The AUT Guest Lecture on #VoteAKL and its reporting

The narrative


This morning I gave a guest lecture to Post-Grad journalism students at AUT on election coverage of the recent Local Elections as well as relationships between the Council and Central Government.



That Spin-Off article I have up there was this one: Post-truth politics comes to Auckland: A candidate campaign manager on why he lost


While I will post bullet-point notes on what I covered, specifically I am going to point this bit out here from The Spin-Off piece:

The lessons to be learned here are twofold. Firstly, Auckland Council do not communicate their achievements in an effective manner and their relationship with community media is poor to non-existent. Secondly, the strong anti-Council sentiment has been fuelled by the inability of leadership to rally the troops and get strong public buy-in on the city’s many projects. This may change with a new mayor who has campaigned on changing the culture of Council, but the election also illustrated bigger challenges that all politicians now face.


Source: Post-truth politics comes to Auckland: A candidate campaign manager on why he lost


That specific comment did raise heckles with some in Council but when I mentioned it to the Post-Grad’s today they gave a more sympathetic ear to Hamish who wrote that Spin-off piece I’ve quoted.

It basically came down to this (need to read from bottom to top):

The Committee Chairs and the Deputy Mayor need to operate with decent independent support and allowed semi-autonomy in decision-making. This would as Ryan said allow them to champion messages and policies while being nimble enough on the communications front as well.

Will see where Goff goes after the swearing-in on November 1


Source: Council Committee Structure Needs a Change – For More Autonomy


Council and Committees needing to be nimble with the message and less paranoid about the message. Bernard (who got name dropped a few times today) will spin it his own way that is going to be a certainty. But and especially the blogs are quite nimble enough to counter off Bernard (if need be) and run with the stories (subject to one’s own bias as I demonstrated today in terms of why I prefer Hulse over Simpson as Deputy Mayor).


Lot’s to take home but a very joyful morning.

My thanks to Richard and the students for having me today.


Local Body reporting

  • Initial two horse race between Goff and Crone
  • Enter Chloe
  • Chloe ignored by Herald and RNZ
  • Chloe and Social Media protest
  • Chloe expose in the Herald and increased coverage – recognised as one of the six
  • Reporting narrowed to rates, housing, transport and reputation score
  • Auckland Plan and Unitary Plan missed out entirely including two big planks:
    • City Centre
    • Southern Initiative
  • RNZ and Spinoff were reactive to social media happenings and did try to promote dialogue through things like Spinoff endorsements and the Warcast
  • Nothing or very little on Local Boards outside of Community papers and even that was sparse


Relationship between Central Government and Council

  • Was in a good state as Len Brown left
  • ATAP
  • Unitary Plan
  • Tad frosty with Goff after Goff was at receiving end of Congestion Charging and Vancouver Tax (Key) while it was unpredictability earning a rebuke from English
  • Still need to know who Deputy Mayor is
  • Govt has moved on housing and immigration which Goff campaigned on
  • Governing Body 13-8 progressive-conservative – although Fletcher could swing it 14-7
  • Depends on Committee make up and who chairs
  • AT and Panuku to get new CEOs