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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...

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...

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...

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...

Why Steve Hansen's "like kissing your sister" worked so well

10 July 2017
We haven’t seen anyone master the use of the analogy to get a point across since John Key left the top job. But it now seems that someone in another top job has stolen the mantle. Steve Hansen’s description of the drawn series with the Lions as “a bit like kissing your sister” has led the news coverage of the result in New Zealand, and even more so in the UK. John Key was the master of the analogy. He regularly...

Shane Jones the man for 2020, not this year

6 July 2017
I doubt Shane Jones will have any impact in this year’s Election, but 2020 could be a different story. With Election campaigns being dominated by party leaders and Winston Peters always offering the media an exciting sound bite, he will undoubtedly dominate the New Zealand First media attention. The party would be silly to plan it any other way because many would argue that Peters is New Zealand First. But what about the next Election? If Peters doesn’t stand as a...

Bad time to get media attention, but when's good?

28 June 2017
Anyone trying to generate some good publicity in the New Zealand mainstream media over the last week will have been completely out of luck. Why? There’s been so much big news, meaning there has been little space for anything other than political scandals and the Americas Cup victory. Often people who have good news to tell approach media without thinking about what else is competing for the limited space that’s available. The last week is a great example of when it...
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My Latest Blog Posts

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