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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.

Bill English my Media Communicator of the Year

15 December 2017
Bill English’s greatly improved media skills were a major reason why National won far more votes than any other party in September’s Election and why he is my Media Communicator of the Year. Why was he so much better? In two words, Body Language. I must admit that I had my doubts when he became leader. I always say that your leader needs to be the person with the best media skills and I didn’t think English was that person. He...

Shaun Johnson and online apologies

22 November 2017
You may be aware that Kiwi Rugby League star Shaun Johnson recently apologised on Facebook after comments he made after the NZ loss to Fiji last week implied that fans had got what they wanted. How effective was his apology? Firstly, good on him for apologising. It was the right thing to do and I think it has worked well for him. However, there were two things with it that could have been better and these are things anyone should be...

Don't repeat Winston's big mistake

13 October 2017
It should be Media Training 101, but Winston Peters has fallen into a trap where lots of leaders have been before him and many more will follow. I’m talking about giving the news media timelines or deadlines of when things will happen when you can’t guarantee it. Obviously I’m talking about his guarantee that a Government would be formed by yesterday. Now it could be next week. This is hugely significant for any leader who talks to the media. Why? Apart...

5 media spokesperson lessons from Election

29 September 2017
1 How you come across in the media means just as much, or more than policy If anything Jacinda’s policy platform was worse than Andrew Little’s (mainly around the ‘captains call’ on the tax working group and the backtrack on that)’. Despite this, she moved the party from 23 percent in the polls to 35 percent on Election Day. THE LESSON. Make sure your leader comes across well in the news media, otherwise find someone else. 2 People care more about...

My advice for Ardern and English in last week

15 September 2017
If I was advising any political party in the last week of the campaign, I’d be telling them to start using stories and examples to get their points across. Jacinda Ardern showed how powerful this can be when she mentioned how Waikato Hospital tried to send her grandfather home at 11.30pm the other night. That’s was a great way to make her point about health system underfunding. Why? Because people are more interested in actual stories or examples than they are...

English body language ties debate

1 September 2017
I always find it surprising that commentators focus little attention on body language in political debates, when it often has more influence than what anyone says. That’s precisely why Jacinda is so popular and why Andrew Little wasn’t. But the big mover in the body language stakes last night was Bill English. His biggest problem has been how he comes across. He’s always had the economic credibility, and he proved that again last night. But in the debate he was far...

Jacinda knows what to focus on

10 August 2017
One thing that’s been impressive from Jacinda Ardern since she took the Labour leadership is how she has been selective about what to comment on. When a negative issue hits a political party or business, leaders usually need to front up to put their side of the story. But if its not that serious or they are not the focus, sometimes it’s best to avoid comment. Why? For a politician, they want people to vote for them. That’s why they need...

Turei issue alienates Green Party environmental message

30 July 2017
There’s been lots of debate over the last few weeks about what people will think about Metiria Turei’s admission to benefit fraud when she was a solo mother at University. Will people punish her for breaking the law? or will it grow the Green vote because she highlighted the need for changes in the welfare system? The jury is still out on that. However, this whole issue could hurt the Greens in another way that I haven’t heard any commentators discuss....

Labour needs to break message down to concrete terms

25 July 2017
Labour’s decision to reverse National’s tax cuts and spend some of that money on health and education is clearly a big ideological difference between the parties. However, it does mean that Labour has a harder job to communicate the benefits of its policy. This blog isn’t about the value of each option, but how easy it is to communicate the benefits to potential voters. The reason Labour has the harder job is because announcing they will add 8 billion to the...

Turei shows power of personal stories

18 July 2017
One of the best ways to make a point stick with audiences is to relate it to a personal story. This brings the point to life, makes it concrete and adds emotion. This makes it attractive for reporters to use as the focus of their stories and sticks in the minds of those who hear or see it. This is clearly understood by Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, who admitted to withholding information from WINZ as a solo mother because it would...
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My Latest Blog Posts

15 December 2017
Bill English my Media Communicator of the Year
More
22 November 2017
Shaun Johnson and online apologies
More
13 October 2017
Don't repeat Winston's big mistake
More

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