As New Zealand’s next general election looms, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is pushing for a “positive, factual and robust” campaign and has said she’ll fight the spread of misinformation online.
The Labour leader addressed her caucus at a party retreat on Thursday, telling MPs they play a key role in setting the tone. She said Labour would be running a factual and transparent campaign, avoiding attack ads on the opposition.
“New Zealanders deserve a factual campaign, one that is free from misinformation, where people can make honest reflections for themselves about what they want for the future of New Zealand,” Ardern said.
“I believe we can deliver that kind of election campaign.”
Adern is expected to announce the date of the election within the next month, many commentators are predicting September 19.
Recent elections in Australia, the US and UK have seen coordinated fake news campaigns devoted to the spreading of misinformation online. Ardern says she wants to elevate the political conversation in the lead up to the general election, prioritising robust and truthful exchanges between all political parties.
“We want it to be robust, where there is a good exchange between us and other parties, but it is incredibly important for us as the Labour party that New Zealand does not fall prey to what we’ve seen happen in other jurisdictions.”
“I’ve watched tactics used in overseas campaigns that aren’t part of New Zealand’s election cycle,” she said.
New Zealand’s Labour party has voluntarily signed up to new Facebook rules which crack down on fake news by allowing users to see who is paying for online ads and who is being targeted. Ardern is now calling on the National party to do the same.