My messaging advice to Greens

6 April 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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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.

Add a comment1 Comment

Reply John Veitch | June 13th, 2017 at 10:10pm
Hello Peter

Sadly you are away off base. You know nothing about Green Party economic policy. That's your right, if you choose to be ignorant about it. Very few people in the Green Party think about socialist economic principles. Our agenda is completely different. The Labour Party might be trapped by socialist thinking. That's their weakness. It's thinking focused on the past, with no understanding of the future. Bound to fail.

Are you watching the programme "What's Next" most of what people are voting for is GREEN PARTY POLICY, I've been working towards what they are calling "Plan B" for the last 30 years. Here's some stuff I wrote TEN years ago.

You might think that sort of thinking is "whacky" but it's real, the earth's environment TOTALLY controls our social environment and our economic environment in the long run.

The National Party believe that the cascade of short-run victories over the social environment and the physical environment is the key to economic success. That's what they have done for the last eight years. And they've produced a "surplus" to demonstrate their "success".

From my web page:"But in the short term politicians know they can buy votes by robbing people who don't vote. They also rob the future to pay the present, and they happily destroy the environment in favour of easy cash today."

So National keeps wages as low as possible, they encourage irrigation and destroy our clean rivers, they degrade the education system and the health system, they put even more people in prison. And then they want our VOTES. Not mine, I have different principles.

You don't want the Greens to explain that the National Party way to be successful is to find someone, or something weak and powerless to rob. That's NORMAL, capitalism has always worked that way, success for the powerful. I'm not blaming the National Party for adopting that model of success, that's been a well walked path for 4000 years. It will destroy humanity unless we change it

But in an over populated world, that has over exploited the oceans, that has lost most of the earth's topsoil, that has destroyed the forests, that has poisoned the atmosphere with CO2, that has caused the sixth great extinction, mankind needs to adopt another model.

My belief is pessimistic. The time to act was 30 years ago. Ten years ago I thought we could still get out of this self created mess. Now I realise that there is no escape. Mankind will cause his own destruction. Guy McPherson says within TEN years. I'm not that gloomy, but I expect your children will suffer severely, Pete, because of policies you have actively supported.

You have been actively stealing their future. You can't give it back, it's gone. Take a look at Coes Ford. You can't save them from sea level rise. I expect much of lowland Christchurch will be uninsurable for flood risk within 30 years. You can't save them from the coming economic collapse nor from the war that will follow. We did this to ourselves. We call it business as usual.

Another way is possible, but it's unlikely we'll take it.

John Veitch

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