Voting papers for Wellington local body elections go out at the end of this week. With only one published poll on the Mayoralty to date (Dominion Post, 13 September), there is little indication of likely winners and losers in the race for the Mayoralty, Wellington City Council, Makara-Ohariu and Tawa Community Boards and Capital and Coast District Health Board.
But social media has become increasingly important in elections. Twenty-seven Wellington local body candidates have created facebook pages for their campaigns.
The top five Wellington candidates, by facebook likes, are Paul Eagle, John Morrison, Jack Yan, Simon Woolf and Grant Brookes.
“I am honoured by the high level of support people have shown me on facebook”, said Grant Brookes, first-time candidate for Capital & Coast DHB. “I believe it’s mainly a reflection of my record in the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, standing up strongly for nursing and health in the capital over the last decade.
“Outside of nursing, others may support me because of my involvement in community and union campaigns aimed at broader social justice goals.
“I believe that facebook can sway election results. And it is heartening that most of the people who like my page are from the Greater Wellington region, and have the opportunity to vote for me.
Paul Eagle’s facebook page was established in 2010, and Jack Yan’s in 2011. The “Health First – Vote Grant Brookes “1” for Capital & Coast DHB” page has attracted all of its likes in just six weeks. The on-line campaign is going hand-in-hand with a large mail-drop of election flyers in letterboxes as well.
“Perhaps an upset is on the cards”, commented Brookes, “with some ‘big name’ candidates poised to be beaten by a newcomer.”
The ranking and number of page likes for candidates, at midnight on 15 September, is as follows:
1. Paul Eagle for Wellington City Council (964 likes)
2. John Morrison (833 likes)
3. Jack Yan (812 likes)
4. Simon Woolf (726 likes)
5. Health First – Vote Grant Brookes “1” for Capital & Coast DHB (621 likes)
6. Mark Peck (437 likes)
7. Malcolm Aitken (423 likes)
8. Strong and fresh leadership for Wellington- Karunanidhi Muthu (348 likes)
9. David Choat for Capital and Coast District Health Board (348 likes)
10. Simon “Swampy” Marsh (317 likes)
11. Nicola Young for Mayor of Wellington (295 likes)
12. Ginette McDonald for Southern Ward (257 likes)
13. John Dow For Wellington (252 likes)
14. Vote Sarah Free for Eastern Ward (234 likes)
15. The Will of the People : Will Moore for Council 2013 (234 likes)
16. Jacob Toner “1” for Northern Ward (178 likes)
17= Phil Howison (101 likes)
17= Chris Lipscombe for Capital & Coast DHB (101 likes)
19. Councillor Jo Coughlan (96 likes)
20. Jack Marshall for Tawa Community Board (93 likes)
21. Allie Crombie for CCDHB (88 likes)
22. Vote David Lee for Southern Ward (86 likes)
23= Kiri Rikihana (70 likes)
23= Let’s work together for Wellington (Hayley Robinson) (70 likes)
25. Stephen Preston for Lambton Ward 2013 (63 likes)
26. Fresh Thoughts for Wellington – Sridhar Ekambaram (34 likes)
27. Vote 1 for Camilia Chin for the Capital and Coast District Health Board (1 like)