Alliance Party pledges to fight for public interest

The Alliance Party says it will play a leading role in resisting the attacks against public services, workers, beneficiaries and students that will be a feature of the new National Government.

Alliance Party spokesperson Victor Billot says the Alliance marginally improved its vote in yesterday’s General election from the 2005 election, but more importantly had rebuilt its organization in the intervening years.

“We are in a much more positive and focussed mood, and despite a low vote, believe that we have a good future.”

He says the challenge for a party like the Alliance includes the approach of the mainstream media that favours the status quo and marginalizes smaller parties, and that the Alliance did not receive big funding from corporate donors, relying instead on individual supporters, many of whom were on low or fixed incomes.

Mr Billot says a volatile economic situation will soon start affecting New Zealanders in much more obvious ways.

“The National Party has promised massive tax cuts to the richest New Zealanders while promising not to cut key services, obviously this is impossible in a time of global recession, and we know what their priority will be.”

Mr Billot says that National in coalition with ACT will ensure that the wealthiest sector of the community is protected from the recession by attacking public services, wages and conditions.

Mr Billot says this is a reprise of the 1990 election when National promised a “decent society.”

“When National were elected in 1990, unemployment soared, benefits were cut, national assets sold off for a song, and a massive level of inequality opened up that has created ongoing social problems.”

Mr Billot says the loss for Labour reflects the fact they had not consistently focussed on their core constituency.

He says there is an obvious need for a democratic socialist party on the left of Labour and the Alliance would continue to seek to fill that role.

Mr Billot says a key part of the 2008 election was the superficial nature of media coverage.

“The corporate media focussed on personality, sensation and agenda setting. There was an absence of rational debate around serious policy issues and the mainstream media seemed to be ‘embedded’ with career politicians. The 2008 election probably marks a new low as democracy has descended to the level of infotainment and the mindless repetition of meaningless slogans such as ‘change’ and ‘trust.’”

He says the continued reduction in journalist numbers and concentration of media ownership with global corporations is a serious threat to a genuine democracy.