Smart smart smart, it really does

Noticed how the word “smart” is the new business/PR/marketing bumph word.A propaganda document prepared by the Christchurch City Council -owned Canterbury Development Corporation is a treat for folks wishing to be entertained and nauseated by obfuscation, incomprehensibility, cliché, endless repetition and general torturing of the English language. To say nothing of the childish message betraying the insecurity of small towns trying to match Auckland.

Noticed how the word “smart” is the new business/PR/marketing bumph word.

A propaganda document prepared by the Christchurch City Council -owned Canterbury Development Corporation is a treat for folks wishing to be entertained and nauseated by obfuscation, incomprehensibility, cliché, endless repetition and general torturing of the English language. To say nothing of the childish message betraying the insecurity of small towns trying to match Auckland.

This document purporting to be about growth for the region is a shameless self advertisement for Christchurch’s mutually appointing quango hopping local body erks.

It features mayor Bob Parker. Maybe he needs all the help he can get as he chases the hot favourite “old dobbin” (aka Jim Anderton) in the two horse mayoralty campaign.

Mr Parker is champion of “project regional governance.” The report even claims the city is a “unitary local city authority” (we haven’t quite abolished the regional council just yet Bob, in spite of Nick Smith’s efforts).

All the other usual quango suspects – sorry, that should be “public service entrepreneurs” if that’s not an oxymoron – also feature in this document with captions and photos as “project champions.”

There’s that champion of multi million dollar ratepayer-funded sports and convention developments, Bryan Pearson, head of council controlled organisation,

Vbase. He is champion of “project compelling,” which seems to have something to do with marketing.

And of course no council organisation involved in anything to do with the economy would be complete without “change manager” and university chancellor, Rod Carr, who “aspires” at least half a dozen times in his every utterance. He is the champion of “project learning city” when he’s not trying to restructure the university library staff numbers in half.

Others include Craig Richardson, chief executive of Jade (Mr Carr’s old job) who is naturally the ICT champion. And the champion of “project bright business” is Peter Townsend, chief executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, in between his many other civic duties.

One area where the report is spot on is its concerns about the aging population as evident in our champions. Is there anyone under age 50 in these organisations?

Aside from the much abused “sustainability” word, if readers don’t quite get what the report is about they are guided by repetition of the word “smart” – approximately 20 times on one page alone.

Example – “SMART cities are evaluated on six dimensions – their competitiveness (Smart Economy), their social and human capital (Smart People), their connectedness and use of technology (Smart Mobility), their use and protection of natural resources (Smart Environment), their Quality of Life (Smart Living) and their participation in the development and governance of their own city (Smart Governance). See Appendix 1 for a table of the factors which make up these dimensions.

Fundamental to developing a smart economy is the existence of workforce skills and superior education levels (SMART people) which have been shown to correlate with economic growth. Quality of life (SMART mobility, SMART environment,

SMART living, SMART governance) are demanded by such a workforce.”
I wonder if the folks at Canterbury Development Corporation ever considered employing a journalist or even a public relations person who specialises in COMMUNICATION, rather than writers who give the impression they have just graduated from a business management course on buzz words.

Even if they did, would they follow anyone’s advice? After all, these champions breathe rarified air that boosts their mental capacities beyond that of ordinary mortals – it’s evident in the way this document talks to us.

For amusement go to http://www1.ccc.govt.nz/council/proceedings/2010/july/cnclcover22nd/Clause12Attachment.pdf

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