Media Training NZ Blog

What should National do about media leaks?

21 August 2014
The drip-feeding of leaked material to the media after the Nicky Hager book was launched is obviously of concern to the National Party. So what should they do? That depends. If there is a smoking gun somewhere, the National Party person or people involved must be aware of it. I’m certainly not saying there is something more explosive to come out. There may well not be. But if there is and they know about it, there is only one thing to...

What messages should parties adopt after Nicky Hager book?

15 August 2014
All political parties must think carefully how they respond to the Hager allegations over the next few weeks. They will have decided on their election campaign messages well before this issue was raised. But now it is the focus of media attention, how should parties respond? Should they ignore it in favour of their carefully selected campaign messages, or should opposition parties jump in with both feet? In my view, that depends. Clearly National should maintain its denial of any conspiracy....

ACT on the right track to maximise votes

8 August 2014
ACT may have been quiet since Jamie Whyte became leader, but the party now appears to be doing the right things in its push to get more than one MP into Parliament after September 20. To be relevant, small parties need to get their fair share of publicity. In other words, potential voters need to have you on their radar for you to have any chance of getting their support. Jamie Whyte’s recent statements about “one law for all” has done...

Why Colin Craig isn't getting any traction

1 August 2014
When people first saw Colin Craig, they liked him. He was a political novice, but seemed likeable and honest. That’s probably why he got close to three percent in the last General Election. But when that novelty wears off, and it has, more is needed. He needs a message, something people like that distinguishes him and his party from the rest. National focus on their management of the economy, while Labour traditionally concentrate on getting a fair go for workers. In...

Another side show prevents Labour media message getting out

25 July 2014
It was only a few days ago that Labour leader David Cunliffe said the party had to stop talking about issues that don’t affect New Zealanders, and focus on the key messages of jobs, homes and families. That’s good advice. If the party wants voters to know exactly how to distinguish Labour from others, MPs all need to focus on a narrow range of issues throughout the Election campaign. Just as we tell our media training clients to focus on a...

How well did Countdown respond to the racial profiling incident?

16 July 2014
After a woman was identified over a Countdown store intercom as a “Maori Woman in aisle One” because she was suspected of shoplifting, allegations of racial profiling were put to Countdown Owners, Progressive Enterprises. So how well did they respond? They didn’t do too badly, but it could have been better. Firstly, as we tell our media training clients, if a mistake is made, the best thing to do is apologise immediately. To their credit, this is exactly what Progressive did....

Twitter can help smaller parties get media coverage

9 July 2014
Social media offers smaller parties a huge opportunity to increase their publicity during the coming Election campaign. But how many will take advantage of it? Most would bet the Internet Party, but there’s no reason others can’t also benefit. Obviously parties will grow their own network of followers on twitter, but how can they increase their profile in traditional media through using social? One answer is by understanding what the traditional media look for in their quotes and sound bites. Let’s...

Important media lesson from National Party Conference

1 July 2014
Leaders from all walks of life could learn a valuable lesson from the National Party Conference at the weekend. It is simply the importance of limiting the messages you want to get across and repeating them consistently. One of the key points Ministers clearly wanted to get across was the danger of complacency leading into this year’s Election. They wanted to make sure supporters still go out to vote, even if they thought National would romp home. They continually emphasised that...

What schools can learn from the Pacific Christian School

26 June 2014
It has clearly been a difficult few days for students, staff and parents of Pacific Christian School. While I’m sure it is a great school, there are a few lessons others can learn from this. Mainly is the need for a tailored crisis communication plan. It’s very important for a school to communicate with all of its stakeholders immediately after something like this happens. All that needs to be initially is a short statement on the school website offering condolences to...

Cunliffe falls into media trap

20 June 2014
David Cunliffe made a subtle media mistake when admitting he had written a letter in support of a residency application for a Chinese businessman. When asked, “Did you lie about this,” he answered “I did not lie.” While that may seem a reasonable answer, using those specific words causes more credibility issues when said in a media interview. I’m not telling him to dodge the question, just answer it in a different way. When asked, “Did you lie about this,” he...
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