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Businesses often support the right, but the media often supports the left

In brief
  • Left wingers lament the money poured into right wing parties.
  • Many accuse the right of “buying” the election. 
  • It’s true that the wealthy contribute more cash to the right, but lots of evidence says NZ’s MSM leans left. 
  • What’s that coverage, which the media essentially gifts leftwing parties, worth if it had to be purchased? 

The left say the “ultra wealthy” are “buying” the election 

The Greens (and parties on the left generally)  say the ‘ultra wealthy’ are buying the election because of the donations made to parties on the right. But there’s plenty of favourable (read ‘valuable’) media coverage the left receives from mainstream media that the right isn’t receiving. 

How much are we talking about here? 

According to reports, there’s no doubt parties on the right have raised significantly more than parties on the left via donations from businesses and wealthy individuals. 

Since 2021, RNZ reports National and ACT have brought in more than $12M between them. NZ First has also raised about $1M as their campaign has taken off. Notably this is much less than even a small government ad campaign might cost. 

Meanwhile, parties on the left (Labour, Greens, Te Pāti Māori) have raised far less – about $2.6M between them – over the same time. The Labour Party has not received a single substantial donation over $20,000 from any business since 2021. 

Many media “experts” decry this “imbalance”. But is there more to the story? 

Political  view of nz media
Analysis of media bias influence on left-wing parties and their coverage, highlighting financial support for right-wing parties.

What’s the value to the left leaning parties of the media support? 

The media is exempt from registering with the Electoral Commission, but there are plenty of examples that blur the line between news reporting and campaigning. 

Considering most journalists surveyed (more than 65%) lean left (or even far left), there’s already a readiness to push left-wing narratives in NZ’s MSM. We covered one such example in comparing Jack Tame’s aggressive interview with National’s leader Chris Luxon versus his decidedly light-touch interview with Te Pāti Māori’s co leader Rawiri Waititi. 

Data suggests six of the eight major media outlets in NZ are seen as “somewhat left” or “strongly left” by the audience. The NZ Herald is viewed by audiences as relatively neutral, but still tipping left. We concur. Our article on a cartoon run by the Herald is a good argument that they are not concerned about offending right leaning voters. Note we consider NZ First to be right leaning on the big issues in this election.

And what’s the value that the Government also leans left?

Many argue the $55M Public Interest Journalism Fund, which overwhelmingly favoured left-wing media, was nothing short of a bribe by the Labour led government aimed at buying the obedience of the MSM. 

There’s also the “curious” (according to journalist Sean Plunket’s) case of Te Pāti Māori’s president John Tamihere’s “donations” to his party via his Government funded charity.  

Then there’s the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ad purchases recently revealed that showed the Labour government was purchasing air time from MSM outlets including TVNZ to promote their climate change narrative. This doesn’t include the costs of producing all the materials promoted.

The left have also enjoyed the campaign efforts of biassed public servants. Former Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, Te Whatu Ora’s former Director, Rob Campbell, and Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt, amongst others have essentially campaigned for Labour while on the job.

Bob McCoskrie of Family First pointed out a series of biassed moves by the Electoral Commission’s favouring of The Opportunities Party (TOP). He also highlighted the most recent example being Newshub floating the left of centre party as a possible coalition partner for National, if National would stand down its Ilam candidate in favour of TOP leader Raf Manji.

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