John Key doing ok, Bill English could do better

Published: Mon 30 Nov 2009 11:10 AM
News Release
John Key doing ok while Bill English could do better
New Zealanders speak out online
30 November, 2009, Auckland; New Zealanders have been ranting, raving, praising and assailing John Key and Bill English online over their first year in office, according to online blog and forum media monitoring conducted by the Nielsen Company’s Online Division.
Nielsen’s BuzzMetrics service uses pioneering software to measure and monitor comments made on internet publically displayed message boards and blogs and in doing so have determined how the New Zealand population has perceived John Key and Bill English during their first year in office.
The results are generally okay for the Prime Minister, but shed light on some particularly harsh opinions about the country’s current Minister for Finance.
With regard to John Key, New Zealanders have been discussing everything from his plaster cast being put up for auction on Trade Me, to his politics, in 10,310 comments throughout his first year. Activity spikes surrounded his appearance on the David Letterman show, his perceived ignoring of the anti-smacking referendum and the attack at Waitangi. (See Chart 1)
Overall John Key has (14%) negative comments; (12%) positive; (74%) mixed (no opinion), with tones ranging from the acerbic to the congratulatory:
1. “Our ‘leaders’ don't really care about this country. John Key isn't any different. He threw a hissy fit in parliament once, because Labour missed out on a great business opportunity in Iraq.”
2. “Nice to see a PM, smiling for a change, and getting rid of silly red tape etc. Notice he has nicer teeth than Helen, and his voice doesn't grate on my nerves like hers. He will be great, as he listens.”
Many Key online supporters seemed to also forgive his actions because of his personable demeanor:
3. “He has spent a lot of time doing not very much so far. He seems a good natured sort but hardly action man.”
4. “I don't agree with John Key's political and economic ideology, and his stance on the anti-smacking law is despicable at best, but I will say this for him: he comes across as a nice guy. [...] Key is a Keynsian Socialist and therefore a public menace, but at least he's a personable one.”
Bill English, on the other hand, has received more consistently negative feedback, with (30%) negative, (7%) positive, and (63%) mixed comments. Bill English was mentioned 2,102 times through the first year; the majority of these discussions surrounding his recent allowance issues:
“For the leaders of the country to make out it was just a coincident that Bill English had just decided to change his family trust on the family home at the particular time he did and earn HIS family trust $700.00 extra pw defys [sic: defies] belief…”
This final comment highlights the relevance and importance of these Nielsen BuzzMetrics findings, and illustrates that New Zealand politicians should perhaps be paying attention to the ongoing popularity polls that are happening right now online:
“Perception is reality. Something Deputy Prime Minister Bill English was loudly reminded of this week. Even though no rules had been broken, the perception that somehow he had bucked the system, and as a result, was receiving an allowance almost twice as much as any other Minister to live in his own home in Wellington, was very real. [...] Perception is reality and reputation rules.”
The Nielsen BuzzMetrics service tracks 200,000 unique individuals as well as over 4,000 unique blogs and 4.5 million comments in New Zealand. Globally, the service tracks more than 78 million blogs and 100,000 communities, and has more than three billion comments in its database.
Chart 1: Message count John Key and Bill English. November 2008 – November 2009

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