last night i attended two meetings. the first was a "save tvnz 7" meeting, which was packed. someone had booked a room at the university, but it was clearly too small, with people standing outside the door. the speakers were bomber bradbury, mark servian from the greens, clare curran from labour & david beatson.
it was an interesting crowd - tending towards the older generation, but certainly not exclusively so. and one of the points made at the meeting was that all mainstream channels were aiming at the 14-49 year-old demographic. i believe it was brian edwards who wrote about the fact that older people are just not being catered to in terms of programming. which is a sad state of affairs. but the loss of tvnz 6 which catered for younger viewers was also talked about.
once tvnz 7 goes, maori television will be the only thing close to a public service broadcasting channel. maori tv doesn't qualify 100% to that description because they still run adds. tvnz 6 & 7 didn't - other than promos for their own programmes.
i should have taken notes because there was a lot of useful information provided, as well as some excellent arguments in favour of public broadcasting, and the role it plays in holding the powerful to account. these channels, though they were never advertised by tvnz for fear of reducing viewership of tv1 & tv 2, still managed to get a significant number of viewers - 1.4 million in a month. it doesn't help that the minister of broadcasting got these figures completely wrong, but even though he has now admitted his mistake, he's refusing to back down on this decision. so much for this being a government that listens to the people.
the second meeting i went to was the annual ethnic communities listening forum, run by the hamilton city council. i was pretty late, so only contributed to one of the 4 questions the counicl was seeking to consult on: how to improve the participation of ethnic minority communities with democratic process.
well, i thought that a lot of the reason people don't vote is because they don't really know the candidates, and either aren't confident or don't have the time to attend a heap of public meetings. the best way is for the city council to provide webspace for each candidate, to put up whatever they want in that space - photos, video, CV, personal statements, whatever. it's a much better way of finding out about the people who are standing than the 150 (or whatever) words we get in the booklet with our voting papers.
i also thought it would be useful for the council to have a page providing information on how to run a local body campaign. some useful tips on what works best, some cheap campaigning methods, all the legal information on what you can & can't do. a lot of people won't stand because they wouldn't have a clue how to go about it. so giving them some information might help. it's just an idea.