Election in an Elevator

News News & events

18 Sep 2017

An Ara student journalist has cornered political party leaders, including Prime Minister Bill English, in an elevator for rapid-fire interviews ahead of the New Zealand election on 23 September.  

First year student Charlotte Cook has had her ‘The Elevator Pitch’ video series published on Stuff.co.nz and on the New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) Metronews website.  

“I am stoked to have my stories on a national platform. I’m a ‘go big or go home kind’ of person so it’s been an awesome achievement to be able to pull off,” she said.  

The series explains ‘Everything you need to know about policy, values and why you should vote, all in the length of an elevator ride’ according to MetroNews. It’s aimed at young people; at inspiring them to enol and vote in the upcoming election.

Cook was determined to get interviews with the country’s top politicians, despite being new to journalism. “I was laughing with someone the other day about having only really been a ‘journalist’, as in actually writing stories, for three months and I’ve interviewed the Prime Minister. Got to love that about New Zealand, that with a bit of charm and ambition you can get around even the toughest of security guards.”

She doesn’t say who took more convincing. “Some people played the game and were on board right away; others took a lot more determination.”

However, Cook was able to take advantage of politicians passing through Christchurch on the campaign trail and use her charm with press secretaries.  “I was able to get in amongst the media... I eventually ended up saying, ‘look, I know you will be in an elevator at some point during the day, all I’m asking is to be in there with you” and it worked.”

Interviewing some of the most politically powerful people in New Zealand was somewhat daunting, she said, but she knew what she wanted to achieve.

“I think they all really enjoyed it in the end,” Cook said of her interviewees. “They hadn’t done anything like it before, and after a couple of my really terrible jokes we both relaxed. I think they were probably more intimidated getting in a lift with a girl with a camera and mic and not knowing what I was going to ask them!”

Cook was grateful to her tutors for their support. “My tutor Sean Scanlon has been incredible, I have learnt so much from him and his industry relevant advice. 

“It’s been so much fun to make and I really hope that it did provide some quick, fun insight into helping people decide how to vote this election.”