Bill English most talked about leader on Twitter, topping Jacinda Ardern's 'stardust' effect

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NZN

Lipstick on a pig might have trended globally, but Bill English is the most talked about leader on Twitter.

Mr English told the Whangarei Boys' High School students the redevelopment was a "sign of your country's faith in you".

Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealanders are taking to the social media platform in record numbers this election having conversations the major parties might find surprising.

Almost a quarter of those tweeting about the September 23 election are talking about the National leader (23 per cent), while 21 per cent are focused on Jacinda Ardern.

Former Green co-leader Metiria Turei has been the third most talked about Kiwi MP on Twitter since mid-July, around the time she confessed to committing benefit fraud in the 1990s.

Ms Ardern's second place behind Mr English is perhaps surprising given the global attention she has attracted, particularly since becoming leader on August 1.

Twitter's Australia-New Zealand head of public policy and government, Kara Hinesley, says questions around whether Ms Ardern would have children became global 'moments' on the platform.

The hashtag #lipstickonapig, based on a comment by The Opportunities Leader Gareth Morgan, trended globally.

The Labour leader says her party is balancing "the need for urgency" and giving Kiwis certainty they're asking for.

Jacinda Ardern

Source: 1 NEWS

"That was the big one. That swept across the globe," Ms Hinesley told NZ Newswire.

While housing and tax have been big issues for voters, the two combined come a distant second to immigration when it comes to what's being talked about on Twitter.

Nearly half - 46 per cent - of all election-related issues have been around immigration.

"Initially it was Labour's proposal they were putting forward in terms of cutting the numbers ... trying to figure out if they would actually cut it or if they were paying lip service," Ms Hinesley said.

"In terms of National, overall sentiment seemed to be that National is encouraging wealthy immigrants to come over."

Economics has been was the second most talked about topic, but only by 19 per cent of users.

That encompasses many of this election's major issues including taxation, housing, socio-economic divides.

National security was the third most talked about issue, spiking after the visit by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this year, while environment barely cracks a mention at just one per cent of the conversation.

As for when people care, it's the debates that generate the most chatter.

"We're seeing record numbers. The last debate spiked under #nzpol around 48,000 to 50,000 tweets over the debate," Ms Hinesley said.

"We're starting to see these really big spikes, tens of thousands, in a very short time."

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