Wellington Scoop

Call for VUW’s Grant Guilford to resign over “deceitful use of a rebrand”

News from Taxpayers’ Union
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is calling for the resignation of Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford over his deceitful use of a ‘rebrand’ to push a name-change agenda that has been rejected by students, alumni, and the Government.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says: “No-one is asking for this rebrand, least of all the students and taxpayers who make Mr Guilford’s career possible. Worst of all, it’s completely deceitful – the Vice Chancellor said he’d given up on the name-change agenda, but by minimising the word ‘Victoria’ and focusing on the word ‘Wellington’, it’s clear he is still on the same tired crusade.”

A video produced by the University inadvertently shows just how much resource the University has poured into rebrands over the years – the new logo would be the University’s 18th so far.

“The failed name-change proposal was projected to cost $962,000, and there is little reason to think the proposed ‘rebrand’ will be much cheaper. Leaders of taxpayer-funded organisations need to focus on delivering quality services, rather than trying to stamp their mark with costly, unnecessary rebrands.”

Read also:
Hugh Rennie
: Name change by stealth


  1. Neil Douglas, 11. July 2019, 7:14

    I recommend Grant Guilford for ‘Wellingtonian of the year’ for trying to make the world more aware of our excellent ‘Wellington University’. Well done Grant! A man ahead of his time!

  2. Helen, 11. July 2019, 15:33

    I’ll second that Neil!

  3. Dave B, 11. July 2019, 20:50

    Good grief Neil. The current title “Victoria University of Wellington” is unambiguous. Anyone looking for a university in New Zealand would easily be able to work out where this particular one is, provided they can read. And probably more easily than say, Waikato University or Otago University whose names mention only regions which do not figure prominently on maps and are probably unheard-of by most people not familiar with New Zealand (bearing in mind that many overseas cannot even locate New Zealand correctly and think it’s that little island off the bottom of Australia!).

    To pander this nonsense to its logical extent, the above two establishments should be renamed Hamilton University and Dunedin University – surely necessary to avoid confusing high-value clients.

    I will happily recommend Grant Guilford for ‘Most changed-for-the-better Wellingtonian of the Year’ once he has reformed his thinking on this needless name-change.

  4. Neil Douglas, 11. July 2019, 22:11

    Dave – I got a PhD at Leeds University. It was once part of a federal Victoria University with Liverpool and Manchester. Things can change, so what is wrong with our city’s university being unambiguously named Wellington University? I don’t think Victoria would mind, do you?

  5. Dave B, 12. July 2019, 13:23

    In principle, there is nothing wrong with a name-change for our university. However a large number of people have said no, they don’t want to see it changed. Maybe students, alumni and the public at large should have no say, but equally, should one person (Mr Guilford) have all the say?

    Reminds me of the flag debate (debacle). John Key tried to use his position to push what was essentially a pet idea of his. Two expensive referenda later, the public made it clear they didn’t want a new flag. Happily Mr Key accepted this.

  6. Neil Douglas, 12. July 2019, 15:28

    @Dave B – Grant Guilford was one of nine votes of a eleven person council to vote to change the university’s name to University of Wellington. Only two voted against the name change on July 28th 2018.

  7. John Rankin, 12. July 2019, 16:03

    @DaveB: as a matter of fact, I and others would have been happy with a new flag, but not any of the seriously crap options on offer. I saw an interesting film at the architecture and design film festival about how design shaped Canada’s identity. Check Design Canada and in particular the design of the maple leaf flag.

    I heard on the grapevine there was a proposal to “crowd-source” the short list of new NZ flags, by letting people up-vote their preferred designs from among the long list. The rumour goes that this was vetoed because it might not give the answer the Prime Minister wanted, whereas the committee would take the hint. Normally, I would dismiss such a story as a paranoid conspiracy theory, but then I look at the short list we got to choose from. (from underneath my tinfoil hat)

  8. Neil D, 12. July 2019, 19:45

    Apologies the 9-2 vote for name change was on sept 24th 2018.

  9. Morris Oxford, 14. July 2019, 10:34

    Neil, re your considered opinion, “I don’t think Victoria would mind, do you?”, don’t you think the Duke would have at least a modicum of respect for the Queen?
    I regret that I am not familiar enough with Leeds University to know what the rest of their alumni would think about it.
    By the way, is your campus anywhere near Headingly? In other words, is it on the map?

  10. Neil D, 14. July 2019, 17:37

    There be two letter ‘e’s in Headingley Morris. I lived a few miles from the cricket ground but preferred watching the odd football game down at Elland Road. Regarding the good old Duke of Edinburgh, I don’t think he went to university. He’s definitely a decent Duke though, who dotes on our gracious Queen.