NZ spending figures prove elections can't be bought

2011 spending figures, just released, prove once again that the impact of money on elections is modest.

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.

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.

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

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 [see below - Editor].

It's interesting that no party spent up to its limit [defined as the number of electorate candiates fielded x $25,000 - Editor]. National spent up to 88% of its limit, the Conservatives up to 79% and Labour 64%.

David Farrar blogs at Kiwiblog.


Editor's note:

In addition to their own fundraising efforts (detailed above), party spending at the last election was subsidised by $3.2 million in Electoral Commission funding (see NBR's story on funding allocation here).

In June 2011, the following public funding, and free TV time, was dished out for the November general election:

National: $1.5. million + 36 minutes airtime
Labour: $1.5. million + 36 minutes
Greens: $300,000 + 15 minutes
Act: $160,000 + 5.5 minutes
Maori Party: $160,000 + 9 minutes
United Future: $100,000 + 9 minutes
Alliance: $20,000 + 5.5 minutes
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party:$20,000 + 2 minutes
Coalition of New Zealanders: $20,000 + 2 minutes
Kiwi Party: $20,000 + 2 minutes
Libertarianz: $20,000 + 2 minutes
New Zealand Sovereignty Party: $20,000 + 2 minutes
Pirate Party: $20,000 + 2 minutes
World Peace Party: $20,000 + 2 minutes
Mana Party: $0

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