17 Nov 2016

Goff hasn't studied detail of marketing report he criticised

8:17 am on 17 November 2016

Auckland's mayor Phil Goff admits he has not had a detailed look at a new investment attraction campaign, which he says a council agency should stop spending money on.

Phil Goff on the day he was elected Auckland mayor. 8 October 2016.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said the proposed marketing slogan for the city - "A Place Desired by Many" - is not his priority. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The fledgling campaign hit the headlines in a weekend newspaper report claiming $517,000 had been spent finding a new marketing slogan for the city - "A Place Desired by Many".

The report said 115 staff were involved in the new slogan.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has said the report was not true and it had worked on the campaign, at the council's request, since 2014.

"We never set out to devise a slogan, we never set out to devise a logo - the intent was very clear and about bringing together a story," ATEED chief executive Brett O'Riley said.

Mr Goff described the slogan as "not a priority" for him.

Mr Goff last Thursday repeated his views that council agencies needed more scrutiny. He suggested his intervention may have prevented ratepayer funding being used for the upcoming Joseph Parker boxing bout.

The mayor earlier stepped in to pause a $10 million plan by the council's development arm, Panuku, to build a 75-metre walkway out from Queen's Wharf, to link to a proposed mooring structure for cruise ships.

ATEED said the global marketing pitch was almost ready for consultation.

It would go back to the council for a political decision, after angry reactions from councillors, iwi and politicians. Councillor Dick Quax called the spending outrageous.

"The intention had been for the next step to engage with the private sector, and bring them formally into the project," Mr O'Riley said.

"That was to be done with a new project team run out of Auckland Council."

"In the light of the comments of the last few days, that plan will need to be tested with the council, and whether there's an appetite to continue with this work," he said.

Storm clouds collect over Auckland.

"The place desired by many" is a translation of Auckland's Māori name, Tamaki Makaurau. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Auckland needs to strut its stuff - mayor

Mr Goff this week helped ATEED host a Chinese film industry delegation visiting a Warner Brothers production in Kumeu, in northwest Auckland.

It was the kind of high-value investment ATEED hoped it's global marketing campaign would attract.

RNZ asked Mr Goff whether he saw a link between landing that kind of investment, and the campaign ATEED was working on.

"I think the connection as it's been publicly described so far is rather esoteric - I am in favour of things such attracting major film production to this city," he said.

Mr Goff said he had not had a close look at ATEED's marketing pitch.

"I haven't gone through it in detail - I simply don't have the time to do that," Mr Goff said.

On the marketing campaign, the mayoral office language is that Mr Goff would not be "championing the project".

Mr Goff used the "place desired by many" phrase in his maiden speech as mayor. It is a translation of Auckland's Māori name Tamaki Makaurau.

In the same speech he pitched the need for Auckland to strut its stuff.

"Auckland is this nation's strongest asset in competing with cities across the Tasman, and with hundreds of cities of a similar size across the world, to attract the talent and high value enterprises that we need, and to retain our best and brightest," he said.