Tomorrow the Christian Right are holding a self-styled ‘March for Democracy’ that’s been bankrolled to the tune of $500,000 by Auckland property developer Colin Craig.
I’m sure you’ll have seen the TV ads, the newpaper full-pagers and the slick PR campaign. They’re even paying for free buses to and from the event. With that kind of big money behind you’d expect to get a decent turnout, almost regardless of the cause. But exactly how much astroturf can you buy for $500,000?
Let’s generously assume a budget of $10 per person you get to your rally. On that basis we should be expecting a turnout of at least 50,000 people. If they get 10,000 people it’s $50 per person. 5000 people and you’re looking at a $100 spend per person.
Taking this train of thought a step further, the organisers could save themselves a whole lot of hassle and just spend the $500,000 to actually pay people to attend the rally. At the minimum wage they’d get 40,000 people along. Even at $15 an hour they’d still get 33,333.
Don’t get me wrong, I expect a large turnout. We just have to remember to ask how that number looks when you divide into 500,000.