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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...

Barclay issue could dilute Labour message

22 June 2017
The Labour Party will have to think seriously about how much attention they give to the Todd Barclay. While it may seem natural to attack Bill English, will it win them votes? If they look back to New Zealand’s last two Prime Ministers, they will see that attempts to discredit them failed on all counts. Many commentators predicted that John Key would lose popularity over ‘Ponytail Gate’, the GCSB issue and more. Helen Clark had her own challenges like ‘Paint Gate’...

Why Gareth Morgan gets news media attention

14 June 2017
Gareth Morgan seems to understand that without lots of media coverage, his party is history. Even with media attention, TOP will find it hard to get into Parliament because it has no state funding for campaigning, no state-funded staff and no automatic profile that comes with parliamentary seats. But Morgan’s knowledge of what levers to pull to attract interest from reporters and producers is why TOP has been able to get its message across to some extent and is now registering...

UK Conservatives push campaign message well on Social Media

8 June 2017
There have certainly been hiccups for the UK Conservatives in the lead-up to tomorrow’s Election, but before the latest terrorist attack in London, they were using social media well to hammer home their campaign message. One of the biggest mistakes leaders make in both media interviews and political campaigns is try to get too many points across and go into too much detail. They need a clear and simple message and repeat it again and again. A former Conservative Party leader...
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My Latest Blog Posts

15 September 2017
My advice for Ardern and English in last week
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1 September 2017
English body language ties debate
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10 August 2017
Jacinda knows what to focus on
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