web analytics

Rugby World Cup cramps politics

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, December 2nd, 2011 - 35 comments
Categories: blogs, Politics - Tags:

One of the more interesting observations about this election campaign has been the effect of having the rugby world cup on the political process and therefore on our political blog stats.

Unlike 2008, we didn’t see a steady rise over the whole year leading up to the campaign accelerating in the final months. What we saw was this chart (StatCounter weekly pageviews).

The overall trend was slowly rising through most of the year. But at week 38 we had the opening of the world cup causing a quite pronounced drop. I’d also argue based on 2008 that the quiesence in weeks 31-37 wasn’t normal either. After week 38 we started to see the expected  election time rapid rise which was abruptly terminated in week 42 when the semifinals and final were on. That was followed by normal election level bouncing during the debates (there are always big spikes after the debates), election manouvering, and the election itself.

The rugby world cup was extremely disruptive on the political process in this election – at least from we could see during the campaign. The whole of the political discussion was crammed in between and after the games.


35 comments on “Rugby World Cup cramps politics”

  1. Rob 1

    Well I am suprised, we were repeatably informed on this site that no one likes rugby in NZ. In fact it was a very small sport with little to no true support. Funny that such a minority interest in NZ had the effect it did.

    • lprent 1.1

      I never did, and I cannot recall any that did (maybe a soccer fan – Brett?). Perhaps you should use the search to find some specific examples.

      I do know that I complained that the rugby was a waste of time, disrupted my sleep with drunk idiots play “dude, where is the car?”, and definitely filled the newspapers with unreadable waffle about testosterone chasing the inedible (paraphrasing Oscar Wilde? sounds like him).

      But that was not what saying that it was a minority interest. That my saying that it was an irritating waste of time. Others said it was a waste of money, a useful distraction for John Key to get pissed in, etc.

      In the meantime, I think we’ll just assume you’re making that up eh?

      But in the meantime – this is what I said…

      • Rob 1.1.1

        Noice use of the royal ‘We”, your highness. Oh and carry on assuming, that is always a really good way to approach life and people.

        [lprent: Did you mean the authors? Did you mean me? Commentators? The problem was that you spat out a blanket statement at the site. As you’re aware from reading the policy such statements aimed generally at the site (ie attributing a mind to a machine) are by definition is directed to me.

        That is put in specifically to prevent dickheads like yourself attempting to spraying accusations without directing them to a person or persons to avoid consequences. Do you want to have a ban, provide a references or retract? You don’t have a lot of time because you answered a perfectly reasonable request stupidly… ]

        • felix

          So how many examples is that, Rob?

          Roughly zero, give or take fuck all?

        • Rob

          I am referring to you, why is that not clear.

          [lprent: The question was related to the first comment. But anyway, too much time wasted being nice – it is boring. Banned for a week. ]

      • Vicky32 1.1.2

        But that was not what saying that it was a minority interest. That my saying that it was an irritating waste of time. Others said it was a waste of money, a useful distraction for John Key to get pissed in, etc.

        As I recall, I may have said it’s a minority interest… I remember a librarian at our local, when I asked why the library was festooned with American flags, saying “It’s for the RWC, we have to pretend we care”… Maybe I mix with a rum bunch of people, but I have only a few friends who gave a toss, and some, such as my sister, who was even more out-spoken than me, about what an horrific bore it all was!

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Funny that such a minority interest in NZ had the effect it did.

      Polls before the RWC showed about 30% of the population follow rugby. It’s possible that the people who watch rugby also watch politics and so you would get a drop in people visiting political blogs during rugby games. Thus a drop in people coming to a blog would not necessarily indicate that rugby is popular.

  2. aerobubble 2

    The rugby dominated the TV and so the run up that everyone was used to didn’t happen.

    People are warned for weeks of a pending election.

    Then with the teapot crisis, the police sent in, the whole thing looked like a farce and would have tuned voters out.

    This with an undertow of glowing polls for Key sent people a message.

    If they were tuned in, Key would win.

    if they weren’t tuned in, then they might miss the cues for voting.

    And given that working people – labours core voters – would need both motivation (tax cuts) and also timely reminders, is it any wonder their vote collapsed.

    Key selected the election day, Key and MSM blocked the election debate, Ministers weren’t turning up at television studios for three reasons, they didn’t want to make mistakes, they didn’t want to answer for the last three years, and why help remind people there was an election.

    And who loses because Key and MSM maligned the election process, well who always loses if they besmirch their own mandate, bear false witness to the consent they are seeking of voters.

    Every voter who found they missed the opportunity for tax relief because they failed to get to the polls and vote Labour. And if only Labour were clued up enough to realize on the frustration that Key and the MSM have created in the electorate.

  3. Too much obsessing about world cups and tea cups. Sure, they wee distractions, but for goodness sake, we should be able to choose a government in four weeks. Or less.

    • kriswgtn 3.1

      Tell us

      What is Dunne getting this time for his support?

      • Frida 3.1.1

        +1 kriswgtn

      • Frida 3.1.2

        +1 kriswgtn

      • felix 3.1.3

        “Just the usual, thanks John. Salary and a car.”

      • Pete George 3.1.4

        Dunne is widely respected for the effort he puts in to his job, both in his electorate and what he does in government – especially compared to Chauvel.

        But that’s standard diversionary tactics – surely people can make up their mind how to vote in four weeks?

        • Puddleglum

          I’m pretty sure Peter Dunne castigated those who focused on the teapot tapes, etc. because it meant that 25% of the campaign was wasted (He kept talking about 25%).

          My sense is that he was frustrated at the lack of time available in the campaign and, therefore, how easily a few days of distraction could make a difference to the outcome. That is, I’m not sure he would agree with you that four weeks is long enough to have a full campaign that would give people an overall sense of their democratic options.

      • Kevin Welsh 3.1.5

        A cushion for his knees.

      • fender 3.1.6

        Dunne will get what he deserves for selling his soul to the devil, further erosion of UF support, damage to DNA due to National contagion and a personal hairdresser.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    That was followed by normal election level bouncing…

    The Standard has been around for two elections – I don’t think this is enough data to support a “normal” 😛

    The rugby world cup was extremely disruptive on the political process in this election…

    Which is probably the reason why the election was scheduled for just after the RWC. Having it before would have made it so that the policies could have been aired properly.

    Of course, having the RWC here during election year probably wasn’t the best option.

    • lprent 4.1

      Agreed – I only have good data for two elections. However the big non-vote is also pretty telling

      I have seen 10 other elections and actually paid an interest to the media in most of them. I can’t think of one with such a compressed period of media – there were post-RWC stories through most of the election.

      And I’m not exactly hidden about my politics. I usually have people asking me about various things weeks before the election. This time that only started a few days before.

  5. Nick C 5

    Blame Helen Clark.

    • lprent 5.1

      I tend to blame Trevor Mallard myself. But yes, if Helen hadn’t closed the deal then I could have had better sleep and probably been a lot faster finishing the project beta.

  6. gingercrush 6

    The RWC also made it difficult for the election to grab momentum. I was actually rather disinterested until the very last week. I kept an eye on things but that final week before the election and post-election was actually much more interesting.

  7. tc 7

    A fair fight and a media with some f’n backbone would’ve seen a one term nat gov’t…..they know that the AB’s winning the RWC was critical in getting them over the line along with all the polls lulling people into a sense of ‘doesn’t matter, they’ll win anyway’.

    • How would you ensure ‘a fair fight’?

      • fender 7.1.1

        Eliminate corruption of msm perhaps Pete, you know an unbiased situation unlike the setup we have right now.

        • Pete George

          I’d like to see an even handed fair media, but it’s not something that can be enforced by anyone. Media respond to the market or they are dictated to by someone and others will see that as biased.

          • fender

            I doubt the average voter who gets their information via msm has any idea they are getting a warped perspective involving ulterior motives.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I’d be highly surprised if the MSM was responding to the market.

            • ropata

              They are more interested in maximising revenue from the advertising market, than providing actual news, fact checking, or analysis.

              That said, as a kid I never understood most news or politics, it was from a different, rarefied world. I think most people never get beyond that stage.

          • Colonial Viper

            I’d like to see an even handed fair media, but it’s not something that can be enforced by anyone.


            • fender

              Pete loves to wollow in the BS. Whats he gunna say next I wonder? Maybe: I’d like to see an end to child poverty but it’s not something that can be enforced by anyone. Or how about: I’d like to see a cure for cancer but its not something that can be cured by anyone, so whats the point trying.
              What a defeatest attitude Pete. PEOPLE can change things Pete, remember the words of the real leader of UF: It’s a dinimic world!

    • joe90 7.2

      How would you ensure ‘a fair fight


  8. fender 8

    And of course the msm kept telling us that an AB win would mean a win for the incumbents.

  9. ropata 9

    Pretty sure most voters just go by intuition or vote along tribal lines (i.e. what their mates reckon) or what seems to be the popular opinion on talkback radio. They seem to think a vote is like a bet at the TAB, i.e. punt for the perceived winning team so they can congratulate themselves afterwards.

    Those with slightly more interest will assess “what’s in it for me”, for example my workmate who is probably on a six figure income likes a lower tax rate and doesn’t give a crap about the other stuff the shonky party does.

    Only politics geeks (including blog readers) like to analyse all the options and make an informed choice, but I’m pretty sure we are vastly outnumbered.

    PS. I am personally against ‘tactical’ voting, I wish people would just vote for the party they *actually* support, the results might be surprising.

  10. mik e 10

    Its time for National to stand up and be counted on
    Not likely more shifty Key spin is all we will receive in the next 3 years of economic stagnation and decline.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    14 hours ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    5 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    5 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    6 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    6 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    6 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    7 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    7 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    7 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago