Addressing New Zealand’s biggest planning issues

Convergence has provided media and communications support to the New Zealand Planning Institute’s (NZPI) annual conference since 2017. Our objective is to increase awareness of the event with potential delegates, stakeholders and industry leaders through strategic media relations.

Alongside NZPI members, delegates typically include iwi, resource managers, urban designers, scientists, environmental advocates, and local and central government.

In 2019 we worked with NZPI to highlight the biggest issues on the conference agenda, with the aim of generating topical news angles to attract media interest. Urban growth, climate change and water quality were labelled as the top three angles, alongside future food security and Maori involvement in freshwater planning.

By the end of the conference there were more than 30 news articles in mainstream and industry media – incorporating online, print, radio, magazine and television.
The media campaign began with NZPI Chair Karyn Sinclair partaking in a water reform panel discussion on Radio New Zealand’s leading Nine to Noon show, with high-profile host Kathryn Ryan.

This was followed by articles and interviews with leading media outlets including Newsroom, NZ Herald, Magic Radio and New Zealand Geographic. Mainstream media coverage was complemented by articles in specialist national and international industry publications including Asia Pacific Infrastructure, a cover feature in Local Government Magazine, and Asia Pacific Report.

The credibility and expertise of keynote speakers was also used to secure media coverage – for example former United States political candidate and international planning expert Sue Minter. Sue was a major drawcard for the event’s 600 delegates, and her international climate change expertise attracted the interest of The AM Show.

Convergence was also successful in getting media to attend the conference. Reporters and photographers from throughout New Zealand attended the three-day event in Napier.