James Shaw media communicator of 2015

22 December 2015

My 2015 media award goes to James Shaw

My media communicator of the year award goes to Greens co-leader James Shaw. He gets the award for the most consistent message and one I believe his whole party should follow.

His entire focus is Environmental. He never comments on social issues. Admittedly, his spokesperson responsibilities as a Green MP are in this area, but as co-leader he has the ability to comment on any number of issues. Metiria Turei does this, but he choses not to.

So why is this important?

His consistent message means that everyone understands where he is coming from and he cuts through the confusion between the two parts of Green Party policy. These are Environmentalism and Socialism. By following Shaw’s focus, the Greens message would be crystal clear and it would almost guarantee them a seat in any future government, whether that be Labour or National led.

By taking this approach, Shaw comes across as more of a centrist and credible politician who would favour any party that had the most compatible environmental policies. This would be a great bargaining chip around the negotiating table when it comes to forming governments.

Shaw appears to understand this. It was also evident when he welcomed the recent Climate Change agreement in Paris. Although he said more needed to be done, he welcomed it as a great start. His fellow MPs were far more negative.  This suggests he could work with National, whereas the Green Party has always given all the power to Labour in coalition negotiations, having always ruled out a deal with National.

It appears that Shaw would rather be inside the governing tent with power to implement some of the Green Party policies. The alternative is to sit on the sidelines and complain. They could learn from the Maori Party. They have a single focus and don’t get everything they want, but they get some things across the line.

Shaw has earned respect in his short time as Co-leader. He has shown the Greens how credible the party could become and the opportunities that could open up if they followed his lead and narrowed their message. Time will tell. Have a great Christmas.

For more on my media training or crisis communication planning, email or 029 200 8555

Filed under Media Training

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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