Exit polling, campaign staff feedback and social media to be scrutinised in National Party review

Exit polling, campaign staff feedback and social media will be scrutinised by an external panel looking into the National Party's election campaign. 

Following its crushing election defeat, the National Party confirmed an external review would look into what went wrong and why Kiwis abandoned the party which now has just 33 seats in Parliament after getting 56 in 2017. 

Peter Goodfellow, who was re-elected party president at National's AGM over the weekend, released on Monday afternoon the high-level summary of the Terms of Reference for the 2020 Campaign External Review. 

"There is no doubt that 2020 was a difficult year for the National Party, and we would be foolish not to comprehensively review every aspect of our approach to the campaign and our work throughout the last term of Parliament. Our Party membership rightly expects this, and we will deliver on it," Goodfellow said. 

"We are committed to utilising the review results to help shape this next term, to carry out the work and changes required to position the Party well into the future, and to ensure these improvements are implemented for the 2023 campaign itself."

Goodfellow said the review, led by the current chair of the Armstrong Motor Group advisory board Mark Darrow, will focus on areas that the party has or could have control over and can effect positive change on. 

"The panel has a wide mandate to seek inputs from individuals within, and external to, the Party as they feel appropriate and are also asked to explore any areas they deem important," Goodfellow said. 

"The panel is made up of an experienced and well-respected blend of people who were not involved with the day to day running of the campaign and who have an in-depth understanding of the party."

Review chair Mark Darrow is joined by panel members including Jamie Beaton, CEO and co-founder of Crimson Education, former National Party president Judy Kirk, and former National MP Kate Wilkinson. 

"The panel will be provided inputs from a number of internal review components that are currently underway including campaign team reports, local campaign teams feedback, and external data including exit polling, social media, ad media data, and qualitative research," Goodfellow said. 

Final submissions for the campaign review close on December 21. A draft report is due back by January 25 next year, with a final report received on February 22. 

The terms of reference include:

  • Preparations throughout the three-year term by all elements of the party, including candidate selection and Caucus performance.
  • The election campaign including the political environment, strategy, narrative and execution.
  • The strategic internal, social, and economic challenges and opportunities facing the National Party in the next term.
  • Improvement recommendations for the next three years and the 2023 campaign.