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Public Opinion Polls Vital Voter Information

Public Opinion Polls Vital Voter Information

Thursday 17th Aug 2000 Richard Prebble Media Release -- Governance & Constitution

The ACT party will strongly oppose the Rt. Hon Winston Peters private members Bill to ban the publication of election campaign opinion polls, said ACT Leader, Hon Richard Prebble.

Mr Peters, Electoral (Public Opinion Polls) Amendment Bill, will see the publication of opinion polls banned in the 28 days immediately before an election.

“Not only is the Bill censorship, it is damaging to our democratic system.

“How parties are rating in public opinion polls is important information for voters. Voters who don’t want to waste their vote are unlikely to support a party that is well below the threshold. Mr Peters Bill removes the ability of ordinary New Zealanders to inform their choices; that is censorship.

“ACT believes the present ban on election day ‘exit’ polls is also wrong.

“It is important information to know why voters did or did not support political parties. Exit polls are a well established and accurate method to measure voter choice and are legal in most democracies. Polls taken the next day or later, never accurately reflect the election day result as more voters claim to have supported the party that won. The longer the delay, the greater the problem. It is difficult today to find anyone who will admit to voting for New Zealand First.

“The suppression of public opinion polls will damage free and open debate, the cornerstone of democracy,” said Hon Richard Prebble.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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