Gareth Morgan learns from Trump

26 January 2017

The only way for minor parties that don’t have a seat in Parliament to become relevant on Election Day is through news media coverage. That’s a tough job, particularly since they don’t have the resources that come with parliamentary representation. But it’s a job that Gareth Morgan seems to understand.

It’s not enough for these parties to focus on their policy. That won’t get them much attention, unless it’s radical and they get highly pro-active. The way to do it is to dress up the points they want to make in ways that make them irresistible to the news media. Donald Trump knew how to do this better than anyone. He used conflict and attacks on others to get his name and message out there. This got him something like four times as much media coverage as Hillary Clinton.

Following his speech at Ratana this week, Morgan appears to understand this. His target was Winston Peters. He wanted to make the point that Peters didn’t deserve the support of Maori. But he didn’t use some mundane abstract statement to do it. He said this: “Peters Cheshire Cat grin doesn't disguise the fact New Zealand First is selling Maori down the river".

He went on to says: "He has no empathy with the situation that Maori find themselves in. I can't understand why Maori don't stand up and call Winston out for being nothing more than an Uncle Tom." That was all over the news the next day, giving The Opportunities Party huge amounts of free publicity.

If you’re a consistent reader of my blog, you will have heard me emphasise the need to dress up points in interesting ways to attract media attention. Conflict is at the top of that list (Which is why Morgan got all of this coverage). Other interesting ways of dressing up points include the use of analogies, emotion, examples and comedy.

Morgan is media savvy. But what about other political parties that don’t have seats? If you’re like me, you will have been surprised when you see the list of candidates and parties on the list when you are voting. Most people wouldn’t recognise those candidates or parties, let along know what they stand for.

Morgan does have an advantage over these people because he is known and is media savvy. But if these mystery parties don’t get media savvy and know how to give reporters what they want, they might as well stay at home.

If you want to learn the five steps to pain free media interviews, download my White Paper at this link.

Written by

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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