‘Charisma’ key to elec­tion win


‘‘Go get it.’’

Th­ese are Sir Bob Har­vey’s suc­cinct words of en­cour­age­ment for Jacinda Ardern as she heads into the last week of the elec­tion cam­paign.

The former Waitakere City mayor is not shy about ex­press­ing his ad­mi­ra­tion for Ardern hav­ing got­ten to know her well over her last nine years in Par­lia­ment.

And he’s been fol­low­ing this par­tic­u­lar elec­tion with in­ter­est given the sim­i­lar­i­ties it holds to pre­vi­ous cam­paigns he has been in­volved in.

Har­vey was Labour’s cam­paign man­ager for Norman Kirk’s land­slide vic­tory in 1972 and again in 1984 when David Lange be­came Prime Min­is­ter.

When com­par­ing the two, Har­vey says Ardern is most like Kirk, but also shares many of the qual­i­ties that made He­len Clark so suc­cess­ful.

‘‘I think she’s more like Kirk in that she’s a vi­sion­ary like he was,’’ he says

‘‘I know her re­ally well. She has the charisma and that touch­a­bil­ity, which is that thing that makes peo­ple want to hug her. And like He­len Clark, she’s got the in­tel­li­gence and man­age­rial skills.’’

Har­vey, who cur­rently works for Auck­land Coun­cil fa­cil­i­tat­ing over­seas in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, was able to win six may­oral elec­tions him­self but was once an ad­ver­tis­ing guru with a knack for get­ting other peo­ple into of­fice.

One of his first cam­paigns was Norman Kirk’s sec­ond at­tempt at be­com­ing Prime Min­is­ter in 1969, go­ing up against the Na­tional Party and Sir Keith Holyoake who was aim­ing for a his­toric fourth term in gov­ern­ment.

‘‘I met Norm at the Great North­ern Ho­tel in the city, and I told him, ‘I’m go­ing to be the man who’ll make you’. I didn’t say I’d help him win, I said, ‘I’ll make you’ and we did.’’

Draw­ing on over­seas trends, Har­vey in­tro­duced a me­dia-saavy cam­paign strat­egy fo­cused on re­brand­ing Labour and its leader. Har­vey came up with the nick­name ‘Big Norm’ and was able to trans­form the shab­bily-at­tired and rather over­weight Kirk into a dy­namic, trimmed-down politi­cian with well­fit­ted suits and a mes­sage to match.

‘‘My team and I in­vented the mod­ern po­lit­i­cal cam­paign - we had mu­sic, slo­gans, TV ads, doc­u­men­taries and we had guys like Sam Neill, Roger Don­ald­son help­ing us.’’

Story con­tin­ued be­low.

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