TV failure leaves election to corporate-funded campaigns
TV failure leaves election to big budget,
Given the very low voter turnout and the lack of media coverage we were pleased with the 10,000+ votes for myself in the Auckland mayoral race and delighted with the very strong showing for Mana candidates in Mangere particularly where we focused our local efforts.
The biggest problem we faced was that the only significant television coverage of the mayoral election campaign was the advertisements of Len Brown and John Palino.
Most New Zealanders get their news from TV and in national elections there is modest funding for smaller parties for television advertisements which recognizes that the practice of democracy is served when all parties get the chance to have their message heard across the country.
The Auckland mayoralty, arguably the second most important elected position in New Zealand, justifies a similar opportunity for the mayoral candidates to present their case. With one and a half million voters in Auckland it should not be left to big budget, corporate-funded campaigns as the sole means to realistically communicate with voters.
For Mana our real success was in Mangere where our candidate team performed really well gaining three to four thousand votes each against the local Labour candidates who typically gained 12 to 15 thousand. Translating that into a national election could mean many Mana MPs in parliament next year. For us it was a case of a strong candidate team, a lot of active work out canvassing and leafleting and the Mana-led campaign to stop Auckland Transport’s proposal for a big motorway to carve its way through Mangere and Otahuhu.
As well as the opportunity to get big bold policies out before the public Mana’s campaign also helped put real pressure on Len Brown on important issues. For example before the campaign Brown told union representatives he would not support the living wage campaign but would look at it after the election. However relentless pressure from Mana alongside the marvellous series of Living Wage Campaign meetings for candidates meant the Mayor was required to commit before the election.