Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is pledging her party will run “a positive campaign, a factual campaign, a robust campaign” in this year’s general election.
“We are the Government and governing will be our primary focus in 2020 but alongside that of course we have to acknowledge the election campaign that looms large for everyone in New Zealand as well,” Ms Ardern told her MPs at the party’s yearly retreat in Martinborough, where they plot their course for the year.
Ms Ardern touched on the spread of misinformation during overseas political campaigns. It comes as Facebook pushed back on regulating political advertising and would not ban ads or limit targeting, reported Associated Press.
In December, a review launched by the Justice Committee recommended prohibiting foreigners from advertising on social media to influence a New Zealand election outcome and implementing constraints and legal obligations on social media platforms.
Ms Ardern said the election campaign should be “robust”, but it was also “incredibly important it is for us as the Labour Party that New Zealand does not fall prey to what we’ve seen happen in other jurisdictions.
“New Zealanders deserve a factual campaign, one that is free from misinformation, where people can make honest reflections for themselves on what they want for the future of New Zealand. Those are at least the values we’ll be sticking to for this year.”
“This is going to be a significant year for New Zealand, a significant year for us, but I know as a team we’re feeling incredibly positive about the year ahead and the potential for what we will continue to deliver.”
Ms Ardern ended her speech with the catch phrase, “so, let’s do this”.
She also hinted at the upcoming infrastructure announcement, where the Government pledged $12 billion, but released limited details aside from the $400 million fast-tracked infrastructure package to fix run down schools.
“The time to do it is right, we do have infrastructure needs in New Zealand, we also have low debt and we’re also at a point where borrowing is incredibly cheap."
She said health could expect to see some investment and there would be a particular focus on decarbonisation.
“That’s a nod to the fact with this infrastructure package we need to future proof New Zealand’s economy, that means preparing for the changes we are experiencing as a result of climate change.