Organised practitioner panels at the 2014 NZPSA Conference including a practitioner election plenary and an academic-practitioner panel on Vote Compass in the 2014 NZ election.

Practitioner plenary. 1120-1230, Tuesday December 2, ‘Behind the scenes of the 2014 election: the practitioners perspective’ Practitioners from NZ’s three largest parties in 2014 discussed what they thought was important to know about the election from their perspective, whether it’s campaigning, strategy, policy, leadership, democratic issues, successes, disappointments, lessons to be learnt, reforms needed, or future prospects for NZ elections. Speakers from National, Labour and the Greens shared their experiences from positions such as the party insider (e.g. the campaign manager, strategist or key politician)and/or outsider consultant (e.g. the company who created their advertising or conducted the market research). They discussed the best things about the election; the key challenges; and aspects they think they should tell academics that we might not get to know from the outside or ivory tower. The session was chaired by Garth Bray from TVNZ.

Audience and speakers (1)


  • Labour: Roger Shakes, Illuminate Brand Communications, who worked on Labour’s Ad campaign with the agency Running with Scissors and David Talbot, UMR pollster and Labour’s Campaign Manager
  • National: Jo DeJoux, National Campaign Manager and Cameron Cotter who ran National’s voter turn-out, data and social media activities.
  • The Greens: Ben Youdan, 2014 Campaign Director for the Greens and Metiria Turei

Metiria Turei Green CoLeader (1)Roger Shakes speaking (1)David Talbot and Jo deJouxGarth bray and cameron cotter

Vote Compass in the 2014 election: perspectives from academics and practitioners on engaging voters and applied academic work, Tuesday 2 December, 250-4 This panel discussed the nature and role of Vote Compass, an application developed by a group of political scientists from the University of Toronto and run during election campaigns. Vote Compass offers users a personalized, real-time assessment as to their views situate them in a given the political landscape and in proximity to each of the political parties included in the application and was used in the 2011 Canadian election with CBC and 2013 Australian election with ABC. Vote Compass is going to be run for the 2014 NZ Election in conjunction with TVNZ, the Electoral Commission, and Victoria and Auckland Universities. The panel discussed the Vote Compass tool, the NZ experience, and role in the election including engagement with voters; and partnerships between academia, the media, electoral commission. The panel was chaired by Bryce Edwards from Otago University.

TVNZ Vote Compass JLM and grads


  • The value of Vote Compass for academics including data, insight, engagement with practice and the media – Professor Jack Vowles (Victoria University), Dr Danny Osborne (Auckland University) and AP Jennifer Lees-Marshment (Auckland University)
  • The value of Vote Compass for TVNZ – Renee Graham, Reporter, News and Current affairs and Mark Torley, Bureau Chief, Wellington (TVNZ)
  • Vote Compass and engaging New Zealanders in elections –Anastasia Turnbull, Manager Communications and Education (Electoral Commission)