaty of Waitangi constitution. Ultimately Kiwis have a strong sense of fairness, and they know what’s right. But our successes have largely been because of you, our readers, speaking out and engaging in the ideological battles.

The reality is that self-empowered citizens motivated with knowledge, passion and determination, are an unstoppable force.

Self-empowerment is the enemy of socialism. It’s also the enemy of tribalism – and the class system – that seeks to oppress ordinary people, so the elite can live in privilege. If tribalism was successful, all iwi members would be enjoying the rich lives led by their leaders, instead of being stuck in the country’s worst negative social statistics. That’s why the Maori sovereignty cause, with it’s pretentious claims that the iwi elite are ‘partners’ with the Crown, should be opposed at every level.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator subscribes to similar views. I first read the fascinating interview with Sir Bob Jones on “Leadership and Success” some years ago and he has kindly updated it for us.

On the issue of leadership, he was asked, “How would you describe your leadership style?”

Sir Bob replied, “I could not describe my ‘leadership style’ as it is non-existent. I would concede to being a very good teacher, which given my almost 50 years of experience I should be, but I’m certainly not a leader.  Allowing key staff a high degree of personal decision-making produces the best outcome, despite occasional mistakes (including by me).  I would never employ anyone who needed to be led.”

And, on the question of advice to aspiring leaders, Sir Bob says, “The most important piece of advice I would give an aspiring leader is to do the decent thing and cut your throat. Leadership is held up as a virtuous concept.  It most certainly is not.  The existence of a leader implies by definition the existence of followers.  We are constantly told we need good leaders.  It is so very wrong.”

We, the people, don’t need leaders, we need empowerment. That’s what drives the NZCPR.

So back to where we started – on this, our tenth birthday, will you consider a gift to help keep us strong for the battles ahead? I do hope so.

To help with a 10th birthday gift for the NZCPR, please click HERE.



As a nation, how well informed do you think New Zealanders are about political matters – well informed, moderately informed, or poorly informed?

Vote x 120

 *Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Even my friends seem poorly informed on matters like Maori sovereignty and climate change. John
Too lazy Barry
Thank you Muriel Newman for empowering me by informing me politically of the dangers of socialism. I hope your commonsense truths will be incorporated into either your own political party or another one that will bring down the myth of the ‘noble savage’ in this country at least. Bob Jones is right – one needs thinking time to empower oneself. Well done on your 10 years – deserve New Zealander of the Year! Monica
To too many, absorption of political information is governed by their own political leanings – i.e. if my party does it, it’s good – if the other party does it, its bad. With such biased perspectives, political information is effectively rendered meaningless. Jim
Letters to the editor in major newspapers often reflect the most appalling ignorance/misinformation on issues of national/local concern. Peter
I have noticed it is the individual themselves that regulate the absorbtion of anything political. Mostly the need isdone with the thought of “will it affect me”. Dennis
Our main media streams are overly reprented by socialist orientated journalists with dismal reporting skills and a pathetic preoccupation with trivia. Kevin
Most just repeat what their parents believed and few follow what is happening in the rest of the world, thanks to the paucity of overseas news on local television stations. Olive
How well informed do you think New Zealanders are about political matters? On internal political matters whatever Government seems to be in power, the general media response is one of supporting the status quo, although this ‘flavour’ quickly evaporates when our Media see ‘blood on the carpet’. A fact not only confined to the NZ media, but is a worldwide phenomenon. The Media’s widely held viewpoint that in matters of Racial, Climate change or Welfare, there is only one road to follow and that is to use this as ‘The Road of instant reaction to promote Fear or Favour’; which we have to admit sells news more readily. Here we come back to Lord Harmsworth old adage of Dog biting man (not news) against Man biting dog (news). Doubtless followed these days by an Animal Rights complaint.! On the international media front we are very poorly served, our newspapers suffering from a declining readership due to the internet, and N.Z. Television just managing to cram only a minor amount of overseas sensational journalism in between advertisements. Are our media overseas contacts so poor that we are reduced daily to watching and hearing news which either Sky Australia, CNN, Fox or the BBC rendered some days before? Furthermore we have a media with a Nanny State complex, for it loves telling us how we should (courtesy of Government) think and act. Has George Orwell’s fantasy become a real reality? Democracy on a very short lead indeed. This has been illustrated recently with the number of safety concerns about earthquakes, tidal waves, and impending volcanic eruptions. All excellent local inexpensive copy, enabling more Political legal enforcement more stringent safety laws, both at work and at home, which consequently reduces our individual responsibility to almost a zero rating. Although what is amazing is that the majority of New Zealanders seem to accept this line in its entirety; which should really not surprise us when we consider the history of the Communist and Nazi Parties in the 1920’s and 1930’s in their ability to use Orwell’s. ‘Thought police’ to gain and control the media as a prelude to a nation. Since the inception of our MMP electoral system shows two detrimental effects upon our political thinking. The first is that as a democracy we only can elect almost only half our representatives, and secondly, that political minorities have the power over majorities. Brian
Newsmedia only releases what Government releases. No real investagation programes exsist. Don
Too much going on behind closed doors to be called a true democratic country to my mind. Audrey
More often than not political parties put up smoke screens or diversions to hide what is really going on. I read Sir Bobs leadership post and he has hit the nail on the head with his comment about parties and leaders. Wayne
Because they are apathetic and uninterested. Laurie
Shocking really. Raymond
Most political information comes from the TV news desks’ and they all seem to be left leaning. On any government initiatives, the media switches to Labour and/or the Greens for there viewpoint and gives ample time for them to dis the government proposal. From this I mean that the political direction is determined by the media and its lefty friends. Derek
Pre-election comments on party agendas usually revert to “What’s in it for me?’ No thought is given to the future effects that vote-buying election bribes will have on the country’s future. NZ’ers are quite possibly the least informed on political matters than the citizens of any other democratic (well, we are almost democratic) nation. Mitch
It is up to the individual what he makes of the information fed to him, but in my view the news is not balanced to much negative fed to us. Clark
Too many of us are apathetic, preferring to absorb ourselves in other pursuits such as sport and neglecting the important political, social, racial, law & order defence, and so on, all vital and many not working at all, or working abysmally and so many inhibited by PC. Frank
Generally very poorly. If all the media reported the true facts and not someones biased opinion. That would be good. If you want to know what is really going on, do what we do and watch parliament. Athol
My vote says it all. Ron
That is apart from the CFPR !!! Seriously, the will to research must come from the voter! It is the same in AUS. The voter has the Friday Syndrome – ie the inability to think past Friday and it is a factor of our culture. That is why the political system has taken nations like AUS and NZ from prosperity to the cliff edge in only 21 years. That is, in only 7 terms of government by vested interest politicians who have been void of any connection with national interest – ie. us! Happy Birthday !! CFPR Frederick
The information is there for all to see. Unfortunately some are too short sighted to care or take an interest. Keep up the good work Dr. Newman. Your chosen subjects are always interesting, sometimes provocative and encourage thoughtful follow up by your readers. May we always be able to influence politicians in the path for NZ. Chris.
Most kiwis we speak are ill informed and uninterested. State run media and others have no vested interest in changing the status quo. What matters to most is Trivia like the ABs score……… Peter
Very poorly informe by the Media no body wants to speak out to much you are the only who helps. Regards Iwi why are they not paying for all there Cousins who are in Prison with all the Money the Government has paid out to Iwi, get them to look after them, & pay all ther DPB payments. Geoff
I commented “Poorly informed” and will comment only on one major thing, our flag. The Union Jack in the corner determines the background, sky blue colour of our flag which is found in the Scottish flag. Have you noticed “sky blue” has been changed to “dark blue”? I guess that in the second referendum the winner of the five flags will be pitted against this “dark blue” flag, which is not our flag and will result in a win win for John Key and National. If he dumps our true flag he might be able to change our constitution to that supported by the last Constitutional Advisory Panel, something modelled on the Constitution of Bolivia. For terrifying information on the Constitution of Bolivia, go to the following Radio NZ report. http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/ideas/2009/03/ideas_for_8_march_2009 George
But for you, I too would be poorly informed. David
The main media provides no balanced analysis of any political activity. Cyril
I’m glad you mentioned dictatorship we certainly have one with John Key in charge and if you think more jobs are o come by joining the T.P.P you are dreaming, we have been hosting overseas students for nearly two decades to help the cash flow for groceries, recently we had a Japanese dairy farmer so that got me Google ling their cows produce more milk per day than ours and on a trip to the shops she told me our milk was dearer and we think that is our strong point. Key is only in power because of a one man Party in Epsom and Wellington, and the misguided two MP;s in the Maori Party which we all agree should not be allowed, and how can the people Epsom hold their heads high when they tolerate a ZONED Grammar school absolute Class distinction. John
The media dumbs down important political stories to the lowest common denominator. We don’t have news or in depth media coverage of any issue. It is just magazine crap. And that’s what the politicians and self interest groups want. Robert
The media especially television is abysmal, national radio is somewhat better but has a left wing bias. Thank you NZCPR for your informed comment. Keep it up. Charles
I can`t help but feel that if anything controversial arises in Government Policy they put up a camouflage by introducing a policy such as changing the Flag and while the public are arguing over that they slyly progress the controversial policy. Robert
Government has to many discussions behind closed doors !!!!!! Ross
Most people don’t care. Kevin
Reading your readers comments so far I can only add that my impression re the state of ordinary NZ landers political awareness or even critical and independent general perception of common sense are woefully lacking. I myself have experienced on numerous occasions when I tried to discuss matters of some importance and depth, that there was no interest in debate or discussion. It rather appeared to me that these people felt uncomfortable and on occasion reacted by using terms like ‘conspiracy theorist’ or worse. Result: These days I have stopped attempts to rouse discussions of political or world affairs nature because I feel it is a waste of time and energy. I only hope that NZCPR is here to stay. It is the only beacon of light in this dim political landscape. The fact that is THE only one is of great concern. There will be nobody else if these TOW cronies in the beehieve decide to destroy NZCPR. I am sure there are a number of them thinking about it for quite some time now!!! Michael
I think most don’t care! John
Media bias and poor media research are to blame. Mark
Unemployment fostered since Robbie Muldoon came to Power is the cause of All the troubles we have ever since and been getting worse every day! Theodorus
But, being a member of NZCPR they are ‘well informed’ ! wally
Poorly informed. If we rely on the newspapers, all we get are biased politically motivated opinions. Why is it I don’t get the news paper again? The politicians only inform with minimum information or have no comment. there are so many issues that are highlighted with the intention of masking other issues that are happening in the background, political spin doctoring. Makes the country sound like a dictatorship doesn’t it? The question is, do we trust our “leaders” to do the “right thing” for the country without setting themselves up in the future scheme of things. Neil
If the individual reads and listens to good quality sources of information. Rochelle
Which is why the majority do not take much interest in what the Government is doing eg the flag debacle, TPPA, Constitutional revue etc. The wool is being pulled over our eyes. I watch the replay of parliament on TV a lot and I reckon it is the best comedy show on TV. Our representatives are a pack of conniving undrhand dealers who twist the truth every time they get a chance to suit themselves. Rog
No democracy here. Edward
Rugby gets far more airtime than politics, which probably says a lot about the mentality of the average Kiwi!. John
I simply don’t trust them !!!!! Alan
How can you possibly judge how well- informed you are if you don’t know how well-informed you could be? New Zealanders generally are poorly informed because all journalists and media personnel who like to really dig deeply for a story have been removed. Who controls the media in NZ? Certainly the days of the ‘free press’ are long gone. However, individuals can choose to do the digging and find the news behind the news if they know the questions to ask. Too often they do not and continue in blissful ignorance as easily led sheeple. Alan
TPP? Ron
The information is there, problem is you have to dig to find it. Main problem is, as it is with so many issues, very few bother to dig any deeper than the head-lines of a news paper or publication of interest. We call it intellectual laziness & suffer the consequences at our own peril.. A.G.R.
Poor public radio and TV, soundbites, infotainment. little analysis. Secretiveness. A docile and disinterested population, enthralled by commercial sport! Graham
We should have a mushroom on a black flag as our national symbol as we are treated like mushrooms by this National Government, kept in the dark and feed on bullshit. Peter
Poorly informed if they have not been reading this newsletter. Much better informed if they have.. James
Constantly stunned by the lack of basic political knowledge and interest across all all socioeconomic groups, although the older age groupis better than others in this respect. Brian
They are more interested in the mundane. John
Most people only read the headlines. Nico
The average Kiwi is more interested in rugby scores, watching my kitchen rules or the Kardashians. When it comes to real political issues, especially the hard ones, most don’t want to know. Brent
Little understanding of epistemology, ontology, evolution, complexity or non-linear systems – thus lack the tools to comprehend the key trends on modern life. Ted
Whats been coming out of our schools for past 20-30yrs is a big worry for me! But i do think when out in the big world, their views will change with real life experiences! Pepper
We are only told what pollys think we should know. Jim
I am convinced we are lacking in simple Civics from an early age at school. There is nsufficient education in schooldays on civics etc. Maori, yes, but not impartially. and even then, too much emphasis on a language which is not going to be long-term helpful to anyone including those for whom it is also a principal language. Most of my neighbours do not now take in a daily newspaper….papers are now mostly tabloid and real political opinion is scarcely mentioned. Sensational? oh yes!, but the straight day to day stuff never gets a mention. , TV is in little soundbites, which again is potted opinion and not a broad factual presentation,and the commentators on radio are so far to left or right you can’t actually believe anyone. University students are no longer broadly educated. Their knowledge of civics and politics is severely curtailed by the demands of their vocational courses. There’s no history of the political systems unless scholars happen to be reading Pol. Science; Bias again???? Thus to answer your question….My opinion is that collectively we are very poorly educated indeed, (and unto the third and fourth generations?) That the above is true is reflected by the wild and wilful comments to talk-back radio some days…just listen in the car to what is accepted as gospel by, many callers. Maggie
News media generally skims over political issues with few articles of any substance. Jim
Treaty negotiations as an example are very secretive. Brett
By and large the media in New Zealand is generally of poor quality. Robert
I don’t believe that NZ’ers are “engaged” sufficiently. They are socialistic because they are “nice” people who want to be liked. They do not think at all and have this dislike of condemning anything out of a fear of being judgemental”. And – face it – it you don’t use your judgement you’ll be totally taken advantage of by – who else? Politicians and Maori! Aunty Podes
State Owned Assets , few know it is the cabinet of the dominant party that actually controls Crown property. Rule of Law doesn’t seem to be understood; property rights don’t seem important (e.g. xenophobia about Chinese buyers)’ The dead -weight costs of taxation aren’t understood; indeed where Government obtain their money to hand out seems poorly understood. You quote Henry Hazlitt, famous for his “Broken Window” fallacy – that money taken for there, takes away monies for several better heres Comparative advantage – still many dinosaurs wanting only NZ made products with ease for all exports. Socialism has not and does not work anywhere, yet a poorly informed NZer thinks it is good and works here, indeed clamours for more. Peter
Generalizing a population is challenging but in this instance I believe our population is poorly informed. Our population looks only at “what’s in it for me?” or “what’s in it for Maori?” Rarely is “what’s in it for the country?”a consideration. Votes are bought with bribes using tax payer money redistribution as the carrot. Tell me why a DPB, Dole recipient or even a sickness beneficiary should have a vote when political parties can simply buy their votes by offering the biggest fiscal freebee? In effect beneficiaries are telling the tax payer how much they should be paid. In formed? No. If better informed would it influence much? Probably very little. That greed factor again. Alastair
TPPA, and the bid to change the existing NZ flag are two prime examples of political arrogance shown by the present NZ coalition Government toward its citizens. John
I have been interested in politics for over 70 years and consider I am fairly informed what the Govt is doing. Well that is until I read your weekly newsletter What you tell us that is actually happening, often behind closed doors really frightens me. Albie
Add this to a lot of public apathy and you have a serious potential for dangerous side effects in the political arena. John
New Zealanders are poorly to moderately informed about political matters because they do not hear enough alternative viewpoints from mainstream media and educational establishments. In order for things to change there must be the abolishing of tax-funding of universities and schools. I know, pigs will fly before that happens. Almost daily when something goes wrong in our society the cry goes out, “What’s the government or the local council going to do about it.” 99 % of the time it’s NOT the government’s job to do anything except where police, defence and law courts are involved. So, in grasping this it is easy to see how far we have strayed from the necessary requirements of a free society of personal responsibility of individualism, private property rights and THE RULE OF LAW, not to be confused with, Legislative Law – there is a huge difference that beckons further clarification. Don
We don’t know half of whats going on, there needs to be more access to the truth! Rhys
A lot of things are keeped from us in the name of political say so. Robert
Politician’s go ahead and pass legislation ignoring the publics wishes. Colin
Misconceptions and susceptibility to populist spin abound. NZ’ers are “sheeple”. Why else would they accept a system of APARTHEID when they were instrumental in condeming South Africa so roundly for the same separatist policies? Geoff
There is a dearth of well researched journalistic comment/analysis and most comment is a reaction rather than a result of investigation. Trevor
In amongst the jigs and the reels; arrives an opinion, and depending on your colour you either agree or disagree. Maybe we need a news station to broadcast the real news instead of the hyperbole of the links were receive these days. Warren
The media tend to concentrate on often unimportant issues thrashing them to desth and boring everyone silly, while making no effort to inform on important issues. The water issue is a good example. Gail
Very poorly informed – that apathy demonstrated around social groups is almost beyond believable. As for International Awareness politics etc it’s even more feeble. We get an hour of news in the evening two thirds of which are weather and sporting. Leaving a rather pitiful 17 mins for nauseating editorialised bollocks to be thrust down throats and peevishly dressed up as “news”. You have the likes of Rachael Smalley perpetration myths and deliberately misleading the public. It’s absolutely shocking. Marnie
Are New Zealanders interested in political matters? Informing them an not getting rid of the ‘I don’t care’ attitude well not make any difference. Johan
Most media do not report the true facts and focus on rubbish. Deb
Its just too complex for the average Kiwi to fully understand the issues.God forbid, it may be better if only the well informed were able to cast a vote.  Would make it hard for politicians to manipulate voters with big carrots. Carl
I think that the knowledge -or more correctly the lack of it about Treaty issues shows clearly that New Zealanders know very little about key political issues. Sport-especially rugby is now the opiate of the masses and the TOW shows how even in the long term kiwis can have the wool pulled over their eyes. Ask people you know about the TOW settlements and see what they say. More debate and information needed. Roger
We lack a population that can think for themselves and not act like school fish. Tim
WE are very poorly informed on most things political, our so called media are a disgrace, they are a gutless bunch of PC wimps scared stiff of anything Maori and will not go anywhere near anything they might be branded as Racist for. Keep up the good work NZCPR. Stevo
How else would we end up with the politicians we are cursed with?? Owen
The media are responsible for a lot of sensationalist reporting of irrelevant rubbish while leaving the real issues unreported or misreported. New Zealanders have no chance of being well informed with the way the news media currently operates. Frank
“Bread and circuses” says it all. Small country, small minds, overinflated egos. Graham
On what Islam represents and consists of, they are completely un-informed. Pierre
And poorly served. Dick
Moderately informed, but far to apathetic to do anything about things they don’t like. Beryl
The majority of people do not read enough non-fiction, take an interest in what our government is doing or do any of their own research. Professor Michael Kelly’s article is a good example of what we all need to be aware of! Your weekly epistle is excellent…… david
The information is out there you just have to look for it. Many of our population expect it to be handed to them on a plate. Ian
It is extremely difficult to get People to take an interest in politics and so the media who are always looking for ways to grab people’s attention so most articles are focused on extreme violence or sex. We need to have our school children educated in the importance of democracy and therefor the need for participation in politics for democracy to function. Bryan
There is a lot we are not told and its not good enough Peter
There are just so many (intentional?) distractions. Stuart
IMO, the NZ MSM consciously DISINFORMS readers/listeners. The NZ HERALD is a disgrace to journalism. Isabel
Most people don’t care, don’t understand or believe that they are well informed as a result of the few 15 second sound bites they are subjected to by a media that is influenced to some extent by its own biases. Mike
Secrecy with TPP and choosing crucial time for a flag choice which the population do not want are just an example. Ben
Due in large part to the very one sided reporting from the media! The only balanced reporting comes from Mediawatch on Sunday mornings which is a refreshingly honest analysis of the media ‘circus’ particularly in regard to politics. AJ
Either that or they are too busy trying pay down their mortgages and the lefty media leave them with very little choice in making up their minds. Graeme
An ill educated population and a biased media are the overwhelming reasons for a mistrust and disinterest in politics, politicians, and the political process. Lowest common denominator media rules! Andrew
..the corrupt media lowlife” hide the truth of what the power grabbing political traitors are about….. Christopher
Is the law process and discrimination was truly independent of government, let alone the hierarchy of the legal system – one thinks not- if that is so? then why do some sports-people , school rowers and the Maori kings son etc. get leniency? If you said the PM or the Chief Justice couldn’t/wouldn`t pull a few strings/favors, then the average citizens would all be dying of laughter. We are developing a form of liberalisation or if you like emancipation which will be the demise of this country. Rome was not built in a day, but when in Rome do as the Romans do. Robert
It is clear that the news media is either biased or hobbled by ‘masters’ – people if we want fellow NZers to be informed we must get active writing letters to newspapers, MPs, Councillors as these people live in a cocooned world of their own. Further we now have a wonderful media called the internet which we can use to spread the word ie Social community sites, Facebook, Twitter etc. NZCPR does the research and presents sound information, it is therefore up to us to spread it – don’t rely on the whims of the news media. Geoff
New Zealanders need to become much more politically informed and engaged so they can force the government to adopt a one law for all policy and get rid of the Maori seats and other forms of separatism. John
 Too many Kiwis are socialists. That means they haven’t thought about politics enough. Bob Jones speaks a lot of common sense. Brian
It would be great if more people were better informed politically, so they weren’t so easily led. Stewart
The media needs to be better informed politically – so they don’t just spout left wing propaganda. They should be neutral and report both sides of an argument. Mark
Compared to the likes of Switzerland, New Zealanders have their heads in the sand. They need to take more interest so stupid laws and practices don’t continue to happen. Pauline