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Election Under Spotlight at Major Conference


New Zealand’s third MMP election threw up results which have surprised and baffled commentators with the rise from nowhere of United Future, the resurrection of New Zealand First and decimation of National’s support and criticism of its campaign.
And less than a month after New Zealanders cast their ballots, the New Zealand Political Change Project at Victoria University, with the New Zealand Politics Research Group, has organised a major conference to put the election under the microscope.
“Campaigning Under MMP: The 2002 General Election” will be held in the Legislative Council Chamber at Parliament Buildings on Friday August 23 and will be hosted by the Speaker of Parliament, the Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt.
It is the sixth post-election conference organised by staff in the University’s political science and international relations programme, four of which have resulted in the publication of a books compiled from the papers presented.
The conference will include discussion of campaign events, policy issues and trends, campaign strategy from the perspective of party managers, the views and experiences of candidates, the role of the mass media and the election outcome. Presenters will include political scientists, commentators, party strategists, candidates and members of the media.
Victoria University political scientist Associate Professor Elizabeth McLeay said presenters were often very forthright in their views.
“By holding the conference so close to the election, those attending get a very real feel of how the parties, candidates and the media saw the campaign unfold without those perceptions being filtered through the passage of time.
“With this being the third election under MMP, we wanted to focus on campaigning, how the parties and candidates have adapted to the electoral system and what strategies and tactics worked or, as some parties found, did not work.”
Media are welcome to attend the conference that operates on 'Chatham House’ rules. Reporters wanting to report the comments of those presenting papers need to gain their approval at the end of their presentation.
Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information please contact, Dr Stephen Church, NZ Political Change Project, 04-463-5738 or Antony Paltridge, public affairs adviser, 04-463-5873


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