Southland's new motto sends the wrong message

The cost of the new logo and motto was apparently $150,000!

By Tim Hanna

When Southland District Counsel rolled out its new logo and motto Mayor Tong explained the need for change by saying that ‘it’s no longer about potholes’. I don’t believe it was ever all about potholes, but neither do I believe that it is no longer about potholes.
Potholes, as I understand it, is an analogy for the core business of council, supplying vital civic services to the rate payers. The cost of the new logo and motto was apparently $150,000, which would certainly have filled a few potholes, but I believe there is a much more troubling aspect to this.
Abandoning our old motto ‘People First‘ in favour of ‘Leading the Way‘ suggests to me that acting always with the best interests of the people you represent is not a sound way to plan for the future. I fundamentally disagree with that proposition. On the contrary I believe that putting people first is the very best principle from which to proceed when planning for the future.
On the other hand ‘Leading the Way‘ feels somewhat authoritarian and it is obviously widely open to interpretation in a way that “People First‘ is not.
There is one other consideration and that is that ‘People First‘ implies a strong ethic of listening to the people you represent before you act, something the new motto suggests should no longer be the case.
I think that $150,000 of rate payer money could have been better employed and wonder how it cost so much if it was developed ‘in house’?

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