The visual landscape in parts of Tauranga will get a lot busier from today.
The six-week period in which election hoardings and signage are allowed under Tauranga's city plan began at midnight.
Warwick Lampp, electoral officer for Tauranga City Council and many others around New Zealand, said Tauranga's rules for signage were unusual.
The city's signage period was the shortest of any of the councils he worked with.
"Most councils have had signs up for two or three months."
And unlike some other districts - Rotorua and the Western Bay of Plenty included - hoardings can be erected on designated sections of public land in Tauranga, with council approval.
Lampp said most councils did not allow this or had specific "sign farms" designated for hoardings.
In Tauranga, there are 31 mapped areas where election signs are allowed on roadside verges.
They include popular spots such as Devonport Rd next to Memorial Park, on Cameron Rd alongside the Tauranga Racecourse, and along Totara St.
Lampp said having designated areas made sense, to ensure signs did not end up "here, there and everywhere."
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Lampp was responsible for policing the content of signs and has had to ping a couple of Tauranga candidates for putting theirs up too early.
Tauranga signwriting business Sign Creations has been "absolutely flat out" printing election signs for almost two weeks, owner Shane Hale said.
He said enquiries to his business, Sign Creations, for hoardings started after the last elections.
This was the first year the council had restricted the size of signage, he said.
He said candidates were bulk ordering signs in lots of 60 to 100, with many ordering extras in anticipation of vandalism.
"They do order more because they know there is always going to be damage."
Mayoral candidates and other candidates tended to spend similar amounts, he said.
Hale said the most common request from candidates was that they "look good" on their signs, and asking for a little digital touch up was not unheard of.
Most election signage material was not recyclable, but he expected that would start changing soon.
Rosie Dawson Hewes used spraypainted plywood signs when she ran in the 2018 Tauranga by-election, costing about $600 to hit every approved site in the city.
"Once I collected them all, the wood got donated to a family living in the Kaimai range who used them to build a chicken coop (spray-painted side facing in).
"It makes me smile to think that while I might not have been successful in getting elected, there's a group of chickens waking up each morning to my smiling graffiti face."
Only a couple were vandalised, one with the words "NO FROM ME".
"I actually love how polite the tagger was."
If she was to run again, she would use contrasting paint colour, she said.
Tauranga based Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology marketing lecturer James Paterson said while election billboards were an effective marketing tool, he was not sure if they were the most effective.
"It certainly puts a face to the name and they play a role but there are a lot of things.
"There is the importance of being involved in the community for a long period of time in different groups. That's massive. As well as an impactful social media campaign.
"A lot of electioneering happens at the last moment but maybe they [candidates] need to look at a longer lead-in, six months or more."
Paterson said the most important thing was to deliver a consistent message.
"Whatever you stand for, you need to get that message to the community and stick to that on an ongoing basis so people know this is what they're going to get if you're elected."
He said when it came to publicity, the phrase "any publicity is good publicity" did not ring true.
"The challenge I suppose if you've had a bit of poor publicity is how do you turn that to your favour.
"If you do get poor publicity the challenge is how you turn that around to see the positive."
All signs in Tauranga must be removed by noon on Sunday, October 13.
- Additional reporting Zizi Sparks
The adventures of Tauranga's most infamous election signs
Poking out from behind power poles, nicked by pukekos, peeking from behind trees - Tauranga City Councillor Rick Curach's election signs are infamous in Tauranga.
The cut-outs featuring his head and shoulders and perennial "Pick Rick" slogan have been a mainstay of around the last four local body elections and will feature again in this one.
They started as a way to save money.
"The idea for just having my face popping out behind something meant I could save the costs of printing my full image but still make people think it's actually me standing there holding my sign."
He said the signs had been the target of vandals over the years, with certain letters amended to form different - less polite - phrases.
Some signs had been stolen, turning up in unexpected places, including someone's wedding in Fiji.
"Maybe the guy getting married was named Rick.
"Once my wife's boss looked outside through his kitchen window and saw one in the house across the street in someone's bedroom."
Asked what he would say to those who saw election signage as visual pollution, he said he could think of "many more pollution visuals than election signs".
Top election marketing tips:
1- The most important thing is being honest and truthful.
2 - Have a targeted approach. Know who your constituency is.
3 – Then decide what the message is you want to pass to that group of people.
4 – Don't be all things to all people. You can't be.
5 – Be critical but still positive.
6 – Avoid the dirty campaign. You may have to work with other candidates in the future.
7 – Be meaningful to your community. Be clear on what the council does. If you're going to campaign on something make sure you can achieve that in council.