Ashburton, the town with one of the worst slogans in NZ, is looking for a new one

New Zealand towns have a dubious track record when it comes to selling themselves to the rest of the country.

For every 'Absolutely Positively Wellington' there's a 'More than You Expect' (Hamilton), a 'P-Town' (Porirua), a 'Tempt Me Tauranga' and an 'Auckland A'. 

The latest Kiwi town to dump its atrocious slogan is Ashburton. The district council earlier this week voted unanimously to dump its long-time catchphrase 'Whatever it Takes'. 

"No one really is sure what it means," Councillor Carolyn Cameron told The AM Show on Thursday.

"I think it's supposed to infer a positive direction for the town. It's been around - I have it on good authority - for over 30 years, so I think it's time for a revisit."

The problem is they haven't come up with a replacement. 

"We've had a few suggestions. Probably the top-polling one at the moment is 'Heart of Mainland', primarily [because] we're on the mainland, the South Island; and our location, we're central to the mainland, we're in the middle of it. 

"'Heart' implies sort of a lifeblood or a life force, and we're essential to the business of the mainland. Also if you're a poet, it implies love - and we love the district we all live in, we all love Mid-Canterbury down here, so we think that's the top-runner at the moment." 

'Whatever it Takes' regularly features in lists of the worst town slogans in New Zealand. In 2016 it had the dubious honour of being the lead image on a story on Stuff, above such clunkers as 'Take a Liking for a Viking' (Dannevirke), 'Right Up My Hutt Valley' and 'New Zealand the way it used to be' (Wairoa).

Hamilton has had a particularly bad run. Its best-known slogan, 'Hamiltron - City of the Future', was never even official - emerging from a student radio station. Others it's had to endure include 'HamiltON', 'Fountain City' and 'Where It's Happening'.

Dunedin struggled too until landing on just the word 'Dunedin', but written all in lower-case and in a gothic font, which one journalist once said makes the city "look like a black metal band".

Ashburton Eastern Ward Councillor Lynette Lovett voted to change the slogan, admitting to the Otago Daily Times she couldn't even remember what it was.

"We need people to stop and eat in Ashburton so we need something catchy."

AM Show co-host Mark Richardson had a suggestion for the town: 'Ashburton: Come here because there's lots of stuff to do.' Cameron wasn't impressed.

"It doesn't really roll off the tongue though, does it?" 

He suggested they could market themselves as the 'gateway' to somewhere. Cameron said that wouldn't help her town. 

"We're the gateway to the south, I suppose - people can drive through down to Queenstown. But we'd like more people to stay in Ashburton."