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.

ACTs new name to get message across

19 June 2018
There have been murmurings that the ACT Party may change its name in the hope of getting more attention and votes at the next Election. That’s a great idea and I have the perfect option. I’d call it “The New National Party” in the same way Jim Anderton used “New labour” in the 1990s. Why change? Firstly, I don’t think many people understand what ACT’s actual message is, let alone what the acronym stands for. But it’s clearly a party of...

Seymour letter offers valuable media lesson

24 May 2018
I’m sure David Seymour is quite happy about the publicity he’s been getting around a letter he wrote warning that social housing in Epsom could bring tenants with ‘Mental Health Issues,” into the suburb. But it brings up an important point about writing anything that might fall into the hands of the media. I often have people show me statements they are about to send to the media on serious issues or allegations. They want me to make any changes I...

New National leader and McDonalds

20 February 2018
There’s been so much debate about who the next leader of the National Party should be and why. Some say experience plus generational change, others say the one who can push Jacinda around the most, while others say a new face is the answer. None of this matters? In my view, none of that is important. That’s because the new leader has to be the one who can bond with swinging voters by showing warmth on camera. End of story. They...

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...
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My Latest Blog Posts

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

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