My messaging advice to Greens

Posted April 6, 2017

The Greens are clearly trying to be seen as more mainstream with the launch of the campaign, “Give Green a go.” It’s clearly designed to show that people from all walks of life vote green, not just a whacky niche group. It’s also about telling voters who the Greens are.

It’s not a bad idea, but the party’s success will still come down to what the message is. With their signing of the “Budget Responsibility Rules,” with Labour, this needs some explaining.

Sue Bradford’s recent comments that the Greens have now moved away from the left of politics are interesting. Have the Greens given away their socialist economic policies to allow for a stable coalition? This looks to be the case, but some of their recent comments suggest they may not have.

For example, co-leader James Shaw recently said, “We know people are looking to hear from us about our social and economic messaging. They know we stand for the environment.”

That statement raises two issues. Are their socialist economic policies still part of the mix, and if so, how much focus do they intend to give them in the election campaign?

My advice would be to put their entire focus on the environment. That is how they can be taken more seriously, particularly since most of their leftist policies would never see the light of day in a future government. They will also have already lost some of those left wing voters like Bradford after signing the BRR.

By focusing on the environment, they would still get their share of votes from the left, but would also pick up disenchanted voters from both Labour and National. Who can forget those images of children on billboards a few elections ago whose future was threatened by climate change. They never had the impact they could have if the environment was the only message.

Shaw’s comment that people already know where the party stands on the environment is a great opportunity. They should make the threat of climate change the overall focus, and relate all other policies directly to that. For example, eco taxes. They need to keep it in people’s minds.

Shaw could take some advice from the following quote from Winston Churchill. “If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.”

People remember very little of what they hear or read. That’s why the message needs to be brief and hammered home. By focusing on this one major point, the Greens would get the message across and dent their whacky reputation on economic management.

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