National gives Aussies campaign access for elections tips

  • 21/09/2017
"I hope they're learning some lessons," Bill English says.
"I hope they're learning some lessons," Bill English says. Photo credit: Getty

The Australian Liberal Party has sent recruits to New Zealand to pick up some campaign tips ahead of the nation's next federal election.

David Nouri and Raylene Pearce are two of the Young Liberal members who have joined Young National volunteers on party leader Bill English's campaign bus for the final days of the campaign.

It's a National Party tradition to take the campaign bus, loaded with volunteers and media, from Wellington to Auckland in time for Election Day.

"It's great to have Aussies coming to learn something from New Zealand. That doesn't happen very often," Mr English said in a stop in Bulls on Thursday afternoon.

He said he was sure they were seeing a disciplined campaign and a stable government behind New Zealand's success relative to Australia.

"Our after-tax income's rising faster than Australia at the moment, closing the gap a bit, so I hope they're learning some lessons from that," he said.

The campaign has been a learning curve for both Mr Nouri and Ms Pearce, who weren't familiar with New Zealand's confusing Mixed Member Proportional voting system which gives voters two votes.

Each voter selects a local MP and casts a party vote which, nationwide, determines the number of seats each party has in Parliament.

Non-electorate MPs are chosen from a party list, a ranking of members each party most wants in Parliament.

Mr Nouri said that gave New Zealand's campaign an extra intensity compared to what he's used to in Australian state and federal campaigns.

"There'll be certain seats where the Liberal Party wouldn't campaign in as much because of being a strong Labour/Green seat. But over here they have to campaign in every single seat because they have that party vote," he told NZ Newswire.

He's finding the campaign bus a novelty he's not experienced in Australian elections.

Having youth political supporters, reporters and the prime minister on a bus provides cohesion that's missing back home, he said.

It's something he'll be reporting back to the party executive.

He and Ms Pearce are in New Zealand as part of what the party calls an election development opportunity.

Ms Pearce, who is president of the Victorian Young Liberals, travelled to the UK earlier this year to campaign with the Conservative Party.

"The great thing about election is you come together and you fight for something, you fight for what you believe in, you fight for the candidates and the government that you think are best suited for the nation," she said.

It's also a good opportunity to share tidbits about Australia's preferential voting and the Senate with young politically savvy Kiwis.

Unsurprisingly she's predicting a National win on Saturday.

"Obviously it's close, neck and neck, but you want to believe in the team," she said.

Australians could head to the polls in as little as 11 months.

NZN