Politics is a dangerous business, at times completely crazy and often deeply weird. In my experience, of all forms of human endeavour, it is the most difficult over which to exercise some control and tender useful advice.
Let me start at the beginning. It's all my wife's fault. When Janet Wilson left a lifetime career in journalism a few decades ago, she set up a business to do media training and media-crisis management. I would often be drafted in to help, by interrogating in mock television interviews the people being trained.
Over those years, she built up a client base of several hundred entities, large corporates, small businesses, sports bodies, individuals in the media eye and politicians.
The first politician was the then-Leader of the Opposition, a nice chap named John Key, whom she trained.
When he became Prime Minister, we got to help train a raft of Cabinet ministers, deal with some of their various crises, and put Finance Minister Bill English through his paces before every Budget. We gave first Key then English a thorough warm-up for election debates and questions they would face during their campaigns.
I think my wife is a Tory. Me? I'm a little less aligned and could just as well have done the same role for Labour, except that Labour leaders had hired my former colleagues and friends to perform that function.
Today's Labour Party also has the advantage of being able to draw advice and assistance from a solid core of smart people who were press secretaries and advisers in Helen Clark's Government, from 1999 to 2008.
The point is most politicians you see in the news (along with most business leaders) have thoroughly rehearsed their lines, and with the help of advisers have prepared well for media scrutiny. Except one or two don't.
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Our worst failure in media training was then-Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Before the 2014 election, he rang wanting training, but Janet refused, citing the fact she was already working for National. A call from Key's chief of staff proved politics made strange bedfellows when he suggested we should work with Craig as National might like a potential small-party partner in Parliament post-election.
Craig duly arrived with his press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, whom we had previously worked with at TVNZ, and we went to work.
Forty-eight hours before election day, Janet got a call from an upset MacGregor. She had quit. She said she had been sexually harassed by Craig, a claim supported subsequently by a High Court judge.
Proving he had learnt little or nothing from our training session, Craig then persistently argued his version of events in the media and made a big splash in a series of court cases involving MacGregor and other individuals, such as Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and Jordan Williams, now of the Taxpayers' Union.
Nearly eight years later, I see that the former Conservative leader is still arguing (and losing) his case in the courts. The Court of Appeal this month upheld that he had sexually harassed MacGregor. There is now speculation he may take his case to the Supreme Court.
Can I give Craig, your good selves and, for that matter, the current Speaker, Trevor Mallard, a last piece of media advice? Do not endlessly and obsessively relitigate a losing argument. Take it on the chin. Move on. The public have short memories and it is sometimes possible to rebuild your reputation. Keep arguing a lost cause and you will not.