There are two political issues hitting the media at the moment.

The first is about Labour encouraging their campaigners to give out government pamphlets in an attempt to publicise the wonderful actions of Labour’s term in government. Personally I don’t have a problem with this and I think it’s a bit of a storm in a teacup – as long as the pamphlets aren’t being written for the purpose of campaigning.

The second issue is about how Labour wants to portray National as asset strippers. John Key cleverly spiked Labour’s guns with his declaration that National wouldn’t sell any state owned assets in their first term, and now Clark is reaching a bit by trying to say that it’s just because they’ll be selling them off in their second term (although I do wonder if she meant to imply that she thought National would not only win the next election but the one after it as well!)

But this post isn’t actually about these two issues. While I think everyone involved in both issues is spinning furiously for their own ends and that sometimes this results in people getting a bit carried away and the quality of the debate starts to slide into the gutter, I just want to say how delighted I am that both of these debates are actually about substantive policy issues.

The first is part of the ongoing debate about campaign financing, the second returns to the issue of what the national should own collectively against what should be owned privately. They’re not about someone seeing a prostitute, or when they went to church last, or whether they once did drugs twenty years ago.

I know we’re not immune from obsessing about all those things as well, but at least in this case we can be pleased that our “silly media beatups” and “manufactured political controversies” are about topics that do rightfully belong in the political sphere.