The Spinoff and RNZ “sharing our journalism” – and also sponsors?

There were some heated exchanges on Twitter last night over a just announced arrangement between RNZ and The Spinoff to share news – “we’ll be sharing our journalism”, but there are issues over whether RNZ are also sharing The Spinoff’s sponsorship and advertising.

RNZ is a long serving non-commercial Government funded media organisation based on radio, but with a growing online presence.

The Spinoff is a a relatively new online media enterprise which relies on sponsorship for funding. They have just launched a premium prescription service – “the best stories from around the NZ media hitting your inbox at 7 am weekdays”. That sounds similar to a service Bryce Edwards has provided free for several years.

Yesterday (12 March) RNZ announced RNZ and The Spinoff announce content partnership:

RNZ and The Spinoff are delighted to announce we’ll be sharing our journalism.

Under the arrangement material from will appear on and vice versa.

The new arrangement maintains RNZ’s policy of sharing content with media partners and extends to 16 the number of agreements in place with a range of media organisations.

Glen Scanlon, RNZ’s head of digital, said The Spinoff team had blazed a path for independent websites and the partnership extended RNZ’s proactive approach to make news and information available to more New Zealanders.

“The Spinoff is the source of some of New Zealand’s wittiest, and well-thought, journalism and we’re very much looking forward to being able to feature it.

“Duncan Greive and his team are a creative force, and they have helped bring issues to the forefront of people’s minds in many new ways.”

Greive, The Spinoff’s managing editor, said he was “extremely stoked to be entering a partnership with RNZ”.

“It’s an organisation we admire immensely. The work it does feels thoughtful, urgent and agenda-setting, and we’re privileged to be able to share it with our audience.

“We’re particularly happy that we were able to design a pioneering relationship for RNZ – one which sees our work available for syndication on their sites, as well as theirs on ours. It’s our way of supporting a cultural and journalistic giant which does so much to sustain the rest of our media.”

The Spinoff made their own announcement, quoting from the media release and trying to add some humour: Spinoff and RNZ announce conscious coupling

The juggernaut of quality New Zealand journalism is teaming up with friendly local website The Spinoff, it was announced today to nil fanfare.

According to a media release from RNZ, both parties are delighted about the arrangement, which provides that “material from will appear on and vice versa” and “maintains RNZ’s policy of sharing content with media partners and extends to 16 the number of agreements in place with a range of media organisations”.

“Sixteen seems a lot,” said one unnamed source at The Spinoff. “Are there even 16 media organisations in New Zealand?”

According to Spinoff sources, staff were excited about adding more top RNZ content to their website, but more importantly they were motivated by the opportunity to get a mention from New Zealand’s most consistently funny parody Twitter account.

A story shared yesterday led to a heated exchange on Twitter last night.

The original article was posted on The Spinoff on 7 March: 30% cheaper to build and pre-consented: is this a solution to the housing crisis?

An old cigarette factory in Masterton, a remnant from the Think Big era, has been re-purposed to tackle our affordable housing crisis. Rebecca Stevenson caught up with builder Mike Fox to find out how a plant in the Wairarapa is producing modular, kitset homes on the cheap.

That is from Rebecca Stevenson, and looks almost like an advertorial for a house building company, but there is no suggestion it was paid for publicity. However like other Spinoff stories, it has a sponsorship message:

The Spinoff’s business content is brought to you by our friends at Kiwibank. Kiwibank backs small to medium businesses, social enterprises and Kiwis who innovate to make good things happen.

Check out how Kiwibank can help your business take the next step.

That’s how The Spinoff pay their wages and bills, and it is open disclosure – similar to commercial TV stations have sponsors associated with programmes or news segments like business news and the weather.

On 9 March RNZ republished this article – note that this is prior to them announcing their sharing arrangement with The Spinoff. They acknowledged at the end of the article:

This article was first published on The Spinoff

Bryce Edwards got suggested potential problems with this approach for RNZ, and was confronted by Duncan Grieve from The Spinoff:

Touchy from Grieve. I thought the Spinoff article read like an advetorial too, and that was before reading Edwards’ tweets.

Toby Manhire (from The Spinoff) also seemed aggrieved:

It may have not been paid content on The Spinoff (just openly sponsored), but it is odd content for RNZ to choose to share.

Remember that The Spinoff has just launched a subscription service that sounds similar to Edwards’ free daily round up.

Another Twitter exchange on the topic:

@GeoffMillerNZ – and have announced content-sharing deal. Seems fairly dodgy from RNZ’s perspective, given much of Spinoff’s content sponsored by corporates/PR. You can’t spell “Spinoff” without “spin”

@DCohenNZ – I support what RNZ is doing with content sharing. It’s one of a number of impressive decisions that have been taken on the watch of . Whether other participating media have a “spin” (or political tilt) isn’t important as long as the RNZ content is used extant.

@fundypost (Paul Litterick) – My concern is the problems arising from RNZ taking The Spinoff’s content. The Spinoff runs on sponsorship. It also has an ideological slant.

@GeoffMillerNZ – What’s different about this deal is that RNZ for the first time is reproducing another outlet’s content. Other content-sharing deals were one-way, i.e. other outlets paid a nominal fee to use RNZ content, but the arrangement was not reciprocal.

@DCohenNZ – So the question will be what content is used. Presumably, there will be vetting. The concern you raise is reasonable, but my point is about the need for new ways of thinking about the ongoing good health of media (which I’m sure we both agree is important).

@GeoffMillerNZ – Agree on your last point David, the question is how we get there. As it stands we have RNZ republishing sponsored content without even the disclosure that the Spinoff provides (e.g. see the housing article today, sponsored by Kiwibank but no mention of this on RNZ).

@zigzagger2 (John Drinnan) – In which case RNZ was smart enough to remove the mention because it would undermine the story, but loose enough that it did not see the sponsorshp an issue for the state broadcaster,

@GeoffMillerNZ – Exactly – they are in an unsolvable bind here. Provide disclosure and it’s free advertising for sponsors on RNZ, don’t provide it and it’s arguably even worse. Hence why the deal should not have been agreed to in the first place.

@fundypost – RNZ does not need to trade. It produces high-quality stuff that other broadcasters want. Why should RNZ want anything from the Spinoff; what does it do that RNZ cannot do?

@GeoffMillerNZ – Exactly. Content needs to be paid for somehow, so I am not totally against the sponsorship models The Spinoff and Newsroom are pursuing (although still problematic). But RNZ gets public money (& more under Labour) precisely to stay out of this murky area. So why go there?

I suspect that RNZ will be somewhat more careful about what content they share from The Spinoff – the housing article was a very strange choice and I think poor choice, republished before the sharing arrangement was announced.

It appears to be the only article republished at RNZ so far (as indicated by a site search of ‘The Spinoff’).

But the links to sponsored news publications (along with advertising) remains a problem for RNZ.



National leadership poll (sort of interesting but out of date)

A public poll on the National leadership is of limited value, because the leader is chosen by National’s 56 MPs only, and the poll was conducted before the leadership contest began. But it is a bit interesting, especially National supporter results.

The Spinoff Exclusive: Poll gives Judith Collins slim lead as preferred National leader

A UMR Research survey puts the polarising MP in the lead – but only slightly, and her favourability numbers are dismal, an area in which Amy Adams holds bragging rights.

The tussle to lead the biggest party in New Zealand’s parliament will be a tight one, if polling conducted largely prior to Bill English’s resignation and exclusively revealed to the Spinoff is a guide. Of the declared candidates, Judith Collins can boast the greatest support as preferred National Party leader, both among National voters and the wider public, though her lead over Steven Joyce is statistically negligible.

Not surprising to see so many ‘unsure’. The poll is split over eight MPs with a third ‘unsure’.

Notable that Mark Mitchell doesn’t feature, but that’s not surprising because the poll was almost entirely before Bill English announced he was stepping down, so before any candidates put their names forward.

Favourability ratings are also pertinent:

Collins is slightly behind Adams on favourability, but has twice the unfavourability with about half respondents seeing her unfavourably.

UMR Research, whose clients include the Labour Party, returned the results from its nationwide online omnibus survey, conducted between January 30 and February 14 (Bill English resigned on February 13). A nationally representative sample of 1,000 New Zealanders 18 years of age and over are surveyed. The margin of error for sample size of 750 for a 50% figure at the 95% confidence level is ± 3.1%.

The margin of error for National supporters will be much higher.

Farce news, when comedy becomes the headline

There are enough problems with passing comments on social media becoming ‘news’ stories, but now ‘claims’ by a comedian have hit the headlines.

Click bait headline at NZH: Did Trump mistake Jacinda for Justin Trudeau’s wife?

The question that no one seems to have asked apart from the Herald’s headline writer is answered in the article.

The article leads:

When US President Donald Trump first met Jacinda Ardern at Apec in Vietnam last week, he thought she was the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to comedian Tom Sainsbury.

Sainsbury, who is well known for his impersonation of National MPs on Snapchat, made the claim on Radio Live this afternoon.

How well known? I haven’t heard of him before.

He said he was chatting with Ardern while they were backstage at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards on Thursday night.

“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but she said that Donald Trump was confused for a good amount of time thinking that she was Justin Trudeau’s wife.”

Sainsbury said Trump eventually realised who Ardern was, and that Ardern had also said that Trump was “not as orange in real life”.

Comedians could have a lot of fun if media make a habit of turning their jokes into news.

In a statement, Ardern said: “Someone thought the President had confused us, but in all of the conversations we had it was clear to me he hadn’t, and recalled the conversation we had late last month.”

Ardern said she exchanged pleasantries with the US president and shook his hand, but did not have a substantive conversation.

That has been widely reported, including, I presume, by the Herald, so suggesting via a headline that a comedian joking is news is not a joke, it’s seriously suspect. I didn’t see if they ran it as breaking news or not.

Toby Manhire also pushed the comedian story at The Spinoff: ‘You’ve done well for yourself’: Did Trump mistake Jacinda Ardern for Trudeau’s wife?

This could be called farce news.

I wonder if Justin Trudeau’s wife has a name – but I guess an investigative jouranlist would be required to find that out.

Balanced politics, and unbalanced Stuff

On the eve of the election Stuff has a very unbalanced political page, favouring Winston Peters, Labour and Greens.


And that is negative for National and TOP.

The Herald is more general and more balanced:


Very balanced at RNZ:


Very good to see information for voters prominent at Newshub:


The two large parties dominate at 1 News:


The Spinoff features the last pre-election poll from Newshub (asimilar result to Colmar Brunton) plus general election information.


Newsroom focuses on Maori (not positively), Labour and the Greens.

Overall today’s election coverage looks very balanced, apart from Stuff in particular and also Newsroom.


The Spinoff Great Debate

The Spinoff has what they call a Great Debate at 7 pm tonight. It will be live streamed on Facebook.

Taking part:

  • Paula Bennett (National)
  • Kelvin Davis (Labour)
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party)
  • Marama Davidson (Greens)
  • David Seymour (ACT)
  • Gareth Morgan (TOP)
  • Shane Jones (NZ First)

Toby Manhire is running things. Trying to joke about everything. There is a live audience. The feed is breaking too much.

It’s a lively debate.

Shane Jones getting blasted from both sides, Marama Fox and Gareth Morgan asking him if he agree’s with his party leader’s views on Maori seats.

Kelvin Davis said he hasn’t listened to Marama Fox for 3 years anddoesn’t intend to start. Labour not looking good with the Maori Party. Davis doesn’t look comfortable or happy about much at all actually.


Election policy tool

If you like to look at party policies in depth The Spinoff has a tool that may help.

Introducing Policy NZ: an incredible new tool to help you decide how to vote in Election 2017

Personality is central to politics. That much is a truism. And it’s not just inevitable but necessary that voters get a chance to examine the people seeking the highest seats of power. We want to get a sense of them, to weigh up trustworthiness and character, to understand better how they might behave under pressure, how they interact with others and what they look for in a biscuit.

But sometimes it gets a bit much. While the ability to communicate a party’s ideas and plans are critical to the modern politician, we don’t always get enough of the ideas and plans themselves.

In the last fortnight, for example, a couple of high-profile leader resignations have sucked most of the oxygen out of the campaign preamble, leaving some to say – and here I’m paraphrasing – What ho, Spinoff / other friendly media outlet! How about giving us more about the policies the parties are actually putting forward.

So here it is. The Spinoff is thrilled to bits to lift the curtain today on what we think is a very important and beautiful addition to media coverage of the election.

Conceived and assembled by Asher Emanuel, Ollie Neas, Racheal Reeves and their exceptional team of developers and researchers, Policy is, we think, a seriously big deal. Collecting the policy positions of the main parties and presenting them in a clear, accessible and digestible fashion, the tool allows readers to flick through policy areas, compare the parties’ positions and drill down for more detail

Election 2017 policies:

“Imagine a world without white men”

These days it’s not uncommon to come across ‘white men bad’ type sentiments. It’s not uncommon for someone seen to be a ‘white man’, especially one who isn’t young and doesn’t seem to be poor, to have their views dismissed as irrelevant in the modern world.

All ‘white men’ are tarnished with the same white brush off.

Lucy Zee at The Spinoff:  Remembering the white men who tried to sell us stuff on TV

Imagine a world without white men.

Well for starters, New Zealand would have hardly any television commercials. My parents were very fresh Asian immigrants when they had me, and the only way I learned how to speak English before going to kindergarten was by watching TV.

TV back in the day wasn’t as diverse as it is now (or didn’t try as hard), so commercials were 99% white people with big white teeth, followed by more white people with even bigger and whiter teeth.

As I got older, the flashy whiteness steadily got more mind numbing and much more obnoxious. I couldn’t tell if my TV was showing the same amount of whiteness it always had, or if I had simply become more aware of my racial identity and demanded more diversity.

My entire life I had been raised by white men telling me what to buy, what to eat and how to eat it. Some ads worked, some didn’t, but I remembered all of them. Looking back on the past few years here is a list of the most memorable white men who tried sell me things I didn’t need.

A number of advertisement examples are given. Suzanne Paul, Marge and Briscoes aren’t included for obvious reasons.

So what did we learn? Even if you don’t watch TV anymore; even if you have an ad blocker on your browser; even if you stab your eyes out and block your ears; white guys are still out here trying to sell you something. If it’s not a tyre then it’s a dream. If it’s not a dream then it’s themselves.

The worst part of all this is that those “nostalgic” white men ads aren’t all that spectacular.

They must have been hopeless. Companies that advertised went broke, newspapers and broadcast media went broke (they are now but that’s a different story, Google isn’t a white male).

They do the absolute minimum an advert needs to do. If something is forced down your throat enough – all day, every day throughout your entire childhood – you’ll probably start to enjoy it. But we need variety, we need flavour, we need more colour on our plates. Because having too much white bread just isn’t good for us.

Funny thing – I only ever had white bread at home, browner bread with lumpy bits were a curiosity when I saw it at my neighbours – who happened to be a white couple. But the beer was all the same brown colour then too.

This article prompted some discussion at Reddit: Remembering the white men who tried to sell us stuff on TV

I don’t have the energy to care if it’s tongue in cheek or not but The Spinoff’s increasing amount of articles that focus on race (namely that white people are a problem) are starting to annoy me. If this is tongue in cheek then I really don’t understand the purpose apart from trying to create controversy.

Oh… it’s not tongue in cheek. She’s serious about white people controlling ads I guess. So she selected a few ads and used that as proof? And only men for that matter so I guess it’s sexist as well? I don’t get it.

Fuck this is tiresome.

Ah, but computer_d is bound to be a white male so he would say that. Ignore it.

You should put me on the ignore shelf too amongst the white cobwebs of the past – except that I could claim to be of a smaller minority than whatever Lucy Zee thinks they are (I presume non-male non-white).

What both of us write is grey on white – does it matter what colour our fingers are?


Peters “plotting to eat Labour’s lunch”

Another very good insight into the NZ First party and congress by Branko Marcetic at The Spinoff: Winston Peters is plotting to eat Labour’s lunch. And it’s working

The New Zealand First Party tends to be more associated in the public mind with mobility scooters and rest homes than Tinder and flatting. So as a 27-year-old, I wasn’t exactly the typical demographic most people imagine when they think of NZ First members. And as a non-native-born New Zealander, the party’s anti-immigrant bent would hardly suggest its conference as the place I would choose to hole myself up for most of last weekend. But in order to get a proper sense of the party and its members, it was very much worth it.

It was very much worth it, this is some of the best political reporting I have seen. Marcetic has dug beneath the hubris.

All around the conference in south Auckland, there was a palpable sense of excitement. After the electoral wipeout of 2008, followed by clawing back over the 5 percent threshold in 2011 and improving further in 2014, there was a general feeling the party was destined for even greater heights this year, buoyed by electoral trends in the rest of the world. Party members milled about, chatting excitedly.

They have good reason to be excited at this stage of the campaign. The article gives a good insight into the party membership. And then it looks at The Man.

The leader’s 40-minute paean to the working poor, declining middle class and a country buckling under the devilish hat-trick of unsustainable immigration, political correctness and 30 years of neoliberalism, capped off the two-day event. It was as pure a distillation as you’re ever going to get of Peters’ multi-decade success and survival in politics, and his current resurgence.

Peters understands the travelling medicine show aspect of politics, and added a performer’s touch – even a sense of festivity – to his speech.

Unlike other party leaders, Peters clearly has no interest in appearing what the media tends to view as “stable” or “reasonable”, but so often comes across as staid and dull. Like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, he’s aiming to channel the anger of the ordinary working person, and aim it at venal politicians who “work for the few, but not for you”.

The net result, not unlike with Trump, is that even if you despise Peters, you’ll watch his speech because you know it will be entertaining. How many neutrals would willingly subject themselves to an address by Andrew Little or Bill English?


As I’ve written about previously, Peters’ speech – and indeed, the party’s focus as a whole – seems designed to target the disaffected section of the public that would have once flocked to Labour, but is uninspired by today’s iteration of the party. Hence it was Peters paying tribute to the ordinary working Kiwi and launching repeated, angry broadsides against neoliberal economics – an attack he pointedly stressed for the media – and hence the party’s members are pushing for policies at times swiped from the first Labour government.

Compare this to the approach of the Labour Party, which seems headed toward another crushing electoral result. It’s not hard to make the case NZ First is animating voters that might have once gone for Labour by projecting an untrammelled anti-neoliberal message.

I think it’s too soon to call a crushing defeat for Labour. They have just announced  reasonable fiscal policy that has been reported fairly positively. But did many voters take any notice? Grant Robertson fronted the announcement with Andrew Little tacked alongside.  If the election is decided on perceptions of leadership Labour may well be crushed.

Labour’s campaign to date has lacked any real alternative vision to rally potential voters to its flag. Unlike Peters, who is angrily painting a picture of a country in decline and offering as a solution the rollback of neoliberalism, Labour’s “Fresh Approach” slogan all but implies that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong.

As one op-ed charged, the party is essentially “promising not to change too much”. Meanwhile its policies, however well-meaning, are often overly complicated, failing to excite the ordinary Kiwi voter, and contrasting with the popular, universal benefits the party enacted under Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser.

The lack of excitement about Labour policies is not just the nature and complexity of the policies, it’s not just the struggle of little to appeal, media and probably many voters turned off Labour some time ago and it will take something special to turn on a beacon of hope for them.

Perhaps NZ First’s resurgence won’t end up being as dramatic as it now appears. A lot can change in two months, including Labour’s poll numbers. But as Labour scrambles to capture voters’ imagination, it may yet ask itself how the party of workers allowed an ex-lawyer from Auckland’s St Mary’s Bay to steal its shtick.

It’s remarkable that Peters is appealing more than Labour to the battlers and the disaffected.

NZ First’s resurgence is real, but is it sustainable for the next two months?

Peters has done well as portraying himself as a political maverick, even though that image is debatable.

But when it comes to the business end of the election voters will look more closely at what effect an enlarged NZ First might have on Government.

New Zealand voters have tended to back stability and incremental change only. Many have warmed to NZ First, but they may baulk at the possibility of chaos.

We will find out in just over two months what the voters think, and then a week or few after that we will see what sort of coalition government we end up with.

It is interesting to see that after attending NZ First’s congress Marcetic is looking most on how NZ First will impact on Labour and not National.

Maybe after eating Labour’s lunch Peters will try to scoff National’s dinner.

NZ First congress from the inside

This is one of the best political party insights I have seen – a journalist became a paid up member of NZ First and observed the people and the policies from the inside of their congress in the weekend.

Branko Marcetic at The Spinoff:  I joined NZ First and went to their conference to find out what they’re really up to

To its supporters, NZ First is the only party that truly gives a damn about the average Kiwi, and its policies are born of fairness and common sense. To its detractors, it’s a hotbed of racism and intolerance that threatens to bring Trump-like authoritarianism to New Zealand.

In an attempt to cut through the noise and get a sense of what the party truly is about in 2017, I decided to immerse myself, and look at the party as an insider. I paid the $10 fee to join the party, and signed up to attend the conference — my first for any party — as an observer. The intention was not to indulge in “gotcha journalism” or attempt to lampoon other attendees, but to engage with and better understand the men and women that make up a party so often defined by sensational headlines.

The weekend gave me an insight into a party that is almost universally expected to hold the balance of power come September 24.

Despite the party’s association with anti-foreigner sentiment, immigration was rarely touched on across the weekend. In fact, if there was a prevailing theme weaving through the various speeches, discussions and debates at the 2017 conference, it was a steadfast opposition to neoliberal economics, a belief that New Zealand had gravely erred in the embrace of deregulation and globalised trade since the days of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.

If you want to get an excellent insight into the NZ First party the whole article is worth reading.

Peters aside there are a lot of people who believe in the party and what it stands for.

Green glory – missing the point

Simon Wilson wonders why Greens aren’t polling better when they are doing so much right in Greens in search of glory.

…the Greens are up 1.3 percent in the latest poll (Newshub) and despite all the talk about NZ First, they have maintained a clear lead on Winston and his crew. So the Greens are clearly doing something right. Just not everything.

“Just not  everything” is an important point – but there may be fundamentals that Greens can’t do anything about. They have struggled to break through a support ceiling of 10-11%.

Wilson asks:

If you were them, what would you do – something like this?

1. Refresh your lineup

This time round the Greens have made those calls. Whether they get 20 percent or 7 percent or anything in between, the new caucus will have a balance of new and experienced talent.

Whether it is vote attracting talent or not is yet to be seen.

2. Neutralise key critics on the right

(Shaw has) become a respected voice among business groups – they don’t always like what he has to say, but they like him and that means at least they listen, far more often than they used to.

Shaw’s detractors on the left may not want to admit it, but he possesses a vital skill in politics: he can impress people who are not his natural allies.

It’s debatable whether he has impressed voters though. He doesn’t present as a strong leader – that’s difficult for him in a co-leadership arrangement where Turei is well established and influential in the party.

3. Fix any issues that made you especially vulnerable last election

That would be the boat with everyone rowing in different directions. As a meme, it worked. Hence the Greens’ and Labour’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), whose success to date demonstrates that the two parties can work together.

The Greens can be damned either way on this.

And they are. Most importantly the MoU has been strongly criticised on the left, where most of Green’s potential votes are.

4. Reaffirm your core purpose

That would be climate change and protecting the environment, and it would also be social policy, because the Greens have always been a progressive party.

I give them a fail on this. Greens have made it clear that their core purpose this campaign is to “change the Government”.

They would rather shun National rather than leave the option open to get any environmental and social policy wins with whichever party wins the most votes. This is also a fail on core MMP principals.

Greens have put themselves in weak position where they both have to have Labour doing much better, and if that works they are left in a weak negotiating position.

Greens may also have another core purpose they are keeping quiet on – to take over Labour’s role as the biggest alternative party to National. That’s a high risk punt.

5. Build your base, finances and organisational strength

The biggest lesson from the Corbyn campaign? In my view, this: there’s real political power in activating a big supporter base through social media. The Greens have been busy building such a base (to be fair, so have some of the other parties).

The Greens have been well organised and well financed for years – they have been doing better in getting donations than Labour, and Labour has started to copy some of their tricks like email harvesting to build a big contact list, and repeatedly seeking many micro donations.

Greens have a solid and well organised base but has it’s drawbacks as well as advantages. Their base prevents them from maximising MMP negotiating strength by shunning National and tying their prospects with Labour’s.

6. Build a policy platform that will lead to progressive achievements

For all that they’re doing right (see above) there are still two big things the Greens could get a lot better at.

Policy is one and leadership (see below) is the other.

Now they’ve shown they can work with Labour it’s critical they find themselves a few key policies that set them apart. High-profile, easy-to-understand, game-changing policies. Policies they can achieve in their first term in government, so voters get a real, concrete sense of what they might be voting for.

I have no idea what key policies the Greens want to promote that are distinct from Labour’s.

Joining at the hip for the campaign has created a difficult situation for the Greens – they want to look like they have enough in common with Labour to form a credible government but somehow need to look significantly different.

7. Galvanise the hearts and minds of voters

It’s still the most important thing, and the hardest.

You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a box. But you do have to be likeable. Plus, you have to be decisive and also modest, and seem smart but not smartypants, and be confident but not arrogant, and convey the sense that you know what you’re talking about and that you yourself believe what you want us to believe. You have to be trustworthy. And did I say, you have to be likeable.

All of that adds up to being inspirational. Being the people we want as our leaders, because we believe in you.

The thing is, right now nobody owns these things. We don’t really have those leaders in our parliament. So that’s the challenge, for Greens co-leaders James Shaw and Metiria Turei and for all their colleagues: time to step up. 99 days to go, and a party conference in mid-July – time to show us what what these new Greens really mean.

But Greens can’t and won’t be seen as leaders, because they have made themselves reliant on and secondary to Labour, whose leadership is looking quite weak.

The can only realistically sell themselves as a strong support party, a better alternative to NZ First and with Labour a better alternative to National.

I think that Wilson misses a key point.

I think that many voters like at least some of the Green policies, especially environmental policies, and want a strong Green environmental voice in Parliament.

But there is far less enthusiasm for Greens having too large a say in social and financial issues.

If the Greens were an environmental party, prepared to work with any party and any government to promote their environmental policies, they would do well, and would be popular.

If the Greens were a socialist party, primarily promoting their social and financial policies, I think they would struggle to beat the 5% threshold.

There is core support for the red Greens.

There is much wider support for the green Greens, but a lot of potential votes are lost due to concerns over the red side of the party.

Greens will do well enough in the party vote this election.

Greens can organise and fund raise and campaign better than most if not all other parties but their success is very dependant on Labour, and may also be dependant on NZ First. This weakens their position substantially.