Who is Andrew Little? Can Andrew Little Speak Under Pressure?

Andrew Little is going to face a huge amount of scrutiny for his public speaking. To compete with John Key he is going to have to speak fluently and with enough charisma to make people want to listen to him. This may be beyond a man who manages to speak as if he is boxing, always on the back foot and bobbing and weaving to get away from the punch.

In his maiden speech he is passable. A maiden speech is an easy speech with low expectations, and he manages to live up to those expectations.

The pressure goes on Little during the leadership campaign, and he does not do very well. He hems and haws and bobs and weaves and generally looks like he has not prepared properly.

His 45 second “My vision for Labour” is not particularly impressive. This is a set piece without anyone hostile around, so he can deliver it exactly as he wants, and repeat it if he does not like what he comes up with. It is a very slow start.

Then we go to the speech in Palmerston North during the leadership campaign.

Compared with Key he is poor. He makes a slow start, and doesn’t get much better through the rest of the speech. He continues to move around as if he is nervous, and hems and haws in a way that a statesman does not. He repeats himself, he ad libs badly, and generally looks like he needs a good year or two with an old fashioned speech and drama coach.

His first press conference as leader doesn’t go very well. He forgets to turn his phone off. Then he gets asked a series of hostile questions that he doesn’t really have great answers for. He looks under prepared and not the kind of man to take on John Key.

Finally, his first chance in the house as leader, which should have been the pinnacle of his career thus far, he completely blows. He gets all angry and shouty and doesn’t look as if he is in control at all, losing his train of thought and making wild accusations that will likely come back to haunt him. For a man who wants to be New Zealand’s premier statesman on the world stage he makes a lot of mistakes. At the 1.15 mark he loses his thread. Then at the 2.45 mark he starts going on about the Dirtiest, Filthiest, Vilest Campaign Ever, setting himself up for being called a hypocrite when Labour decide to practice normal politics.

The worst part of this speech is his speaking technique is so bad he starts losing his voice at the 4.15 mark. He gets angry and shouty, and loses his composure because he cannot speak under pressure.

John Key doesn’t need the Roy Morgan Polls, or even Farrar telling him that he can take Andrew Little without breaking into a sweat.

Little doesn’t handle pressure well and an experienced, competent politician like Key will ensure he is under huge pressure often to see if he will crack.


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  • Dave_1924

    I like this series…. information first and now a dissection. And its good to see an offset form the puff pieces publish in the Herald etc so far…

    For me Little has never appealed. He lacks warmth and an everyday touch when conveyed by the TV Camera. That may seem trite but that is how the message is dissemenated in modern politics. The old stump campaign is pretty much gone.

    • Unamused77

      Who would you rather Labour had though?

      • Dave_1924

        Nash, Davies….. But those two are novices and not fully exposed to the glare of the media and day to day scrutiny. Virtually all the rest are like Little from what I have seen – charisma
        by passed and all to ready to tell you what to do and think.

  • Richard

    They say pressure makes diamonds, but don’t be fooled, there is such a thing as a cultured or fake diamond too.


    Andrew Little is a cultured diamond, costume jewellery pinned to the lapel of corpse, won’t be long before every one starts to notice the stench of decay of a doomed party.
    Hurry up and bury it already.

  • Curly1952

    I think I answered this in an earlier post on the topic – WHO IS ANDREW LITTLE? – THE EPMU YEARS

    JK can easily speak ad lib where as this turkey, when he is talking ad lib seems to say the bleeding obvious instead of some new inventive ways of doing things.
    Road to oblivion and irrelevence is just ahead for him

  • Adam Michaels

    He was on National Radio this morning and sounded like a breathless, raspy saw and that was in response to a reference about the latest Labour polling figures.

  • pak

    I started watching some of these Little videos but just couldn’t sit through to the end of any of them. He is marginally better sitting down, but as soon as he stands up he has the very irritating habit of swinging from side to side of the podium which makes for very distracting viewing. And his voice is so dreary. I am afraid of the bits I saw on these performances Little struggles to be mediocre.

  • TSD

    Sorry, this is re-posted from the article on the UK green party but it just seems appropriate here too.

    It is of the greatest importance that Labour find a way to reduce the
    greens. We absolutely need a strong opposition in order for the contest
    of ideas to work and retain the brilliant example of governance we
    have. Unfortunately, as long as the threat of the greens in government
    remains a specter, Labour can’t be that opposition. You simply can’t be a
    challenge to the elected government’s ideas without a realistic base
    that will vote for you, and with the greens trying to play co-governance
    Labour needs to cripple them to get it.

    An intelligent opposition and the destruction of the communist party, oh such a whimsical dream.