What if NZ Parliament was proportional to Facebook popularity?


facebook31-281x160[1]Last year I looked at who was winning the online social media war between the NZ Political Parties.

Here were the results August 2012

1st – Greens 17 424
2nd – Labour 6 953
3rd – MANA 3 518
4th – National 2 863
5th – ACT 1 745
6th – Maori Party 1 013
7th – NZ First 726

Instead of waiting another 6 months for a comparison, how about we take a wee peek again at the Facebook support of the parties, and this time include the Facebook popularity of the leaders.

Let’s note that some leaders have ‘likes’ and some have ‘followers’ and some have ‘friends’. It is very easy to get a like, and far more difficult to get a follower or friend. Followers and friends require far more active engagement than a simple like on Facebook.

Green: 21,163 (up 3739)

Russel: 4330 friends
Metiria: 5009 friends

Labour: 7,479 (up 526)

David Shearer: 6237 Likes

Mana: 3,756 (up 238)

Hone Harawira: 5070 Friends

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National: 3,246 (up 363)

John Key: 39,630 followers

Act: 1,720 (down 25)

John Banks: 5277 Likes

Maori: 1,232 (up 219)

Tariana Turia: No Direct Presence
Pita Sharples: 33 friends

Conservative: 998

Colin Craig: 762 likes

NZ First:814 (up 88)

Winston Peters: 7,038 likes

United Future: No Direct Presence

Peter Dunne: 1637 friends

-Greens are the undisputed kings of social media – since August they grew their Facebook support by more than double all the other parties put together. Russel and Metiria have a respectable following compared to other party leaders, but they are eclipsed by their party.

-NZ First, Act and United Future all suffer from the personality cult problem of having leaders more popular than their parties. But it looks like National is the biggest personality cult of all, JK having a following more than 10 times that of his party.

-Act has the dubious distinction of actually having lost party support since August – people have actively taken the step of un-liking them.

-It’s a bit difficult to compare active followers to likes but there is a fairly strong case that in terms of active followers Hone Harawira has the second strongest online following for a party leader after the PM – which is not a bad effort for an opposition party polling around 1%.

So what would Parliament look like if Facebook was the decider?

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 9.50.17 PM

The Greens have an advantage that the other political parties can only dream about. The next generation are an online generation and the Greens are building the social media infrastructure to become the dominant political force of the 21st Century.


  1. Interesting. Personally I only liked John Key so I could see what sort of stupid stuff he would say on his page. If it even is him.

  2. Saying that it’s easier to garner likes rather than friends is a none issue. Facebook only allows a person to have 5000 friends (or just over). After that, people have to ‘subscribe’ to that persons posts, but even then they only get to see the public posts from that profile.

    More politicians are switching to like pages since FB made it easy to convert from a profile to a page. This is the way to go if you want to increase your reach.

    Also, it would be interesting to look at the engagement on those pages. Yeah sure, the PM has nearly 80,000 likes, but how many of those likes are actually liking/commenting/sharing his posts?

  3. I’m FB friends with every Green Party MP and have ‘liked’ the Green Party page since it went up. I’ve also liked the Mana Party page, along with being FB friends with Hone, John and Annette. Then their are all of the Labour people I have liked/subscribed or are ‘friends’ with online.

    I’ve been banned from posting and commenting on all pages that the National Party and ACT have, simlpy due to questioning them on a number of policies. They do not like it when people question their motives.

  4. That graph of parliament is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

    *sniff* One day, Greens, one day…

  5. The Greens have consistently been the most tech-savvy party in recent history, as observed by their canny election campaign last time around. Also, their key voting demographic is probably more capable of operating facebook than, say, NZ First’s.

    Here’s a novel approach: have the party with the most facebook and online support have carte blanche on internet laws and policy. That way, we wouldn’t have to listen to MP’s telling us that sharing files was illegal, and that the internet is like Skynet. We might also get a second fiber cable and reasonable prices and access to the internet.

  6. Facebook don’t mean sh*t (in addition to millions of “false” accounts, there is trolling 😉 and the demographic of the Nat voter to take into consideration; they are more likely to be on a geneology website, checking out which boat their illustrious ancestors struggled over here on.

  7. Great post Bomber.

    Looks like you may have posted the August 2011 results at the top not the 2012 ones – but they are both in the Tumeke link and seeing the growth particularly of the Greens is impressive!

    Its interesting to me as well that although the political blogosphere in NZ is dominated by a couple of big right wing blogs with a rabid (but largely anonymous) following yet this clearly shows that the left are very politically active online, they just aren’t ashamed to show their colours to family and friends…

  8. I don’t think it goes much further than suggesting that the “Green” image is considered hip amongst young people; I wouldn’t assume for a moment that the people clicking like are Green voters (although it’d probably be quite cool if their friends thought they were).

    I think to get any meaningful statistical information out of this, you would need to limit users “likes” to one political party (I’m betting many of the Green “likers” also like Labour and Mana, and probably even *spit* National).

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