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Jessica Bignell

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Anthropology)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Political Messaging, Parliament, and People
Or, Why Politicians Say What They Do:
The Parliamentary Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand in 2013

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

One of the main things our Members of Parliament (MPs) do in their daily work is make statements in an effort to win over the public's support. Ms Bignell spent a year behind-the-scenes shadowing the work of Green MPs in the heart of New Zealand Parliament. She found that creating neat and disciplined soundbites is, in fact, a messy, indeterminate, and uncertain practice, filled with tension and above all intensely complex. MPs have to communicate effectively by following the rules of messaging, being good oppositional MPs, and speaking in ways that authentically fit their character. To navigate that complexity, MPs must rely on their practical sense to say the right thing at the right time in order to win over the public's support and attempt to create the world they envision.

Dr Carolyn Morris
Dr Russell Prince

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