Chris Lynch: Council owned company's rebranding is financially reckless

Author
Chris Lynch,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 3:15PM

Chris Lynch: Council owned company's rebranding is financially reckless

Author
Chris Lynch,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Mar 2021, 3:15PM

Imagine a local company undertaking a re-branding exercise during a global pandemic?

That's exactly what Christchurch City Council owned venues company Vbase has announced.

It will be now known as "Venues Ōtautahi."

Chief Executive Caroline Harvie-Teare released a statement saying “Vbase is driven to contribute to the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of the region.”

“Venues Ōtautahi reflects who we are and what we do, deepening our connection with the community and our cultural heritage."

"This change is also the company brand taking a step back and making these community owned venues the heroes.”

I wanted to ask Caroline why she needed to change the name of a rate payer owned company during a global pandemic, after laying off 60 percent of the workforce 10 months earlier.

I wanted to ask her if it was financially reckless to be making this decision considering Vbase is cash strapped?

And how much did this re-branding exercise cost?

She initially agreed to speak to me today, but then sent a text message to our producer saying "apologies but upon reflection we are still engaging with our key stakeholders as this release was sooner than we had planned."

"I think it's best for us to focus on this and when we formally make the change, I'd be happy to speak."

But stakeholders are also the ratepayers of Christchurch.

You're not just accountable to a select few, you're accountable to the city.

Caroline should know this having worked at CERA.

Other questions I wanted to ask is why was there the need to change in the first place? And how does a name change "deepen the company's connection with the community"? 

Sounds a bit wishy-washy in a bid to justify the inappropriate timing of this change.

She wants the company to take a step back and make "these community owned venues the heroes." - Heroes of what?

At the end of the day I couldn't care less what the new name is, I quite like both the Maori and English names for the city.    

But now is not the time for a corporate makeover