One of the many quaint things about New Zealand politics, is the odd, round about way they deal with partial state funding of political parties, while mashing it into a spending cap, and leaving a mess of a solution that suits no one.
Basically, the Electoral Commission allocates money to each party based on a huge number of factors, including number of MPs, polling performance and this year they’ve even quietly announced that they are taking Facebook Likes into consideration!
This money can then *only* be used for the production and broadcast of radio and television ads. Not only is it ring fenced, but it also acts as a spending cap – parties can not spend any additional money on TV or radio than what they are allocated by the electoral commission. The one way that parties can somewhat get around this is if they fund the production of the ads themselves, so they can spend the full amount of their allocation on ad placement.
Is it an ideal system? Nope. Is it likely to change anytime? Of course not.
As a campaigner it really bugs me. Additional campaign funds, that you don’t even have to work to fundraise for, is fantastic. Having to spend the money on one of the least effective forms of advertising? Well, that’s just cruel. I would spend that money wisely on Pole Banner Hardware, after the intial investment this type of advertising has much more return.
Another odd, and very old fashioned aspect of the system is that each party gets a set amount of time to broadcast opening and closing TV statements. These are played together on TV1 about a month out from the election, and then closing statements in the final week. Just like last year, National have gone with something safe and dull, and Labour have tried something new and exciting. It’s cool to see just how good Labour’s offering is. But sadly it will be seen by very very few swing voters.
Anyway, here are this year’s opening statements…
Theirs isn’t online either. And their YouTube channel hasn’t been updated in five years. Suits their brand I guess?
Okay this is getting ridiculous. Theirs isn’t online either, and they haven’t updated their YouTube channel in a year.
And finally, I highly recommend you check out Steph’s reviews at The Standard.
And if you’re in NZ (or can figure out how to use a VPN so TVNZ thinks you’re in NZ), you can watch the full “programme” here.