Wellington Scoop

What are they trying to tell us?


Thanks to Georgina Campbell in the NZ Herald for telling us that Saturday’s full-page newspaper advertisement about Wellington has been criticised for being out of touch with the city and containing no public health or council services information.

Georgina Campbell reports in the Herald:

The issue has united local MPs from across the political spectrum who told the Herald that what people needed in a pandemic was information, not “pretty pictures in the newspaper”. The full-page advertisement, placed by the council-owned Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, launched a campaign about putting the “We” in Wellington during the Covid-19 outbreak… It’s understood WREDA took the lead on the project and did the design work. The first city councillors heard of it was in the newspaper.

Councillor Nicola Young said it was a “wasted opportunity” to promote serious health messages and explain changes to council services like recycling. “I was staggered because I thought the content was absolutely facile. We’re facing a pandemic where people need information not cosy statements like that. I thought it was embarrassing.” … Councillor Rebecca Matthews said: “If it’s a full page in the newspaper, it needs to have decent information that Wellingtonians can use.”

The Herald says Mayor Andy Foster sent an email to councillors after concerns about the campaign were raised in a Zoom meeting. “I have passed on councillors’ view that in future publicity we include, to the extent possible, practical information”, he said.

Rongotai MP Paul Eagle said the council was out of touch. The Herald quotes him as saying: “What people are expecting from the city at the moment is some decisive leadership around what a recovery plan is going to look like, not pretty pictures in the newspaper.”


Today the city council bought another full page advertisement in the DomPost – a very different one. Over-stuffed with text, and also including messages from WREDA and the Chamber of Commerce, it leaves more confusion about what the council wants to convey to us.

Taxpayers Union: Freeze funding to WREDA


  1. Conor Hill, 31. March 2020, 20:42

    What are WREDA doing with Andy? They are a regional organisation. Could have been Anita Baker or Campbell Barry.

  2. TrevorH, 1. April 2020, 8:09

    A “branding” exercise, no more, no less. Truly shameful.

  3. Sarah and Lee, 1. April 2020, 9:31

    Wordy ain’t the half of it. It’s not exactly inspiring my confidence.

  4. Traveller, 1. April 2020, 9:33

    It’s long been evident that the city council has no control of WREDA, and also that WREDA doesnt have enough to do. The empty fullpage yellow advertisement is further proof of both concerns. As is the fact that it is now spending time and effort promoting exercise classes. (An economioc agency>)

  5. Dr Jenny Condie, 1. April 2020, 9:53

    WellingtonNZ (aka WREDA) will be crucial to supporting our city’s businesses to survive and recover from the lockdown. Whatever your opinion of the advertising, suggesting that we should freeze their funding seems rather short-sighted. In addition to the great work they do in tourism and event promotion, they also provide incredible support helping businesses in the Wellington region to grow and thrive. [via twitter].

  6. Groggy, 1. April 2020, 10:51

    @ Jennie, I disagree. In the new world of reduced global movement and no tourists, WREDA is even more of a lame duck than it was already. Disestablish it and put the money towards something useful like fixing the pipes. I also hope the first item on the council’s agenda post lockdown is stopping construction on the useless convention centre.

  7. Ian Apperley, 1. April 2020, 15:15

    “WellingtonNZ (aka WREDA) will be crucial to supporting our city’s businesses to survive and recover from the lockdown.”

    Yep, and that is a MASSIVE risk for the city based on their prior record.

  8. TrevorH, 1. April 2020, 15:31

    Dr Condie: I’d like to hear from businesses themselves about whether WREDA adds value. Apart from the restaurant sector, that is, because it is already well known WREDA executives pumped a lot of ratepayer money into the fine dining scene.

  9. Andrew, 1. April 2020, 20:45

    I’m going to stick my neck out and say tourism and event promotion are pretty much the lowest priority in the current environment.

  10. michael, 2. April 2020, 1:46

    Dr Condie, we will be living in a different world after this is all over. The government is going down the elimination route and may keep the borders closed until there is a vaccine. Worldwide business and people are switching meetings and conferences on-line and there is every chance that this will become the norm as people realise the huge cost benefits and convenience of not leaving home. Therefore, WREDA, the convention centre, and airport extension should be ended now because tourism and event planning is not going to be a high priority for a very long while, and the money could be better spent elsewhere.

  11. Keith Flinders, 2. April 2020, 10:17

    Former Prime Minister Keith Holyoake’s advice to new MPs in his party was “spend your first term observing and listening”. It would behove WCC councillors elected for the first time last year to take heed of such advice, rather than get themselves into the media making statements about issues they have no demonstrated knowledge of.

    WREDA is the wrong vehicle to lead an economic recovery for this region, as are not the plethora of elected councillors. Running multi million dollar businesses, which councils are, using elected and largely unqualified representatives who see their role as managers, is a recipe for chaos. Councillors are there to oversee governance, not micro manage.

  12. Pauline, 2. April 2020, 15:34

    Agree Michael the world is changing and the Airport Runway extension and Convention Centre are not a high priority and the money would be better spent on Libraries, green parks etc.