Posie Parker needs communication lesson

27 March 2023

If Posie Parker wants to get a message through to women, she first needs to understand how communication works. This post is purely about communication and not part of the debate about her views.

She appears to be making two common mistakes that many people make when campaigning about an issue. They are preventing her from getting her message through and questioning her ability to be taken seriously.

Firstly, she isn’t focusing purely on her message. I assume her main message is something like not wanting transgender men to be able to share facilities or play sport competitively with biological women. If I have that right, that should be her entire focus when talking to media, online or anywhere else. Not warning the PM to let her into the country, comments about security guards or making some of the claims she couldn’t back up like Billionaires funding the Transgender lobby.



Because people remember very little of what you say so you need to focus on a core message as much as possible. It’s also because media will only ever use pieces of what you say in their news stories. If you say little outside your core message, that’s what they’ll use.

But if you say all sorts of other things, they may quote that and ignore the points you make that you really want people to hear. A good example of this was when she dared Chris Hipkins to try to revoke her Visa. Because she said that, an entire story was devoted to it and nothing was mentioned about the actual points she wants covered. I also suspect a lot of people would be thinking she is more anti-transgender than pro-women because her message was so muddled.


Second mistake

Her second mistake was around her credibility. She seemed very hostile about the Transgender community which wouldn’t have gone down well with the general public. And sometimes she was not only hostile, but made some outrageous claims.  For example, in a media interview on Radio New Zealand she said this about the motives of the Transgender lobby. “At its extreme end, there are very dangerous people who want access to children and an entire dismantling of society.” After that, she would have lost any semblance of credibility among lots of people and failed again to get her core message across.


Final remarks

So purely from a communication and media training perspective, she could have done far better by focusing on her core message throughout. She could also have come across as far less hostile and more respectful of all groups, including the Transgender community (And I realise that wouldn’t have satisfied that community, but it would have helped her get her message across to women and other groups.)

It could be argued that she didn’t get many opportunities with media while in New Zealand. But by committing these mistakes, she failed to make the most of the airtime she did get.

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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