On the campaign trail in Dunedin North with Victor Billot

Alliance Party blog

Shootout at the 60 second corral

with 12 comments

Tonight the smaller parties had their TV ads. I didn’t bother listening to the National and Labour ads last night because I have a low tolerance level for self-serving tripe. Also because I find the new make up job they have done on Helen terrifying, and I can’t stand it when she lies and claims Labour started Kiwibank when at the time of its introduction she basically laughed at it.

As for Key . . . well, the less said the better.

All the smaller parties were on tonight, jammed together in a one hour segment that was probably watched by about seven people. TVNZ should have been forced to distribute the ads throughout normal advertising times in regular programming. Isn’t that what they used to do?

One thing I noticed is that the non-parliamentary parties all seemed to have better ads than the main parties. Here is my review of the night. In the interests of fairness, I don’t review the Alliance Party ad – but I am pretty stoked with it.


Another advertising disaster for the Greens. Despite their copious cash and supposed platoons of hip inner city creative types, how do they manage to get it so wrong? 

The first seven seconds of their ad was the highly produced, branded and slick extract where the young girl is standing by the harbour. So far, so good. Trite, emotional, but nonetheless picking up votes.

Then suddenly everything grinds to a halt. We are inflicted with close up, wavering headshots of Green Party MPs staring into the camera with an air of desperation. Russell Norman wanders past in a bizarre camel-coloured suit with a karitane yellow tie, dragging a refuse bin across a lawn. More close up footage of Green Party teeth – dental care policies should be a priority here. Many pictures of trains. Keith Locke is the only one who comes across as vaguely convincing. A video game soundtrack bleeps in the background. Graphics and production poor. Teeth grindingly bad.


New Zealand First

Winston spends his allocation in a rambling monologue about the media and other shadowy forces working against him. However now that the National Party have foolishly cut him off, he has tacked left on economics. What were they thinking? Winston would cut a deal with anyone. This shameless phoney would cut a deal with Lucifer to keep in the game, and probably come out ahead in the transaction.

The immigrant bashing has disappeared, Winston probably realizing he needs all the friends he can get these days. 

The theme from “Exodus” plays in the background while Winston tries hard not to burst out laughing at his own outrageous chutzpah. 

The sad thing is that 5% of the population will swallow this codswallop and vote this Ageing Impresario back into Parliament.

2/10 for content, 8/10 for sheer nerve

Maori Party

Pita Sharples as Billy T. James. Probably the best soundtrack, sounds like Herbs jamming in Wairoa in 1983. Light on policy as always, lots of feel good rhetoric and all about what great things the new Maori capitalist class are doing. Not sure what this all means for the brothers stuck on the minimum wage but Pita is selling it good.

8/10 for feelgood reggae vibe, 1/10 for specifics


Impressively slick, although I preferred the old, round, cheery Rodney to the new slimmed down “power” Rodney. As predicted they go light on their 19th century economics and stick to crime and punishment. Dickens wrote novels about these type of people back in the day: mean, pinched, moralistic, in love with money.

The ad goes well until they kneecap themselves by wheeling out a ghastly vision from the past, a toothless, gibbering “Sir” Roger Douglas who looks like he has been pulled out of a retirement village and dosed up with cheap speed. He chews on his lips and raves on about the Government spending money (wasted on roads, schools and hospitals, no doubt). 

6/10 reduced to 3/10 after Mad Douglas appearance.

United Whatever.

High production values but Dunne AKA The White Rabbit is a wet. He pompously drones at the camera then the ad cuts to a random selection of vox pops of passersby saying whatever comes into their heads, which may or may not reflect United policy. Apparently they keep the major parties honest, which is a bold claim considering they have absolutely failed to do this whatsoever in their entire existence. Their logo resembles a defecating PacMan.

No rating, not worth effort.

Jim Anderton’s Jim Anderton Party.

Jim presents an updated version of the Mainland Cheese ad. He talks about how his experience has taught him a few things. Good things take time, over the years he’s picked up a few tips for you young folk. Once again, it’s all about Jim, everyone’s boring great uncle who wants to set you straight about how it all works. 

Jim really has a super opinion of himself, which is of course the only reason he doesn’t rejoin the Labour Party, because then there would be other egos to get in the way.

What will the Progressive Party do when Jim is no longer there to guide them? Probably wander off in sheep like fashion. Baaa! Baaa!


The Family Party

Probably the most well-produced ad (of course I’m not reviewing the Alliance ad here.) Super slick but absolutely bizarre. A heavy metal soundtrack features heavy looking dudes in leather jackets wandering around at night time in what looks like downtown Chicago. May attract 18 year old males but will terrify everyone else. They look like exactly the type of people they claim they want to lock up or convert to the Destiny Church or whatever wacko cult/pyramid selling scheme they subscribe to.

Remarkable that this hard right, fundamentalist, anti-youth culture organization has produced a Shihad video for their election address.

9/10 for presentation, 0/10 for appeal to their fellow fundamentalists.

Aotearoa Legalize Cannabis Party

Professional appeal from the mullet-coiffed leader Appleby to give them your protest vote, and a few wacky graphics showing a picture of a petrol station pumping hemp oil. How anyone could devote their energy in life to this is beyond me but a perfectly acceptable advertisement.



RAM go for the downhome appeal with a man in a paper-mache mask scaring children in a Four Square and a bluegrass soundtrack  that sounds like the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Would be more convincing if I didn’t know that 90% of their candidates are revolutionaries masquerading as middle of the road reformists as part of some weird new strategy. Oh well.

RAM the LabNats is a slogan that needs some more work.


Workers Party

A relatively smooth presentation from New Zealand’s revolutionary communists who at least admit they are revolutionary communists.

However I am disappointed that the Workers Party seem to be suffering from a bashful approach to electioneering, and don’t get down to nitty gritty with a blow by blow video presentation of the final showdown between the proletariat and the boss class complete with armed militias, secret police and burning buildings. They seem to be going a little soft: could a compromise sell out be on the cards? Watch this space.


Democrats for Social Credit

Anodyne presentation, marks off for the ludicrous flying turkey that appears on all their advertising.


Written by Victor

October 11, 2008 at 9:51 am

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12 Responses

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  1. Man, Roger Douglas did not look at his best. Good.

    I was tempted to join the family party, though. Listening to “Adam and Steve” talking about their family unit was sweet. People do forget that pub bouncers have personal lives.My only worry was that they kept their kid out way past its bedtime – Pope Brian must have seen a mirror and couldn’t stop watching himself talk.

    Winston really was fascinating – I’ve never heard of an election advert that consisted entirely of denying allegations of financial irregularities.

    “Vote for me – they can’t prove I broke the law in a serious way” could well become on of the most inspiring campaign slogans of this election.

    Of course, United had the old “vote for me – we’re firm enough to hold the major parties to account, but our policies can be hijacked by a vox pop TV street interview”. An iron glove filled with a hand of jelly, and probably the most honest statement made by a party other than the Alliance tonight.

    A Wicken

    October 11, 2008 at 11:20 am

  2. I think you may be right Victor. 😦 I pushed for an election video showing rich businessmen in suits being lined up against a wall and shot, with the burning buildings and whatnot forming a nice backdrop. Unfortunately it seems my comrades are indeed going soft, and I was overruled. *sighs*


    October 11, 2008 at 11:21 am

  3. You know, wouldn’t it be nice to have an election campaign void of advertisements, polls, all the rubbish that goes on really. Just to be replaced with a forum to allow political parties to articulate their policies and to then be challenged on them by various experts. A free market of ideas if you will.

    And while we’re at why don’t we get rid of this notion that the parliamentary parties get longer times (and more broadcasting times) than the rest of the parties? Do we give the Crusaders a 20 point head start in a Super 12 (or 14 whatever the hell it is) final? We treat this whole damn thing like a sporting contest.

    Anyway, I find I agree with you with your assessments of the tv ads. Our flat made up three of the seven total people who watched last night. I had to convince one of them though it was worth watching the rest once Jim left our screens. The Alliance one was well done, it was simple and got the point across. The most confusing one was the Family Party’s – I thought I had accidentally changed the channel and was watching some low budget CSI rip-off. Then Richard Lewis came out of nowhere with that hard rock that all Christians love blaring in the background. I didn’t know what to think.

    But a question, do the Family Party have money? It looked good. They seem to be targeting key electorates rather than a party vote campaign. If they pour their resources into a few areas, could they slip in unnoticed? I mean, they’re no longer those scary Destiny folks but the warm teddy bear friendly Family Party. What am I thinking? They don’t have a chance.

    God I hope whatever I wrote made sense. I’m going to bed. Like the song I was just listening to say: only anarchists are pretty.


    October 11, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  4. As far as I know all the one minute broadcasts were put together by a TVNZ production crew as part of a special deal with the Electoral Commission. As a result it seems that some of these short ads were better than the larger party ones! No one could use extra money for these ads – just what you are allocated. This means that bigger parties get $100 000’s to play with (not that you’d know it from the Green ad) and smaller parties like Alliance got a one off production package valued at $10 000.

    The Alliance disagreed with the allocation of money and fact we had to produce the ad with TVNZ and led a challenge at the High Court on this which we lost. However no problem in the event with the actual TVNZ production crew who did a great job.


    October 11, 2008 at 9:18 pm

  5. I would be very surprised if the Family Party win a seat. Nothing is impossible, and given the strange cultural and religious mix they are appealing to – and the fact they are no disguising their cult/pyramid sales scheme links could give them crossover appeal in a certain area.

    The one MP parties are all pre MMP survivors like Dunne or Peters. ACT is a kind of crossover, Peters is a pre MMP survivor who risks disaster if he falls below 5% and who should have held onto Tauranga. The Greens are threatened constantly by the 5% threshold and the Maori Party have the Maori seats to fall back on.

    The problem to me seems to be an arbitrary 5% threshold. If a party gets enough proportional votes to receive 1 MP, it should get one. Under current circumstances this would only mean an extra one or two parties in Parliament anyway. This is my personal view anyway.


    October 11, 2008 at 9:24 pm

  6. It’s funny. Under that system (which I do kinda agree with), Destiny would have got 1 MP into parliament (taking one off National) and ALCP would have been fairly close (had it gotten an extra 4000 or so votes). The previous election would see Christian Heritage, Outdoor Recreation and the Alliance all get two seats and ALCP get one. Voting behaviour would change though.

    I think a system I would prefer would be a lower threshold (though to some other arbitrary number) and a preferential voting system for the party vote. This will allow people to “vote with their heart” first and foremost without fear of the wasted vote and should allow support to rise to their natural levels.


    October 11, 2008 at 11:22 pm

  7. A lower threshold is reasonable – 5% is essentially arbitrary anyway. 60 list MPs means a practical level of a bit under 2%, yes?

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “wasted” vote – the best way of stopping someone get (back) on the political ladder is to nick their policies as soon as it looks like they’ve got support.

    I’ve no idea what the Alliance is polling, but if we get even one or two percent it will signal a swing left and parties will shift ever-so-slightly to grab that vote back. And the Greens might not be afraid to show a costed, progressive tax policy.

    And that would normalise (as ASH love to say) real left policies a bit more.

    A Wicken

    October 12, 2008 at 4:07 am

  8. “Would be more convincing if I didn’t know that 90% of their candidates are revolutionaries masquerading as middle of the road reformists as part of some weird new strategy. Oh well.”

    Duobus litigantibus, tertius gaudet.

    A lesson that would you would do well to learn, Victor :).

    Oliver Woods

    October 12, 2008 at 9:22 am

  9. Although I forgot to mention the other 10% being smart young guys at Auckland University.


    October 12, 2008 at 9:26 am

  10. In Mangere, the Family Party have actually got a real chance and yes, they will slip in unnoticed. The fact they get no real press has played into the hands of the party against those who have written them off. I’ve door knocked there and they could very likely take it out from under Labour. They seem to have the backing of many different church groups and represent a wide range of affiliations.
    The thrust is like in Botany Auckland where ACT is saying National’s candidate will get in anyway so vote for me and get twice the representation. That was an idea that the Family Party was using back in June when they started campaigning and it’s working well it seems.
    This blog is actually very funny. It bags all the parties Alliance don’t like yet 90% got more votes anyway…even Destiny in 2005! Ouchhh.


    October 28, 2008 at 4:15 am

  11. I don’t doubt the Family Party may come up from under in this election and do fairly well.

    It is a well known phenomenon that at times of social and economic stress in the capitalist system, appeals to the irrational and supernatural side of human nature go through periodic upsurges. Usually these movements advocate reactionary policies – the oppression of minorities who are scapegoated for all of society’s ills, keeping women in their place, keeping the inequal distribution of wealth and power but justifying this through a bizarre interpretation of scriptures.

    It’s not original. A little bit of reading on history shows this.

    The job of the Alliance is to promote our democratic socialist policies – which are rational, democratic and appeal to the vein of progressive thinking that runs through our history and society. That is, we want to move society forward – not return it to the dark ages.


    October 28, 2008 at 4:47 am

  12. Destiny Church….. whoops….. The Family Party, do not have the theological sophistication to belong in the dark ages.


    October 28, 2008 at 5:02 am

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