Perception of competence

I think a lot of people are having difficulty warming to Andrew Little. He struggles with media, and I have seen him operating in person and he didn’t give great vibes there either.

Brian Edwards has posted Thoughts on Andrew Little

There seems to be general agreement among commentators that Little’s image has improved, that he is ‘coming across’ better. But is it better enough?

Coming across’, particularly on television, is a different matter. And Little does not come across either in interviews or straight to camera.

This is not easy to define. The closest I can come is that, however reasonable, articulate or clever Little may be, there seems to be a lack of engagement between him and his interviewer, him and his television audience.

It can be argued that John Key did Little and Labour a favour by stepping down. Bill English is no orator. But he has a dry, no-nonsense, Southern man quality about him that is endearing. And a wry sense of humour. More importantly, he looks and sounds honest. It would be very foolish indeed to discount his chances of winning the September election.

If Little is to reduce the chances of that happening he must learn to engage with his interviewers and with the hugely important viewer at home.

I agree. And, I don’t know how others see him in person, but he has a problem there too.

But in comments the question of charisma versus competence comes up.

John Northcott:

It’s sad that charisma is the most important quality needed to get elected – witness Donald Trump and John Key. All we know when someone is elected is that they are good at being elected.
If only voters would look at policy.


“It’s sad that charisma is the most important quality needed to get elected”.

It’s not. it helps, but the perception of competence is the primary requirement.

Perhaps it’s a mix of both – how competence is presented by political leaders.


As Edwards says, English can hardly be called charismatic but many see him has competent and knowledgeable.

Little seems to struggle with all three.

And Labour continues to sgtruggle as  well, going by this from @MatthewHootonNZ

@AndrewLittleMP’s @nzlabour is 28% (-2%) in latest @umr_nz poll, just 1% behind @jeremycorbyn’s @UKLabour in latest @YouGov poll. #nzpol