Billboard man had it with politics

Last updated 22:26 21/07/2008
JOHN ANSELL: The man behind National's 2005 billboard campaign says he is no fan of John Key.

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The Wellington designer behind National's "red and blue" 2005 election billboards has severed ties with both National and ACT.

John Ansell worked closely with former National Party leader Don Brash in the buildup to the 2005 election, but says he is no fan of his successor, John Key.

"I hope I'm wrong about John Key, but so far I see him making progress by granny steps, when what we need is bold strides."

Mr Ansell said he left National and did a short stint with ACT at the request of its founder, Sir Roger Douglas, but had decided to cut ties with politics completely. "I've had enough of egotistical election candidates wanting to build up personality cults around their election bids."

Mr Ansell also worked with Labour in the 1980s under prime minister David Lange. His work on behalf of the National Party was prominently displayed on billboard sites nationwide for six months before the 2005 election.

His best known creation - the "Iwi vs Kiwi" billboard - touched a raw nerve after the foreshore and seabed legislation was enacted in 2004.

In November 2006 a billboard critical of Prime Minister Helen Clark was shown the departure gate by Wellington airport management, apparently for being too politically sensitive.

Mr Ansell now describes himself as too much of a perfectionist to work in political advertising.

"A [political] brand needs to be unified from one end of the country to the other and political parties should be no different from the McDonald's and KFCs."


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- The Dominion Post

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