Many people have asked me does political operative Simon Lusk pay people, on behalf of clients, to get a certain voting outcome – as I said on TV3’s Story last night.
This is his response he just sent me:
‘The only part of the Obama campaign that can effectively be duplicated in NZ is Get out the Vote. In 2012 Obama is said to have spent $100m on data alone, and a lot more on Get out the Vote. This was what made the 2012 election such an easy-to-predict win, because he had the data and the capability and the Republicans had not.
Get out the Vote, especially in local government elections, can have a real impact on results because so few vote, and so few minorities vote. Even 100 votes from non voters can alter results. Unlike America we do not have big budget campaigns, so have to be pragmatic, and use existing databases and existing contacts to turn out voters.
Effectively political parties are no good at this, as Labour consistently proves with the missing million. National do not really try to run proper GOTV campaigns. Election laws for general elections, and the booth voting rather than postal voting, make it more difficult to run a cost effective GOTV campaign at national level.
Local government, on the other hand, is relatively easy to run a legal Get out the Vote campaign. Provided you are not paying for votes or offering anything in exchange for a vote, or treating, there are few rules around GOTV, and small turn out changes alter results.
The one group in New Zealand that has the ability to mobilise a big database of people quickly and effectively is Iwi. Thanks to the Treaty settlement process Iwi now have extensive databases of members who they can easily mobilise. At local government, iwi can quickly mobilise people to ensure their members Get out the Vote, and get their candidates elected. Assembling a team of 50 or 100 iwi members to Get out the Vote is straightforward, legal and effective if it is possible to raise some koha.'