The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

spending ceiling

Some funny things happened in the last week of the National campaign. Candidates put out candidate focused material that didn't mention the Party Vote, lots of Oggi red (paid) billboards were up while the number of National (Iwi/Kiwi etc) ones seemed to fall, and the Nats generally didn't seem as responsive to Labour's attacks.

My theory is that National ran up against the Party Vote spending ceiling ($2M I think) and had to back up quite quickly - thus candidates were told to put out material focused on them if they had anything left in their $20,000 electorate budgets, and planned advertising was cancelled. Graham Watson has noted that when he asked Don Brash why they hadn't done more to counter Labour in the last week he was told they had responded through the media. Which is of course a free method that doesn't count towards the spending limit.

It was important for National to have momentum early on, to look like a credible alternative to Labour. But it's probably more important to leave something in the kitty for later on. We all know that Labour are strong finishers, and National needed to be able to go foot to foot in the last week.

Ah well, I'm sure they'll learn for next time. Unfortunately.

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