Do po­lit­i­cal hoard­ings work?

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - NI­CHOLAS BOYACK

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has made such an im­pact on vot­ers that many are ask­ing for her face to be plas­tered on their fences.

One Labour sup­porter went as far as ask­ing Hutt South Labour can­di­date Ginny An­der­sen to take down her sign and re­place it with Ardern’s.

But An­der­sen doesn’t seem to mind. She’s al­ready had more than 40 Face­book re­quests from peo­ple want­ing Ardern on their fence. An­der­sen de­scribes it as the ‘‘Jacinda ef­fect’’, and it shows, she said, just what a game changer the new Labour leader is.

‘‘I can def­i­nitely feel it. It is a move­ment; peo­ple are ex­cited … In­stead of moan­ing about Na­tional, Jacinda is fo­cused on what we are go­ing to do for New Zealand.’’

Labour’s cam­paign man­ager An­drew Kir­ton said that de­mand for more Jacinda signs across at least half a dozen elec­torates meant they’re con­sid­er­ing print­ing 500 more signs.

An­der­sen is locked in a bat­tle with Na­tional list MP Chris Bishop to re­place Trevor Mal­lard, who has cho­sen to go on the list.

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of signs raises the ques­tion of why so many peo­ple have cho­sen to put up signs, and do they work?

Knock on the door of peo­ple like Janesh Parkash in Wainuiomata, who has both Bishop and An­der­sen on his fence, and the an­swer soon emerges. ‘‘They both asked me, so I said ‘yes’.’’

His neigh­bour Sue Muru has a large Bishop sign on her fence. A Na­tional sup­porter, Muru was ap­proached by An­der­sen but found her a ‘‘bit pushy’’ and said ‘‘no’’.

Down the road, Rena, who has Labour and Na­tional on her fence, ad­mits to hav­ing lit­tle in­ter­est in pol­i­tics.

Bishop’s sign went up first. ‘‘Then a lady [An­der­sen] came over and said ‘do you mind me putting one up’, and I said ‘why not’.’’

Pro­fes­sor Jack Vowles, from Vic­to­ria Uni­ver­sity School of His­tory, Phi­los­o­phy, Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions said there has been very lit­tle re­search done on the ef­fec­tive­ness of hoard­ings.

‘‘To find out how ef­fec­tive hoard­ings are you would have to con­vince a po­lit­i­cal party to not put any hoard­ings up, and it is hard to do that be­cause they think they will lose votes.’’

Stuff colum­nist and mar­ket­ing ex­pert Cas Carter de­scribes hoard­ings as part of ‘‘the mar­ket- ing mix’’ used by politi­cians to make vot­ers aware of who they are.

Carter lives in the Mana elec­torate and has a daugh­ter vot­ing for the first time.

She has no­ticed the hoard­ings ‘‘spark’’ an in­ter­est from her daugh­ter who wants to know more about the can­di­dates.

That is mu­sic to the ears of politi­cians like An­der­sen and Bishop who hope their mug shots on fences will help win Hutt South.

On the cam­paign trail with Chris Bishop, page 4

PHOTOS: NI­CHOLAS BOYACK/STUFF

At least 20 houses in a small sec­tion of the main street in Wainuiomata have signs urg­ing Hutt South elec­tors to vote.

Ginny An­der­sen is hop­ing the ‘‘Jacinda ef­fect’’ will see her win Hutt South and de­feat Na­tional’s Chris Bishop.

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