Kiwibank Advertisements

There is some controversy today in the Dominion Post Business pages with former BNZ Chairman Kerry McDonald quoted as follows

State-owned Kiwibank’s advertisements putting down Australian-owned banks are “reprehensible and outrageous”,

What interested me was that at a lunch we hosted here at the Chamber NZ Post CEO John Allen fielded a question from an attendee making similar points to Kerry McDonald, though in less forceful terms. 

Now I have to be careful here, NZ Post and Kiwibank are important members of the Chamber of Commerce and I have huge respect both for John Allen and Sam Knowles.  But I do think that Kerry McDonald is making an interesting point.  In New Zealand with a current account deficit as high as it is we are totally dependent on the willingness of the rest the world to give us funds to bridge this deficit.  In the circumstances is the Kiwibank messaging the messaging we are wanting to be sending the international financial community?  The answer is clearly no.  That said, I think most in the international financial community will see the ads for what they really are – a slick piece of advertising.

What worries me more is the impact the ads have on the wider New Zealand public and on the debate over whether foreign investment is a good or a bad thing.  From our perspective, it is a very good thing and we need more of it.  Maybe NZ Post and Kiwibank should reflect on this (indeed I am sure they do).  I don’t think that they should be in any great hurry to pull the current  ads, but I do hope that the next iteration of Kiwibank advertising is based more on quality of service or quality of offering rather than nationalistic sentiment.

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One Response to “Kiwibank Advertisements”

  1. pbmcbeth Says:

    Hello Charles,
    You’re doing an admirable job here – just wondering if you’re giving the campaign too much weight.
    The way I see it, it’s an extension of the previous campaign that reflects, quite accurately, the xenophobic attitude New Zealanders have, not only to foreign investment, but to foreigners in general.
    Chicken and egg question really, but, unfortunately, I see the attitude in the wider NZ public already well established.
    Just my two cents worth…
    PB.

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