Lessons for NZ in shock result: Curran

Clare Curran.
Clare Curran.
The Australian election result was "confounding'' and had several lessons for New Zealand politicians, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran says.

Ms Curran, who was in Melbourne during Saturday night's count as a representative of the New Zealand Labour Party, had been as sure as all the pundits and pollsters that she would witness a Labor victory.

However, the Liberal/National coalition secured an unexpected victory which returned Prime Minister Scott Morrison to office.

"I've never seen an election like it, where the predictions were so wrong,'' Ms Curran said.

So sure had some been of a Labor victory, after three years and 55 successive polls that showed it well in advance of its rivals, that one betting agency paid out punters on a Labor win before voting ended.

With a New Zealand election looming next year, the Australian experience showed politicians, the press and the public should view polls with some caution, Ms Curran said.

"I think every pollster should be examining their methodology.

"I have been saying for a long time that the number of people who don't have a land line is growing exponentially, and if you rely on them with your polling your results may be becoming less and less relevant.''

Ms Curran said she had seen some targeted and negative social media campaigns, the effects of which were probably difficult for polls to pick up.

"I don't think we are probably yet aware of the depth of impact of social media campaigning.''

While Labor had campaigned on issues, Mr Morrison told Australian voters the election came down to a choice between himself and Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Ms Curran said while presidential-style politics was likely here to stay, she hoped the next New Zealand election could still be a contest of ideas.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Comments

We need to increase the electoral cycle to 4 years. Elections are divisive and most of us can do without the negativity of electioneering coming around so soon after the last one.

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