Marketing under the Electoral Finance Act

August 7th, 2008

Here in New Zealand we have a (controversial) rule limiting how politicians finance their campaigns.

The idea was to limit wealthy supporters buying elections.

The part I want to focus on is what a private individual can do without having to register.

The Act makes it illegal for anyone to spend more than NZ$12,000 criticising or supporting a political party or taking a position on any political matter, or more than NZ$1,000 criticising or supporting an individual member of parliament, without first registering with a state agency, the Electoral Commission. [Wikipedia]

looks like private individuals have to register if they want to spend more than $12k.ย  So what do they do now? They get creative…..

So what could $11,999 nzd buy you if you wanted to support your political party (or any other cause):

  • At $0.075 cpm on Facebook you could buy 159,986,666 ad impressions targeted at a kiwi audience. (Would blanket every Kiwi user on Facebook multiple times).ย  Simply send them to your Facebook page where they could become a fan / spread the word / make a donation to the party / share their views….endless.
  • At $0.05/click you could buy 240,000 visitors to your favourite political parties website.ย  Even at $0.50 you could buy 24,000!
  • Smear campaign? Buy advertising on Google when people search for a party show your advertisement for the opposition
  • You could create a social network on and spend $11,999 on search engine advertising sending visitors there to create a thriving community.
  • You could spend $11,999 on search engine optimisation to have your party show up in search engines no matter which party users searched for.
  • Spend $11,999 on paid blog reviews from local bloggers
  • Hire a student for $11,999 of time (@ $15/hour say 800 hours or about 20 weeks) just talking and partaking in political conversations online.
  • Or a mix of the above, get some volunteers to create a social network on, spend money advertising it on facebook/google, pay someone to develop an internet marketing strategy and use volunteers within the network to execute this campaign.ย  Leverage the power of loyal fans to deliver a campaign which may have cost millions on the open market.

I think you get the idea, being creative and utilising the internet as a platform to spread your story the possibilities are virtually unlimited (even on a tight budget).

Oh and if you were a political party receiving this kind of support, do what Barack did and setup a way of providing micro donations on your website, then your supporters can help push donations through.

(also handy if you provided free graphics, videos, documents for your fans to share online)

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One Response to “Marketing under the Electoral Finance Act”

  1. Kieran Says:


    Pure gold. A rather “duh” moment for the EC I would think. I know both major parties have taken a lot of direction from a technical perspective from the US, most of which has emerged through the Obama and Hillary race.

    Online is the new battle ground for hearts and minds.

    Good man.


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