Norman exit will hand Little more media coverage

5 February 2015

The honeymoon continues for Labour Leader Andrew Little as a major competitor for media attention has now moved aside.

During the last two electoral terms, Russel Norman often took the media limelight at the expense of Labour when it came to attacking National Party policy.  This is a role usually filled by the leader of the strongest opposition party.

Norman pulled this off for two reasons. Firstly, he was better than consecutive Labour Leaders at giving the media the sound bites they wanted for their stories. In other words, he could sum up what he wanted to say in interesting ways in a matter of seconds. David Shearer and Phil Goff had difficulty doing this.

The second reason he took the limelight was that Green Party Economic Policy didn’t seem quite as wacky with Norman at the helm as it did previously. This made him more credible than earlier Green Party Leaders.

But now the tide may turn back to Labour. That would be partly due to Little’s improved skills in front of the camera. But more importantly, the Greens don’t have anyone as effective as Norman to compete with Labour for that all important sound bite.

Metiria Turei can come across well, but she is clearly from the far-left and not as credible on economic policy.  The other options are not as media savvy as Norman.

It’s my view that it’s been Norman’s profile over the last six years that has got the Greens from 5 percent of the vote to a consistent 10 percent in the last two Elections. This is a classic example of how important media skills are to political leaders.

Time will tell how this will affect the Greens and how it will increase the media profile of the new Labour Leader.

For more on my media training workshops, contact or 029 200 8555.

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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