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The face that haunts Porirua ratepayers

FaceThe New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the value of a $98,876 brand makeover at Porirua City Council. 

The official new avatar for the Council, which you would expect to be emblematic of the rebrand’s quality, is a limp and childlike smiley face. The design was apparently chosen because it ‘connects with the city’s youthful population’. When Porirua ratepayers gaze long enough into the face, the Council’s five percent annual rate hikes gaze back.

Councils do not need to engage in corporate branding exercises. Unlike businesses, councils are monopoly service providers and do not need to market themselves to their ratepayers, who are already a captive audience.

Porirua isn’t the only council to have indulged in an expensive rebrand, but this is no excuse. In our experience, branding exercises are driven by political egos and only serve to distract from inadequate services or rising pressure on ratepayers.

$25,000 was spent on photography alone for this rebrand, according to a response obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.


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