Ben Thomas

Ben Thomas is a public relations consultant. He is a former National government press secretary and political editor of the National Business Review.

Politics
Oct 15, 2020

The empty political calories of the campaign's final days

With just days to go before voting closes, political discourse has taken a bizarre turn, writes Ben Thomas.

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Politics
Oct 8, 2020

Keen to see Judith Collins jettisoned? Careful what you wish for

A humiliating hour in Ponsonby doesn't mean National is imploding, just that it's losing.

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Politics
Sep 30, 2020

Act up: The simple strategy behind the party's surprise resurgence

All it took was a laser focus on gettable centre-right voters, writes Ben Thomas.

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Politics
Sep 24, 2020

The true legacy of minor parties in government

The Māori Party's time in government with National proves the impact of minor parties isn't always measurable by the number of bills they pass or the amount of funding they secure, but also its impact on the political tone.

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Politics
Sep 16, 2020

Judith Collins’ campaign gamble

Despite the cartoonish 'Crusher' label, the National leader has always been a policy wonk.

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Politics
Sep 8, 2020

To survive from here, Winston Peters will need to reach new Houdini heights

From shambolic interviews to dismal polling, it's hard to see how the NZ First leader can save his party ahead of the next month's election.

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Politics
Sep 2, 2020

James and the giant shovel

The Green School balls-up is another brutal political lesson for a party leader who already knows just how ruthless this coalition government can get.

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Politics
Aug 19, 2020

National needs to keep pounding the accountability drum on Covid response

With the shine starting to come off the government's Covid response, the opposition must abandon baseless speculation for a laser focus on failure and accountability.

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Politics
Aug 12, 2020

What the Covid resurgence means for the election campaign

Beyond the direct and practical implications, more significant for the eventual outcome is the effect on the electorate’s psyche, writes Ben Thomas.

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Politics
Aug 5, 2020

Miraculous and misleading unemployment stats offer National no path to redemption

The latest round of economic data won't carry Judith Collins and the National Party into the promised land.

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Politics
Jul 26, 2020

This terrible poll for National may not be great news for anyone

Tonight’s Newshub-Reid Research poll has Labour on 60.9%, with National tumbling to a new low of 25.5%.

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Politics
Jul 15, 2020

Judith Collins is not what you think she is

Do not mistake tough for malevolent.

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Politics
Jul 8, 2020

Boag and Walker have admitted a terrible privacy breach. And it won’t end there

What does it mean for the first-term MP and the veteran National Party operator?

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Politics
May 21, 2020

The National Party coup has gone public. Can Simon Bridges cling on?

The question is not whether National will bounce back but whether Bridges helps or hinders that bounce.

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Society
May 3, 2020

Lessons from Tūhoe: How iwi can build community resilience in a crisis

The government is very good at dealing with disasters at a large scale, and terrible at doing it on a community level. Iwi can bridge the gap.

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Politics
Apr 23, 2020

One giant misstep: Simon Bridges’ flailing attack was too far, too soon

The National Party simply cannot look as if its primary concern during a pandemic is navel gazing

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Politics
Feb 13, 2020

Winston Peters stages his own Moment of Truth, live on Facebook

When a politician apparently can't get a fair hearing in the media, how do you get the truth out?

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Politics
Feb 8, 2020

Why it is politically hard to care about the arts

The New Zealand arts community is reported to be furious with the government about its treatment. Isn't it always?

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Auckland
Nov 13, 2019

Who really owns Ōwairaka?

A very Pākehā protest against the felling of non-native trees on one of Auckland's maunga has erupted

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Politics
Aug 7, 2019

Julie Anne Genter and the game of hats

This government once boasted it'd be the 'most open and transparent' in New Zealand history. The case of Julie Anne Genter's letter shows just how badly they've failed on that front.

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Politics
May 15, 2019

Memo to the National Party: you’re not actually the government any more

Paula Bennett's refusal to go head-to-head with Chloe Swarbrick on the cannabis referendum suggests Bridges' team is yet to come to terms with what it means to be in opposition

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Politics
Aug 18, 2018

The evidence-based case for more PR in politics

How a new book on facts, misinformation and communication could help rehabilitate PR for the non-establishment left

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Politics
Jul 29, 2018

Simon Bridges’ big conference speech: did he drum up a new National vision?

In presenting himself with a new, softer image, the National leader's conference speech sought to move beyond relitigating the fights of the past, writes Ben Thomas

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Politics
Jan 31, 2018

The next National leader likely to fall? Not English, but his deputy

The jungle drums are beating for a change at the top of the National Party. But, predicts Ben Thomas, a former advisor to a National minister, it's not Bill English who should be worried.

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Politics
Nov 27, 2017

6000 stupid questions: National’s DDoS attack on the government

A brute force barrage of questions on a new and under-staffed coalition is 'not uniquely awful', argues Ben Thomas, 'but nor is it defensible'.

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Politics
Sep 7, 2017

Counterpunch: why Bill English won the Stuff Leaders’ Debate

Ben Thomas watched the Stuff Leader Debate and, unlike The Spinoff's editor, calls an emphatic win for English.

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