Prime Minister of New Zealand and Leader of the Labour Party, Jacinda Ardern, has recently announced that the country will be holding general elections on 19th September 2020.
This article gives a pretty good overview on what to expect from the Labour Party’s electoral campaign from strategy to advertising. Ardern and her oratory skills might be the Party’s best weapons in the election, but they have to challenge the assumption that they have not delivered on their promises.
Fake news alert! Realising the threat posed by misinformation, Ardern said that she her party will avoid “negative fake news style” campaigns and that she is “re-committing to a relentlessly positive election campaign in 2020 that will see the party voluntarily sign up to Facebook’s new advertising transparency rules and have its major election policy costings independently verified.” The National party is still considering using Facebook’s ad tool, but it seems that it has already starting making use of social media to share memes such as this one:
The National party might go after the issues of identity politics and ‘law and order’ in the coming election. The party might have to resort to promote these issues if it wants to differentiate itself from the Labour Party. Should the latter fail to push forward tax hikes or other controversial reforms, which could be used by the Nats to scare people off Labour, the National party might resort to identity politics to win over votes from conservative-leaning Labour voters.
Will Topham Guerin get a hat-trick?Sean Topham and Ben Guerin masterminded the election of Scott Morrison in Australia and that of Boris Johnson in the UK. Will they be responsible for the National party’s digital campaign strategy this year? Can they make it three wins in a little over a year? The pair will surely be comfortable playing at home this time, not to mention that their knowledge on the Facebook Ad Library Tool, which they used in the UK, could come in handy should they work for the National party’s electoral campaign.
Can ‘New Zealand First’ be the kingmaker once again? NZ First has been instrumental in stopping some of the most flaunted reforms of its coalition partner. NZ First’s politics has hampered the Labour Party’s agenda but also helped it in areas where the latter is weak. The party is currently polling under the required 5% to enter Parliament, but an election campaign which focuses on ‘political correctness’, might just bring conservative voters back to the party.
Anna Rawhiti-Connell argues that the effect of social media on swaying voters is overrated.She says that “social media isn’t a magical microcosm that reflects the broader electorate” and that she is “not prepared to accept that unproven snake oil tactics will somehow manipulate the vast majority of New Zealand voters”. Which is partly true, however Rawhiti-Connell misses the point of a political social media campaign. These type of campaigns do not target the vast majority of the electorate. The idea is to try and influence those sitting on the fence, that could, with a little nudge, end up voting for your party. Some of the social media campaigns we have seen lately do not even make a direct call to action for voters to vote for a specific party. I fail to see how ‘shitposting strategies’, could be used to convert the vast majority of the electorate.