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New Zealand’s market research slam Labour Party

New Zealand’s market research authorities slam the Labour Party’s unacceptable polling behaviour and warn that businesses may end up paying more for their market research as a result. Apologies are demanded.

Background to the MRSNZ and AMRO
The Market Research Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ) is the industry body representing those engaged in professional market and social research.

The Association of Market Research Organisations (AMRO) was formed as an industry group to help promote consistently high industry standards and to help ensure the maintenance of the public's goodwill.

Most market research companies in New Zealand are members of at least one of these organisations, and as members they must adhere to an international Code of Practice covering professional and ethical standards. Those standards intend to ensure that market researchers behave ethically for both their clients and survey respondents.

STATEMENT:

The Market Research Society of New Zealand and The Association of Market Research Organisations have today expressed their extreme concern for the unethical and misleading activities of the New Zealand Labour Party.

The Labour Party’s use of non-operational company’s name deceived those members of the New Zealand public who were contacted for the Labour Party’s interviewing. This practice broke several of the rules that are followed by most market research companies regardless of their country.

President of the Market Research Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ), Horst Feldhaeuser, says that:

“We are dismayed that the Labour Party broke so many rules concerning ethical behaviour, misleading respondents, abusing the trust of respondents and making false statements about the research organisation conducting the research.”

Feldhaeuser also states that:
“The Labour Party’s actions risk increasing the cost of conducting bona fide market research in New Zealand. Commercial businesses and public sector organisations alike invest well over a hundred million dollars each year into market research, and if the public becomes more reluctant to answer surveys because they cannot trust the interviewers who call them up, then costs will increase.”

Colin Yee, Chairman of the Association of Market Research Organisations (AMRO), says that:
“If any of our members were caught acting in the way that the Labour Party has done, then tough professional measures would be taken, quite possibly including expulsion from the organisation, job loss and definitely a hit to one’s business reputation.”

Yee adds that the Labour Party could have easily conducted their research themselves without any of the lies that they chose to make:
“We understand that the Labour Party would not have wished to identify themselves before interviewing people because respondents’ answers could then be skewed, but all they had to do was explain to potential respondents that they were a political party surveying the public, and that their identity would be revealed at the end of the interview to avoid skewing the results. This workaround would have provided the Labour Party with unbiased results without misleading the public.”

The Market Research Society of New Zealand and The Association of Market Research Organisations call upon the Labour Party to:
1. Apologise to the New Zealand public for lying to them;
2. Apologise to the hundreds of market researchers working in New Zealand for bringing their profession into disrepute;
3. Outline their future plans for conducting their polling in an ethical, transparent and honest manner.

Finally, Horst Feldhaeuser has extended an invitation to the Labour Party MP Rick Barker who ran the poll in question:
“Mr Barker is welcome to join the Market Research Society of New Zealand in order to improve his knowledge of market research and ethical polling. We run regular educational events for our members and it would be good to see Mr Barker attending so that he can conduct his future surveys with a greater degree of professionalism”

END

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