This week, we looked at what makes a uniform sing, the battle of the billionaires wreaking havoc on social media platforms, New Zealand’s ‘She’ll be right’ attitude eating away at our productivity, how Healthy Homes standards are assessed and enforced, and look back on some of the country’s best and most effective political slogans.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


The power of a well-designed uniform

Whether it’s the black that our sporting elite wear on the field, or the cluster of colours flight attendants wear in the sky, uniforms can have a lot of meaning.

The Silver Ferns’ new World Cup dress, Manawa Rau. Photo: Silver Ferns/Supplied

Kiwibank’s uniform refresh, featuring traditional suits alongside lavalava and hijab, is a big shift in thinking from 40 or 50 years ago, Stuff style editor Zoe Walker Ahwa tells Tom Kitchin.

“[It was] like ‘You fit into the uniform’. It’s changed a lot to be a bit more flexible in terms of culture and identity and personal style and body types. I think society has changed, I think fashion has changed.”

Sports journalist Suzanne McFadden also joins The Detail to talk team uniforms, spotlighting the Silver Ferns’ new World Cup dress called “Manawa Rau”.

“The patterns around the bottom of the dress relate to Māori weaving and they represent a lot of things. One of them is a red line that runs right through the design, and that’s like a thread that brings together every Silver Fern who has ever played for New Zealand.


Social media’s new revolution

Twitter’s a burning compost heap, TikTok rules the young generation, but boomer-driven Facebook still rules the roost when it comes to numbers.

Twitter is seeing an increase of 43 percent of user activity in NZ as people log on to “watch the house burn down”, social media expert Oli Garside says. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Newsroom

Oli Garside is the training and campaign manager for Mosh Social Media, an Auckland-based marketing agency. He’s an expert on social media stats. 

Twitter is a bit more of a niche market – but Garside says it’s grown in the past year, after (or in spite of) its controversial takeover by business magnate Elon Musk.

“They’re seeing a bit of a resurgence at the moment while everybody logs back in to their old accounts to watch the house burn down. They have a self-reported increase of 43 percent in New Zealand,” he says.

Threads has just been launched by Meta, the owners of Facebook, as a competitor to Twitter, leading to a few battles between Musk and Meta owner Mark Zuckerberg.

“You’ve got Elon Musk calling out Mark Zuckerberg for a cage match in the Colosseum, in Italy, then immediately backtracking on it because his Mum says he’s not allowed to do it, which is even more hilarious,” Garside says.


The dangers of our productivity slide

Imagine the Black Ferns going on to the rugby field with just 11 players versus 15 opponents. They might still win but it would be much more difficult.

That’s where we stand as a nation when it comes to competitiveness, says Geerten Lengkeek, whose firm Productivity People advises businesses on how to lift their game.

 “A worker who has had a productive day will go home satisfied, versus a worker who has been firefighting constantly and after 10 or 12 hours they haven’t achieved anything, even though they put a lot of elbow grease into the job that they have done.” Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The latest annual report from the Productivity Commission shows New Zealanders work more hours per week than other OECD countries but we produce only 68 percent of the average OECD nation.

“It means that the other nations are further ahead than us, it means we bring in less national wealth. With less national wealth we can invest less in the things we really care about in the country.”


Healthy Homes remain an uphill battle

Cold, damp and mouldy rental properties are common – despite Healthy Homes standards being law for four years. 

So, are they actually achieving anything?

The Detail tags along on a Healthy Homes inspection, following the experts as they measure for the new standards. 


The zing zazz factor in a slogan

Like the thump of ripe apples tumbling off the tree signals the beginning of autumn, the scree of zippy new political party slogans heralds the forthcoming general election.

Labour’s got “In It For You”, while other parties pipped for change: National has “Get NZ Back On Track”, Te Pāti Māori has “Aotearoa Hou”, Act sporting simply “Real Change”.

The National Party’s 2023 general election slogan is “Get NZ Back On Track”. Photo: Matthew Scott

“It’s a little bit like poetry,” ad man Mike “Hutch” Hutcheson tells The Detail, as he describes a slogan. 

“It should be a short verse or a short statement that captures the zeitgeist of something or someone or a time.

“Good slogans are founded in truth … something fatuous that doesn’t ring true to people just makes them laugh – it’s an eye roll. What you want is something that moves the hearts of men.”

The Detail also talks to Sir Bob Harvey – surfer, former Waitākere mayor and top ad-man, and the self-proclaimed political slogan king of New Zealand. 


Long Read: Procurement Without Purpose

This is The Detail‘s Long Read  one in-depth story read by us every weekend.

Auckland Council wants to see 5 percent of all its direct contracts awarded to Māori and Pasifika suppliers or social enterprises. Photo: Amotai

This week, it’s ‘Procurement Without Purpose: The Problems with Broader Outcomes’, written by Newsroom‘s business editor Nikki Mandow.

Nikki joins The Detail‘s Alexia Russell to tell how she got interested in this deceptively interesting part of government spending.

You can read the full story, including photos and data visualisations, here.

Five years ago the government announced its ‘broader outcomes’ procurement strategy as a way of adding social, economic, environmental and cultural goals into the criteria guiding the billions of dollars of taxpayer money it spends on stuff each year. So Nikki Mandow was surprised to get a press release that didn’t mention them at all.


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