Todd Muller recruits media trainer, promotes direct social media approach

New National leader Todd Muller got quite a bit of negative publicity for his first week in the job, but has struggled for coverage since.

He is trying the direct social media approach:

He is also recruiting staff to help him with his media profile – Todd Muller’s new chief spin-doctor revealed: broadcasting veteran and media trainer Janet Wilson

National’s new leader Todd Muller has signed up broadcasting veteran and media trainer Janet Wilson as his chief press officer until the election.

Wilson and her husband Bill Ralston were involved in media and election debate training for former Prime Ministers Sir John Key and Sir Bill English, as well as several other National Party MPs. Both are also regular commentators in the media.

Wilson’s television experience will fill a hole left in the National Party’s press team by the resignation of Bridges’ press secretary Rachel Morton. Morton quit the day of the leadership change.

Other new hires by Muller include Matthew Hooton in a communications role and Megan Campbell as his chief of staff.

Despite what some claimed Muller was obviously not prepared to take over the leadership when he challenged Simon Bridges, it is taking him a while to get a team together.

Newshub –  ‘Unlikely, but he’s got a chance’: Todd Muller’s best path to becoming Prime Minister

Dr Edwards says Muller can’t be written off just yet – as the health crisis winds down and Ardern gets less screen time, voters will start to remember the country’s other, long-running issues.

“It can’t just be about personalities and Jacinda Ardern. They really do have to defend their record on housing, on inequality, on the things that they promised. It’s not just about the health crisis anymore…  It’s certainly possible [Muller can win]. I think it’s unlikely, but he’s got a chance. Things change quickly at the moment in global politics. So no, don’t rule him out. It’s certainly possible.”

It will be a big battle for him to get across to the public. His success is probably more dependent on Jacinda Ardern and the Government than anything, if they lose support he may be able to pick some up. But he has to try to get himself across to the voting public.

I think that stopping National’s slide in the polls will be a minor victory for Muller, and recovering some support by the time we get to vote should be enough for him to keep his job for a while at least. But it would take a crash in support for Ardern for Muller and National get back into power.

Leave a comment


  1. David

     /  12th June 2020

    I would like to say something positive but struggling. He needs to go super hard on fiscal responsibility and stop trying to outspend labour.
    Have a crack at the minimum wage, clamp down on immigration and put residents first. Return to work testing benefits, naming the father re introduced.

    • lurcher1948

       /  12th June 2020

      Bring back dawn raids on Pacific Islanders,strip teachers from their union right’s,and finally gay rights for whales that will be a game changer.

      • David

         /  12th June 2020

        Did you support Ardern and Peters campaigning on reducing work permits so Kiwis could have a chance first ? Surely you dont support allowing imported workers coming in and under cutting the wages of locals so the fat cats at the top can make out like bandits with their stock options.
        Teachers and unions deserve each other, two most miserable bunch or wingers that ever existed.

    • Duker

       /  12th June 2020

      Repeat the Mistakes of the Depression ? his name is Muller not Hoover or Ward and Forbes for NZ

      • David, I was probably not alone in being gobsmacked when one of the women interviewed thought it totally unreasonable to be expected to name the father/s of her children….it was 6/8 years ago, how could she be expected to remember who it was ? It was like my reaction if I’d been asked to remember which taxi driver I’d had that long ago.

        Her poor children !

        • They are unfortunate; they don’t even know who their fathers are and probably never will. They may end up having relationships with a brother or sister like an engaged couple in England who somehow found out, to their horror and distress, that they had the same father. She lost the baby she was having, and wondered if the relationship was a factor. The relationship ended as soon as they discovered the truth, but it’s not possible to switch off feelings just like that.

      • David

         /  12th June 2020

        What recession ! Get out of the basement its busy as hell out there, tourism notwithstanding.

        • Duker

           /  12th June 2020

          Thats what I thought . The people who do stuff and work by looking ahead dont have time for looking back over their shoulder at ‘what might have been’
          The current circumstances dont fit the economic models or their spreadsheets.
          Yet it wasnt so long back that government spending was supposed to push up interest rates and hobble the economy …so said economists. Printing money was even worse.Now all those things are standard advice to governments.
          TVNZ has a 23 yr old economic commentator on their shows …not sure which one as I try to avoid their talking heads… 2years out of university.!

          We have instead entrenched orthodoxy or beliefs that seem immutable because of the time that has based….no different to say the Russian Orthodox Church

          • The Russian Orthodox Church is only one branch of the Orthodox Church, Duker. I was married to an Orthodox and the wedding was in the Roumanian church because the Russian one was too small.

            Having immutable beliefs is what has kept the Orthodox Church going for 2000 years.

  2. duperez

     /  12th June 2020

    While coming from a different path, one announcement hardly commented on this week suggests the usual pre-election charm offensive we’re going to be subjected to.

    “National intends to reinforce the value of educators in our society

    … Teachers play an incredibly important role in our communities

    … number of policies National intends to implement to reinforce the value of educators in our society …

    … policies National will be releasing to show how valuable we see teachers and the role they play in the development of our children.

    … Removing teacher registration fees is one way National will support our teachers.”

    All of that in one press release. I guess we can take from it that Nikki Kaye and National suddenly love teachers.

    Like magic the Teaching Council is to be Government funded. $16 million for the 50 to 100,000.

    Substitute ‘teachers’ with ‘doctors’ in the release. an we expect to similar announcements about the Medical Council and its 13,000+ doctors?

    Is this an example of bare-faced political desperation and opportunism?

  3. duperez

     /  12th June 2020

    Bugger: ‘Can we expect similar.’

    • Duker

       /  12th June 2020

      Will it be ‘new funding’ or taken from something else in Education budget.

      Its a time honoured tactic in National Party budgeting , from way back with the Mother of all Budgets where the Social Welfare budget had a huge ‘cut’ , but it was mostly just disability funding ..some $1 bill per year…was moved from MSD to the Health budget …which was made to look good at the same time.
      Its a constant chess game of moving pieces on the board to ‘appear like something they are not’
      Same again in 2017 Budget for health , some $600 mill of extra spending alone was just because DHB borrowing was paid back by the government ( and included in its borrowing). No ‘real’ extra money there just accounting tricks. The real catch was the DHBs still had to pay the interest on the now government borrowings. Totally no advantage to the health system but the headlines screamed ‘ Huge boost to health Spending’

      During the times with Bridges as Transport Minister , the Police funding was cut , but it was done in a sneaky way, as it was a cut in the money transferred from the Transport budget usually for road policing and breath testing etc.
      Police money from government looked as normal but hidden was the $100 mill drop in ‘spending’ the police had for the road duties. Coincided with an increase for the first time in 40 years of road deaths

  4. bjoneskiwi

     /  12th June 2020

    The best, and arguably the only chance for National is the Kiwi knocking machine, there is a fine line from the adulation currently being heaped on the Prime Minister to a change in sentiment that could see her crash and burn, a fall from grace can happen just has fast as a rise.

    The Kiwi knocking machine is a interesting phenomenon, have seen it a few times, get to far ahead of yourself, and/or a series of individually inconsequential missteps compound and the person in question gets shredded. What sets it off? Who knows, but Kiwi’s seem to like hacking at tall poppies with gusto when triggered.

    • Duker

       /  12th June 2020

      We can see how that worked for Key…. and bought him down to earth …..Not.

      He became more brazen, because he established his ‘political persona’ and stuck with it through all sorts of ‘fireworks issues’ -they burn very brightly for a short time and then gone
      Even Ardern has something like 40% who dont approve, and they continue to do so. But it goes nowhere.
      The NZ knocking machine works best on ‘small poppies’ not sunflowers

      • I am not convinced by the tall poppy idea; it seems to be used of and by people who think that being a celebrity means that they are above criticism, like Greta Thunberg.

        I would say/hope that the stuff-up that was the lockdowns and the misery resulting from them will bring about Dear Leader’s downfall. She is very obviously waffling on issues that she should know about. How often was she caught on the hop with tragedies resulting from the draconian rules, dismissing them with ‘No one should have to go through that.’ but doing nothing to stop people going through it ?

        It would have been an incredible political faux pas to not allow the family of yet another lockdown suicide victim not to have a funeral for him. The family of one had to see him in his body bag as they knelt beside him in the mud in Invercargill. The parents of another’s last ‘view’ was the ambulance that took him away.

        • Duker

           /  12th June 2020

          How many of the Pike river families were able to ‘say goodbye to their loved ones’ after hearing at the group meeting with Key where he absolutely promised to bring them out.

          • “with Key where he absolutely promised to bring them out”

            I don’t believe that’s what Key did. However this is Andrew Little: Promises to Pike families must be kept

            The Government claims it’s not safe to enter the drift and try to get any bodies in there out. That’s not true. Experts, both local and international, say the mine is now stable. We can get those men out, and secure evidence regarding the cause of the explosion. It can be done.

            The National Government just wants to wash its hands of the whole thing, and move on. They don’t seem to care no-one has ever faced court for those 29 deaths, or that the families have never got the bodies back to bury.

            That’s not the way Kiwis do things. We do right by people. We ensure that, when there is wrongdoing, there is justice. We keep our promises.

            I’m standing with the Pike families in opposing the mine being sealed. It’s time a proper effort is made to bring their men home. They’ve waited long enough.


          • Duker

             /  12th June 2020

            The transcript of Keys meeting with families and was video taped , his words were ‘absolute assurance’ about bringing the bodies out
            It’s untenable to say he didn’t. He reneged on the promise and claimed he didn’t.
            This was all covered the other day.

  5. NOEL

     /  12th June 2020

    Must be election year.
    Phone rings.
    “Is that Noel”
    “I’m phoning on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition Todd Miller”
    “Why isn’t he phoning himself?”
    Pause, pause, pause.
    “Go away”

    Wife said i should have been more polite.
    “Have I every been polite to scammers?”


  6. Duker

     /  12th June 2020

    Scam ? He just made a typo for goodness sake.
    They must be doing them from Australia as they are a feature of their elections….robo calls as they are pre recorded
    The numbers are bought from ‘data vendors’……desperate times mean desperate measures


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