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Carrick Graham
New Zealand
New Zealand


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What will Winston Do?

In just a short time, the Rt Hon Winston Peters will be the Acting Prime Minister of New Zealand.

It's meant to be for six weeks.

But what happens if something happens that severely dents the relationship between Labour and NZ First? Could we see Peters say he has lost confidence in Labour, and that as Acting Prime Minister, it is his duty to look to the largest party in the House and form a new Government?

Peters has outlasted John Key, Bill English, Steven Joyce with whom he didn't particularly get along with, but those hurdles have now gone.

Could he get along with National Leader Simon Bridges? Would we need a General Election?

How Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern deals with these sorts of issues defines her leadership legacy.

#NZGovernment #reputationmanagement #PR

How to Frame An Issue Against Business

There's a war raging. The problem is that one side seems so keen on the battle that they've lost sight of reason.

Take the framing by a public health campaigner who believes that a proposal by the Australian Food and Grocery Council is 'Industry Interference LIVE in action'. Heaven's forbid that they may have a view.

This week we see the University of Auckland start recruiting for its $800,000+ research 'investigating ways in which unhealthy commodity industries (alcohol, tobacco, gambling and food) influence public policy. The project goal is to understand specific mechanisms by which tobacco, alcohol, gambling and unhealthy food and beverage industries create conditions favourable for influencing policy-makers.'

No doubt they'll be 'researching' the activities of Sara Tucker, Colin Espiner APR, Katherine Rich @SimonKenny and others. Expect to see alarming headlines, press releases, journal publications, posters and conference attendances to 'expose' the fact that companies discuss issues with regulators.

All of this will be framed as 'Industry Interference'.

#framing #reputationmanagement #regulation

Front Foot It or Wait For The Storm

What happens when the Government knows about a potentially explosive (not literally) story that will send shockwaves through its carefully stage-managed public relations’ efforts?

What happens when speculation and chatter start to swirl on social media and political journalists start looking into it?

If it’s a story that has significant public interest, what should the Government do?

On one hand, there’s the line “were you in the room at the same time?” Essentially this get out of jail card can be utilised if there’s a clear-cut case of the person making the comment not being there at the time, so they don’t actually know. If there’s no proof the story is simply framed as a nasty rumour.

On the other hand, if there’s evidence that supports the story, is it a better political strategy to wait it out and see what happens?

From a PR perspective, if it’s a negative story, sometimes the best strategy is to front-foot it. Doing so ensures you frame it first and endeavor to control the messaging. A mea-culpa also helps.

New Zealanders are a pretty forgiving bunch at the end of the day.

#Reputationmanagement #PR #NZGovernment

How the Media Frames the Government?

When you look at what photographs of Labour /NZ First/Green Government Ministers are paired with a story, the line a picture can paint a thousand words certainly rings true.

Take the images below. The announcement that the Government was ending new permits for oil and gas exploration in New Zealand provides a classic example.

The Minister of Forestry, Infrastructure and Regional Economic Development Hon Shane Jones looks less than chuffed. The Energy Minister looks like a possum in the headlights. The Prime Minister looks as though she is explaining.

While there are literally thousands of photographs of the Prime Minister and her Ministers, the ones chosen by media can go a long way in framing how the public will view an issue. They also provide a glimpse of the moment, which also provides insights into how Ministers are really feeling.

#NZGovernment #Media #Reputationmanagement #PR

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How to Frame a Budget.

You know the Government is deperate to dampen down expectations about their first Budget as Government, when you read the following comment by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that it 'plans to drip feed details about the dire state of the nation's public services in the lead up to next month's Budget'.

In other words, run a PR campaign that frames and diverts the debate to one of blaming the previous Government as to why they can't meet the promises they made during last year's election campaign.

Here's another example of the strategy in play; 'While she refused to give any details of what's coming, Ms Ardern indicated the government would release stories of the public sector underfunding by the National government.'

Maybe its just a simple case of getting into Government and suddenly realising there's no hope of meeting their promises, so pull the old trick of blaming the previous administration.

#Budget2018 #NZGovernment #PR #ReputationManagement

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Is this the weakest link in Government?

I want this Government to succeed. I really do; for the sake of the country and for New Zealanders who just want to get on with their lives without the distraction of constant political shenanigans.

But sadly each time the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters are overseas, forcing Labour's Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis to step up, it never goes well, and the media know this. And perception is everything in politics.

The perception of a weak link is further reinforced when the Deputy Leader is not even included in the Prime Minister's inner circle of power Ministers. The inevitable outcome is that trouble starts to brew with political egos at stake.

Take how Labour deals with freshwater rights and consultation with iwi. This issue is likely to be one of the defining issues for this Government - see Jo Moir stuff article

And this is where Davis plays a key role in how genuine iwi consultations are perceived by Maori, alongside future Maori support for the Government.

How this plays out will be very interesting.

#NZGovernment #reputationmanagement #PR #nzpolitics

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Nicotine, Sugar, Alcohol - How does New Zealand compare?

New research just published provides an interesting look at contentious public health issues, and in particular compares the perceived harmfulness of different products and substances.

The graphs below list the top three substances of concern to each of the 13 countries surveyed. New Zealand stands out for not having 'fat' listed in the top three. Also interesting to note is that Israel and New Zealand are the only countries that list sugar in the top three.

While there will be a wide range of possible explanations for this, perhaps one answer could be that this is the result of concerted public health advocacy on the top-line substances of nicotine, sugar and alcohol.

Link for this research -

There will be some pleased that caffeine doesn't get a ranking.

#publichealth #nicotine #sugar #alcohol

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Who Will Win?

The old line is that a week is a long time in politics. Yet despite this week's political maschinations, various commentators are starting to highlight what might just be the most destablising element in the Labour/NZ First/Green coalition Government - and it's not the Greens.

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had to 'have a word' with Shane Jones after his ardent criticism of Air New Zealand and its Board, alongside defending the Government's position on the British spy poisoning case thanks to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peter's apparent refusal to accept the Russians' were responsible.

Richard Harman's Politik (which is a must read) has an excellent insight into the Labour/ NZ First relationship and suggests the relationship is already strained and, unfortunately, is likely to cause more issues for the Prime Minister.

While politics is about playing to specific audiences and framing language to get headlines, the problem arises when this rhetoric starts to dent business confidence. It also hints at a Government that thinks it knows best.

#NZGovernment #politics #reputationmanagement

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How was this ever going to be a good idea?

The Ministry for the Environment has been petitioned by a Hastings man, who is inviting a private landowner to give up their land to create a safe haven for the vulnerable species.

Federated Farmers' Environment Spokesperson Chris Allen said the idea is outlandish and poorly thought out.

"As a High Country farmer you'd be worried about your livestock and your own welfare for that matter, this would actually become a health and safety issue," he said.

#Regulation #nzgovernment #FederatedFarmers

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Politics: An issues-rich environment.

I feel for the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. .

But it seems not a day goes by without the Government facing some form of ‘crisis’ in terms of reputation management.

While crisis might be a strong word, all this negative noise creates the perception that all is not tidy in the Beehive.

Current issues causing problems include: the Clare Curren ‘meeting’ with RNZ’s Carol Hirschfeld; Jenny Marcroft’s strange ‘miscommunication’ to an Opposition MP; Megan Wood having to ‘clarify’ the Government’s position about oil exploration; Shane Jones attacking executives of a private company; Chris Hipkins dogged determination in closing Charter Schools alongside Kelvin Davis’s weak performances; Phil Twyford and his housing promises. Then there’s the hint of confusion around how Winston Peters and the Prime Minister herself are dealing with the Russian issue.

Every Government has its problems. It’s how it deals with them that is the important part. Yes, heads will roll. It’s part of politics.

If the perception is allowed to grow that there is weak government and political management in play, then real-world concerns of New Zealanders are going to be lost.

#reputationmanagement #PR #nzgovernment
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