Act Candidate Endorses Vigilante Action?

Well, it has been a while since I last posted on here, but it is election time again. With the collapse of Twitter into a far-right wing cesspit echo chamber, and the rise of Threads, which has its own problems, it is going to be an interesting election. However, I suspect many of the issues we have seen in previous elections will pop up again. Such as candidates trying to engage with voters, and in doing so endorsing ideas that they maybe shouldn’t. Like our first 2023 candidate to be featured on this blog, Act’s Hamilton West candidate Susan Stevenson.


Tonight in the Nawton Community Group Facebook group an anonymous member posted a completely unsubstantiated story trying to scare up fears about raising crime, and a new style of crime that is apparently occurring in Hamilton.


Not only was Susan the first to comment on this anonymously posted, corroboration free post, but her reply to a member’s post that advocates for vigilante style retribution on those apparently carrying out these acts is extremely close to encouraging that style of vigilante justice.




Unbeknownst to me when I was writing this post, today David Seymour made comments in the media about how he dreams of sending in someone like Guy Fawkes to blow up the Ministry of Pacific Peoples 

Social Media Audit 2017

As I did last election, I have just completed an audit of all the candidate Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Instagram accounts that I have found so far. I have checked for obvious authorisation statements. A Facebook page passed if it had an authorisation statement visible on the front page, on the cover photo when opened, or on the about page. On Twitter there either had to be a statement visible in the cover photo when it loaded on a desktop computer, or in the biography section. An Instagram account needed the statement to be in the bio. I didn’t check if the authorisation statement was current, just that one was present.


In all cases of an image being the authorised element, it had to have text on the image, an image of say a car with an authorisation statement wasn’t counted.


Below are screen grabs, and links, to each page.



Out of 232 Facebook pages I found 21 without authorisation statements. (9.05%)


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Is Steffan telling social media fibs again?

Around the time of the last election, and the outbreak of Ebola in Africa, Steffan Browning shared a petition on Facebook suggesting that homeopaths should be sent to Africa to help treat Ebola. At the time he claimed that the posting of the link on Facebook was an automatic thing. I never bought that argument. I tried using the same petition site, and the posting to Facebook was always a opt in step. But laying out the argument in text was too difficult.


I mention this because it looks like Steffan might be being economical with the truth about his social media again. During John Key’s valedictory speech  Steffan Browning posted the following photo:


With the caption:

Thought John Key might like a little bit more blood for his valedictory speech, the day that we get confirmation of the raid he approved was responsible for innocent civilian deaths. Disgusting legacy!

Needless to say this was not taken well by many on the right. Chris Bishop, and Jenna Raeburn both tweeted about it:



Unsurprisingly this also got picked up by the media, with NewsHub running a story last night about it. In the story NewsHub claim that it was only posted on Steffan’s personal profile, not his MP verified page.


However, if you look closely at the profile pictures in the top left of the NewsHub photo and the photo posted by Chris Bishop, they don’t match:

Christopher_Bishop___cjsbishop____Twitter cropped Screenshot_20170322-221157

The profile photo in the image that Bishop posted matches with the name and profile of Staffan’s verified MP’s page:


So unlike NewsHub reported, Steffan posted the image and comment to both his Facebook profile AND his verified Facebook page. NewsHub may have just missed the page post.


At some point during the evening Steffan deleted the post from his verified Facebook page, and has either told the party Chief of Staff that it is gone, or has done nothing to correct her belief that it had been taken done. She has publicly tweeted that it is gone:


However the post was still up on his Facebook profile, and publicly available:


In fact, even as the Green’s Chief of Staff was publicly stating to someone that the post was down, it was still up. So once again Steffan allows people speaking on behalf of the party to make claims that are demonstrably untrue, either by lying to them, or failing to correct them.


The photo was still up on Steffan’s profile around midnight last night. However it was taken down before 7:30am. Though I still stand by my expressed view that Steffan has either willfully, or by omission, told fibs about where it was posted.


I shall leave the final observation to Jeremy (@nz_voter):


NewsHub and Polls

It is once again election year, and the frequency of opinion polls is starting to pick up. Yesterday NewsHub released the first Reid Research poll since before John Key stepped down as Prime Minister. Needless to say that did all they could to eek as much out of it as possible. However other elements of their reporting on it raise some questions.


In all of the graphics on social media, and all of the original stories that I saw there was no mention of sample size, nor the time during which the polling was carried out. Newshub_on_Twitter___Newshub_poll__Jacinda_Ardern_preferred_as_PM_over_Andrew_Little_https___t_co_USh5kcMZaQ_https___t_co_ZVoV99l6We_ Newshub_on_Twitter___The_full_results_of_our_Newshub_Reid_Research_poll_show_National_still_ahead_after_John_Key_s_departure_https___t_co_USh5kcMZaQ_https___t_co_INyrvWpaYI_ poll results


Now this isn’t the first time that NewsHub have failed to include these details. In the lead up to the Northland By-Election they did the same thing, and even when directly asked about it, still didn’t release the details:

paddy 2

It was only a day later, after another tweet, that we got some of the information:


So why is this an issue? Well, political opinion polls, and the role they do and should play in a democracy, is a contested area.


The research industry, and their industry body, are aware of this. To help address this issue the Research Association of New Zealand have published a New Zealand Political Polling Code. The introduction of this code states:

This code documents best practice guidelines for the conducting and reporting of political polls in New Zealand.

It continues:

The code is binding on companies that are members of Research Association New Zealand and on researchers that are members of the Research Association New Zealand.


For each issue, the code details:

  • Best practice for the market researcher conducting the poll
  • Best practice for the market researcher in reporting results
  • Best practice for the media in publishing results

The term “must” indicates a requirement, while the term “should” indicates recommended best practice.

The code covers a range of elements in the polling and reporting process. In this case the relevant sections are as follows:

p.3 Banners_and_Alerts_and_Political_Polling_Code_2014_pdf


So it seems that NewsHub are failing to follow the industries suggested best practice. Also, unlike OneNews and Colmar Brunton, who release the full report within minutes of the poll going to air, the Reid Research site still only has details of the last poll from July/August last year.


I tweeted about this last night:


And low and behold, this morning, the stories got updated with information about the sample size and timing: Newshub_poll__Majority_support_National_s_pension_age_increase___Newshub2

This section appears to not have been added until 10am this morning, nearly 24  hours after the first story was published:

Newshub_poll__Majority_support_National_s_pension_age_increase___Newshub update


Is it too much for us to expect that the political editor of one of the two major news networks, and the reports under him, should be following the suggested best practice of the research industry body? Is it too much for us to expect that the research company will have made full details available 36 hours after stories based on the poll started appearing?


And while I am talking about polls, if political parties, or their youth wings, want to use the results of polls as part of their campaign, it would be a good idea for them to cite the specific poll they are using, and not wait to be asked deep into the comments: