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Today is a FREE taste of an Insight Politics article by writer David Farrar.

Who Spent the Most for the Least Votes?

The Electoral Commission has released details of how much each party spent in the 2020 election. This allows us to compare the cost to each party per vote, ie how much money was spent divided by number of votes received.

The huge spending differences shows that the impact of money on outcomes is weak at best. Many parties got more votes than parties that spent more than them. Those who say we need to restrict donations or spending have no empirical evidence that there is a problem.

Labour was the most “efficient” party only having to spent $2.52 for each vote, around half of the $4.98 National spent. They didn’t need paid media to get Ardern in the news every day.

Greens spent $4.92 per vote compared to $5.63 for ACT and $11.63 for the Maori Party.

Of the parties that were seen as capable of getting over 1%, NZ First spent $12.27 per vote, ALCP $5.29, New Conservative $8.78 and Advance $14.77.

Advance spent more money than TOP, New Conservatives and the Maori Party but got fewer votes.

NZ First spent almost as much money as Greens and ACT but got around one third the votes.

This again shows that the impact of money is not huge. Sure you want more rather than less, but merely spending money on advertising when your party or message doesn’t resonate will not translate into votes. 

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