ACT Party advertising complaint upheld by ASA

act_ets_flier3Before the election the Act party sent a letter and flyer about the emissions trading scheme to rural households. This letter and flyer contained some excellent information on the ETS, and I was glad to see Act educating people about this flawed scheme.

However Act claimed to be the only party opposed to the ETS, and the only party that would withdraw from Kyoto (note Kyoto was only mentioned in the letter, not in the flyer reproduced here). This was completely false, as the Family Party also opposes the ETS, and supports withdrawing from Kyoto.

I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over this, and my complaint has been upheld. Act’s response to the ASA over this issue was very arrogant, and stated (in full):

“The statement needs to be taken in the context of current political discourse in New Zealand.

This is an election campaign where most parties contesting the election will not obtain parliamentary seats. The Family Party is likely to be one of those parties.

Accordingly, the meaning of the statement is that the ACT Party is the only party that voted against the passing of the bill in parliament and will be the only party elected to parliament after the election that will oppose it.

If the Family Party oppose the statement on the flyer then that party is welcome to produce and distribute its own flyer/pamphlet putting their position. That’s how elections work.”

As it turned out we did not get into parliament, and I can understand their position on this. But the fact remains that they said they were “the only party”, which is completely untrue. If they had said “the only parliamentary party” or something to that effect, it would have been fine. But they didn’t.

I did not like complaining about these advertisements as the message was one that needed to be heard. But I could not roll over and allow a blatant lie. If someone has a good message they can portray it honestly.

I am glad this complaint was upheld.

I am also glad that Act was able to gain enough votes to get 5 MPs and get some concessions out of National on this important issue. I am however disappointed that a lie was used to in part achieve this result.

Post-election changes

As the election has gone now I am no longer “The Family Party candidate for Selwyn”, so have changed the blog heading. Sorry if this causes any problems with feed readers and the like. I have added a logo instead that links through to the party website.

Electorate analysis – Mangere

The primary focus of our campaign this year was to take either the Mangere electorate or East Coast Bays, to avoid the 5% threshold. Jerry Filipaina was campaigning full-time in Mangere for a year before the election, and by the election the party had visited every house five times. However our actual results there were disappointing. The main results (parties gaining over 100 votes) are below, full results may be found here.

Parties Candidates
New Zealand Pacific Party 2,212 FIELD, Taito Lemalu Phillip NZPP 4,767
Family Party 237 FILIPAINA, Galumalemana Jerry FAM 856
RAM – Residents Action Movement 14 FOWLER, Roger RAM 138
National Party 3,641 HARRIS, Mita NAT 3,081
MATATUMUA, Lemalu Talia IND 48
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 137 PO’E, Tala JAP 126
Labour Party 13,162 SIO, Su’a William LAB 11,263
United Future 182 SOLOMON, Pulotu Selio UFNZ 389
Green Party 452 STRICKSON-PUA, Muamua Sofi GP 462
ACT New Zealand 252 TABACHNIK, Michael ACT 214
Mäori Party 165
New Zealand First Party 767
Party Informals 245 Candidate Informals 343
TOTAL 21,688 TOTAL 21,687

I will do my best to describe the situation in Mangere, but remember I was campaigning in Selwyn at the other end of the country, so if anyone spots any errors stick them in the comments & I’ll fix it.

No media organisation published polls for Mangere in the run-up to the election. We were unable to have a professional poll conducted, due to the workload of polling companies or their refusal to conduct one due to having a conflict of interest because they were conducting polls for another party.

However a month before the election we conducted an internal poll, which I am now able to release publicly. Although conducted by ourselves, it was done as rigorously as possible to ensure it was accurate. This poll showed Sio (Labour) on 28%, Jerry (Family) on 31%, and Field (Pacific) on 33%. In other words, all three candidates were neck and neck, so it could go any way. It was on the basis of this poll that we were able to campaign saying that Jerry had a decent chance of taking the electorate.

In the month following that poll our campaign stepped up in an attempt to bring Jerry into the lead. Our final visit of every house in Mangere occurred on the Saturday prior to the election, when the team visited 14,500 homes in the one day. Our brochures were pushing the “2 for 1″ message, ie vote for Jerry and get two local MPs, as Sio would be in on the list anyway. On Friday night before the election the team was parading around Mangere and Manukau East until midnight with the truck, billboard trailer and motorbikes!

However, the campaigns of Labour and the Pacific Party also swung into gear strongly in the last few weeks. Labour was particularly well-resourced, and being already ingrained in the culture would have made an impression on many voters. Old habits die hard, and if a voter was still undecided on polling day (due to heavy campaigns by three different parties) they may well have just ticked Labour because they always had.

Liberty Scott has questioned what Labour campaigners were actually telling people, as the fact that some believed their benefits would be cut if National got in certainly makes it sound like some Labour campaigners could have been spreading lies about National. If this is the case, this could have turned voters off not only National but any party hoping to go into coalition with them, such as ourselves.

Labour was also ringing people up on the morning of the election, and giving their supporters rides to the polling booth. We simply didn’t have the resources to do the same this year.

Many Mangere voters did not actually vote. Only around 20,000 voters turned out in the South Auckland electorates, as opposed to over 30,000 in most other electorates. There is a possibility that many people who were intending to vote for us when polled, did not end up actually voting. However more Labour supporters would have voted due to the free lifts to the polling booths. It is also possible that some people who were intending to vote for Jerry were picked up by Labour, which influenced them to vote Labour after all.

As a result of all these factors, and possibly others, Jerry’s support on polling day was nowhere near as high as he had polled, the election result really took us by surprise.

In future, when targeting South Auckland electorates, we will have to be very careful to address all these factors. We must ensure voters understand MMP, so they clearly understand they can vote for our candidate and still support Labour if they wish. We must ensure they have accurate information about policies, and keep an ear to the ground for what Labour campaigners are actually saying to the people (not just the official campaign material).

And we’ll probably need to hire a load of buses for election day!

EDIT:

There is a real possibility that our campaign helped to reduce Labour’s votes from Mangere. In 2005 Labour took 21,000 votes from Mangere, from a total turnout of 29,000. Although it wasn’t great for us, possibly our campaign resulted in many voters being confused who to vote for, as they may have been put off Labour but unconvinced whether they should vote for us, and therefore they stayed home. This year Labour only got 13,000 votes in Mangere. So although our campaign there didn’t get us in, it could well have dented Labour’s election performance considerably and so still helped to change the government.

Electorate analysis – Selwyn

I will discuss other electorates after talking to the team up north. But here are the main results from Selwyn, for parties gaining over 100 votes (full results are here). Last elections results for Rakaia (now Selwyn) are here for comparison.

Parties Candidates
National Party 18,339 ADAMS, Amy NAT 20,076
Labour Party 8,536 COATES, David LAB 9,830
Family Party 122 DENNIS, Samuel FAM 441
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 634 MAIN, Philippa JAP 1,197
United Future 376 NORMAN, Victoria UFNZ 227
ACT New Zealand 1,245 WATSON, Ivor ACT 480
Kiwi Party 172 WILLIAMSON, Eleanor KIWI 264
WOODS, Bill IND 528
Green Party 2,390
Mäori Party 127
New Zealand First Party 1,036
The Bill and Ben Party 171
Party Informals 147 Candidate Informals 367
TOTAL 33,412 TOTAL 33,410

Selwyn is a National seat, and always has been. Quite a few National voters have moved to Act this year however, due primarily to the Emissions Trading Scheme (Act had 869 votes in 05). There has always been Labour support here, but it has dropped significantly this election (from 11,338 in 05), apparantly moving to National, Green and Progressive. It is hard to compare however due to boundary changes and the fact that there was a higher turnout in 2005.

The higher number of informal candidate votes than party votes suggests people are fairly sure which party they want to vote for, but less certain about which candidate they prefer. On the other hand, it could just mean that those who wanted to waste their vote had a joke party to go with (B&B), but no joke candidate, so many B&B voters just spoilt their candidate vote, as those numbers pretty exactly make up the difference…

I received 319 votes from non-Family Party voters (assuming all Family Party voters voted for myself, not necessarily correct). From what I gather speaking to voters, I expect most of these voters gave National their party vote. Those voters I have spoken to wished to secure a change of government, and didn’t want to waste their party vote, but they preferred Family Party policy to that of National.

Bill Woods didn’t do that well, despite being the former mayor, but he had little publicity.

I am very pleased with my votes for a first try, being ahead of the United Future and Kiwi candidates, and close behind the Act candidate and Bill Woods. It will take a lot of work to topple Amy Adams, but that will be a job for the next election now that my name is out there! I was about the most local candidate on offer, most others being recent imports into the area, and I think this gives me a good base to work from.

There is a lot of misunderstanding out there around MMP, and around the policies National had on offer. Many people I spoke to wanted to fix the smacking law, and get rid of the ETS. However they were under the impression that National would do those things, and were surprised to find National policy was to keep them. Some wouldn’t believe me, I’ll have to carry National policy documents with me on my rounds next time! There was a strong faith that National would provide change and fix the policies that annoyed everyone, but few voters had actually looked into their policy. Furthermore, most people thought voting for Amy Adams would help National in some way, not realising that this was a wasted vote as she’d be in on the list regardless. It could be argued that it would actually be better for National to even vote in Coates, as he would have kicked out a more experienced Labour MP, providing National with some advantages in the house!

To take this electorate in future will be a lot of work, as you first have to teach people how MMP works, then teach them National policy, before you can even get on to your own. But it is certainly doable, as National always places a good candidate here that is reasonably high on the list, this being regarded a safe seat – this was Ruth Richardson’s electorate, and Jenny Shipley’s. Logically, it makes little sense to vote for the National candidate here. But to persuade 15,000 voters, half the electorate, will be an interesting challenge for next election.

Family Party level of support

The Family Party gained a low percentage of the party vote, only 0.33%. Full election results may be found here.

This would have been extremely disappointing had we gained an electorate seat. However as we did not gain an electorate seat it is not too bad, as it means few votes were wasted. So under the circumstances I am not that disappointed with the party vote result. Rather, I am disappointed with our performance in our key electorates. I will comment on those later in the week after discussing it with the team.

But how much support does the Family Party actually have around the country?

There is a lot of support for our policies around the country, from both Christians and non-Christians. I found a great level of agreement from voters while campaigning. However many people were not willing to risk their party votes on us, preferring to use them to ensure a change of government, and in most cases vote for National or Act. Going by the results however, many of these people were still willing to give our candidates their vote.

As a result, our candidates gained around 4 times as many candidate votes for themselves as they gained votes for the party. For instance, in Selwyn we received 122 party votes and 441 votes for myself.

Our candidates gained from 0.9 to 10.3% of the candidate vote in their electorates. The mean was 2.6% of the candidate vote in these electorates, but this figure may be skewed upwards due to strategic voting from people in Mangere and East Coast Bays who didn’t necessarily support our policies but wanted a change of government. The median was 1.6%, which is a more conservative measure of our support.

Therefore, if it was guaranteed that votes for us would not be wasted (if we had an electorate MP already in parliament and likely to hold their seat, like Rodney Hide and Act), I believe we would have received at least 1.6% of the vote. We would have probably received much more than this in fact, as having an MP would have given us greater media coverage and publicity than we were able to achieve, and we would have received a higher broadcasting allocation. Furthermore there are probably many people who liked our policies yet were unwilling to give us either vote.

So we do have a lot of support. People were just careful not to waste their party votes. In the end that turned out to be a good thing (less votes wasted). Hopefully we can gain an electorate seat next time round and actually represent these well-supported policies in parliament.

Election result

Great result for the country, we finally have a change of government.

It was very interesting to see Clark announce she is standing down, it isn’t surprising she would decide to do that but it is surprising she would announce it immediately. Talk about trust, all these people who voted Labour because they like Helen Clark (and I have found many people in that category while campaigning) will be very disappointed. They obviously couldn’t trust her to stick round and do what she felt was best for the country, rather she just wanted the top job and when she didn’t get it she was gone. Now she’ll force a by-election in her electorate just because she didn’t get quite what she wanted (she is hardly going to stick round as a lowly MP), she obviously has little regard for all the people who voted for her wanting her as their local MP. We don’t always get what we want, and most of us were taught that when we were young with a good smack on the buttocks.

It is good to see National could rule with just Act, and although they may involve Dunne and the Maori Party too, having just the two parties would make for a simple government.

The result was disappointing for the Family Party, but the change of government helps to soften that disappointment. As I said earlier, we don’t always get what we want, but I have no intention of quitting like Clark just because things didn’t go quite how we wanted. It is very hard for parties outside parliament to get in, and this just reinforces that fact. I would like to thank Jerry Filipaina especially for the excellent work he put into Mangere attempting to take that seat, it is very disappointing that that did not eventuate. Paul Adams also did an excellent job in ECB, being our highest polling candidate, but unfortunately missing out too.

I received 441 electorate votes, which I am very pleased with for my first time standing, far higher than the United Future and Kiwi candidates and close behind the Act candidate and Bill Woods. Although this was of course not anywhere near enough to take out the electorate, considering I never actually asked for electorate votes in my campaign (apart from possibly off-hand at one “meet the candidates” event), only asking for party votes, and was standing for a party most people had never heard of, I am very pleased with the result. It is a very encouraging level of support that I should be able to build on in future years should I stand again.

I would like to thank everyone who voted for me or any other candidate, or for the party, for your support. Unfortunately we didn’t gain enough support this time round, it is hard to get your message to enough of the country in your first election, but there’s always another election – try convince your mates to vote for us as well next time!

This new government will not solve the most serious issue in our country today, which in my opinion is our abortion-on-demand culture. We can lobby them for improvements, but to really fix this we’ll need more conservative representation in the next election. So the result is far from perfect, but is a massive improvement over the current situation.

With National in government, more representation from Act, and Helen Clark stepping down, I am certain we can look forward to a better country over the next three years.

Vote for The Family Party

Party Vote – The Family Party

——————-

Electorates for a change of government:

Mangere – Jerry Filipaina (Family Party)

East Coast Bays – Paul Adams (Family Party)

Manukau East – Papali’i Poutoa Papali’i (Family Party)

Epsom – Rodney Hide (Act)

Ohariu-Belmont – Peter Dunne (United Future)

Tauranga – Simon Bridges (National)

Everywhere else: Whoever you feel would represent you best, from the Family Party, National, Act or United Future (the only four parties likely to get in that will not go into coalition with Labour).

——————-

I’m flat out on the ground campaigning at the moment, little time to blog, but I think that about summarises what we need to do on Saturday if we are to get rid of Labour! Even if you disagree with my view on the party vote, those electorates are the ones to go for to ensure a change of government, and I’m not just recommending Family Party candidates.

MMP

There is a lot of debate at present about whether we should keep MMP or not. People are becoming rather disillusioned with it now, because it isn’t necessarily delivering the accurate representation of the country that it was supposed to.

The biggest problem with MMP, in my opinion, is the 5% threshold. This threshold results in much of the strategic voting, where people may vote for a party they don’t entirely agree with and not for one they do, to ensure their votes count.

If we had no threshold, we would have seen representation from:
1996: Christian Coalition, ALCP, United
1999: Christian Heritage, Future NZ, ALCP
2002: Christian Heritage, Outdoor Recreation NZ, Alliance

In actual fact the results would have been quite different, as if people were less scared of wasting their vote all these parties would likely have polled far higher, and others may have gained representation too. We would have seen far greater diversity in parliament, and the last decade may have been very different – especially with representation from the Christian Coalition, which may never have split into CH and FNZ if they got in, and from ALCP. In my opinion this diversity would have been a very good thing, and Parliament would represent the country far more accurately than it does at present, because people would be more inclined to vote for who they truly believed was right, rather than vote for the lesser evil.

Another problem is the fact that the current calculations mean you can end up with an overhang. If the extra seats gained by a party that had more electorate seats than its party vote would entitle it to were subtracted from the total number of seats in the same way that seats gained by independant candidates are, this problem would be solved and we wouldn’t be paying more MPs than we needed to.

I personally like MMP in theory, because it allows better representation of minority views, but only in proportion to their numbers – which is exactly how democracy should work. But the current system with a 5% threshold does not do this very well. It would also be far simpler to get rid of the 5% threshold than change the electoral system completely again (to say STV or SM) and confuse everyone even more, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t just ditch the threshold for a couple of elections and see how it goes, provided we have a referendum after two elections with it to see what the public think. Best to try the simple option first, before considering another major change to our electoral system little more than a decade after the last change.

Electorate votes

As I said previously, this election will be decided by electorate votes in a few key electorates. Peter Dunne has now announced he will support a National-led government. National needs as many friends as possible, and Labour as few as possible, if we are to have a change of government. So updated electorate recommendations for a change of government are:

To ensure representation from Act, United Future and The Family Party:

  • Epsom
    • Rodney Hide (Act)
  • Ohariu-Belmont
    • Peter Dunne (United Future)
  • Mangere
    • Jerry Filipaina (Family Party)
  • East Coast Bays
    • Paul Adams (Family Party)
  • Manukau East
    • Papali’i Poutoa Papali’i (Family Party)

To ensure NZ First does not get in:

  • Tauranga
    • Simon Bridges (National)
  • Rimutaka
    • This is more debatable. Probably the National candidate, Richard Whiteside, as many Labour voters will probably vote strategically for Ron Mark, giving Whiteside a chance. But it is a Labour seat currently.

The party vote is where you decide which party policies you support. But the electorate vote can be used strategically under MMP, as it makes a big difference to which minor parties are represented in parliament and which are not. Sometimes this may mean voting for someone whose policies you disagree with – I have recommended candidates from four different parties here. But that is the nature of MMP.

This election, strategic electorate voting is absolutely essential if you want to change the government.

Close election requires strategic voting

This election is going to be scarily close. It will actually be decided by the votes in several key electorates:

  • Epsom (whether Act is in or not, should be guaranteed but nothing is certain in politics)
    • Rodney Hide
  • Mangere and East Coast Bays (whether the Family Party is in or not)
    • Jerry Filipaina and Paul Adams
  • Tauranga and Rimutaka (whether NZ First is in or not)
    • Simon Bridges and Christopher Hipkins Richard Whiteside

Voters wanting a change of government in these five electorates need to vote strategically. Even if you disagree with Act’s policies, but are in Epsom and want a change of government, Rodney Hide needs your vote. Even if you disagree with Family policies, but are in Mangere or ECB, Jerry Filipaina or Paul Adams needs your vote.

To keep NZ First out, as they will support Labour, Simon Bridges (National) needs your vote in Tauranga, and Christopher Hipkins (Labour) needs your vote in Rimutaka (as the other candidate with the best chance of taking it, the electorate is currently held by Labour) Richard Whiteside in Rimutaka. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with National’s or Labour’s polices – their total numbers will be decided by the party vote, even voting in a Labour candidate here will make no difference to Labour’s total numbers. But candidates make a massive difference to the minor parties.

On the other hand, if Labour voters go for Ron Mark in Rimutaka, that reduces Hipkins chances, and maybe it would be better to vote for the National candidate – this is like trying to play chess 8 moves ahead against 40,000 other players… I don’t like recommending voting against Ron Mark, he is a good man, but unfortunately they will only be siding with Labour this time so he is dragged down by the fact he is in NZ First. Very frustrating. If he jumped ship to National or stood as an independent I could recommend him.

I would also like to be able to recommend Larry Baldock in Tauranga, as a Christian candidate who won’t side with Labour, but ultimately keeping NZ First out will achieve more to change the government than getting Baldock in, and if National voters go for Baldock they risk letting Winston Peters take the electorate. If only Baldock was standing in a different electorate I would be able to recommend him too. But the reality is that Simon Bridges needs those votes more.

We must ensure National has as many friends as possible, and Labour has as few as possible, and that will take careful, strategic voting – and in some cases that may mean voting for someone whose policies you disagree with (such as in Rimutaka). That’s MMP for you.

EDIT: You may note some changes with regard to Rimutaka. This is after I received the following email from Richard Whiteside, the National candidate there, who obviously knows far more about the electorate than I:

I read your blog post on Rimutaka and you have got it totally wrong. Due to boundary changes that favour National & Paul Swain standing down who got 3000 more votes than his party vote at the last election. Rimutaka is very winnable for National. I am the only married family man standing. I was born and bred locally and have been campaigning full time since April. I am running a full campaign to win Rimutaka and have had huge support from National. Being a family man I strongly support family values and have openly declared I do not support the smacking law and signed the petition.

Ron Mark got 10.8% of the vote in 2005 in Waimakariri – that is after 3 attempts, he only started campaigning 2 or 3 weeks ago & he lives in the Wairarapa not Rimutaka.

I know from polling I have a very strong chance of winning this as long as Ron Mark does not take National votes away from me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.