Can TV3 keep Colin Craig out of its debates? Maybe, or maybe not.
From TV3's website:
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is threatening legal action against TV3 after he was left out of a minor party leaders debate on the channel’s public affairs programme The Nation.
3 News says Craig’s party does not meet the criteria to be included in the debate, due to screen tomorrow morning at 930.
Party leaders from ACT, United Future, the Greens, the Maori Party, New Zealand First and Mana are scheduled to appear.
Lawyers for the Conservative Party are expected to go to the High Court later today seeking an injunction preventing the programme from airing unless Craig is included.
Quick thoughts on this:
1. It's not a completely hopeless case - Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne won a similar challenge back in2005.
2. However, that decision was remarkable for the fact that it failed to consider the NZBORA rights of the broadcaster to make their own editorial decision as to who they do/don't include in their debates - which then has flow-on effects for how much time each participant gets to speak (it's a zero-sum game), as well as how much time the broadcaster has to commit to the exercise. There's other discussions/criticisms of it by Dean Knight and Steven Price that might interest you.
3. Attempts by other candidates to use the Anderton & Dunne decision to force their way into debates/to challenge coverage of their campaigns by the media have been unsuccessful, largely because they were such fringe individuals that the courts were happy to accpet that the broadcasters could (in effect) ignore them. This also (I think) reflects a real judicial reluctance to get involved as the referees for how broadcasters do their job.
4. You can read all about this issue, and others of equally interesting and important matters of electoral law, in this remarkably accessible, well written and very insightful work of staggering genius. Go on - treat yourselves!!!