Pete Burdon

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.

Labour's costly campaign message mistake

26 October 2023
There may have been multiple reasons why Labour did so badly at the recent General Election, but one was the absence of a clear campaign message. Any campaign, just like any media interview, needs a 3-point message that becomes the focus of all communication. It doesn’t mean that candidates don’t answer questions related to other issues, but it is the focus wherever possible. National had a very clear message. It was evident on the party website, most written communication as well...

David Seymour's big mistakes

12 October 2023
David Seymour has made two critical mistakes during the election campaign. This is likely to be why Act’s polling numbers have dropped. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I regard Seymour as probably the best media communicator in Parliament. But lately, he has been less impressive. Why? Firstly, it’s because he has diluted his message. Act’s clear campaign message at the outset focused on cutting government waste more than any other party, getting tough on Law and Order and...

Why Luxon won last night's debate

20 September 2023
Christopher Luxon was the clear winner of last night’s debate for two distinct reasons. Firstly, the parts of the debate that have been covered since have suggested a win to Luxon. Let me explain. Both leaders would have gone into the debate with some clear things they wanted to focus on. For National throughout the campaign that has been about “Rebuilding the economy, restoring Law and Order and improving Schools and Healthcare.” It’s plain to see on their website and what...

Posie Parker needs communication lesson

27 March 2023
If Posie Parker wants to get a message through to women, she first needs to understand how communication works. This post is purely about communication and not part of the debate about her views. She appears to be making two common mistakes that many people make when campaigning about an issue. They are preventing her from getting her message through and questioning her ability to be taken seriously. Firstly, she isn’t focusing purely on her message. I assume her main message...

Nicola Willis is my Media Communicator of the Year

21 December 2022
Communicating economic policy to laypeople can be a difficult job and many finance spokespeople fail because they wrongly assume that Joe Public understands far more than he actually does. How many times have you heard politicians use terms like ‘Fiscal Drag” or “Current Account Deficits?” Not many people know what these terms mean, so unless the audience is a group of economists or accountants, media spokespeople are best to stare clear of such language. It’s far better to use a basic...
Filed under Media Skills

Mayoral hopefuls failing to get message across

22 September 2022
Mayoral hopefuls across New Zealand are almost unanimously failing to let voters know what they stand for or why they deserve to lead their cities for the next three years. Why? Pure and simply they are saying too much. If they want voters to understand and remember what they say, they need to narrow down their message to a few key points and keep hammering those home. These would be the focus of all speeches, media interviews and debates. Even in...

Luxon's tax question problem and possible answer

28 April 2022
An important part of any media interview preparation is identifying the tough questions you might get and organising how to respond. This has been a problem for Christopher Luxon recently when he gets asked why his proposed tax cut changes would drop the 39 cent rate for those earning above $180,000. He gets questions like, “Why should the Prime Minister get an extra $18,000 a year with these changes when people are living in poverty, etc?” He doesn’t appear to have...

Christopher Luxon on the money with 'caring' comment

3 February 2022
Christopher Luxon’s comment that centre-right parties can seem uncaring and only focused on the economy is a breath of fresh air. This is so true, but it’s because their framing is all wrong. Let’s look at minimum wage laws as an example. Centre-right Governments are less inclined to increase minimum wages in tough economic times. They justify this by saying things like, “it’s bad for the economy” or “businesses can’t afford it.” Lots of people interpret this as, “they’re just supporting...

Why Greg Foran is my Media Communicator of the Year

16 December 2021
There are two specific reasons why this year’s honour goes to Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran for his work around Covid-19. Firstly, he proved that fronting up to media interviews is usually the best policy. There were so many Covid-19 stories involving Air NZ and he seemed to agree to appear to talk about every one of them. This is important and something many other CEOs and media spokespeople could learn from. Basically, if an issue affects your organisation, media...

Chris Luxon's Media Interview Skills

1 December 2021
My view is that your best media communicator should be your party leader because the media is the only place where 95 percent of voters will ever see you. I think National have found the right person. It comes down to two things. How well do they come across, and how effective are they at sticking to a clear message? Chris Luxon has shown that he comes across well. He looks genuine, in control and has the ability to show empathy...
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My Latest Blog Posts

26 October 2023
Labour's costly campaign message mistake
12 October 2023
David Seymour's big mistakes
20 September 2023
Why Luxon won last night's debate

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