Social Media Takes a Crucial Role in New Zealand Poll Campaign

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A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Facebook logo
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Dell laptop

The heat of poll campaign in New Zealand is seeing blurring political lines and increased use of social media by candidates in carrying their sensitive political messages to the public citing different issues and concerns, reported NZ Herald.  

It was Labour Party candidate, Kelvin Davis, contesting from Te Tai Tokerau seat, which put Facebook to better use and attracted donations, even from political supporters of the rival National Party.  Davis is credited with his unique stand on many sensitive issues, and has special ways of reaching out to the political class and the electorate.

Facebook post

Davis wrote on his Facebook page that he was planning a website to take on Kim Dotcom to stop him from buying the seat of Te Tai Tokerau, with his $3 million dollars. He also made an appeal to support him through donations, cutting across party lines. The post drew the instant support of a pro-National party blogger David Farrar, who sent him a donation for his campaign. The Facebook post of Davis was bitterly critical about the Mana-Internet party alliance.

It was National Party's pollster David Farrar and Whale oil blogger Cam Slater who donated $100 each to Davis' campaign. Farrar handles the campaigning for National through his Curia Market Research company and writes a blog with the motto "fomenting happy mischief".

Davis acknowledged that he has received the donations from the bloggers and said he would donate that money to Rape Crisis--a support centre for survivors of sexual abuse.

Transforming Economy

Meanwhile, the Internet-Mana party led a road show in Wellington and reiterated the promises of free tertiary education and de-criminalisation of cannabis.  The controversial billionaire, Kim Dotcom, was at the forefront talking to people about the virtues of taxing the rich and took questions from the public.  

Dotcom deplored the falling quality of internet and cell phone coverage in New Zealand, and called for its drastic improvement. He said New Zealand is not Zimbabwe to live with such poor services.

Legalising Marijuana

Mana candidate Annette Sykes called for legalising cannabis or marijuana for medicinal purposes. She wanted the stigma on cannabis to be removed and made it legal, on health grounds and not a criminal one. If addiction is a problem cited against cannabis then the better approach is to allow the affected to go through a process in the health system than pushing them to jail. 

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