The Dim-Post

July 26, 2014

Billboards

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 4:39 pm

We drove out to Porirua today and back through the Wellington commuter suburbs: Johnsonville, Ngaio etc. There was a scattering of billboards around, almost all of which were TeamKey/National billboards. Here’s a picture of the cluster near to where I live on the lawless borders of Wadestown:

IMG_20140726_114459

The National Party one is what-it-is. The Green billboard is a miniature version of their 2011 billboard, there possibly because their volunteers are too frightened of the new billboards to touch them.

All of the Labour billboards are for the electorate candidates: Cunliffe’s face was nowhere to be seen. If you squint you can just make out the Labour logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the board. Seems like a weird way to run an MMP campaign. Especially since that’s just what they did three years ago and this was widely regarded as a catastrophically stupid move contributing to their historic defeat.

Peter Dunne’s billboard was a plain purple background with white text reading ‘Vote Peter Dunne for Ohariu. No mention of United Future, the party he’s funded $100,000 a year of taxpayer money to be the leader of, and which is registering 0% in the polls. (UPDATE: Peter Dunne advises me that the UF logo is on all of his billboards.)

No Conservative Party billboards and no Internet/Mana billboards. Yet.

31 Comments »

  1. Billboards are just pretty graffiti aren’t they? I suppose one could get sick of John Key leering out at us wherever we are. A sort of bully Putin act.

    Comment by xianmac — July 26, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

  2. And the link to Green frightened doesn’t work.

    Comment by xianmac — July 26, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

  3. Also the billboards in your area seem quite different from up here in central Auckland – Internet Mana billboards everywhere.

    Comment by Amy — July 26, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

  4. Approaching Dunedin from the North, 2 Labour billboards with David Cunliffe on them (with local candidate David Clarke on the other side ), 1 National 1 with Key and Woodhouse. No others yet.

    Comment by Corokia — July 26, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

  5. Labour’s billboards in Auckland Central very good. Heaps of ones with DC’s face and also issue based billboards. Each site has one party vote and one candidate vote sign.

    Comment by Louis M — July 26, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

  6. And a massive number of Internet/Mana boards in Auckland Central too.

    Comment by Louis M — July 26, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

  7. the small 2011 Green billboard is a place-holder, because the delivery of the 2014 Green Party billboards for Wellington has been delayed.

    Comment by kahikatea — July 26, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

  8. Lots of Internet Mana hoardings in Epsom too. Didn’t know they have so many volunteers here.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — July 26, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

  9. the thing I have noticed in Auckland is that even in the electorates that Labour have no chance of winning (such as Tamaki and Epsom) they still have billboards kike you have shown – ie with the emphasis on the person standing and not the party. Makes we wonder if this is a centrally driven decision versus a local decision.

    Comment by Kevin McMenamin — July 26, 2014 @ 6:52 pm

  10. the thing I have noticed in Auckland is that even in the electorates that Labour have no chance of winning (such as Tamaki and Epsom) they still have billboards kike you have shown – ie with the emphasis on the person standing and not the party. Makes we wonder if this is a centrally driven decision versus a local decision.

    I’ve been wondering that too. But I can’t imagine why you’d promote an electorate candidate with little chance of winning over the party, when party vote is everything.

    Comment by danylmc — July 26, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

  11. But I can’t imagine why you’d promote an electorate candidate with little chance of winning over the party, when party vote is everything.

    Two points …

    (1) Labour wants to show that it is “like National”, in that it has quality individuals who stand ready to represent you in every part of the country. That’s an important message it has to send, if it’s going to remain the assumed alternative leader of government. In this sense, they are different to the Greens, who pursue a pure party-vote-because-of-the-party strategy. It’s the difference between a holdover FPP party with traditions of electorate-based mobilisation and post-MMP parties that don’t.

    (2) If a candidate has money given to him or her as a candidate, then he/she has to spend it on “candidate advertisements” … so if I give $500 to David Clarke, he has to spend it on “vote for David Clarke!” stuff, not generic “vote Labour!” stuff. This means it’s not Labour “choosing” to direct its resources into these hoardings (in fact, the Labour Party isn’t allowed to pay for them) – rather, donors have given the local candidate the cash, and she or he has to spend it.

    As for why Labour is hardly mentioned on the local candidate hoardings … again, that may be a resourcing issue. If a hording promotes both a candidate and the party, then the cost has to be allocated between the candidate and party (in proportion with the amount each is boosted). So by keeping Labour’s logo small on candidate hoardings, it minimizes the amount that Labour has to allocate towards paying for it – in fact, it maybe doesn’t have to pay anything at all (if the Electoral Commission applies some sort of de minimus rule).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 26, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  12. This means it’s not Labour “choosing” to direct its resources into these hoardings (in fact, the Labour Party isn’t allowed to pay for them) – rather, donors have given the local candidate the cash, and she or he has to spend it.

    I disagree. It would just involve a donation from the Labour Party to the candidate. I see no reason why this could not also work in reverse.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — July 26, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

  13. True. I meant that a party can’t directly pay for the advertising costs (s.205A of the Electoral Act) – it would have to give the money to the candidate to do it (which it won’t do, because that would be a completely silly use of resources). Equally, David Clarke could hand over the (for illustrative purposes) $500 I gave him to Labour’s central coffers to pay for Labour’s party ads … but if he’d raised it on the premise that he was going to use that money to fund his campaign to remain MP for Dunedin North, then s.240 of the Crimes Act is beginning to look relevant.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 26, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

  14. Where I live in Helensville there are Internet Mana billboards, billboards featuring the Labour candidtae and the positive future billboard, plus Vote Conservatives. That’s on public space. Lots of smiling John Key on private land. No David Cunlifee visible yet. No Greens yet.

    Comment by MeToo — July 26, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

  15. “Especially since that’s just what they did three years ago and this was widely regarded as a catastrophically stupid move contributing to their historic defeat.”

    Really? Weren’t you arguing three years ago that Labours’ failure was that it ran a series of unsuccessful electorate campaigns, and that the key to victory was to improve the quality of its electorate candidates?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 26, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

  16. 12, 13 — depends on the specific state of play as to spending limits as well. Can in principle imagine cases where an electorate campaign is butting up against a spending limit & might want to shuffle some spending in the electorate on to the party vote campaign. (Not so much for Labour, but parties that are unlikely to hit the national cap.)

    I also suspect you’ll find that most people understand a donation to be for both the candidate and the party vote campaign in a given electorate, and that’s how it’s talked about, broadly if not always.

    Comment by John Lee — July 26, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

  17. I’m finding myself idly wondering if Kalvarnsen was the model for Steve in Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley.

    Comment by Joe W — July 26, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

  18. @Joe W: Care to enlighten those of us who haven’t read it?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 26, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

  19. Care to enlighten those of us who haven’t read it?

    My God, why wouldn’t you have read it? Imagine the tens of thousands of comments you could write along the lines of, ‘In your book you use Oxford commas but in this post you do not.’

    Comment by danylmc — July 27, 2014 @ 6:33 am

  20. Imagine the tens of thousands of comments you could write along the lines of, ‘In your book you use Oxford commas…

    Huh … VUP’s really let its editorial standards slump. No-one tell Chris Finlayson.

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 27, 2014 @ 8:18 am

  21. @danylmc: Does it really bother you that much when people point out inconsistencies in your analysis?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 27, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  22. “The National Party one is what-it-is”.

    And if it turns out that the PM lied about not knowing Dotcom, having the PM’s face plastered on each National billboard might not have been a great decision.

    Comment by Ross — July 27, 2014 @ 10:00 am

  23. But let’s be serious: how many people will be making their decision to vote, and who to vote for, on the basis of a billboard?

    Comment by Ross — July 27, 2014 @ 10:06 am

  24. “But let’s be serious: how many people will be making their decision to vote, and who to vote for, on the basis of a billboard?”

    That’s certainly true for the party vote, but it wasn’t until the local billboards appeared that I knew the names of the candidates standing against the sitting member in our electorate. That can be important. Some candidates are poison regardless of party.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — July 27, 2014 @ 2:40 pm

  25. Heh. The Green billboards started going up on Saturday morning. It’s very likely that the sign you see was put up by volunteers who were waiting for their delivery of coreflutes.

    Labour’s decision not to contest the party vote this year is very generous.

    Comment by George — July 27, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

  26. (Labour do have “Vote Positive” signs), but because they’re separate they have to make decisions about where they will put them, and have half as many opportunities to impress that message on public minds.

    Comment by George — July 27, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

  27. @Bill Bennett: that sounds important in terms of locally getting a good local MP. And it may be important to a party in that if the locals weed out known wastrels that head office somehow allowed to get on the ballot, then that person isn’t going to be in caucus. But in terms of winning the election or not the electorate vote has little impact (I say little because I’m consciously ignoring overhangs).

    Comment by PaulL — July 27, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

  28. George, you know hoardings are pretty ineffective at persuasion. Do you actually think there’s a measurable difference between “Vote Goff” and “Vote Labour” in voter outcomes? I am suspicious.

    Comment by John Lee — July 27, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

  29. Lots of Cunliffe around Auckland urging people to “Vote Positive!” *Sigh*. Few Green billboards (so far) on the North Shore…..It’s Nat country….which is kind of sad given how kids in this area are getting terrible jobs…..(less than 30 hours / week so they can’t get full time employee benefits). .

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — July 28, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  30. Comment by Rob — July 28, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

  31. “Labour’s decision not to contest the party vote this year is very generous.” – it’s a masterclass in not learning from previous mistakes, that’s what it is. They’ll win the battle of getting into politics textbooks for years to come. Mallarding an election may become a genuine verb.

    Comment by Sacha — July 28, 2014 @ 8:21 pm


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