Rex Widerstrom, Principal Consultant at Shift Focus.
Rex Widerstrom is a highly experienced senior journalist and editor with 15 years broadcast and print media experience, including editorship of several national titles and host of a syndicated news / talk breakfast show.
He moved into politics in 1994, becoming the first Communications Director of New Zealand First and a member of the party's Shadow Cabinet before leaving to found Polemic Corporation to provide strategic advice to candidates, NGOs, NFPS and corporate clients.
Since 1996 Rex Widerstrom been working primarily in the fields of public and government relations and political consulting, as well as some writing and television production and presenting work. Rex Widerstrom is available to consult to political candidates, not-for-profits, NGOs and corporates needing strategic or tactical public or government relations advice; or to provide broader communications strategies where required. Also available as an MC and / or speaker for conferences and events.
Rex Widerstrom's Background
Rex Widerstrom's Experience
Chief Executive Officer at Institute of Restorative Justice and Penal Reform
Lead a team of academics who undertake research on best practice in restorative justice and penal reform and lobby to have these practice incorporated into policy and procedures within government and corporations (e.g. private prison operators).
State Director, Western Australia at Civil Liberties Australia
Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) is a national organisation based in Australia's capital city, Canberra, which stands for people's rights, and defends civil liberties. It is non-party political and independent of other organisations.
CLA monitors police and security forces, and the actions and inaction of politicians. It reviews proposed legislation to make it better, and keeps watch on government departments and agencies.
Chief Executive Officer at Shift Focus
Specialised public relations consultancy with an emphasis on government relations and political consulting.
Executive Producer at Visual Reality
Develop programming, commercials and other television and video projects. Production assistance at live events.
Communications Manager at Australian Education Union (AEU) WA
December 2003 - December 2004
Managed a union campaign for renegotiation of the conditions under which the state's public sector teachers in both primary and secondary schools were employed.
Executive Producer at Channel 31 Television, Perth
March 2003 - December 2003
Developed new programming for what was then Perth's free-to-air community television channel (since closed).
Director at Polemic Corporation Limited
October 1996 - February 2002
Director of a multinational political consulting firm which also handled government and public relations in New Zealand for a variety of clients including the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners, the NZ TAB, EFTPOS NZ and others. Handled political campaigns in the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Director at NZ Eletronic Electoral Trial
1999 - 2000
Led a joint initiative of the Campaign for Digital Democracy (California, USA), Vistoria University (Wellington, New Zealand) and Polemic Corporation (Wellington, New Zealand) to create and run a trial of secure internet-based voting amongst a representative sample of NZ voters.
Communications Director at New Zealand First
December 1994 - October 1996
Inaugural Director of Communications for a new political party in New Zealand. Devised a strategy which took its poll ratings from 3% to 30% in five months. Also held elected office within the party and was a member of the Shadow Cabinet with responsibilities for Broadcasting, Energy and Telecommunications.
Rex Widerstrom's Education
Victoria University of Wellington
1987 – 1987
Rex Widerstrom's Interests & Activities
Human and civil rights; cooking; classic car collecting; reading; gardening; horse riding; pistol shooting.