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National’s growing silence explained

Written By: - Date published: 6:08 pm, June 23rd, 2009 - 23 comments
Categories: Media, national - Tags: ,

shhhJudy Callingham (partner of Brian Edwards) has a new post, one of a series of media tips they write on. The latest tip might suggest National are slowly learning the hang of managing the media and explains why National are already clamming up and failing to front on so many important issues.

Yet while Callingham and Edwards’ advice is undoubtedly sound for individuals and organizations that aren’t frequently the centre of news, persistent silence is an impossible strategy to maintain as a Government: because of the constant hounding of the 4th Estate, because caucuses and all the machiavellianism they entail tend to leak like sieves and because if you don’t fill an information vacuum when speculation arises you very often end up with even worse public perceptions – whether they’re accurate or not.

It also has the nasty tendency of turning Press Gallery journalists even more septic than they tend to already be – into a perilous state of frustration that’s developing with each new controversy. At this rate, soon it won’t have to be a scandal at all to be perceived as one.


23 comments on “National’s growing silence explained”

  1. mike 1

    Is this the same Brian Edwards that coached helen before the leaders debates last year where she failed miserably and then cryed about the format? Why would anyone listen to this has-been

    • andy 1.1

      STOP THE PRESS!!!1111!!!!!!!

      Brian Edwards did paid work for the LiABoR leZZy femnAZi Party!!!!! Who knew!!!!

      Yes the same Edwards who said ‘nasty’ things about Auckland Uni students in defense of Melissa Lee, and worked for ING/ANZ in the investment shimozzle that they have.

      Its not about Edwards, its about the strategy he advocates.

      care to comment on that!

    • LMAO
      mike you need help if you honestly think Key does better with the media than Clark 🙂

  2. Kaplan 2

    Explains John Keys recent ‘pressers’ well…
    Though I still think Clueless is as Clueless does.

  3. Brian’s comments are perfectly sound.

    The choices are that either National tells lies, it says the truth and scares the bejeebers out of everyone including the swinging voters, or it says nothing.

    Check out Key refusing to answer the question of why he sacked Worth.

    The problem with the tactic as you point out is that it runs the danger that the information may come out anyway. There is the further danger that the cumulative damage caused by frustration will be greater than if an answer was provided immediately. Key may have been better to bite the bullet and announce the reason.

    For me I am perfectly happy about their prevarication. I can sense the steady drip drip drip of support as they prevaricate.

    • hear hear mickey

      • Tim Ellis 3.1.1

        Thanks for an interesting post, Sprout.

        I note though that you have been predicting John Key’s decline for some time. A year before the election, you wrote: “the sprout
        October 29, 2007 at 5:41 pm
        i think that’s because Key is proving himself more and more irrelevant as each month goes by”

        Seems to be a quite common theme.

    • mike 3.2

      Outside of die hard political junkies the Wrth affair is gone and forgotten.
      As the latest poll showed (I won’t link to again on this site) all the bad press re Rankin and Lee etc has not dented Nats support at all.

      Must be terribly worrying for the lefties that all of those beat-ups didn’t land a single hit. Roll on 2011…. but who’s labour going to feed to the grinder?

      • Anita 3.2.1

        I haven’t heard Worth mentioned by anyone who’s not a political enthusiast for a while, but I have heard a number of unkind jokes about the sexual behaviour of members of Key’s cabinet. It’s still hurting his government, it’s all about tarnishing that flawless image.

      • mickysavage 3.2.2

        These things take a while.

        You get to the tipping point with (for instance) swinging female voters and there is not an automatic flip to the other side immediately after a scandal.

        But there is a gradual change. Some women are already thinking that Worth and Garrett are scum and this will affect their vote.

        I have knocked on a few doors in Mount Albert recently. Believe me there is a change in the tide and people are coming back. IMHO the Mt Albert result is not an aberration. No doubt some will throw the attack lines at this but I think they will be disappointed.

        We should have this debate in 6 months time.

        • mike

          “IMHO the Mt Albert result is not an aberration”

          There was no aberration in labour holding one of their safest seats all be it with a fraction of the voter turn-out expected.

          “Believe me there is a change in the tide and people are coming back”

          Dream on Mick you are sounding like some sort of desperate evangelist now

          • Anita


            What voter turnout were you expecting?

          • The Sprout

            rubbish mike, mt albert has gentrified massively and in the last 20 years it’s been the MP that kept it a so-called ‘safe labour seat’. the party vote of the last 5 general elections shows clearly that it is anything but an inherently labour seat.

            part of the landslide was because of the appalling candidate Key hand-picked as one of his finest, part of it was a message to national. you might not have heard it, Key might not have, but i know a few other national auckland mps did and they’re feeling none too comfortable with the direction they’re being taken.

            but no worries mike, you believe what you need to get you through the night.

            btw, turn-out was pretty normal for a by-election, roughly equivalent to local body turnout. and like local body elections, by-election turnout is usually skewed in favour of national 🙂

          • mickysavage


            Care to detail for me your analysis explaining why what you say is true?

            Every commentator that I have read has said essentially that the nats had their asses kicked.

            Good line that, about how it was one of the safest Labour seats and the result was predictable. This ignores the margin. The polls currently suggest that even the safest of Labour seats ought to be marginal.

            Please analyse the last election result, current national polling and the Mt Albert result and then reconcile these.

            I look forward to your considered opinion on this.

          • mickysavage

            I agree with Sprout!

            Now that Labour and the Greens have worked through their temporary issue I look forward to working with all my greenie mates to make NZ a better place.

            I also look forward to having them as coalition partners. Having to go into coalition with Dunne and Peters was difficult, to put it mildly.

  4. mike 4

    “Now that Labour and the Greens have worked through their temporary issue I look forward to working with all my greenie mates to make NZ into a better place.”

    lol – Labour shat all over your greenie ‘mates’ for years and now you need them

    With any luck the 2 left parties will canabilise each other – the greens doing a NZ first. Dunne and Anderton thankfully gone too. Then we’ll see some progress.

  5. vto 5

    I agree. Key is not on the front foot enough. He should back himself and start ignoring what are probably countless ignoramuses around him trying to tell him what to do. Not that he’s not an ignoramus but sheesh the minute you start taking too much account of others opinions is the minute you aren’t yourself.

  6. Craig Glen Eden 6

    Hey Mike when a artery is cut in an accident or a shark attacks some one, the victim often feels nothing at all. Only problem is that warm smugness feeling you are experiencing is actually blood, before you now it the victim is cold and then unresponsive. I can hear a dripping sound Mike.

  7. Ianmac 7

    Yes. The effect of mismanagement on the populations is not immediate. If you vote in good faith, (or marry someone in belief) you feel committed and look for reassurance. It may take a while for the indicaters to wear away the good faith. But if the empty bottles in the wardrobe, the stains in funny places, and the long absences, and the strange phone calls eventually make you think. Ooops. I made a mistake.

  8. randal 8

    this government is a scandal.
    it is probably the only government in the world staffed with wannabees and retards and mp’s with low iq’s and halitosis.
    a bunch of jobbers who think they can grab as much as they can with nobody noticing.
    they are sort of like the denizens of radio squakback.
    think that being elected gives them supernatural powers.
    I dont think so.
    they have got a few surprises coming to them that they never ever dreamed of in a million years.

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