The destruction of a narrative

Labour have been all over the show with their various narratives about John Key. At the last election it was “all about trust”, Helen Clark told us as they secretly jetted off a team to Melbourne to peruse documents in the now infamous H-Fee scandal.

Then they tried that John Key was sneaky and that didn’t resonate, then slippery, then they tried silly nicknames. All failed.

This election Labour promised us that it would be all about policy and not personality and since those fateful words were uttered have done no such thing. Now they tell us that they have a whole heap of negative attack ads planned for the final week focussing on John Key.

Labour is hoping to regain momentum in the last week of the election campaign with a rally for party faithful in Auckland tomorrow and a final blast of negative television advertising about National’s record.

Labour won’t put their own leader on their billboards or advertising but they will put John Key. That says a great deal.

The one thing though that has been destroyed is the narrative that Labour have focussed on the most and that is that John Key is Mr “Smile and Wave” and lacks any steel to do the hard yards on the economy.

The illegal recording of his conversation with John Banks and the subsequent media barrage that followed showed all Kiwi voters that John Key isn’t just “smile and wave” and fluffy. It showed that he is prepared to do what no other politician has done in a very long while and that is take it to the media, hard.

Conventional wisdom says that you must be compliant with the media, conventional wisdom says that you acede to their wishes. John KEy buried that. He took a stand and dared them to do their worst. They showed us their worst too. They wrote miles and miles of column inches, spent hours and hours of recording time and lead the nes on television for day after day after day with petty details. All while they were doing that to create the news they commissioned polls to prove to us all that they were right and the Prime Minister was wrong.

Then the polls came out and their narrative was destroyed, Labour’s narrative was destroyed and they have had to realise that John Key actually does have his finger on the pulse of the nation and they do not.

The Herald on Sunday and Tv3 have not yet realised the resolve of the Prime Minister. They will find out all about that in coming months I suspect.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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