The leader of the opposition would like you to know he’s just a regular bloke.
Christopher Luxon hasn’t been a politician for very long, but his time on Instagram is a masterclass in soft politics. In just under three years, he has posted 449 times to his Instagram feed.
Given that he appears to have created an Instagram account purely for his political career (the first photo was posted a week before his selection to run as National’s candidate in the Botany electorate in 2020), the themes have been consistent since the beginning: politics, meet and greets, sports and community. But over the past few weeks, Luxon has well and truly entered his everyman era.
Every politician runs some form of everyman campaign before an election. Jacinda Ardern recently modelled at WoW and is guaranteed to post at least one cake from the Australian Woman’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book in 2023, so this is certainly not a phenomenon unique to Luxon. But the enthusiasm with which he’s thrown himself into appearing like a normal bloke, a full year out from the next general election, suggests he’s only just getting warmed up.
Let’s take a tour through some early highlights.
October 7: Family bloke
The key to connecting with voters is to be relatable and come across as a Real Human Being with Things In Common with the average punter. Luxon was the CEO of Air New Zealand and owns seven houses so he’s working against himself here. But he does hold one trump card: what’s more relatable than having a family?
Luxon has recently started peppering genealogical tidbits throughout his posts, like this classic example. He’s the MP for Botany, works in Wellington and has “family ties” to North Otago. The everyman is everywhere.
October 10: Community bloke
A classic of the genre. Just a friendly neighbour helping carry some boxes of fresh produce while a photographer crouches nearby.
October 16: Child-friendly bloke
This photo opportunity covers both the two main themes of Luxon’s everyman era: establish a family connection early in the caption, and never allow yourself to be photographed wearing a hat. Sir, with the greatest respect, no amount of sunscreen is going to protect that dome from New Zealand’s harsh summer sun. Please consider wearing a hat.
October 17: Running bloke
There was a period during the last election campaign when Labour’s plan of attack was to compliment former National leader Bill English.
This is a clear homage to English’s own everyman zenith, the walk-run.
October 23: Rugby bloke
Posting a pic of yourself “watching the rugby” seems like a slam dunk for politicians eager to show how normal they are, but what they fail to recognise is that this is actually deeply unnatural social media behaviour – ironically, the kind of thing only a politician would post.
October 24: Married bloke
Christopher Luxon posts a lot of nice photos with his wife Amanda and sometimes his two children. In fact, his very first Instagram post in January 8, 2020 was a photo from his wedding day. The caption included the line “every day I am grateful I get to do life with you” which is the most Instagram sentence in the world. Impeccable use of the platform.
This photo is intended to serve as another reminder that Luxon is first and foremost a family man. For me, it’s another reminder that hats exist in a range of styles and offer good protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
October 27: Blue collar bloke
This photo and activity – Luxon worked at McDonald’s as a teenager – is intended to show he isn’t above rolling up his sleeves and doing some good honest work. But it also reveals what he is above: the McDonald’s dress code, which requires staff to wear a hat.
The are at least 300 days until the next election. Strap in.