Big online audience for Massey’s election debate

A pre-election debate hosted by Massey University and media partner stuff reached more than 265,000 people yesterday as it was live-streamed on the stuff website.

The debate, held in Wellington, was the culmination of a three-month campaign to gauge people’s views on the challenges facing New Zealand in the run-up to this year’s general election.

Candidates from five political parties answered questions submitted by stuff readers at the event in Wellington, which also generated 2895 reactions, comments and shares on Facebook.

The campaign kicked off with a survey created by Associate Professor Grant Duncan from the School of People, Environment and Planning. The survey was promoted on and was completed by about 40,000 respondents. A follow-up survey attracted nearly 50,000 participants.

The reader-engagement survey sought to gauge the mood of New Zealanders in the run-up to the general election. The key themes to emerge from the responses were concerns about growing inequality and large differences in the views of younger and older New Zealanders on a range of issues, including health, housing education, climate change and immigration.

Opinion pieces from Massey academics specialising in those research areas were published on the stuff website and in partner newspapers to promote the surveys and, in the run-up to the debate, to “crowdsource” questions from readers.

Stuff will continue to produce news stories from the survey results until election day and Massey politics specialists will continue to provide election and post-election commentary.

The debate is available to view on

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