Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Facebook ‘Listening’ Costs Taxpayer Quarter Of A Million

“The Government spent almost a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayers money monitoring your social media to form its Covid response,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Last week it was revealed a company commissioned by the Government has been monitoring social media comments about the Covid-19 response for almost two years, reporting back every four days.

“Now ACT can reveal it cost Kiwis $234,693.50. New Zealanders are doing it tough through this cost of living crisis. While Kiwi families are tightening their belts, it’s clear the Government isn’t doing the same.

“We have been told that the Jacinda Ardern ‘followed the science’ through the COVID pandemic but, as time goes on, we learn it was actually the political science.

“MIQ caused untold human misery and carried on well past its use-by date. We now know the Government was told MIQ wasn’t necessary from November, did they keep it based on social media listening?

“ACT pointed out at the time that if people who’d tested positive for COVID were able to isolate at home, it made no sense for people arriving from overseas to suffer MIQ. It was totally unfair for the thousands who missed out on a spot and couldn’t even do that.

“One can only suspect the Government kept MIQ for months of extra misery because they thought doing the right thing would be unpopular. It’s pathetic.

“If the Government ignored public health advice and kept MIQ based on social media listening, then what was the real purpose of social media listening? Was it to reinforce the public health response, or protect Labour’s political interests?

“Throughout the pandemic, ACT has released comprehensive policy papers based on balancing all aspects of human wellbeing. That is what the Government should have been balancing, but they did not. It appears their main priority was Labour’s political wellbeing.

“It’s time for the Government to stop this wasteful spending, it can start by following ACT’s Alternative Budget for Real Change that would reduce wasteful spending by $5.3 billion in 2023.”

The WPQ can be found here:

Portfolio: COVID-19 Response (Hon Chris Hipkins) 
Question: How much funding has Annalect received to date, if any, to provide Social Listening Reports? 
Reply: I am advised that the Annalect reports were first commissioned by the Department of the Prime Minster and Cabinet (DPMC) in April 2020 following the first national lockdown. They were commissioned through OMD, the media buying agency for the COVID-19 response. DPMC did not contract Annalect directly during 2020 or 2021. In compiling these reports, analysts used the tool Brandwatch Consumer Research to observe prominent themes regarding the COVID-19 Response, analysing social and digital news content on public channels in New Zealand. The data analysed is already available in the public arena. It is from publicly visible posts and comments on public Facebook pages, Twitter, Reddit and other public blogs and forums in New Zealand. No names were included in the reporting compiled by Annalect to ensure the privacy of those commenting. The only very occasional exception might be if the comment was made by a recognised expert in a public forum. All work was done in New Zealand, by New Zealand-based analysts. Analysis was undertaken on the most current topics relating to COVID-19, for example: setting changes, new variants, vaccinations and health behaviours. It also included analysis on issues of ongoing concern to the response, such as mental health and domestic violence. As the pandemic response evolved, tools such as this enabled the COVID-19 Group to be agile and adapt communications to address the questions and concerns of New Zealanders. I am advised that the analysis compiled by Annalect has also helped measure the success of the Unite against COVID-19 communications and public information campaign as it sought to keep New Zealanders informed through the different phases of the response. It provided valuable insights into the impact of pandemic restrictions, New Zealanders’ acceptance of them and their willingness to carry out COVID-19 related health behaviours. These insights have been important in ensuring the safety of our communities and maintaining the public trust that is required for an effective response. It enabled the COVID-19 Group to identify if there were gaps in public understanding of announcements and restrictions so tailored communications could be developed to meet those needs. I am advised that DPMC incurred expenses of $133,894.50 for the procurement of 58 social media analysis reports for the 2020/21 financial year, and $100,799.00 for the procurement of 92 reports in the current financial year as at April 2022. DPMC has now stopped commissioning Annalect reports.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Emissions Reduction Plan Non-Event


Clearly, the attempt to take the politics out of climate change has itself been a political decision, and one meant to remove much of the heat from the global warming issue before next year’s election. What we got from yesterday’s $2.9 billion Emissions Reduction Plan was a largely aspirational multi-party commitment to the direction of policy on climate change...
More>>



 
 

Budget: Climate Investments Provide Path To Economic Security
The Government is investing in New Zealand’s economic security by ensuring climate change funding moves away from short-term piecemeal responses and towards smart, long-term investment... More>>

ALSO:


Budget: Updated My Vaccine Pass For Those Who Want It

New Zealanders who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Speaker: 2022 Register Of Pecuniary And Other Specified Interests Presented
The 2022 Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament was presented in the House today. It contains a summary of members’ interests as at 31 January 2022... More>>



Classification Office: Following Decision To Ban Manifesto The Buffalo Mass Shooting Livestream Is Now Banned
The livestream video of yesterday’s mass shooting in the United States has now been banned, Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson announced this morning. The decision follows on from his decision yesterday to call in and ban the ‘manifesto... More>>

Borders: New Zealand Poised To Welcome International Students Back
New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>


Inland Revenue: Commissioner Appointed
Deputy Public Service Commissioner Helene Quilter QSO has today announced the appointment of Peter Mersi to the position of Commissioner and Chief Executive, Inland Revenue Department... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels