The fact that TVNZ allowed Bill 'Double-Dipton' English to front the promo for TVNZ 7's Spotlight on the Economy month hardly inspires confidence that it will contribute anything new to the economic debate. The fact that TVNZ actually allowed English to edit his script suggests that here is a broadcaster not overly keen to upset the neoliberal consensus.

One of the central progammes is 'National's First Year' which will see the mediocre Guyon Espiner interviewing Dodgy Bill. Espiner has never questioned the assumptions of neoliberalism and I doubt he's going to start now. Perhaps he'll prove me wrong - perhaps he's been secretly reading Marx, Mandel or even Keynes in his spare time. Yeah right.

Will anyone be declaring that neoliberalism has failed, completely and utterly? Will anyone be offering a real economic alternative?


After the English interview two more neoliberal politicians, Roger Douglas and David Cunliffe, will get to critique English's views.

The programme will finish with 'a panel of union representatives and business commentators discussing and debating the issues raised across the show.'

Given that the CTU hierarchy has shown no inclination to challenge neoliberalism, I'm not expecting anything new from the union representatives either.

Spotlight on the Economy
will be little more than neoliberal talkfest, with the implication that is no viable economic alternative.

After years of the media echoing the same neoliberal phraseology, New Zealanders would be delighted to finally hear and discuss different economic ideas. They won't get that from TVNZ's Spotlight on the Economy. It might admit to a economic crisis but none of its participants want real economic change.

Spotlight on the Economy
would have real relevance if it, for example, it discussed the economic policies that are being implemented by the Chavez government in Venezuela. Perhaps it could discuss the economic policy alternatives that emerged from the World Social Forum in February this year.

We won't get any of this. Instead we will get the ridiculous Roger Douglas, calling for more extreme neoliberal policies and Cunliffe attempting to convince us that Labour's brand of neoliberalism is better than National's.



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