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 just that. While many people were infuriated by it, there will still be a significant minority group of New Zealanders who agreed with it. Remember ACT only need about two percent of the vote to get three MPs.

The party also did well to keep the story in the news. They got publicity about the initial comments, the resignation of a candidate, when Race Relations Conciliator Susan Devoy condemned it, then again when Whyte wrote an open letter to Devoy. That’s good PR.

The other thing ACT have done well is to break down the messages they will focus on in the Election campaign to four. My only criticism of this is that it is better to have three rather than four. That’s because the more messages you give people, the less likely they are to remember any of them. This is something we focus heavily on with our media training clients.

ACT’s messages are: one law for everyone, get tough on crime, a low flat tax and cutting green tape.

Every party needs to do this. If they don’t focus on a few messages, no-one will know any of their policies. I’ll be interested to see if ACTs recent publicity has impacted on its popularity in opinion polls. If they want to grow their vote, they will need to do more of the same. In other words, get seen and focus on their core messages.

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Filed under Media Training

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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