Time to step back in. A personal note and 'Hi' to my new followers

After a few years off running the family motel in Turangi, I've decided to return to writing and blogging. 

It's nice to have the time now to read and think. Yes, I still live in the Central Plateau and I won't be returning to Auckland or Sydney- I love it in a small town. 

My family is all here now. Yes the houses are more affordable and the people are friendly. Yes I still go to church every Sunday. No I don't miss working in a big corporate or government job. 

A lot has happened online and offline in the last five years or so and I have felt a little on the shelf as I've dealt with health challenges both of my own and of my Dad, who now has Parkinson's.  Thanks to medications, I'm very healthy now (thanks for asking) and I walk the Tongariro river trails every day. I have a cute cat called Gracie, and I'm financially secure thanks to the provincial housing boom and maybe me making some wiser decisions as I've gotten older. 

I signed up for Substack and considered going down the email newsletter route that is the fashion. The social media companies and their algorithms have made it very difficult to follow people and content that you like so I understand the logic. I just don't think newsletters will last as people are tired of intrusive email content. Blogging has been with us a long time and I think it will stand the test. Let's see. 

Anyway, it feels nice to be back on my old favourite Posthaven (formerly Posterous/ acquired by Twitter) and thanks to YCombinator for keeping the service going. I used to publish twice a week as a discipline and I might do something like that again. 

It's been nice to see and hear from some of the old online folk and, while the break was nice, I think it's time to step back in. Thanks for reading and welcoming me back. 

Courtney x 

@cjlambert



Why Labour can't win on the 1pm updates (so they must continue)

60 new cases in New Zealand today. 

It's not great news but the National Party seems to be most concerned with the lack of a 1pm stand up press conference. Which seems quite contradictory to the position of the last few weeks where the government was criticised for grand standing in the new prime time news slot. Talkback was calling for the 1pm updates to stop, the Greens wanted new, diverse, voices to be added and, "anyone but Aunty Cindy" became a Facebook catch cry. 

Spin. 

The negative term ascribed to communications that someone doesn't agree with. 

The current government has been accused of lacking transparency. So Labour increased communications resources. Then, the government is accused of spin and onboarding Spin Doctors. Newstalk ZB even went so far as to point the finger at Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of Health, for "spinning for the government".  

So what's the answer?  As a former public health communications manager myself (see also Spin Doctor) I can tell you there isn't one. 

But here's a few things to note. First, the 1pm update is not a press conference. It's a live, public address to the nation with critical public health and other information that the Team of 5 Million need to hear. There are media in attendance to amplify the messages through mainstream media. The question time is token and laughable, don't pay it too much attention. Second, like it or not, Jacinda Ardern is our current national leader and it's her job to communicate to the people of New Zealand. Yes she has a communications degree (we both went to Waikato) and that has equipped her for the very complex task of turning up, and getting across messages that keep the nation cohesive. It's a very difficult thing to achieve at scale and of course she needs a team of paid advisors. To think that our leader would simply 'wing it' without messaging is simple minded. Third, there will always be tension between official channels and the varying opinions on both mainstream and social media. The 1pm creates an official information source and a relatively safe environment for critical public health messaging. 

The Labour Party is beginning to get spooked by the blow back to 1pm and they need to push on and continue with regular public addresses. It's not spin, it's good communications and yes I agree with National, there should have been one today.