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Serving the public conversation during the 2020 New Zealand Election

By Kara Hinesley
Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The #NZElection2020 has come to a close, delivering a second term for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) and a landmark win for the New Zealand Labour Party (@nzlabour), which secured its largest mandate in 50 years. During the election, New Zealanders turned to Twitter for breaking news and to have conversations about topics close to their heart, to stay connected with their communities, and interact with candidates and elected leaders.

Here’s a look back at how the election conversation unfolded on Twitter.

  • Election conversation resulted in 1.5M Tweets (a potential 7B impressions globally) during the campaign period from 18 August - 18 October 2020*
  • Conversations spiked on election night with Tweet volume jumping 530% once the media silent period lifted
  • There was a 200% increase in the number of mentions of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Twitter during this campaign, compared to the 2017 general election when @JacindaArdern accounted for 24% of the mentions in conversations about the election

Twitter lit up during the 24 hours prior to polls closing on Election Day

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Source: Trendsmap, 16-17 October 2020 7:00pm NZT

According to the New Zealand Electoral Commission, It’s estimated that 82.5% of people across the country voted in this election – the highest number since 1999.

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During the campaign period, we launched a special emoji featuring a kiwi bird to help drive conversation about the civic process. Overall, these were most Tweeted about hashtags during the election. 

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Conversation highlights from the New Zealand 2020 general election 

Kiwis encouraged each other to get out and vote

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Twitter reacts to Jacinda Ardern’s re-election

As election results rolled in, leaders from around the world shared their congratulations on Twitter. 

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The newly elected and the re-elected MPs turned to Twitter to celebrate and thank supporters

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Daily #NZElection2020 conversations covered the political parties, candidate, and policy discussions, but there were plenty of light-hearted moments and conversations on Twitter too. 

Pets at Polling Stations

New Zealanders brought their furry friends to their local polling stations.

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Behind the scenes on the campaign trail 

Selfies and snacks were shared.

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The PM’s partner, Clarke Gayford kept it cool 

Offering up the catch of the day and a tongue in cheek review of the election result.

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A blast from the past 

Commentators drew parallels and shared insights into New Zealand’s political history. 

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A COVID-19 safe voting experience 

New Zealanders discussed early voting options, and were especially excited about the ‘nice smelling’ hand sanitiser provided at polling stations.

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Serving the public conversation during and beyond #NZElection2020

The health of the public conversation on Twitter is critical during elections. Our expanded Civic Integrity Policy, Political Content Policy, and overarching Twitter Rules were in place to protect the election conversation as New Zealanders expressed their democratic rights. 

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To date, New Zealand is one of the very few countries that held a nation-wide general election during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (South Korea and Singapore were other recent examples). To provide guidance and assistance on how Kiwis could safely vote during #NZElection2020, Twitter curated a special Events page with the NZ Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommNZ) to help people find credible information on the topics they care about, key policies and issues, as well as how to enrol and vote in NZ or abroad.

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After an election wraps, Twitter continues to work with elected officials, government entities, industry peers, and others. Our goal is for citizens to be empowered to engage with each other, civil society, and their elected representatives through dialogue and healthy conversations.

 

*Twitter internal data, 18 August - 17 October 2020

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@karahinesley

Kara Hinesley

‎@karahinesley‎

Director of Public Policy, Government, and Philanthropy, Australia & NZ

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