IN business it is important to have regular brainfests where people throw ideas into a melting pot to see what comes out.

Sometimes little comes from them, at other times you can stumble across a really golden idea that sets an organisation on a more successful course.

Of course it depends upon the mix of people you have in the room.

Over the years I have found it's the people who know their jobs - and the core business of their organisation - who are the ones most likely to come up with a real zinger.
When I have been in management I like business meetings to be short and sharp.


Come in. Sit down. This is it from my end. You. You. You and you. Decisions. Thanks very much, let's have a quick cuppa.

Unfortunately, too many meetings drone on and on.

I have to resist the urge to look at my watch or stop trying to figure out how much extra work I now have to do to get back on track after a yakkathon.

Mind you, there are people who absolutely delight in the blasted things.
They prove the saying that: "If you have no friends, have a meeting!"

Anyway, this is a roundabout way of leading into the topic of this week's column, which is the internal money waste within local government - a sector that has perfected the art of having face-to-faces, gatherings and idea exchanging sessions.

It has just been revealed that Auckland Council has spent $500,000 - that's half a million bucks - on coming up with a slogan for the city.

I guess they didn't like the phrase The World's Most Unaffordably Unliveable City, for some reason.

So the silly burghers of the City that Ate a Country decided they would change it and really wanted to do a good job on it.

It took them two years!

Now, I don't want to be too mean here - because it is too much like clubbing a bunny rabbit - but coming up with a great phrase would take about 20 minutes in a half-decent newsroom.

Two years?

But do you know the worst thing? And this is where the issue of waste comes in. It was worked on by three project staff over two years and 115 council staff attended workshops.

Now, in my view, that means there were not too many bright lightbulbs appearing above the heads of Auckland Council staff during that time.

Well, if nothing else, let's hope Auckland ratepayers got value for money with the super-amazingly-catchy slogan for Auckland. I hope you will be just thrilled with it, dear readers.

Here it comes ... drum roll please ... "The Place Desired by Many."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...


Sorry, that's me falling off my chair. Half a million bucks for that?
The Place Desired by Many.
And when you look at it the slogan sort of backfires don't you think?

I mean, it isn't even The Place Desired by All, or even The Place Desired by Most. No, it's the Place Desired by Many.
Well how many, dear brainy types?
Is that one more than several, or a few, or how about quite a few?

The Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust has expressed disappointment over the slogan and the Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance has described the buzz words as "the most expensive two-word translation in the history of Auckland".
It slammed the project's budget, calling the process "yet another wasteful disgrace".

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says the cost to come up with it was "patently ridiculous".

Takes a straight-talking West Coaster to hit the nail on the head.
And if I gaze into my crystal ball, I know what is likely to happen amid the corridors of the Auckland Clown Hall.

There will be a notice sent out thanking all 115 people for their input.
Then they will hold a meeting to find out if anyone is traumatised by the beastly reaction to their wonderful contribution.