Greens soar in Facebook Māori electorate survey

By Heeni Brown

Social media giant Facebook has released data outlining which Māori political candidates are connecting with voters on the site. Facebook New Zealand shared the information, gleaned from the public pages of the candidates with Rereātea.

Greens MP Marama Davidson received the highest number of likes, comments and shares. The data was collated before Metiria Turei resigned.

Political commentator Ngahuia Wade says, "Yes, Marama is a very frequent user of social media so I was surprised because Tamati had more supporters and yet Marama was still ahead of him." 

It's the first of its kind, a snapshot of Māori candidates with data from July 8 to August 7.

Another political commentator Roihana Nuri says, "This is just one of many snapshots and it's a way for Māori to reach out to these figures and see exactly who these candidates are."

In addition Ngahuia Wade says, "These figures come at a time when 'Ken and Barbie' or Jacinda and Kelvin became leaders of their party. It's because of that why we see two Labour candidates at the top of the rankings. I am also aware that Kelvin isn't exactly a very frequent social media user."

Of the five top 'performing' posts, three posts are by Green Party candidates and two are from Labour's Kelvin Davis. 

Wade says, "What we can clearly see is that the Greens are so used to social media and when Metiria Turei gave her speech at the Greens' AGM, the number of supporters on Facebook just soared, but when it came to the Reid-Research Poll their support dropped to 8%."

But when it comes to the interaction rate, the Māori Party has three of the top five pages with Rahui Papa on top.

Nuri says, "This isn't a new way of 'door knocking'. Māori candidates need to physically go out and meet their Māori constituents face-to-face. Yes, the internet is one way of reaching out, but be careful and know the difference."

Next month, we'll see how Facebook's analysis transcends to voters on Election Day.