Most Engaged NZ Politicians on Instagram and their Top Performing Posts 

In the final week of campaigning of Election 17, Instagram has provided a snapshot of the 10 most engaged political candidates and their top over-performing posts.

Instagram has become an essential tool in the campaign toolkit, offering a front row seat and backstage pass to the election. It offers a new form of civic engagement for an increasingly digital population with both candidates and the Instagram community showing a more personal side of politics.

The account with the most interactions (favorites and comments) over the last 30 days belongs to the Labour Party Leader Jacinda Adern (51,863) who also has the highest following of all New Zealand’s politicians (27,346). The second next politician generating the most interactions is National’s Upper Hutt candidate Chris Bishop (14,494), followed by National Party Leader Bill English (11,151). Green Party candidate Chloe Swabrick (5,462) takes #4 in the total interactions list and is closely followed by her party colleague Hayley Holt (3,244).

The ten most engaged politicians (and total interactions) over the last 30 days:

1 Jacinda Adern 51,863
2 Chris Bishop 14,494
3 Bill English 11,151
4 Chlöe Swarbrick 5,462
5 Hayley Holt 3,244
6 Nikki Kaye 2,643
7 Kiri Allan 2,507
8 Julie Anne Genter 2,264
9 Baljit Kaur 1,632
10 James Shaw 1,597


The most followed Instagram account belongs to Jacinda Adern (27,364), a change from July when this title was held by Green Party candidate Hayley Holt who is now the second most followed (13,305). Chloe Swarbrick (8,446) takes the third place (also cameoing in 7th) and is followed by National Party Leader Bill English (4,432) in forth, the same place he held in July. National Party’s Chris Bishop (1,793) has the fifth most followed account – but has the second highest total interactions.

The ten most followed politicians over the last 30 days:

# Account Name Followers
1 Jacinda Adern 27,346
2 Hayley Holt 13,305
3 Chole Swarbrick 8,446
4 Bill English 4,432
5 Chris Bishop 1,793
6 Nikki Kaye 1,627
7 Julie Anne Genter 1,546
8 Marama Davidson 1,411
9 Kiri Allan 1,384
10 Bala Venu Beeram 1,314

“Instagram has grown in recent years to become an essential tool in the campaigning toolbox. It’s become the place for candidates to share a more personal side of politics, and where people express themselves during major civic and cultural moments,” says John Tass Parker, Head of Politics and Government, Instagram.

Below is the top ‘overperforming’ Instagram post (based on a post’s engagement relative to other posts from that account), for each candidate in the top ten, over the last 30 days. These show candidates on the campaign trail, from Jacinda Ardern preparing for a leaders debate, to Nikki Kaye visiting residents in central Auckland, and James Shaw planting trees in Island Bay.

1. Jacinda Ardern in the green room before the TV3 leaders debate.

Green room/locker room! Here we go. #leadersdebate #letsdothis

A post shared by Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) on

2. Chris Bishop’s flash back Friday tribute to Beatles haircut.

#FlashbackFriday to when I went through a Beatles phase at university…

A post shared by Chris Bishop (@cjsbishop) on

3. Bill English on with son Xavier out on the campaign trail

4. Chloe Swarbrick in Cuba Street, Wellington

5. Hayley Holt works the phones for the Ilam Greens in Christchurch

6. Nikki Kaye campaigning in central Auckland.

7. Kiri Allan’s picture of a very cute newborn Hiwa-i-te-rangi Rangitaia Ramarihi Allan-Coates.

8. Julie-Anne Genter enjoying a Hawkes Bay beach.

9. Baljit Kaur selfie in front of a former Labour PM’s home.

Selfie taken from the balcony of Hon Mike Moore’s house.Beautiful view.

A post shared by Baljit Kaur (@pannu_nz) on

10. James Shaw tree planting in Island Bay.