Will this man do anything, for any party, anytime?

Written By: - Date published: 2:31 pm, September 18th, 2007 - 2 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

National’s ad campaign in 2005 was assisted by the creative wit of John Ansell a self-described “wordplaying loon”.

Nicky Hager’s ‘The Hollow Men & a study in the politics of deception’ drew attention to Ansell when it described in some detail his cozying up to Don Brash to get the chance at a hatchet job on Labour. Ansell predicted that Brash would win in 2005, with his help of course. The results of Ansell’s efforts were seen in National’s infamous billboard campaign and ‘Taxathon’ television ads. By the way, National didn’t win, but Ansell’s ads helped turn the tide against Labour in early 2005.


John Ansell certainly is a clever clogs. One minute he was desperately demonstrating undying loyalty to leader Brash by describing himself as an ACT supporter & “I really click with most of their polices” he told an appreciative Brash. But a nanosecond after Brash’s demise, Ansell was cozying up to the next hard right leader of the National Party, John Key.

Ah, but it’s all because Ansell’s really a National supporter through and through you might say. Well it would seem not. Ansell so loves the National Party (or is that the ACT Party?) that he’ll even help out the enemy of the hard right. if the bucks are right. Check out this attack on the National Party, Ansell penned for the Labour Party in 1993 to persuade people that gentleman Jim Bolger could not be trusted to keep his word.

Ironically “words” are Ansell’s stock-n-trade yet untrustworthy and empty “words” were exactly how he put the boot into his friends at National in 1993. Perhaps he (rightly) thought that Jim Bolger was simply too untrustworthy, but that Brash and Key are honest brokers (wrongly)?

The truth is, give him a political party and he’ll attack anyone. Is there any limit to the depths he will plumb to get himself the next paying job?

Now before you think that John Ansell may be a misunderstood artist simply wanting to help a poor struggling political party, check this out from the man’s own website.

“This website is for those of us who share God’s sense of priorities. People who love words. Love playing with words. Love working with words.

And it’s for people who would love to be able to make words work for them – ideally by ringing the bells off their cash registers – if only they had the vaguest idea how. (Don’t worry: there is a way. It’s called hiring me)”.

National’s campaign for 2008, it would seem, is again in ‘trustworthy’ hands. As the great propagandist Joesph Goebbels once said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

I prefer Will Shakespeare who said “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit”. You choose which one Ansell is?

2 comments on “Will this man do anything, for any party, anytime?”

  1. Ha – this is a laugh! In fact the Labour Party is just as committed to the same style of advertising-driven politics as National. Labour is constantly using guns for hire to try and manipulate public opinion. In fact Labour are possibly more into market-research based politics than any party. Over recent years Labour has employed all sorts of professional advertising and marketing agencies from MacHarmans to McNair, to Colenso, to HKM Rialto to Heylen. It even fell out with its advertising agencies in 1990 when Labour wanted to do a severe negative advertising campaign.

    But it was during Norman Kirk’s time that Labour started the drift into the ‘adman’s world’. Kirk hated the advertising world, but hired Bob Harvey to professionalise things. By the mid and late 1980s the Labour Party was totally poll-driven and advertising focused.

    Labour’s 1987 election opinion polling apparently cost the party over a million dollars – all in order to find ‘the right words’! Never mind policies, principles or ideas. Labour from this point has been totally obsessed with the advertising world – hence in nearly every election since the party has run a US-like presidential-style campaign to focus on the Leader, whether it be for Lange, Moore or Clark. As Bob Harvey has said, the research has shown Labour that the ‘less said about policy the better’. Since 1996, in particular, the Labour Party has employed market research techniques on an unprecedented scale. It has also had the biggest advertising budgets during elections. In one interview with Bill Ralston, a few years ago, Helen Clark was asked about polling etc, and she ‘mentioned she had done a lot of it’ and spoke often in terms ‘of “branding”, “labelling” and “projecting”‘. While in government since 1999, the Labour Party has continued to use market research as a central determinant of their daily decision making.


  2. Weather Eye Of The North 2

    Hey Bryce, help me out – Labour fell out with it’s advertising people in 1990 for it’s insistence on negativeness you say – that wasn’t when global mentor author wahanui wannabee Labour icon Michael Joseph Savage Moore was running the show was it ?

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