Money in local body politics

Early last year I studied the results and expenditure returns for the last four general election, to see what was the correlation between campaign expenditure and votes received.

I found that the spend per vote varied massively ranging from $1.24 (United Future in 2002) to $63.99 (Libertarianz in 2005).  Even putting aside parties that did not make it to Parliament, you have $34 a vote for Act in 2005 compared with $6.58 for the Greens.

Now Aaron Bhatnagar has taken a similar look at spending in the 2007 Auckland mayoral elections.

The spend per vote ranged from $1.49 to $37.15.  John Banks spent $67,800 for his approx 45,500 votes.  Labour’s John Hinchcliff spent almost as much at $64,000 but got only 5,151 votes.

So again it is empirical proof that people are not so stupid you can buy elections through advertising.  Of course money and advertising is somewhat helpful, and it does have some impact around the edges.  But the hysteria generated by some would have you think that it’s all about money to the exclusion of everything else.

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