How much does money matter?

How much does money matter in politics? Do well financed parties attract more media attention? Being seen in media is an essential to attract votes.

Kim Dotcom is a media magnet for different reasons, including his wealth and political expenditure. He has been getting major media coverage and his party doesn’t exist yet – a launch is planned for tomorrow.

Colin Craig has spent millions getting a political profile and getting votes. Being able to afford to dedicate time to the party and being able to employ staff dedicated to promoting the party must help, but Craig also attracts media coverage. The media aren’t paid by politicians, but they pay some of them a lot of attention.

The Internet and Conservative parties have been gifted more media exposure than parties in Parliament. Without the connection with Dotcom it’s unlikely the Mana Party would be in the spotlight. Apart from guaranteed coverage of Hone Harawira on Waitangi Day Mana mostly fly beneath the media radar.

The Maori Party, Act and UnitedFuture have had less coverage combined this year than either of the Internet or Conservative parties.

And there’s other parties that are mostly or totally ignored by media.

The Alliance and New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit Parties have featured in past elections but are unheard of by most people. They don’t offer anything new or newsworthy, and they don’t have controversial leaders. And they don’t have rich leaders. Stephnie de Ruyter, Kay Muray and Kevin Campbell are unknown.

Focus New Zealand was registered as a party on 29 January this year. Who? They don’t seem to have a party leader but they have a ‘team” and an online presence. But Google finds scant media interest.

Ordinary New Zealanders involved. Not rich people. And nothing of current interest for news coverage.

There’s one party that has contested every election since 1996, and had a candidate get more votes than the ACT candidate in the recent Christchurch Easy by-election. They are actively promoting themselves online, and have a motto of Truth, Freedom, Justice.

Not topical? Their main policy focus (and related issues) is on something of significant current interest in New Zealand. It is of topical interest around the world where a number of states and countries are making significant law changes with major social and legal implications.

But despite social media promotion and putting out press releases the mainstream media seem uninterested in the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party or Julian Crawford.

Is it because they’re just a bunch of poor stoners who have no hope of getting into Parliament? If the media keep ignoring them they do have no chance.

And if the media similarly ignored Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom they would have no chance of success either.

The media may not be able to pick political winners but they play a major part in sealing the fate of losers. Poor parties, poor coverage.

Money and media can make or break parties.

The Conservative and Internet Parties have been chosen as contenders this election. Other parties seem to have already been discounted. Money does seem to matter.

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