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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.

Rachel Smalley gaffe highlights media training lesson

3 April 2014
Radio Presenter Rachel Smalley’s comment calling New Zealand women 'heifers' and 'a bunch of lardos' when she thought her microphone had been switched off illustrates an important lesson for anyone being interviewed by the news media. We always tell our media training clients to assume that the microphone is always on. Remember everything is on the record, so don’t relax after you think the ‘official interview’ is over. While this was the presenter who made the mistake, it shows how easy...

Could the media skills of Shane Jones still be Labour's answer?

28 March 2014
I said in this blog before the Labour Party leadership race last year that those voting should pick the candidate that comes across the best on TV. I stand by that statement. I always focus heavily on body language and tone of voice with my media training clients, because this is so important when it comes to likeability and trust in the media. David Cunliffe is an interesting character when in the media. He has good skills. He is a natural...

Malaysian Airlines, crisis communication and media training

21 March 2014
It has been a tough few weeks for Malaysian Airlines, so how effective have they been with their crisis communication? When the flight first went missing, they did a pretty good job. They had briefings about every two hours. That’s important because it means the media will not have to hunt elsewhere for story sources. The first principal of crisis communication should be to take control of the story. That means being the major source of information. To do this, you...

Collins prolongs pain and fuels media fire

14 March 2014
Judith Collins has not only taken a credibility hit from the Oravida issue, but she has kept the story in the media for far longer than was necessary. This blog last week said she had done well with her response to claims of a conflict of interest. She came across relaxed and confident in her media interviews, and used positive language to get her message across that she had done nothing wrong. I stand by that argument with the information we...

Judith Collins shows media skills over Oravida visit

6 March 2014
SIDESWIPE COLUMN: If you have arrived here after reading the NZ Herald Sideswipe column, please bear two things in mind. Firstly, this post was written at the first hint of an issue with Oravida, before most of the allegations against Judith Collins were made (2 months ago). I stand by what I said at the time, but obviously things changed dramatically very quickly. If you look at the blog I wrote immediately after this one with new information that came out,...

Could Colin Craig's defamation action be a cunning publicity stunt?

26 February 2014
While most commentators say Colin Craig should drop any legal proceedings against Russel Norman, could it actually work in his favour? The general view among commentators is that he should harden up, and he should get used to being attacked by political opponents if he wants to be a serious politician. But from a media training perspective, this could be a great opportunity for Craig to get more priceless publicity. The point here is that those who like Craig seem to...

Cunliffe makes critical media mistake

20 February 2014
Labour leader David Cunliffe made a critical media training mistake this week when he tried to downplay his affluence and the value of his house. He tried to create the impression that Prime Minister John Key was out of touch with average New Zealanders because he owned a $10 million house in the leafy suburb of Parnell. This clearly left him open to attack, as he also lives in a wealthy suburb and has an expensive house (although not as expensive)....

Countdown makes crisis communication mistakes

13 February 2014
Its failure to front up on TV in the first few hours after the claims made against it by Shane Jones under parliamentary privilege yesterday could hurt Progressive Enterprises. This situation is the type of worst nightmare our media training and crisis communication clients describe when we ask them their reason for attending our courses. Progressive (owners of Countdown) have done a number of things correctly when it comes to crisis communication. They got a statement out reasonably quickly. Their spokesperson...

Media skills of new leader vital for Act hopes

7 February 2014
The media skills of new Act leader Jamie Whyte will largely determine how well his party does at this year’s General Election. Although Act is likely to win Epson with help from National, the hopes of getting another MP or two over the line will be determined by how much positive media attention Whyte gets around the country. This is where his media training skills will be vital. If he learns how to speak in sound bites, like John Key and...

Lorde and the airport media scrum

31 January 2014
Lorde was not the first person to be surprised by the media scrum she encountered at Auckland Airport this week. And she will not be the last. When people are thrust into the media spotlight, the demands from journalists and their editors can be irritating to say the least. But these days, it’s a fact of life that someone who has achieved such an amazing feat on the world stage will attract intense media interest. And remember that’s only because the...
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My Latest Blog Posts

28 April 2022
Luxon's tax question problem and possible answer
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3 February 2022
Christopher Luxon on the money with 'caring' comment
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16 December 2021
Why Greg Foran is my Media Communicator of the Year
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