“The ACT Party will write to the Auditor General to raise concerns about Jacinda using Government research into vaccinations to check how her Facebook’s going,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“In July, ACT revealed that the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has spent $252,945 on both quantitative and qualitative research, including opinion polls and focus groups on the Unite Against COVID-19 campaigns.
“We can now reveal that it included research on the popularity and reactions to Jacinda Ardern’s Facebook page, including a Facebook Live recorded in her living room.
“Other Facebook posts that were analysed include her press conferences from the podium of truth that have increasingly become party political broadcasts.
“The expensive research reports back to Ardern how many thumbs up and love heart emojis she receives and analyses the comments that people were leaving.
“When ACT uncovered the quarter a million dollars on focus groups, we warned that the Government was making decisions on COVID based on popularity, rather than the science.
“We know that this is a Prime Minister who likes to be liked. She’s a poll driven Prime Minister who puts political popularity ahead of doing the right thing.
“Researching public opinion of the vaccine rollout is legitimate. Researching Jacinda Ardern’s political popularity on her Facebook Page is a blatant misuse of taxpayer money. Her Facebook Page is not a public asset.
“Jacinda Ardern should apologise to New Zealanders for coat tailing research on her Facebook onto public health research. The Labour Party should pay it back like the pledge card it used in 2005.”
Links to the research released under the Official Information Act can be found below.