Campaign Director exposes National’s furtive media strategy

Grant McLachlan

Grant McLachlan

My attention was directed to a mainstream media article on the flag debate written by one Grant McLachlan, who is described as “a former Parliamentary researcher and a National Party campaign director.

I found some of the comments in the article quite interesting, in that they provide a few reasons as to why the National Party has been so completely ineffective in dragging NZ out of the socialist ditch.

According to the article, the Key govt is entirely poll driven. It apparently does nothing itself to outwardly lead public opinion, but only reacts to research carried out by David Farrar and other employees. That Mr. Farrar plays such a key role has some significance.

The blogger and pollster recently admitted he had been quite wrong about Donald Trump’s rise in the US polls, which to me would seem like a pretty serious mistake for someone claiming the credentials Mr Farrar does. It suggests that perhaps Mr Farrar lets his progressive ideals override objective assessment, and is therefore not quite the political guru John Key believes him to be.

There are 1 million NZers who did not vote in the last election. Is it because they didn’t want either party? Would the progressive Mr. Farrar be able to objectively make this assessment? Is he leading the National Party down the wrong road due to misreadings resulting from his own progressive political persuasion? Is the flag issue, which has badly backfired upon Key, an example of this misreading of the public’s mindset?

According to the article, since 2002 National has developed the most advanced voter relationship database to collect information and then target potential supporters.

“Every phone call to an electorate office, every letter to the editor, letter to a minister, comment on social media, photo opportunity, or attendance at an event or meeting, – there is someone inputting that data into National’s central database. David Farrar, National’s pollster, monitors the data, then themes and phrases are tested in focus groups before John Key utters them.”

Also according to the article, National runs a system of “pushers and pullers”.

Pushers are political cronies and opinion leaders willing to pick up a ball, run with it and fend off attacks. Pullers are fair-weather celebrities who put their name behind an issue only if someone has their back and if there is sufficient forward momentum.

National has several levels within its organisation that try to sway public opinion. Groups target talkback radio, social media, surveys, and media polls. Crony commentators manipulate, obfuscate, smear, and stigmatise.

Don’t forget readers, this is coming from a senior National party staffer. So what he have here is an admission that Key is either too gutless or too incapable to outwardly present arguments (as Donald Trump does), rather he sends out underlings to skulk on social media or to speak out in the mainstream media, and drive debate the way he wants it. In his article, Mr McLachlan even specifies an example-

When the RSA requested taxpayer money to campaign against changing the flag, Key realised that his main opposition was weak and refused to help them. I predict that the RSA will now be the target of crony smear tactics.

I recently wrote a post on this very issue- “Mike Hosking’s atrocious pro-govt propaganda attack on RSA” Just how many people in the NZ media are part of John Key’s “pullers and pushers” strategy?

Whatever way you look at this, the revelations in Mr McLachlan’s article do National and John Key very little good. To me they suggest a management operation that lacks skill and courage, and relies upon subversion and when that doesn’t work, surrender. It explains why National is so directionless.

It also does much to reinforce my own opinion that John Key is the worst National Party leader ever, and the National Party under his leadership is the most ineffective collection of politicians in its history.

The National Party needs a leader who can stand up and speak from the heart about what he believes in, and we need a party who is willing to support such a person.

What we don’t need is a smoke and mirrors PM who believes in nothing and is supported by  a band of knee pad wearing self serving sycophants. Who apparently don’t believe in anything either.

21 thoughts on “Campaign Director exposes National’s furtive media strategy

  1. “John Key is the worst National Party leader ever”

    Quite true. Don Brash would have likely been PM if it was not for Clark’s overspend with the pledge card. He may have only been a one term PM but he would have implemented policies that he believed were correct and not just focused on staying in power for as long as possible.

    If there had of been a poll on the continuation of the Maori seats and they were abolished it is unlikely they would have been reinstated. If is rare that when a government changes that policies are reversed. However, it could happen with the anti-smacking law if Winston holds the balance of power. .


  2. I’m really not sure I believe this, Red. If the Key government is so utterly focus-group-driven, the selection of participants must surely be performed by a Labour Party staffer! It’s the only possible explanation for the craven pandering to the far Left on many issues (increases in welfare, increases in the size of government, balkanising the citizenry through pandering to the separatist, seditious, supremacist forces of the Corporate IWI), and a total tin ear on others (flag change, redefinition of marriage, etc.).

    I still maintain that if the Labour/Green coalition weren’t a complete goat rodeo, Key would have been shown the door long ago.


    • I understand Gantt, and that is basically what I am saying. I reckon the Nats are misreading public opinion due to inbuilt progressive bias in their analysis/ strategy dept.

      You see when they are compared with the opposition, they rate highly. When the polls focus on single issues, the Nats come out poorly.

      So this reinforces my thesis that the only reason the Nats are winning is because they offer a management team that is perceived as superior to Labour’s. Not really much of an achievement given Labour’s cluelessness. (For example there is Andy telling us we need to take even more refugees. How out of touch with public opinion can they be..??)

      Actually it just occurred to me that the refugee thing is a good example to illustrate my argument. The voters don’t want any “refugees”. National says they’ll take some. Labour says they will take many more.

      Naturally, National gets much more support than clueless Labour, but its still not doing what the voters really want.


      • It’s likely Farrar’s “focus group” membership is drawn from the chatterers who comment on his cesspool of a blog. And of course the fool Rob, who commented here yesterday.


        • Yes, educational wasn’t it?

          Shows you how far left NZ has swung under the Clark/ Key govts that such a clueless imbecile can imagine himself to be somehow less left than your average Labour party supporter.


          • Says the fool supporting the charlatan destroying both his Party and his Nation. Disappear, little man. You and your ilk have put our once-great little nation where it is today – a socialist dystopia on the verge of (yet another) recession. Time to go away and let the grown-ups fix what you broke.


          • Who said I supported Key. Lots I don’t like about him. Also lots I don’t like about the nats. A socialist distopia? Grow up sonny, you’ve been reading to much fiction and taking it as fact. Comprehension skills definitely lacking and you obviously don’t understand the meaning. Are you one of the ‘grown-ups’ who are gonna ‘fix the problem’? Oh boy! I can’t wait!


          • Since you are gracing this site with your presence Rob, why dont you educate us with superior intellect. How is the NZ political spectrum not socialist and what politics do you support? Surely you’re not just here to be a rude prick.. Btw, now every news outlet is running stories on the drowned boys father and his dodgy story, although i doubt the log is moving from your eye anytime soon.


          • “Rob”, 9/9/2015 22:44: “Oh, and I’m a Nat party supporter…”


            “Rob”, 12/9/2015 05:10: “Who said I supported key…”

            There are but 3 possibilities; three reasons for being a “Nat party supporter”:
            (1) you’re a Key cheerleader
            (2) you’re tribal National – you vote National because you’ve always voted National. Your parents likely voted National, and you’ve never looked closely enough to understand that the Key National Party is not the party that made Saint Ruth Richardson the Minister of Finance, it is the Key National Party that, whether wittingly or unwittingly, is delivering on the Fabian Socialist plan far better than the previous Labour government could ever have hoped (massive wealth redistribution through increases in welfare, increases in the size and scope of the government, destruction of the traditional family through banning parental discipline and redefining marriage, bowing to the gods of global warming with an utterly insane cap-and-trade scam, making the business playing field uneven by artificially aiding and propping up some business but not others)
            (3) you’ve looked at the policy platform, studied it, and decided it’s the one that most closely fits with your ideological position. Frankly, given that every single comment you’ve posted here is just a trolling of Red’s posts, I doubt you have the synapse action to undertake this exercise.

            “Rob”, 12/9/2015 05:10: “Lots I don’t like about him. Also lots I don’t like about the nats…”

            And yet, you’ve come running here to troll Red’s posts opposing the National Party position. Were you specifically despatched by David Farrar to do this? Are you a member of the “pushers” identified in the article above?


          • Caleb, since you’re the one claiming the NZ political spectrum is socialist why don’t you explain to us why you think it is. Please explain to me how NZ is (in Gannts words) “a socialist dystopia”.

            “….stories on the drowned boys father and his dodgy story…” more, he said she said, with no proof offered. You appear to think I’m defending this person. No, what I’m talking about, and I’ve pointed it out, is in some peoples rush towards hatred and fear they will take anything said that suits their agenda and take it as fact. Did you bother to watch the video and come to your own conclusions about what was said or did you simply take what you were told as fact. Seems an awful lot haven’t and nor are they prepared to because ‘somebody said’ therefore it’s fact. Kinda like the Dirty Politics saga, those who were the most verocious refused to read it but were certainly willing to pontificate on it. Ask these people where they were getting their ‘facts’ answer: somebody said so. So try removing the log from your own eye and look for yourself rather than accepting everything you’re told as fact simply because it happens to fit your agenda.


          • Gannt Guy, such a diatribe for a simple post. There are but 3 possibilities; three reasons for being a “Nat party supporter” Just 3? (4) no suitable alternative. We live in a democracy, you know, that thing where one man one vote applies. If you don’t want to exercise your right to vote, feel free. Personally I believe in voting, not sitting on my arse and then complaining. (1) I don’t cheerlead (2) I’m capable of thinking for myself but thanks for your assessment Sigmund. (3) You’re right in a sense but see (4).

            As for Red, I don’t think he needs you in here defending him. He’s quite capable of doing that himself.

            Back to (2) “massive wealth redistribution through increases in welfare…” Yeah, people on welfare are living like kings as the wealthy are stripped of their money and assets. Get real.
            “destruction of the traditional family through banning parental discipline and redefining marriage” I certainly don’t agree with anti-smacking legislation but for the moment it is what it is. Redefining marriage? Does it scare you? Appears to. Destruction of the traditional family? Hyperbolic to say the least. Just for you:

            As for the rest, who gives you your talking points. Red?

            The last paragraph? I’ll keep it simple for you. It’s laughable.


          • Red certainly doesn’t need me to defend him. He does, however, allow me space on his private site to express my opinion (he affords you the same courtesy, even though you’ve done the equivalent of coming into his lounge room and shitting on the rug).

            On the welfare thing, please show me where I said welfare leeches are living like kings as the wealthy are stripped of their money and assets? I didn’t say that. I said “…massive wealth redistribution through increases in welfare…”. Two completely different things, but since you can’t let it go, I’ll try and explain some basic mathematics for you. Your hero Key was the first PM in a generation to RAISE the rate of welfare. For every single dollar given to someone on welfare (all forms – dole, DPB, working for families), a significant amount more than that has to be ripped out of the productive economy. Every dollar is laundered through the bureaucracy, which takes a cut for administering the system. My guess is that for every dollar of increase in the welfare spend, a minimum of $1.50 is ripped away from the productive economy. Add up all those $1.50 amounts, and pretty soon it adds up to a new business being started, and people being employed. But no, of course Key would rather give welfare than have the government get out of the way so people who actually produce something can get on with employing people to produce.

            I’m done feeding the troll. The stupid is making my eyes hurt, and I have to say Red is a more gracious host than me – I would have kicked you out long ago.


          • “…massive wealth redistribution through increases in welfare…” Hyperbole begets hyperbole.
            $1.50 for every$1? You’d guess? Well that settles it.
            Every single one of those dollars returns income tax, gst, and is put straight back into the economy. ie spent on product.
            Welfare leeches? Something you’ve forgotten, many on welfare have actually paid tax in, a proportion of which is a form of insurance. People get laid off. Tough shit? You’re obviously one of those who believe we should cut taxes and get rid of welfare altogether because since people have more, suddenly, they’ll all become more generous and start giving to charities who would then help the poor. Yeah right. And since businesses have this new found wealth they would suddenly create all kinds of new jobs. More likely they would pay shareholders more and give the poor the finger.
            You’re done? Good, because you’re an ass who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.


  3. About the redefinition of marriage, that was created decades ago, but only now has it been in the public’s view. CYF, Child, Youth, Family. This means that the family is all about raising the child and the youth. And if the government isn’t happy with the way you raise the child, then they’ll take the child from you. And the antismacking bill was the way to do it.

    So what I’m saying is since the great depression the government thinks of you as a resource. They’re happy to give you a service when in need, provided you pay them back with income tax. And these recent laws just give them more power to do what they want to do, with your children. Don’t like the way your raising your child, give them to a gay couple, and people wonder why I don’t have children.


  4. “Don’t like the way your raising your child, give them to a gay couple…”
    It’s a good thing you don’t have children. It means the gene with stupid written all over it will die with you.


    • “Don’t like the way your raising your child, give them to a gay couple…”
      Get’s 5 upvotes.
      Yeah, there are some intellectual giants in here. Must make you feel inadequate.


  5. After reading this I’m wondering whether the flag change push was in part a favour from Key to Farrar. We know how keen Farrar is on making NZ a republic.


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