The brand desired by few

Auckland City has a new slogan apparently – The City Desired by Many.

That sounds awful to me, and it seems to a lot of others. The price tag is awful too.

NZ Herald: Auckland’s new $500,000 slogan not so desired

Auckland council bureaucrats have spent $500,000 on a new city slogan…

The new brand is the work of the council’s promotion arm, Ateed.

…was worked on by 115 council staff over two years.

That’s almost 6 staff members per letter of the slogan – but that’s just the short version, there is more to it:

Its full title is Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland, The Place Desired by Many. Folklore has it that the people of Ngati Whatua o Orakei know Tamaki Makaurau as “Tamaki the place desired by many”.

Explaining is losing when it comes to slogans. That sort of thing is ok somewhere on Wikipedia, but it’s not exactly catchy.

There has been a somewhat dissatisfied reaction to this waste of time and money is

…which has already been condemned as “outrageous” by some councillors and does not have the support of new mayor Phil Goff.

Mayor Phil Goff has received an initial high-level briefing on aspects of Ateed’s Global Auckland rebranding project.

A spokeswoman said the rebranding or marketing of Auckland was not a project the mayor was interested in championing.

I’m not surprised.

Goff has promised a crackdown on council waste, greater scrutiny of council-controlled organisations (CCOs) such as Ateed and phasing out former mayor Len Brown’s slogan The World’s Most Liveable City.

I’m not surprised “the world’s most livable city” is being ditched, but switching to the most laughable slogan is not a joke.

Dick Quax said he was dumbfounded.

Councillor Desley Simpson, deputy chair of the finance committee, said the project was another example of where the council has to tighten the decision-making of CCOs, “when you can see a mile off it is not a priority for ratepayers”.

Said councillor Fletcher: “It is arrogance in the extreme. It is disrespectful to the ratepayer and a complete waste of money.”

Has the ‘brand’ has been chosen without the councillors input or approval?

Ateed accounts show $517,000 had been spent on Global Auckland to the end of June this year.

Documents leaked to the Herald show work on the brand project has included focus groups, interviews, surveys and social media. Advertising agency Colenso BBDO and brand gurus DNA were used. A total of 115 council and Ateed staff attended workshops.

Does the cost include internal staff costs or just external costs?

In a statement, Ateed boss Brett O’Riley confirmed that the literal meaning of Tamaki Makaurau, “the place desired by many”, had come through as a strong theme from the Global Auckland project but no final decision had been made on the proposition.

Decisions about how the research and narrative will be used will be made in consultation with the council and private sector, O’Riley said.

So they spent two years and half a million – so far – and don’t know what they are going to do with it?

No date has been set to reveal the brand.

It looks a bit revealed now. It looks like someone has blown the whistle on it. That may save more money being spent on it.

No wonder the Auckland City Council wants Government money for less important things like transport and housing.

This is the sort of ‘politically correct’ elitist committee driven bland waste of money that people in other parts of the world are fed up with and revolting about, but council staff are safe from being dumped by voters.

Morgan versus Key on flag preference

Gareth Morgan has been given another opportunity to promote his flag change preferences in a Herald column – PM’s flag preference is underwhelming. He criticises Key for stating his preference for a new flag – while promoting, again, what he wants and doesn’t want.

Firstly the Prime Minister clearly wants his preference to be chosen and that does somewhat taint the integrity of using public referenda to arrive at a decision.

Why? Key has just one vote, like the rest of us. He’s doing far less promotion of his preference than Morgan is of his. Morgan is doing far more than anyone to influence the outcome of flag choice.

Mr Key has politicised the process, and so some will oppose whatever he prefers regardless, thereby undermining the entire exercise.

It would always be politicised no matter who initiated a flag change process. Yes, some will oppose Key’s choice just because he’s a politician they don’t like. They have a right to vote however they like. Some may oppose Morgan’s choice because he is using disproportionate influence with money and media access to promote it.

Morgan is trying to get his flag chosen amongst the final four.  He is trying to impose more influence than anyone, including Key.

The Prime Minister wants the silver fern. His rationale was spelt out in Saturday’s newspapers. He simply wants the flag to be a brand, he has no interest whatsoever in any meaning beyond that. It’s all about recognition for Mr Key.

Of course a flag is about recognition, that’s what they are for. But Morgan makes up “wants the flag to be a brand”. Key doesn’t say anything like that.

This is what he said in John Key: Why my vote will go to flag with the silver fern:

I believe a new flag can take the best of the past and project that into the future.

It can reflect a forward-looking, confident New Zealand that is asserting itself and building its own identity in the 21st century. Our flag can be the choice of New Zealanders rather than the 19th century adaptation of a British ensign.

Last Saturday night I wore a New Zealand Rugby Union tie with a silver fern on it. On my lapel I also wore a silver fern because it, to me, symbolises this country that I love and so proudly serve.

The All Blacks’ jersey had a silver fern on it, and around me were more of them. In a sense, the people have already spoken.

They have adopted a symbol that unites them as belonging to a young and proudly independent country that has achieved a lot and has more to do.

Our flag should tell that story.

Morgan’s version is quite different – he made it up.  Morgan went on:

It’s all about recognition for Mr Key. He loves the Canadian flag for that reason and he adorns himself with silver fern badges and insignia when he attends sports events. He notes the rugby crowd all have a silver fern somewhere on our attire when we roll up for the game. And that for Mr Key that means we have chosen or endorsed the fern as the symbol of who we are.

That logic’s pretty shallow.

Again, recognition is the primary function of a flag.

And Morgan’s analysis is very shallow. The silver fern is used far more widely than in rugby. It’s a symbol that’s common across a range of sports. And businesses. And the State already uses it extensively.

Our passports are black with large silver ferns front and back. It’s a widely used symbol. It is already New Zealand’s defacto symbol.

Morgan keeps repeating his dissing:

I suspect Mr Key’s thoughts on this issue don’t run much deeper than corporate branding. That’s disappointing don’t you think?

National flags more often than not tell a story about the formation of the nation, what its values are and what it stands for – as the Flag Consideration Panel’s first question to the public asked. They are not a logo – many firms will incorporate recognisable aspects of their nation’s various insignia within their own brands and logos.

To suggest the national flag should just be another corporate brand like this is underwhelming, a shallow facsimile of what a national flag could be.

It’s Morgan who keeps claiming the silver fern is just a brand, while saying andf implying that’s what Key has said, which is incorrect.

After a long diss of Key and the silver fern Morgan finally gets to make his own case.

Let’s get serious here. New Zealand has just undertaken a 40-year process to reinstitute the legitimate basis of how our nation was formed. The Treaty of Waitangi is recognised officially as the founding document now, it is incorporated already in over 300 laws and regulations.

New Zealand is seeking to honour, albeit belatedly, the truth of arrangements between indigenous peoples and subsequent migrants. This is a huge achievement, and a major differentiating factor between us and Australia, Canada or the US for that matter. We should be extremely proud of this – forgive me, but it means more than the All Blacks winning.

What better way to celebrate such a coming of age, than to adopt a flag that recognises that milestone, recognises that we have one of the most multicultural societies on earth, a society that also has a bicultural treaty at its heart – an agreement that establishes the legitimacy of all migrants to call themselves New Zealanders? This is our uniqueness. We have a wonderful opportunity here to present a flag that defines, who we the New Zealanders actually are.

This is the flag that Morgan thinks does all that and defines who we the New Zealanders actually are:


There is nothing about it that suggests ‘New Zealand’ to me.

The designers of it have written an explanation of the colours and shapes, as required in Morgan’s flag competition guidelines. But most people don’t read stories behind flags. For most people a flag is simply a visual image.

Flag noun: a piece of cloth used as the symbol of a nation, state, or organization

Morgan wants it to be more than a symbol, and has the money and access to media to push his own design and his own ideas on what it should all mean.

But he is misrepresenting what Key has said. He is misrepresenting by omission by not acknowledging how widely accepted the fern already is as a symbol of New Zealand

Morgan may end up being successful in pressuring the flag panel into including his design in the final four. That appears to be his current aim.

And he may then pile money into promoting his design (plus all the free publicity media give him).

He can promote his story as much as he likes.

But I think that most people won’t care about abstract stories attached to some basic shapes and colours.

New Zealanders will choose the flag that they feel most means New Zealand to them.

Conservative brand badly damaged

In response to the latest news in the ongoing Conservative Party train wreck – a dispute over who has been suspended, Colin Craig or John Stringer – David Farrar comments in Still fighting over a dead party:

So both Stringer and Craig want to be leader. I don’t think they realise how much damage the fight has caused to the Conservatve brand. Before this happened, I would have given them a reasonable chance of making 5% next time. Now I think they would struggle to get even 2%.

Conservative Party election results:

  • 2011 – 2.65% (59,237 votes)
  • 2014 – 3.97% (95,5985 votes)

Even if they eventually sort their mess out a bit looks almost certain they will fail to maintain their 2014 level of support and while there will be some loyal support remaining 2% looks generous.

Shawn Herles suggests what they need:

A conservative party that wants to be successful needs a leader who is young, photogenic, a damn good speaker, above reproach ethically, and, like John Key, comes across as a pretty normal bloke, the kind of guy (or girl) you would want at a BBQ.

Naska offers a reality check:

Quite a tall order. Finding some hip young go getter with a magnetic personality who coincidentally wants to regress NZ socially by about a 100 years is not going to be easy.

That’s harsh on the party but it reflects more on where some of the Conservative supporters want to go, backwards – Redbaiter comes to mind.

Deadrightkev remains staunchly optimistic:

Its not over yet DPF.

My money is on the Conservatives getting over 5% at the next election and with Colin Craig at the top to boot. He will be kicked around by the MSM, Slater and his dads army but Craig will climb back on top IMHO.

While Craig keeps piling money and effort into his political project it won’t be over as an attempt, but as a credible party it has gone backwards big time recently.

Peter J partially gets back to reality:

They have (or had) some good policies, but even the best policy wont carry a party through a disaster like that which we have seen unfold.

But what policies? They still has very few published policies, and those they have are sparsely detailed. Here is the whole of the Conservative Party’s published policies (‘Issues’) under the banner ‘Conservatives – Stand for Something’.


Call us crazy, but the way we see it a politician’s job is to follow the instructions voters give them.

If we’re elected it’ll be because you wanted us to give the Government a backbone, to insist they reform the justice system as you instructed. We want justice for victims of crime and harsher penalties for those who do the crime.
How loony is that?

Criminals will be made to do hard work; there’ll be no time to moan about being hard done by.

But it’s not just us calling for tougher sentencing; over 90% of you instructed the Government – via a referendum – to harden up on criminals. You were ignored.

If you’ve had enough of this arrogant and toxic behaviour from politicians – it’s time to show them the yellow card.
On our watch referendums will be binding, justice will prevail.
Anything else is just crazy talk.


In Wellington they’ve always got some hairbrained scheme in mind to spend your money. Seems like only yesterday that the honourable member for Wainuiomata thought it might be a top idea to reincarnate the Moa.

The only other reason we need to pay so much tax is to fund the Government’s vote buying programme; which clearly is proving to be more expensive than first thought. This is where they try and turn as many hardworking kiwi families as possible into beneficiaries.
It doesn’t get any more cynical.

Bit of a tip – it’d be cheaper, not to mention more transparent, to just tax us all less in the first place. If for example you were earning $20,000 per year, you’d pay no tax, and be $2520 better off. That’s nearly $50 a week in your back pocket. After that everyone pays a flat tax.
So that’s our plan.

Don’t let anyone tell you we can’t afford a tax cut. Especially if they’re from Wellington. It’s not their money. The Government just needs to stop spending our wages and salaries like drunken sailors.
We’ll put real money in the hands of those that need it and know what to do with it. Letting anyone else spend it for you is just lunacy.


At the heart of the democratic system is the principle of the citizens initiated referendum. It’s when a single issue is thought to be so important, all voters are asked to make their opinion heard.
Pure democracy.

Getting it and keeping it – it’s why wars get started.
In New Zealand since MMP started five such referendums have been held. Each and every time the wishes of the people were crystal clear. Each and every time the results were ignored by successive Labour and National Governments.

They’ve ignored what you think on anti-smacking; on tougher penalties for criminals, and asset sales.

When an overwhelming majority of us voted to have less politicians, guess what happened? That’s right. They ignored that too. Call us old fashioned, but this sort of arrogance needs to stop.

What really worries us is this: what else are they looking to ignore?
To think they won’t is madness.


The fact that in this day and age Maori are treated as 2nd class citizens and victims drives us nuts.

Since 1867 Maori have been segregated by special laws and separate seats in Parliament, and how’s that worked out do you think?
Exactly. No good has, or will come from using a race based system to govern. Nor incidentally, does it come from repeating mistakes.

Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same old thing over and over, but expecting a different result.
Our wild and crazy thought?
Try something new.

It’s time to bring closure to the claims process and look to the future.
We stand for equal rights and representation for all New Zealanders, plain and simple.
Let’s change a broken system.
Nothing loony about that.

That’s it. There’s very little to stand for, apart from a lot of looniness.