Conference 2008: The end of “The Liberal Party”?

Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Douglas to Dancing’, a blog I maintained from 2007-9 on the ACT New Zealand political party. The blog was an extension of the thesis I wrote about the Act Party in 2007, From Douglas to Dancing: explaining the lack of success of ACT New Zealand and evaluating its future prospects (PDF).

Conference information posted to members in February featured what appears to be a new, slimline ACT logo. While it is true that little has actually changed, but what has gone is the bottom strip featuring the appendage “The Liberal Party”. This moniker was introduced by ACT party president Catherine Judd in 2003 as part of the “Liberal Project”, the aim of which was to rebrand ACT and tackle the party’s ongoing image problem. However, this was an alteration of the logo only and not a full name change, which would have required the approval of members.

In ACT’s first two logos, which the party used from its founding in 1994 until Judd’s changes, the logo included the words “New Zealand”, thus representing the party’s name, as registered with the Electoral Commission to this day. The omission of any tagline means that ACT probably has the least cluttered logo of any New Zealand parliamentary party (just three letters!).

Judd once said that the Liberal Project “never ends”. But the omission of the tagline may be heralding the end of the use of the confusing word “liberal” in ACT publicity. However, the logo used on the party website has yet to be altered.

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