Auckland Council has dumped plans to spend $20,000 on branded polo shirts, jackets and lapel badges for elected representatives, who can still pay for branded clothing out of their own pockets.

The communication and engagement department sought feedback on the branded clothing last Friday and has subsequently abandoned the idea.

The clothing was planned to identify councillors and Local Board members at casual and formal events.

Councillors on a reference group were shown images of the clothing with the words "Auckland Council" alongside the pohutukawa logo. The wording could be tailored to say "councillor" or "local board member".

Advertisement
If that's what they think then their budget is too big

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was not keen on the idea and told the Herald there were better ways to spend $20,000.

Orakei councillor Desley Simpson, whose colourful wardrobe of clothes has earned her the nickname "Lady Penelope", said it was ludicrous for communication and engagement to even consider spending $20,000 on branded clothing in a such fiscally constrained environment.

"If that's what they think then their budget is too big," Simpson said.

According to a memo sent to politicians on the communications and engagement elected member reference group, councillor Penny Hulse pointed out at one of the reference group's meetings that elected members are not always recognised at community gatherings and events.

Branded clothing would make them more easily recognisable and more approachable by members of their communities, she said.

"The cost of this clothing is approximately $20,000 and this cost can be met by communication and engagement budget," council's head of brand and channel Debbie Lowe said in the memo.

In a statement today, Lowe said feedback on the branded clothing drew a range of views, some in favour, some not.

"It was subsequently decided that we wouldn't progress with formally providing elected members with branded clothing, but we would develop guidelines around a design should they wish to pay for something at their own discretion and out of their own budgets," Lowe said.

Advertisement

She did not say when the decision was taken to abandon the idea, or who took the decision.

Lowe said some Local Boards already had their own branded clothing and a uniform design would ensure consistency around the use of the council logo, and a more general "look and feel".