Kate Hawkesby: Watch for the PR spin in response to the Government's bad publicity

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Nov 2021, 8:55AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: Watch for the PR spin in response to the Government's bad publicity

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Nov 2021, 8:55AM

In the corporate world, they call it avoiding death by a thousand cuts. It’s a smart marketing strategy and one I think the Government's currently employing. Get all your bad news out at once - more crudely referred to in some sectors as “flushing all the turds in one go”. 

When Steven Joyce wrote at the weekend about the wheels coming off this Government, he wasn’t wrong. 

Ramming through Three Waters, announcing a fanciful $15 billion light rail project, keeping Auckland locked down, butchering the MIQ messaging and changes. The wheels are well and truly off. 

And you’ll note, fronting all that bad news was Chris or Grant - anyone but Jacinda. 

That’s the other strategy of course - keep your most popular player away from bad news.  

Save her for the good stuff. 

And here’s where the play is smart. The good stuff is coming. Matthew Hooton was the latest of many cynics to forecast a loosening of restrictions and an opening up - albeit an abandonment of the ambitious vaccine target - by November 29.  

He said we could mark December 1st as our “Freedom Day” they won’t call it that, nor will they admit they’re abandoning targets, but that’s what’ll happen. Kiwis will get home for Xmas, MIQ will be abandoned, targets will be gone. 

When my husband suggested this to me a week ago, I told him he was over estimating this “abundance of caution” Government and it wouldn’t happen. But I forgot about the obvious bit staring us all in the face. This Government hates bad press. And what they’re currently getting is bad press, and lots of it. The usual cheerleaders have turned. I’m told even the PM’s social media pages which are usually awash with sycophants has turned ugly.  

Labour won’t tolerate this much love lost and so watch December come like the great redeemer. Jacinda will be back out front for the good news. 

We will open up, the chicken littles like Wiles and Baker sidelined once and for all, there‘ll be good news aplenty and they’ll be banking on everyone - particularly Aucklanders - forgetting this period of discontent and riding the wave of open shops, domestic tourism and salon haircuts. There’ll be a celebrity wedding for the PM - a summer to enjoy, and the key bit - the spin. 

The spin will be, that we are in fact, world leading. That we opened up with a higher vaccination rate than other countries, that we have our freedoms back and that we earned it with fewer deaths and no hospital overload. Part of our small size and stature globally is that we puff our chest at any chance - and Labour will capitalize on that to claim we’re top of the pops. And by inference that Jacinda is top of the pops. There will be many who fall for it. 

But there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and September 2023, question is, can they keep swimming?