26 June 2012

NZs Most Trusted 2012: Christian Marketing Campaign Needed

by Dr Mark Keown

Note: To be read with tongues firmly in cheek… I think?

So the annual Readers Digest poll is out and we now know who the most trusted Kiwis are. The poll of course was loaded, because my wife and mum weren’t listed on the voting papers, but still, it gives us some idea of how Kiwis view their world. Richie McCaw wins the vote, up from 55 the year before. That makes sense, he won us the Rugby World Cup with a gammy leg – he is someone we can leave our wallets with! Can’t understand why Graham Henry only got 15th, he was robbed!

And second is Alison Holst, fine cook and food writer. She is someone’s mum, with a nice smile, and a great cook to boot – she must be trustworthy. Personally, I think she fed the judges and won them over. Peter Leitch, aka, the Mad Butcher is third, followed by John Kirwan (JK), both who have given great service to the community, and they into sport too! JK was an All Black, he should have won! Actually, jokes aside, both these people have made great contributions to the nation and it is great to see them honoured. JK is also someone we can trust to turn the Blues around, I hope the selection panel read these results.

Willie Apiata comes in fifth, which is great, because if we get into a war, which is highly likely with our trustworthy armed forces (below), we can call on Willie. Peter Snell comes in 6th – an athlete from the 1960’s, he must be trustworthy. That’s why Colin Meads is 10th, Valerie Vili is 12th, Dan Carter is 15th, John Walker 18th, and Richard Hadlee 19th. They are good at sport, so obviously we can trust them aye. Then comes Kevin Milne, Fair Go advocate, he exposes falsehood on TV so he is for real. Then comes Sarah Ulmer, must be the gold medals or the smile – like Hayley Westenra (20th). Joking aside, the whole thing is intriguing. It seems if one is on TV, has a clean sheet in public, and is a great athlete or personality, one can be trusted. Actually, the whole thing is nonsense – these people are images on screens, talented people for sure, with nice trustworthy faces or, as far as we know, good character, but the most trusted – reheally? Or is it just me? Or am I just jealous?

That said; we Christians can take note. First, aside from quite a few individuals that are known to be Christian and scattered across the list, there are no church leaders. Ah, yes, there is one. Good old “City of God” founder, Brian Tamaki (BT), who is back on the list at 100. That can be seen two ways. Woohoo, he made the list! I didn’t after all, so good on you BT. Or, dang, he only got 100th! I think the latter is more likely. After all, he was even outranked by politicians. Who would be a politician? Mayors do ok with Bob Parker of Christchurch at 47 and Tony Kokshoorn of Grey District at 72, although Len Brown only gets 88. He should be miffed, he has just been nominated for international mayor of the year! As another very trustworthy athlete John McEnroe would say, “you can’t be serious!”

Helen Clark does alright at 52, but she is at the UN now, so she is now honest. Parliamentary politicians are not highly rated as seen by the ratings of Lockwood Smith (76), Russel Norman (80), David Shearer (83), Pita Sharples (91), Gerry Brownlee (93), Tania Turia (94), Winston Peters (96), and Hone Hariwira (99). Even “honest” John Key is only 70th – must be the asset sales. BT was even outranked by the recently convicted Doug Graham and Data Dotcom! Still, Brian beat out the rest of us ministers and theologians, so good on him. So did Hone, Doug and Data too… mmmm.More seriously though, where are the trusted religious figures who speak well into society? They are a lost breed.

The second thing to note for us Christian ministers is our place on the list of most trusted professions. We scored a brilliant 28th, understandably behind fire-fighters, paramedics, rescue volunteers, nurses, pilots, doctors, pharmacists, vets, the police and teachers. Not sure how we were beaten by the armed forces (we should get guns), scientists (says something doesn’t it), dentists (at that price?), chefs (haven’t they seen Hell’s Kitchen?), builders (leaky homes?), bankers (in the current economic climate?) and lawyers (haven’t they seen the movie Liar Liar?)! Thankfully we beat out financial planners (just), sex workers (phew), and salespeople of various sorts (again, phew). Clearly though, we have a perception problem. Perhaps we should employ someone to rebrand us? Now that’s an idea. Or perhaps we should go out and do works of grace, justice, mercy and compassion? No, that is a silly old fashioned idea which we have tried – we need a marketing campaign.

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