Do political hoardings work?
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
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.