Brian Edwards Media

Thoughts on Andrew Little

Andrew Little

I’ve previously written a couple of posts about the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little. The first was extremely unflattering and noted that someone had credited Little with having “a dry wit”. I observed that “arid” might have been closer to the mark. To his credit, Little found this amusing.

I was kinder in the second post, observing that the Leader of the Opposition might bring to the Office of Prime Minister a degree of personal integrity all too rarely evident in party politics.

That second post was, I now think, a fairer summation.

But, as a media trainer who has advised several Leaders of the Opposition and a couple of Prime Ministers, I know all too well that integrity is no guarantee of success in politics and that how you ‘come across’, your ‘image’, is a significant factor.

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?

Little is a rather strange looking bloke. He reminds me somewhat of an Easter Island statue. But it is not a requirement of the job he is seeking to look handsome or pretty. Cast your mind back to some previous aspirants.

‘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.

The contact lenses which Little, I assume, acquired on advice, may be a factor but my impression is that he tends to talk at rather than to his interviewers and, through them, to us. This may reflect his trade union background where rah rah declaiming to one’s audience is the expected norm.

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.

, ,


  1. 1

    I would like to like Mr Little. But he does come across as a particularly grim fellow.

    It must be difficult being in Opposition. It must be difficult thinking that, first and foremost, you need to find fault with every last little thing that the Government says and does. Ninety-nine percent of the population only ever sees Mr Little grumbling. Perhaps if he could occasionally be a bit more generous, and give credit where credit is due.

    Just a thought.

  2. The very strong impression is that he lacks prudent judgement. Whatever one’s political affiliation, his intemperate defamation of Hageman in the first place was bad enough, but his failure to simply withdraw and apologise when the auditor General found no substance to his allegations was staggeringly stupid !The cliche is ‘shooting oneself in the foot’…both in his case !In all honesty, I don’t want someone this foolish being the”leader”of anything really !

    • Forgive me if I’m wrong but didn’t Mr. Little both apologise and offer a damages payment?
      Mrs.Hageman has steadfastly refused to accept his apology.

      • Yes….BUT only as an immediate prelude to going to court…hardly ‘timely’.He could have avoided all the trouble at the outset by taking up Mrs Hagemans request for withdrawl and apology..that is the point.He gives the impression of having only two neurons between his left earand right ear and unfortunately they are asynaptic !

        • “BUT only as an immediate prelude to going to court… ”

          Incorrect. It is my understanding he apologised three times. The first approximately a year ago, the second towards the end of last year and the third time during the recent court case appearance. The Hagamans chose not to accept any of those apologies. Their lack of any normal acceptance of them as a genuine offer of remorse demeaned them both in my humble opinion.

    • I agree with you Geoff. Little’s judgement is very questionable. A current example is the on going train wreck he created around luring Willie Jackson into the fold.

      Firstly Willie threw a tantrum because he was not placed higher on the party list, after being promised as much by Andrew. This excited the media more than the quality of the list itself.

      Secondly it showed Andrew to be a leader not in control of his party.

      And thirdly its created a breach in the Labour party concerning its chartered schools policy, because Willie supports them.

      All this sheets back to Andrew and his poor judgement.

      Little’s lack of judgement has to be a major issue going into the election.

  3. A rich right wing National party flunky saw an opportunity to bankrupt the leader of the Labour party, and failed by the narrowest of margins.

    The real slim shady, no friend of the right, is about to be rather more successful against the governing party.

    This round in the courts to go to the left, methinks.

  4. 4

    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.

    By the way, welcome back, Brian. I was beginning to fear you had permanently migrated to the intellectually barren wastes of Facebook.

    • “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.

      • 4.1.1

        “The perception of competence”.

        Have you been in a coma for the last year or so?

      • 4.1.2

        “The perception of competence”. Really?
        It won’t be long before a successful candidate will be the one who wears a red nose and clown shoes. A few years ago, who would have believed that a man with yellow hair and orange skin could become President of the United States?

  5. The only favour John Key did in stepping down was to himself. Thats what you get in the end with so called “charismatic” generally up themselves pretentious box tickers such as Key.

    Andrew Little is paving the way for someone else. And all the best to them both.

    • While Key has taken it upon himself to chuck the country under a truck, Little seems to remain lost in space. If he’s paving the way for someone else, Labour better find out who it is, and shove them to the fore immediately.