Party spending in 2011

March 22nd, 2012 at 1:49 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has released the party spending returns for the 2011 election. I have done a table of them, and the votes they got and hence the cost per vote.

Party Party Vote Expenditure Votes Expend per Vote
Conservative $1,878,337.22        59,237  $                31.71
ACT $617,035.18        23,889  $                25.83
Social Credit $34,676.21          1,714  $                20.23
Greens $779,618.38      247,372  $                  3.15
Labour $1,789,151.95      614,937  $                  2.91
Mana $60,082.31        24,168  $                  2.49
Māori Party $72,172.56        31,982  $                  2.26
National $2,321,216.06   1,058,636  $                  2.19
United Future $27,718.87        13,443  $                  2.06
Alliance $2,407.16          1,209  $                  1.99
Libertarianz $2,759.55          1,595  $                  1.73
NZ First $155,902.86      147,544  $                  1.06
ALCP $4,003.00        11,738  $                  0.34

The Conservatives spent a massive $31.71 per vote. They actually spent more money than Labour, yet still only got 2.7%. This is proof once again that the impact of money on elections is quite modest.

ACT spent 79% of what the Greens did, yet got just 10% of their vote.  Also Social Credit spent a large $20.23 per vote.

Of the two big parties, Labour spent more per vote – $2.91 vs $2.19 for National.

The ALCP were the most cost effective getting a vote for every 34c, followed by NZ First who spent $1.06 per vote.

Note that this is just what the party spent on their party vote campaign. I’ll also do an analysis at some stage which includes the taxpayer funded broadcasting allocation.

Interesting that no party spent up to their limit. National spent up to 88% of their limit, the Conservatives up to 79% and Labour 64%.

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15 Responses to “Party spending in 2011”

  1. dime (9,430 comments) says:

    where did NZ First get 150 grand :P

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  2. shoreboy57 (131 comments) says:

    Social Credit still exist?

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  3. ObligatoryMarxist (34 comments) says:

    Yeah, go to Dunedin, they have a bit of a following there.

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  4. Pete George (22,839 comments) says:

    shoreboy57 – full name is Democrats for Social Credit.

    They campaigned full on in Dunedin and got 11% (188) of the total DSC vote, both candidates were nice guys but with some funny money ideas – maybe they have good ideas but virtually no chance of trying them.

    But presumably they didn’t run in all electorates.

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  5. thor42 (916 comments) says:

    On those spending figures….. so much for Labour being “bankrupt”.

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  6. CJPhoto (214 comments) says:

    Winnie is lucky he got all that free advertising on the back of the tea pot debacle.

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  7. adze (1,864 comments) says:

    How much of the Greens budget was for “removable” stickers? :P

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  8. david (2,539 comments) says:

    thor42, there is a body of opinion that the CTU and affiliated union losses reported in last year’s accounts were directly related to the Labour campaign. If there is any credence in that opinion, the Labour Party (while undeniably asset-rich) may well be totally cash strapped and resorting to driving the union movement into negative cash-flow positions as they dive into the union fee pot for oxygen.

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  9. PaulL (5,873 comments) says:

    ACT didn’t spend all that much in total, but also clearly are an example of how having an incoherent message (and a leadership team nobody wants to buy) is a problem, irrespective of how much you spend.

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  10. SGA (811 comments) says:

    “This is proof once again that the impact of money on elections is quite modest”

    Well… that’s overstating it perhaps. Basically, it shows that you can spend a lot of money and still screw up (Conservatives & Act). The remaining parties fall reasonably close to even a simple linear regression in terms of “money spent” and “votes obtained” (even Social Credit).

    [DPF: Yes if you exclude the data that doesn't fit, then of course you get a regression. Conservatives did not screw up - they ran a decent campaign, and spent heaps of money and got very few votes]

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  11. bc (1,334 comments) says:

    Since the Conservatives got over twice and many votes as ACT, I think John Key picked the wrong party to have a cup of tea with.

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  12. eszett (2,334 comments) says:

    The ALCP were the most cost effective getting a vote for every 34c, followed by NZ First who spent $1.06 per vote.

    Cost per vote figure is quite meaningless by itself.
    If you look at cost per seat in parliament, which is the actual outcome that you want to achieve, NZ First is the most effective, with $19.500 per seat.

    ACT on the other hand spent a whopping $620k to get a single seat, 10 times as much as Mana.

    ACT…………617,035
    Mana…………60,082
    Greens………55,687
    Labour………52,622
    National…….39,343
    UF…………….27,719
    Maorri……….24,058
    NZF…………..19,488

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  13. RRM (9,453 comments) says:

    DPF:

    This is proof once again that the impact of money on elections is quite modest.

    Not necessarily – it could just be that THAT particular conservative party had a unique nutty flavour that sent people running; and ANY amount of spending however big or small would have earned them a similar result?

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  14. SGA (811 comments) says:

    [DPF: Yes if you exclude the data that doesn't fit, then of course you get a regression. Conservatives did not screw up - they ran a decent campaign, and spent heaps of money and got very few votes]

    You get a significant result on a simple regression either way you do it. When you leave ACT and the Conservatives in, they just appear as extreme outliers.

    I’m not sure I see why cost per vote is such an important index (perhaps you could explain – genuine question). I might spend $10,000 dollars and get 10,000 votes ($1 per vote), you spend $1,000,000 and get 20,000 votes ($50 per vote). At the end of the day, you still won and the money appears to have mattered.

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  15. Mark (1,362 comments) says:

    Ah yes this is all very interesting but doubtless the most effective spending was the $8 ACT would have spent on a cup of tea that got them 1 seat in parliament and NZF 8 seats in parliament.

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