Online coverage of New Zealand’s 2011 general election

Updated Nov 26, 2011

A few links on some of the ways media covered the build-up and election night of the general election and referendum in New Zealand on Saturday November 26 2011. #votenz.

The (preliminary) election result

Party Party










National Party 957,769 47.99 41 19 60
Labour Party 541,499 27.13 22 12 34
Green Party 211,931 10.62 0 13 13
New Zealand First Party 135,865 6.81 0 8 8
Māori Party 26,887 1.35 3 0 3
ACT New Zealand 21,446 1.07 1 0 1
Mana 19,898 1.00 1 0 1
United Future 12,159 0.61 1 0 1
Conservative Party 55,070 2.76 0 0 0
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 9,516 0.48 0 0 0
Democrats for Social Credit 1,432 0.07 0 0 0
Libertarianz 1,405 0.07 0 0 0
Alliance 1,069 0.05 0 0 0
69 52 121

The (preliminary) referendum result

Part A – Should New Zealand keep the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system?
Response Number of Votes Percentage of Total Votes
KEEP 155,966 53.74%
CHANGE 123,708 42.62%
Informal Votes 10,559 3.64%
Total Votes 290,233 100.00%
Part B – If New Zealand were to change to another voting system which voting system would you choose?
Response Number of Votes Percentage of Total Votes
FPP 92,416 31.89%
PV 23,749 8.19%
STV 32,564 11.24%
SM 42,120 14.53%
Informal Votes 98,967 34.15%
Total Votes 289,816 100.00%

The day’s main papers/news sites:

NZ Herald/Herald on Sunday | Stuff | Radio NZDominion Post | TV3 | TVNZ | Maori TV | Listener | Scoop | | Waikato Times | Southland Times | Taranaki Daily News | Otago Daily Times | Sunday Star-Times | Sunday News

Overseas coverage – the day after

Daily Telegraph UK |BBC | Al Jazeera English | The Sunday Telegraph (Australia) | Sydney Morning Herald | Straits Times | China Daily

Livestreamed election night coverage online

  • Maori Television livestream from 7pm. Other coverage here.
  • TV3 livestream from 7pm.  (Streaming available worldwide.) Other coverage here.
  • TV1:  TVNZ  from 7pm. (Streaming available worldwide.) Other coverage here.
  • Radio NZ National from 7pm – Kathryn Ryan and Simon Mercep. Listen online. Other coverage here.
  • RadioLive from 7pm – Mitch Harris, Andrew Patterson, David Slack and Finlay MacDonald. Listen online. Other coverage here.
  • NewsTalk ZB from 7pm – Mike Hosking, Barry Soper and Sean Plunket. Listen online. Other coverage here.

Live TV and radio election night coverage

Freeview listings here.

Other coverage on election night

Updates after 7pm on NZ Herald Stuff Dominion Post |Listener Live Scoop Radio NZ | TV3 TVNZ Maori TV | |  TalkBack ZB | RadioLive | (Whitireia journalism students)

The Electoral Commission updated election results here as they came in, and referendum results here. The official results will be available on the same sites by December 10, 2011.

A number of news sites embedded these tables in their own coverage.

Party Votes Percentage

By region:

Southland: ran live updates out of Invercargill and surrounds.

Wellington: focused its live updates on Wellington and surrounding electorates with some national overview too. Whitireia journalism students had live updates on

Manawatu: ran live updates on Palmerston North electorate as well as national overview.

Taranaki: ran live updates from electorates in its region.

Waikato: had live updates about Waikato and surrounding electorates.

Auckland:  AucklandNow wasn’t running much and nzherald had more of a national focus on the night.

The Press ran national coverage (via Stuff) and I couldn’t see anything happening on Nelson Mail, Marlborough Express or the Timaru Herald.

APN appeared to run a single live update with a national focus across all its regional sites on the night, which include The Aucklander, Northern Advocate, Daily Post, Bay of Plenty Times, Hawkes Bay Today, Stratford Press, Wanganui Chronicle, Wairarapa Times-Age, Star Canterbury, Oamaru Mail.

Twitter, Twitterfall, Google+

We seem to have settled on #votenz as a hashtag. Here’s #votenz on Google+ and here’s a #votenz search on Twitter.

Twitterfall might be good to have running – add a search for #votenz in the lefthand column. It might take a little while to load.

(The Electoral Commission asked people not to post comments on blogs, news sites and social media during the day which could influence voters, but it remains to be seen how people responded to that request).

Visualising the results as they came in

Scoop ran an interactive map created by @keith_ng which was updated as results came in. It also ran on

Scoop Election Results

NZ Herald had a visualisation of the make-up of the 49th House in Parliament, updated for the 50th as results came in.

NZ Herald Results Map

Stuff and also had a results map being updated through the night.

Stuff Results Map

Radio NZ was updating results in a bar chart and table.

RNZ Results Map had been visualizing predictions on the make-up of parliament, outcome of the MMP referendum and other questions. They ran the Stuff election map tonight. Map

Kudos to Whitireia Journalism School

As far as I could see Whitireia was the only journalism students running live udpates on election night – on Screengrab doodle for #votenz day 2011

Google Doodle Screengrab

Keeping track in the run-up to the election

Toby Manhire and Philip Pinner did a grand job collating  live coverage of the election over at the Listener – daily wraps of what’s in the papers, and a live update format for the day’s events, links to political blogs, radio interviews, TV and other coverage. They were also tweeting @ListenerLive. Excellent example of why linking out is a smart policy – these guys created such a useful starting point for following a topic (in this case, the election) that I found myself going back again and again. (Scoop does a nice job of linking out too.)

Listener Live was blogging live on election night too.

Listener Screengrab

Most of the larger news sites had an Election 2011 or similar tab in their main nav and/or a fat pointer near the top of their homepage to point to election coverage. (If so, they appear in this list; if not, they don’t):

NZ Herald | Stuff | Radio NZDominion Post | TV3 | TVNZ | Maori TV | Listener | Scoop | | Waikato Times | Southland Times | Taranaki Daily News | Otago Daily Times |

Listening in

Radio NZ National compiled audio interviews broadcast during the campaign season.

RNZ Audio Screengrab

Policy summaries

Most news sites had some kind of summary of policies. Here are a few.

  • Radio NZ had policy summaries here.
  • posted some bite-sized summaries of main policy points here.
  • 3 News had policy bullet points here.
  • had collated policy summaries taken from party websites here. Screengrab

The parties

The party lists

Again, quite a few sites had the party lists posted. and are as good as any to check out.

Party Lists Screengrab

Electorate maps

NZ Herald had a very good interactive map that let you drill down into electorates to find candidates, previous results, polling places, demographics and more.

NZ Herald Electorate Map

Census Data in Map

You could also use a pull-down menu to see candidates for each party. Would have been nice to click on images to see information on each candidate though, rather than clicking through to electorate information. This screengrab is the result for the Maori Party:

NZH Candidates

Maori TV also had an electorate map, for the Maori electorates, and while not as comprehensive as the Herald’s it’s still useful, links out to official electorate information, and there’s video of the Maori electorate debates televised over the past few weeks.

Maori TV Electorate Map

Readers’ reporter

Stuff ran a Readers’ Reporter series during the election build-up, inviting readers to submit questions about the issues of most concern to them. Then the Readers’ Reporter asked the question of the main parties.

Stuff Reader Reporter Screengrab

How the parties have voted has a visualisation of how closely parties have voted on issues in the 49th parliament and how often they agreed on bills. Screengrab

How often parties agree

The referendum

In addition to the general election, there was a referendum to determine which voting system New Zealanders would prefer to use in future elections.

Most news sites carried explainers on the referendum and the voting systems on offer. Most referenced Election NZ’s, which is as good a place as any to go for the details. had a tool designed to help people decide which voting system best matches their beliefs.

So did Public Address.

NZ Herald had a quiz testing readers’ knowledge of the various voting systems.

NZ Herald Quiz

Way back then

NZ on Screen has some great video in its NZ Politics section of politicians in action down the years, including the 1984 leaders debate, Norman Kirk talking to David Frost in 1973, and the 2002 Spin Doctors election special.

NZ On Screen Screengrab

Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand, lets you explore the history of political parties, Maori representation and explains parliament and the voting systems.

Te Ara Politics Screengrab