I’ve posted before about the lack of evidence-based analysis in the New Zealand media, and the over-reliance on opinion writers who examine social issues from within their own perspective.
To that fold the Dominion Post today added Bob Jones in a Politics Ringside column. Sir Bob has a political pedigree of having set up the New Zealand First Party political party in time to grab 12.3% of the vote in the 1984 election won by David Lange’s Labour.
He’s also a very, very rich man with an opinion about most things, often expressed in ways which amuse or appall, depending on your own point of view.
But this column – I am struggling to see what it adds to political analysis or debate in the Dominion Post.
We have a joke about Graham Lee being a “condom on the penis of progress.”
We have Rodney Hide perhaps being gay because he went ballroom dancing, goes to the gym, and wears yellow. I wonder if anyone has told the Australian men’s cricket team that playing for Australia comes with a responsibility to begin loving men?
We have a joke about Parekura Horomia being fat, and a comment that Labour has the gay vote by “virtually making it a qualification for candidacy.”
And really, that’s about it. I’m left feeling I’ve read a schoolboy’s sniggers about classmates he doesn’t like – a schoolboy with a slight obsession with gay men – and not a lot else.
I hope I’m wrong – I hope Sir Robert uses his undoubtable brain to good effect over the coming months to explain political issues to us in new and interesting ways – albeit from the perspective of the 30th richest man in New Zealand, with estimated wealth around $250 million.
But I suspect we are being short-changed by a lack of evidence-based analysis yet again – just when we need it most, election year. Come on DomPo, we deserve a little better.