Jay Rosen very nicely lays out the problem. Journalism has shifted entirely from discussion of the relative merits of policies and their likely effects to the horse-race. All attention goes to how policies might play with the electorate. He blames the "cult of savviness": readers are invited to be insiders, along with the journalists, in trying to guess political party strategies and tactics, and whether those will be effective.
I'm with Rosen on the problem. But his while his solution may be elegant for those who wish to eschew the horse-race and focus on the issues, those folks already can get the analysis they want. There are, believe it or not, more serious news outlets that do provide analysis of the issues. And blogs help too, if you know what to look for. Where do I go if I want reasonable analysis of NZ policy issues? I'd start with the National Business Review. The Christchurch Press's Mainlander section on Saturdays is surprisingly meaty. And, just ignore the ones that go for sensationalism.
The real problem is that relative demand for thick policy analysis is much much smaller than for the horse-race. If politics is mostly about group-affiliation and status-seeking, people will care more about whether their team is likely to do well than about the effects of policy. And there's really not much that can be done about that. It's like complaining that Firefly gets cancelled after a season while we're into I have no clue which season of Big Brother. There are places folks who want decent TV can go - HBO for starters. The rest is pablum. Complaining that most TV producers make pablum while ignoring that most viewers really really like pablum kinda misses the point. The bigger problem is that while I can exempt myself from trash TV by just changing channel, I can't exempt myself from trash policy.