Labour looks for Kiwis abroad

In the fourth in our series on political parties using technology in their general election campaigns, IDGNet talks to the Labour Party.

In the fourth in our series on political parties using technology in their general election campaigns, IDGNet talks to the Labour Party.

New Zealanders living overseas who can vote in the upcoming election are high on Labour's list of people to contact in the coming weeks, and as ever technology is providing the solution.

"It's very hard to isolate Kiwis living abroad, particularly in Australia, unless there's an All Black test on," quips Labour's party president Mike Williams.

Williams makes extensive use of technology in his day-to-day running of the party and generally communications with campaign managers only by email. At the same time, however, Williams says he's reluctant to make too much use of IT's potential.

"I'm jumpy about SMS as a means of communication - it's tantamount to cellphone spam, really."

Williams, who ran his own database marketing company until the late 1990s, is keen on new technologies to help make the voter experience simpler.

"You should be talking to the electoral staff about enrolling and voting online. That's a really interesting area."

Labour makes use of the electronic version of the electoral roll and uses its website for its policies and statements, but has no real plans to advertise beyond this level.

"All our stuff goes on the site and that's about it at this stage."

Williams is somewhat sceptical about the electoral roll and the uses it can be put to.

"It's a limited utility because voting is really an individual decision. You can't go in and say all women who live in Mt Eden, between the ages of 45 and 55, and who are in a particular profession are going to vote National or Labour. You almost have to make contact on a individual basis."

Labour uses an Access database for its electoral roll.

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