The Green Party spent a record $1,706,633 fighting the 2008 election, which amounts to $10.83 per vote! Put another way, it cost the Greens $189,626 for each of their nine seats in Parliament. The official party election expenses are out today, and they show that the party that was once a humble grassroots, resource-poor party is now heavily professionalized and is the third highest spending party – once again outspending the Act Party. Its expenditure of $1,706,633 in 2008 was made up of $1,457,744 in private expenditure and $248,889 in state broadcast funding. Compared to previous elections, the Greens’ spending has skyrocketed:
- 1990: virtually nothing
- 1999: $279,168
- 2002: $765,035
- 2005: $792,842
- 2008: $1,706,633
It seems that regardless of the amount the party spends on its campaign – virtually nothing in 1990, or close to two million in 2008 – the party always gets around 6% of the vote. What is interesting is that in 1999 the Greens were receiving a respectable cost per vote of $2.62, but because they have dramatically increased their wealth without increasing their support, in 2008 their cost per vote was $10.83 (which is based on the fact the party received 157,613 party votes). Therefore the Green Party’s 2008 billboard and television advertising campaign – which was one of the most vacuous and professional we’ve seen in New Zealand politics – actually didn’t do the party much good. As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between how much a political party spends on advertising and how many votes they obtain.
Note: Somewhat disingenuously the Green Party has included a tiny portion ($187,000) of their Parliamentary Service funding in their declaration. While this is explicit admission of their continued use of parliamentary funding for party political electioneering and therefore probably needs to be repaid to Parliamentary Service, it fudges the fact that most of the Green Party’s parliamentary funding is probably spent on party political activity. Just one part of Green annual parliamentary funding, ‘Party & Members Support’ budget is about $864,000.