Communicating for New Zealand

Communicating for a transparent and collaborative future government

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Sam Rossiter-Stead, Head of Communications and Engagement, Wellington City Council
INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE: Reimagining public administration for turbulent times

COVID-19 and the pandemic response seems like it has changed everything, but we were are already in times of increased turbulence. Hyper-partisanship and the decline of deference will continue to be reasons why governments need to undertake a radical and urgent reassessment of how they communicate.

  • Has COVID-19 and the Government’s response to it reset the relationship with the public or will we see a prompt return to business as usual – what does this mean for communicators?
  • Communication responses to COVID-19: What lessons can be transferred from communications practice under emergency conditions to normal life
  • What challenges will connective governance present for the public sector and how well equipped is to deal with them?
  • To what extent do networked and accelerated communication flows present new and exciting opportunities to reverse the decoupling and distrust that has emerged between citizens, governments and politicians?
  • What does the future of communications look like and why will the successful delivery of public value increasingly rely on the communication and PR professionals working in government?
Paul Fawcett, Associate Professor of Public Policy, University of Melbourne
Exploring New Zealand’s response to COVID-19
  • How are New Zealand’s demographics changing? And what will a future New Zealand be like?
  • The influence of changing demographics on how we communicate
  • How does the increased ethnic diversity impact on the way we communicate, especially in relation to a range of media and linguistic communities?
  • Are there regional differences and dynamics that influence communication patterns?
  • Societal reactions to COVID-19: What does it tell us about us as a nation?
  • What public servant and NFP communicators can learn from the societal response
  • What was the response, impact on and perception of the pandemic across New Zealand’s diverse demographics?
Paul Spoonley, Distinguished Professor, Massey University
Morning break
Palmerston North City Council- A transformation journey to deliver communications results
Sacha Haskell, General Manager Marketing and Communications, Palmerston North City Council
CASE STUDY:CASE STUDY: How to create and run livestream events that boost culture, engagement and performance

Hear the strategy and practical tips from the project that won Gold in the 2020 PRINZ Awards for internal communications excellence

  • Fast-track engagement through events that favour authenticity over dull PowerPoints
  • Get a “greater sense of us” amongst staff spread across multiple sites
  • Create a shared moment that builds collaboration, identity and connection
  • Making the resource case – through easy impact measurement, site visit leverage and keeping the experience fresh
Phil Johnstone, Senior Advisor Strategic Relationships, Plant & Food Research
Lunch Break
CASE STUDY: Regulatory Service Improvement - through customer engagement

Engaging with customers is often seen as secondary, or even, detrimental to achieving government’s regulatory business objectives. Learn what MBIE and government learned from the COVID19 response and recovery programme to date and how this has altered stakeholder engagement.

Tracey Yearbury, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, MBIE
Paul Thompson, Senior Business Analyst, MBIE
CASE STUDY: The Swim Reaper - an unlikely water safety ambassador

Water Safety NZ has launched a rather unusual social marketing campaign using digital channels to improve water safety behaviour among difficult to influence young males.

  • • The neuroscience behind influencing behaviour change among young males
  • • The opportunities to influencing behaviour change
  • • The campaign development and evaluation based on community-based social marketing principles
Sheridan Bruce, Strategic Partnerships and Communications Manager, Water Safety NZ
Afternoon Break
The principles of behavioural science: Insights into communicating COVID-19 health and safety messages and mitigating fake news
  • • Exploring the proliferation of fake news during the pandemic
  • • The most effective way to communicate COVID-19 relevant information to the general public whilst limiting the spread of misinformation online
  • • Waiting for tech companies to take steps to restrict false info online or taking things in your hand?
  • • What does behaviour science say: People’s incentive to lie decreases when they believe there is a higher risk of negative consequences, are reminded about ethics, or commit to behaving honestly
  • • How to communicate health & safety messaging amongst the spread of misinformation
Dr Marcos Pelenur, GM Strategy and Engagement, EECA
Closing remarks from the Chair and networking drinks
Opening remarks from the Chair
Sam Rossiter-Stead, Head of Communications and Engagement, Wellington City Council
Lessons learned from the COVID-19 health communication response
  • Pandemic communications, the plan versus the reality - how did we perform? 
  • Working effectively in the rapidly changing environment of the global pandemic – the importance of both fluidity and structure in a crisis 
  • Using a wide range of different channels and communication methods to reach diverse audiences at national, regional and local levels – what were our tactics and how did we overcome the major challenges?
  • Identifying lessons for ongoing COVID-19 communications and future pandemic preparedness
  • How to effectively deal with the hardest questions and concerns to build and maintain trust and confidence
  • How did we fare - what the numbers told us 
Rachel Lorimer, Director of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement, Auckland District Health Board
Paul Giles, Group Manager Communications & Engagement, Ministry of Health
CASE STUDY Research, Measurement and Evaluation – How Masterton District Council planned a great PR strategy, then proved it worked
  • Laying the groundwork; doing the right research to understand what you’re playing with
  • Planning to measure; SMART objectives really are a smart idea
  • Getting creative; evidence-based strategies
  • Where to look for results; what (and how) to measure.
Shanna Vatselias, Communications and Marketing Manager, Masterton District Council
Morning break
CASE STUDY: Tailoring communications for Pacific communities
  • • COVID-19 communications for Pacific populations
  • • Exploring how DHBs and community organisations have worked together to support Pacific communities
  • • A Pacific approach to crisis communications
Rachel Enosa, Chief Executive, The Cause Collective | | Sandra Kailahi & Chief Storyteller, The Cause Collective
Championing iwi engagement – the power of authentic engagement.

“Māori and Iwi more than just another stakeholder.”


• Understanding the link between people and place and why this is key in building long lasting relationships

• Key to success of multi-cultural communications - how to create meaningful engagement and develop collaborative partnerships with iwi

• Finding the common language

Marisa Balle, Managing Director, Hono PR & Iwi Communications Specialist
CASE STUDY: How to get younger generations engaged on social media with public services?
  • How to achieve better collaboration between communications and customer services teams?
  • • Advances in the strategic use of social media - channel choices, insight-led campaigns and content
  • • How to measure and achieve return on investment from social media?
Claire Roper, Principal Advisor Digital & Design, Porirua City Council
CASE STUDY: Developing and communicating strong brand through content

  • Creating, building and managing a brand that people will value - key elements of the strong public services brand
  • How to apply corporate marketing & branding strategies to the public sector
  • Building effective channels to maximise reach and impact
Sarah Morgan, Head of Engagement, New Zealand Story
Generating public trust in the age of social media

Twitter’s recent decision to ban political advertising shows that public trust in government’s use of social media is at an all-time low. However, 70% of New Zealanders use social media, making it an important part of government outreach and digital citizenship. This session examines best practice techniques for generating transparency, trust and participation, and how governments are using social media and new technologies to generate trust in a post-COVID-19 world.

Dr Phoebe Fletcher, Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Massey University
Closing remarks from the Chair & end of the conference
  • Conference Remote Attendance
  • $999 + GST
  • 3 - 4 Aug 2020
  • Online
The Excellerant Group
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