Broadcasting Allocation Decision 2008 General Election

Broadcasting allocation 2008 - revised final allocation decision 15 October 2008 (and 9 October 2008)

Detailed allocation decision documents are available for download below.

Final allocation decision

Three of the parties that were given an allocation in the original decision were not registered at Writ Day and so will not be eligible to submit a party list and therefore not able to receive any broadcast allocation. A fourth party failed to nominate a party list.

The Electoral Commission decided on 9 October 2008 not to re-allocate the total of three minutes of opening address time given that broadcast of addresses was then imminent. The Electoral Commission has on 15 October 2008 reallocated the total available funds of $40,000 as follows:


Original allocation   
Addition from
Total final
All values include  GST
Labour Party, National Party
Green Party, Māori Party, NZ First
The ACT Party, Progressive, UNITED FUTURE
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, Democrats for social credit, Residents Action Movement, Alliance, Family Party, Workers Party of New Zealand

The parties that did not register were: Kotahitanga Te Manamotu Hake Tiriti o Waitangi, New Zealand Liberals, South Island Party.

New World Order failed to nominate a party list.


In making this re-allocation decision, the reasoning of the Electoral Commission was that:

1. In the initial allocation the decision was that $2 million be allocated to the two largest parties. As this decision would have been the same regardless of the number of other parties, there was not an argument to re-allocate money to Labour or National

2. The remainder of the money had then been distributed between the other parties and thus all were affected by the number of parties receiving allocation. Therefore the money was to be distributed to all of these parties, proportional to the initial decision.


The Electoral Commission members for the final allocation process were:
Hon Andrew McGechan, President
Acting Chief Judge Wilson Isaac, Māori Land Court
Ms Belinda Clark, Secretary for Justice
Dr Helena Catt, Chief Executive (9 October 2008 only)
The decision was unanimous.

19 May 2008

Initial allocation decision


Monetary allocation
(incl. GST)

Opening address, minutes

Closing address, minutes

Total available
Labour Party, National Party
Green Party, Māori Party, NZ First
The ACT Party, Progressive, UNITED FUTURE
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, Democrats for social credit, Kotahitanga Te Manamotu Hake Tiriti o Waitangi,Libertarianz*, New World Order, New Zealand Liberals, Residents Action Movement, South Island Party,Alliance, Family Party, Workers Party of New Zealand
(those in italics were not registered as at 29th April 2008)
* will not receive the monetary allocation
$10,000, plus a production package for the opening address worth over $7000
Nineteen parties gave notice that they consider they will qualify for a broadcasting allocation. Of these, six are not currently registered but will need to be registered by writ day in order to receive an allocation.


In making the allocation the Electoral Commission must have regard to a series of criteria which cover results of the last election as well as consideration of more recent measures of parties’ public support. It also requires that eligible parties be provided a fair opportunity to convey their policies to the public.
This fairness criterion was the basis upon which the Electoral Commission decided to allocate a minimum to all eligible parties and also to subsidise from the allocation to the two largest parties to that to smaller parties. Thus, the allocation is not an exact arithmetic reflection of share of votes, seats, membership or support in opinion polls. As in previous years parties were grouped into groups, within which each party receives the same level of funding and time.
The three key criteria which measure current support for a party (number of votes at the last election, number of MPs at the dissolution of Parliament, and other indications of support) were used collectively when determining the groups for each allocation band. As opinion poll results are becoming less reliable as an indication of the views of the whole population, they were given a lesser weighting than has been the case in previous allocation decisions.
Labour Party and National Party are clearly ahead of all other parties in terms of votes in 2005, MPs, and polling results. The Commission saw no reason to treat the two parties differently and neither party sought a differential in its submission.
Green Party, Māori Party and NZ First are broadly similar in their number of MPs and votes in 2005. Green Party is polling ahead of the other two in terms of the party vote but not sufficiently to differentiate it from the other two parties.
The ACT Party, Progressive and UNITED FUTURE are broadly similar in their poll ratings, votes in 2005, and numbers of MPs. Differences were seen as insufficient to differentiate between the three parties in terms of allocation.
The non-parliamentary parties are clearly distinct from the parliamentary parties in terms of votes in 2005, number of MPs, and polling success. There was insufficient information to differentiate between the parties in relation to the criteria specified in the Broadcasting Act 1989. The Libertarianz stated in its written submission, and reiterated in its oral submission, that it would not spend any money that was allocated to them. Consequently the Libertarianz will not receive a monetary allocation but it will receive the minute for an opening address and access to the production package.
The minimum amount allocated reflects the cost of a basic radio advertising campaign for a month. Each party that has been allocated one minute for an opening address also has access to a production package that has been organised with TVNZ. The package will provide production that would otherwise cost over $7000 for each party. This package was first offered in 2005 to ensure both the accessibility of TV to these smaller parties, in consideration of the ‘fairness of access’ criteria and a basic standard of professional production. All those involved in 2005 found the production package to be useful so it is being repeated. Details of the production package will be sent to the political parties concerned.
The two largest parties share $2,000,000. The remaining money, minus that allocated to the non-parliamentary parties (including the cost of the production package) was split between the second and third groups in a ratio close to 2:1 to reflect the difference in indications of support, votes and MPs for the two groups.
All eligible parties were allocated some time for opening addresses, reflecting the fairness criteria. However only parliamentary parties were allocated time for closing addresses as the shorter time made available precluded a wider allocation.
The order of opening addresses is Labour Party, National Party, Green Party, NZ First, Māori Party, The ACT Party, UNITED FUTURE, Progressive, Libertarianz, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, New World Order, The Alliance, South Island Party, Family Party, Residents Action Movement, New Zealand Liberals, Workers Party of New Zealand, Democrats for social credit, Kotahitanga Te Manamotu Hake Tiriti o Waitangi.

This order was determined by following the groups used for time allocation and using double random selection within each group, except that in line with past practice the main government party has the first opening address and the main opposition party has the first closing address.
The order for closing addresses is the reverse within each group: National Party, Labour Party, Māori Party, NZ First, Green Party, Progressive, UNITED FUTURE, The ACT Party.


Only registered parties may enter into contractual commitments to use money, time and any production package that has been allocated to them in this decision.
For the parties that are being offered the production package, acceptance or otherwise of the production package will not have any impact on the allocation of time and money to that party.
Broadcasters have also made conditions, details of which have been supplied to the parties.

Variation to the allocation

In specified circumstances the Electoral Commission can vary the allocations made without further consultation. Such circumstances include a party: not accepting an allocation, having its registration cancelled, making a significant change in its relationships with other parties, or failing to nominate a party list.


The Electoral Commission members for the broadcasting allocation process were:
Hon Andrew McGechan, President
Chief Judge Joe Williams, Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court
Ms Belinda Clark, Secretary for Justice
Dr Helena Catt, Chief Executive
The decision was unanimous.
(In the past there have been two political representatives on the Electoral Commission when it makes decisions on the broadcasting allocation. The Electoral Amendment Act 2007 removed these members.)



Last updated: 07 February 2013