I see Russel Norman is now describing Labour’s Mt Albert Candidate, David Shearer, as the “grey” man.
Now I haven’t been around as long as I have without being able to spot a “line” and that is certainly a line, and one of the attack variety.
Thing is, the Greens don’t do lines. And they definitely don’t do attack lines. I’ve spent enough time working with various members of their campaigns and media teams (as well as their parliamentary arm) over the years to know this only too well.
In fact the “grey” man line is exceptionally good framing. In one word it conveys a sense of moral ambiguity, lack of personality, of something just a little bit nebulous and unpleasant. Its cynical genius is beyond the moral or PR capabilities of every Green I know or have known.
But I’ll tell you where I have seen this modus operandi. The National Party.
It may well be that the Greens have had a mini PR revolution and decided to be players. But I find it extremely interesting that they are playing using the same bag of tricks that are National’s hallmarks and are doing so just weeks after signing an MOU with them.
What’s also interesting is that Norman’s attempts to portray Shearer as right-wing (and thus himself as the only “progressive” candidate) also fit uncannily with the Nats’ dirty tricks strategy as rolled out by David Farrar last week which is focused on the idea that Shearer is “Goff’s man” and from the right of the party.
Someone needs to ask the Greens if they have received any PR advice from National and indeed if the two parties have been coordinating their Mt Albert strategy together in any way. I’m picking the nexus is personal discussions between Russel and John/John’s team where Russel comes back and sells their ideas as his own. It won’t be party to party because not one of the senior Greens I know would brook this kind of shit.