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This week on the Raw Politics podcast: What’s wrong with Labour governing by focus group if its GST and parental leave policies help it win back support? And National is about to release its party list for the election with little room to diversify its team.

Raw Politics pulls back the curtains on Labour’s blitz of populist policy announcements – to discover that while they’re ‘in it for you’, they’re also in it to win. If that means running on things they think are popular, they’ll be no brainers, despite the views of experts, opponents and even some of their own party members.

The removal of GST from fresh fruit and veges, extension of partner parental leave, the Covid-19 rule relaxation and another multi-billion dollar packaging of transport measures have thrust Labour from managers to campaigners and there’ll be little turning back.

On the eve of National’s big reveal of its party list rankings for October 14, the panel discovers there’s little room for the party to diversify the top end of who it’s offering for election. A combination of needy incumbents and a likely gain of electorate seats means few plumb list places are up for grabs.

Later in the podcast, we answer a question on what the departing MPs giving valedictory speeches in Parliament this week will be remembered for.

This week’s recommendations include a courtroom report from Newsroom – where else? – on the appeal by three donors to the National Party who were found guilty in a serious fraud prosecution, an innovative analysis of the possible/probable gender imbalance of a new Parliament, and a revealing look at the high-flying Chinese former foreign minister who was, quietly, disappeared.

Every week, Newsroom editors and political journalists talk through the big issues and scrutinise politicians’ performances in a lively 25-minute show aiming to take viewers and listeners inside the actions and motivations of our elected leaders.

Watch Raw Politics on YouTube, or download or listen to it as a podcast on Spotify, or via Apple Podcasts.

And send your burning political questions to and we’ll endeavour to find the answer and explain the issues.

This week’s recommendations:

Marc: Emma Hatton’s courtroom report on the appeals in the political donations case 

Jo: Ben McKay’s innovative analysis in the Spinoff of the likely gender balance regression in the next Parliament

Tim: Historically fascinating piece from US news site Politico about the man who soared up the ranks of Chinese foreign policy and then disappeared from the peak

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