National have been pushing the news that the primary sector has had its best year for exports, up a reported $5.3B to $37.7b this year. Firstly, the biggest issue that I have with the graphic is there is a lack of a source for the statistic. Statistic sources are key, especially with stats that are either not for a calendar year, or are projections. I am not sure if this figure below is for the fiscal year to 1 July, or is a projection for the 2014 calendar year. But that is an important thing to know.
However, that is not the main thing that I wanted to talk about. This image was also posted on Facebook and shared by a number of MPs, candidates and party supporters. Two that shared it were MP Christ Tremain and candidate Todd Barclay. There was one major difference in how they shared it.
Now obviously there is a difference between Todd and Chris. Todd is a new candidate and Chris is a retiring MP. However, they still both have an interest in promoting the party. Chris has gone with a semi confrontational tone, with little to no explanation, just letting the graphic speak for itself. On the other hand Todd has expanded on the graphic, giving context to what the figures actually mean and steps that the government has taken that he believes has contributed to this increase in exports.
Facebook provides a greater opportunity to expand on graphics, compared to Twitter with its 140 character limit. Todd has taken the time to include information from the link that is associated with the original Facebook post by the National Party Page. Could this be a sign that the new crop of candidates coming through see a place for positive, informed engagement, over the petty digs and attacks that some see as key to political discourse? Only time will tell if Todd, and others, will stick to this positive, informed style of debate. But it is a positive sign.