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. Shane JonesI 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 at giving reporters great sound bites and he moves his body with passion. But some of his answers and tone of voice make him fail the likeability test. His tone of voice can sound like he is talking down to his audiences. Jenny Shipley sometimes fell into this trap. He also seems insecure about his own wealth and tries to hide it. This is not good when he wants the trust of undecided voters. Contrast that with Shane Jones. He appears totally natural, is seen as honest and is liked by people across the political spectrum. He could attract votes from both the centre of politics as well as the many South Aucklanders who often don’t vote. Jones is probably the only senior Labour politician who could communicate with them on their level and inspire them to visit a polling booth on Election day. From a media training perspective, Jones would also be the best choice to challenge Key in political debates on TV. Key would not be the only one to come across as natural and be liked by the average kiwi. Time will tell. For more on our media training and crisis communication training, contact

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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.

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