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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 1. 1969.

Editorial — Criteria and Honesty


Criteria and Honesty

March 4, 1969

Opinions expressed in Salient are not necessarily those of VUWSA.

The Criteria employed by the news media in its selection of news items has been open to incessant criticism since the concept of the Fourth Estate was first aired. Which is just as well. It is quite fair to argue that there are inherent characteristics within the system of newspaper ownership in New Zealand which prohibit impartiality, the putative aim of all daily newspapers.

It is also quite fair to argue that the way in which some interested parties handle the media is conducive towards rough handling by it.

There are other influences affecting the reasons why one story is promoted at the expense of another, several of which are reflected in an example which emerged from Curious Cove.

Mr. Phil Amos, Labour M.P. for Manurewa, spoke on "Politics and Education". It was a speech attracting considerable interest for three reasons.

This is election year, and Mr. Amos is, in some books, a favourite for the stakes of the education portfolio, and his major competitor will not be Mr. Kinsella.

Mr. Amos is widely regarded for his relatively progressive approach to social and educational questions (witness his contempt for the 1966 Labour education policy).

Thirdly, and most important, in an exaggerated view of the situation—Mr. Amos was the answer to Mr. Muldoon. The humanitarian and the accountant. The man who refuses to put a price on education, against the man who "knows the price of everything and the value of nothing".

In a 25-minute address, Mr. Amos made two suggestions totally virginal in a political context. They were the establishment of Junior or Community colleges to replace sixth forms, and the suggestion of a V.S.A. type organisation through which idealistic youths can somehow vent their frustrations on building such colleges instead of becoming more disillusioned with society.

He almost said it was Labour Party policy to replace the School Certificate examination. And then he threw in a titbit— a recommendation for an educational tax and a system of government loans for education.

Good copy you might say. A lash at "airy, fairy thinking within the Labour Party", accusations of brides for seats, and If he really played his cards right, the "Evening Post" first leader might tell us why they wouldn't work.

And what did the report say ?

"New Zealand university students are the most decile in the world," it began. And it said little else.

It is small wonder the Dominion's Keith Hancox can reel out his indefensible claim that the Labour Party is totally bereft of ideas. Perhaps the degree of stimulation that Hancox receives over hit Ministerial cuppa is insufficient to give him a reply to Labour policy.