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:



Matt King shares his views on women

Well 2017 is here, which means it is election year! I am looking forward to another year of blogging about the election and social media. So lets get this year off to a start shall we!


For most parties, candidate selection is in full swing, with a number of parties having already selected candidates for some seats. Once a candidate’s selection has been publically announced, I am of the view that their actions on social media are subject to scrutiny. So sadly, the first election related blog post is about something less than wise a candidate has shared.


Matt King is the National candidate for Northland. This is the third time he has sought the nomination, first time he lost out to Mike Sabin, second time he lost out to Mark Osbourne, so third time lucky? Like Mike Sabin he is a former police officer, and is now a farmer.


For some reason I ended up on his personal Facebook profile this evening, and I can’t even remember why. But there were a surprising number of posts set to public. Many of them were links to media stories or blog posts about himself and his selection. But there was one that caught my eye. On January 10 this year he shared a post from a Facebook page called “Hey, Hold My Beer And Watch This'”. His comment upon sharing was “Golden Advice”. Here is a screen grab in case it gets deleted: 

_1__Matt_King 2

The whole image is:



Now misogyny in society in general, and politics in particular, has been a very hot topic. So sharing a post such as this, and endorsing it, might not be the best idea for an aspiring candidate. Now some will say “it was on his personal profile”, and that is true, but the post is set to public, so he is obviously happy for people to see it. Also, once you become a candidate, all of your actions, including on social media, are subject to public scrutiny.


In an ideal world, a candidate is seeking to represent all of those who live within an electorate. If they are sharing content like this, it calls into question their views on women, and whether or not they will be able towhether they can empathise with the issues of female constituents fully represent the interests and issues of the women living in the electorate.

A step in the right direction for United Future

United Future

We are now less than a year out from the next election, so for many parties preparations for the campaign are starting. Candidates selections are under way, and parties are putting in place the ground work and training to set themselves up for the campaign.


Outside of candidate selections, the most visible sign of preparations are the changes occurring in the social media space, with parties using the next few months as an opportunity to try out new things, and test their systems.


A prime example of this is the new animated videos that United Future have started producing.

Facebook post

Facebook post


These are the first examples of an animated video that I have seen from United Future. It is well known that United Future were extremely resource limited during the last election. Now this was not totally apparent on social media, since that offers a relatively cheap means to campaign. However animated videos like this take more resources to produce that simple graphics or photos. So the fact that they are producing these indicates they are now in a position to dedicate greater resources to content production. Which is an encouraging sign for their ability to fund a general election campaign in 2017.

In response to Andrew Geddis (And Morgan Godfery)

This afternoon I spotted this tweet from Morgan Godfery, which is a screen grab of a comment  by Andrew Geddis on a blog post at Dim Post:


I said I had thoughts about it, but couldn’t fit them into 140 characters, so this is my response to Morgan’s suggestion to blog it.


From my point of view, which is all I am able to talk about, as someone who has seen themselves as being centre right, I have never voted for a local candidate because they are “centre right”.  I have used the limited information that is available to me to vote for people who will look after the basics of life, water, waste water, rubbish collection, local roads. And I don’t think the ability to do that is a left or right skill, it is a personal life experience thing. In fact most of the people I have voted for, I haven’t actually known what their political leanings are. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Sue Kedgley, who I voted for not because I fully agreed with her views, but because I knew what her views were and felt that she would be good at fulfilling the role of a regional councilor.


Another element that relates to the above is the fact that what councils (be they city, super city, district or regional) are allowed to do is limited by law, maybe not as much as in previous years, but it is still limited by law, and the councils themselves have very limited ability to change the powers they have been granted. Whereas at a national level parliament, and executive, have a much wider ranging scope of what they are allowed and able to do. This may not be something that people are able to articulate as to why they vote the way they do, but I suspect it plays a role.


However, the bigger influence I think is the quality of the candidates. Because the left has traditionally done a better job of creating tickets at local level. These tickets are more focused and controlled, giving off a more professional image. Whereas many of the independent candidates, and some of the more recent tickets on the right, have presented a less than professional image.


In essence I think the people who vote at local body elections, all 35% of them, for the most part vote based on assumptions of competence, not on political leaning.