How much did each vote cost?

The electoral commission has just realeased the party vote expense returns. Well worth a read. The stand out figure is the massive $1.7m that the Conservative Party spent. I would be very interested to know how much of that came from Colin Craig.

I’ve matched the expenditure against the number of party votes each party received to figure out how much each vote cost. The big losers at the Conservatives ($31.78 per vote) and ACT ($25.83). At those rates, it would have cost the Conservative Party $3,579,006 and ACT $2,915,328 to reach the 5% threashold.

At the other end of the spectrum you have the Aotearoa Leagalise Cannabis Party who spent $4,003 and managed to get over 11 thousand votes – achived largely off the back of their party name rather than their advertising efforts.

Party Name Cost Per Party Vote
Conservative Party  $31.71
ACT  $25.83
Democrats for Social Credit  $20.23
Greens  $3.15
Labour  $2.91
Mana  $2.49
Māori Party  $2.26
National  $2.19
United Future  $2.06
Alliance  $1.99
Libertarianz  $1.73
New Zealand First  $1.06
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party  $0.34

10 thoughts on “How much did each vote cost?”

  1. Quite fascinating. I had just read this on Kiwiblog. Hard to believe (or not, I guess) that the Conservatives spent the second-most of any party on campaigning. I guess their (relatively) good result for a first-time party was not so surprising after all – they spent more than Labour!

    1. I don’t think their advertising was particularly effective – but when you’re throwing that much money at it, something is going to stick!

      The other part of the equation is the electorate expense returns – I’d assume that Labour’s total will well eclipse the Conservatives when you take that into account – I doubt many Conservative candidates spent more than a few hundred dollars on their individual campaigns (expcept Colin Craig of course).

      The metrics around the expense per candidate vote are going to be fascinating – I’ve already got a few theories I want to test once that data is available.

      1. Hmm… they delivered at least three fliers to my house, which looked professional, outlined some saleable policies (for their target demographic, obviously), opposed asset sales (a good option if you opposed asset sales, but didn’t want to help elect a Labour/Green government, I guess). I found many of their policies objectionable, but their print media campaign was impressive.

  2. National havent included any newspaper ads for local candidates in their return.
    Surely there was some shared attribution for theses ads, they had National and Brighter Future all over them?
    Also Feelers got paid $79,811.11 for selling out to the Nats.

    1. Interesting point about the candidate ads. Did other parties split the cost of those ads between the party vote/candidate vote accounts? (And does it matter, if everyone was within their limits?).

      They didn’t get paid for selling out to the Nats. They got paid for selling to the Nats. Why shouldn’t they?

  3. The “average” is misleading as it doesn’t reflect the average cost per vote since you’ve weighted each of the parties equally. The average cost per vote is actually $3.29 (total expenditure from all parties divided by the total number of votes cast).

    1. The only public money that the political parties get is the broadcasting allocation. And it’s determined based on number of votes etc in previous elections.

      The allocation for 2011 is here.

      I’d imagine that next time the Greens will be getting a much bigger chunk of funding.

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