Analysis shows 2019 a contentious year for NZ
New Zealand had more challenging events and issues than it has experienced in a decade, according to an annual analysis by Blackland, a Wellington-based public relations company.
The company which reports every year on the toughest communication challenges, said it had been an extraordinary year for the sheer volume and scale of events and issues.
“Since starting our annual analysis, we’ve not seen a year more fraught with contentious and emotional debate, nor with a higher number of errors and tragic incidents,” says Director, Mark Blackham.
Over 140 individual events and issues made it over the company’s initial threshold for inclusion in the analysis, based on profile and impact – almost double the amount from previous years.
Of those 140, the three most challenging matters were the Government cancelling a capital gains tax and passing the Zero Carbon Bill, and the Ministry of Health managing an outbreak of measles.
Blackland’s team concluded that the plans for a capital gain tax was the hardest issue to manage because it affected the largest number of New Zealanders economically, and involved complexity and political commitments.
“Changing your mind or reneging on a promise is the hardest thing for any of us to do, and politicians are no different. When hundreds of thousands of people are affected by your decision, and you staked your reputation on different course of action, it’s difficult to know the right thing to say.”
BlacklandPR uses a scoring system that ranks issues out of 10 for four factors –Profile (media coverage and ‘talkability’ in everyday life), Impact (how many people are consciously affected directly or indirectly), Emotion (the intensity of emotional reaction), and Complexity (complications and technicalities of the issue).
In previous years BlacklandPR’s PR Challenges ranking has been headed by issues such as Metiria Turei’s benefit fraud confession, petrol price rises, food contamination, the Fonterra botulism issue, and the Flag Referendum.
Another year dominated by politics
Mr Blackham says political challenges dominated the rankings. Fourteen of the Top 20 challenges were faced mainly by political organisations. “The predominant role of government in New Zealand’s daily life is again reflected in this year’s rankings,” he said.
Toughest PR gigs 2019: Ranking
Organisation Issue Profile Impact Emotion Complexity Total 1 Government Capital Gains Tax Policy proposal 9 9 7 8 33 2 Government Zero Carbon bill 8 8 7 7 30 3 Ministry of Health / District Health Boards Measles outbreak 9 6 8 7 30 4 Emergency services / Defence Force Response to White Island eruption 9 5 9 6 29 5 Spark Rugby world cup streaming service 8 4 8 8 28 6 Ministry of Education Teacher strikes 8 7 8 5 28 7 White Island Tours Deaths and injury to customers 9 3 9 7 28 8 Auckland Council City rail link 8 6 6 7 27 9 Government Gun laws 9 4 9 5 27 10 Fonterra Business performance