Embargoed till September 25, 2009, 12 a.m. NZST (September
24, 2009, 12 p.m. GMT)
Jack Yan’s wired about Wellington as he announces mayoral bid
Wellington, September 25 (JY&A
Media) Jack Yan has announced his intention to run for the Wellington
mayoralty today, with free wireless internet (wifi) a central issue
in his campaign.
Mr Yan is a respected branding consultant, New Zealand’s
first digital typeface designer, and the publisher of Lucire,
an international fashion magazine. He promises an unprecedented
level of citizen engagement if elected.
He says that he has been canvassing Wellingtonians’
opinions for three years, with many issues put up at a website,
Your Wellington (yourwellington.org)
According to Your Wellington and re-Tweets
on Twitter, free wifi, which he proposed, is a must-have for many
Wellingtonians. Mr Yan says the infrastructure exists, and he would
investigate how to deliver it on city property, such as in all libraries
and Civic Square. Ideally, he would like to see it city-wide.
He claims his record shows someone who has consistently
been ahead of the curve for his 20-plus years in business, and that
he wants to share his clear, future-oriented ideas with Wellington.
Other issues that Mr Yan wants to address, should he
be successful in the October 2010 mayoral election, include the
establishment of a mid-sized music venue, a single carless day each
summer to allow Wellingtonians to walk around their city, and a
firm opposition against the installation of water meters. He is
also an advocate of transparency, putting public information on
digitally into the public domain.
Mr Yan will also push for the re-establishment of the
sister-city relationship with San Francisco.
‘I’m happy how Wellington is developing: it’s the best
place in the country to live. But we need to do more. The last thing
I want to see is a party politician get in with hidden agenda that
will take us in the wrong direction.’
Wellington, the way we want it
Bands that are too important to play at pubs, and who find the Stadium
too large, would favour a venue that has between 400 and 2,000 seats,
Mr Yan, who campaigned to have Lucire become
the United Nations Environment Programme’s
first fashion industry partner in 2003, and aimed to create the
first Carbon Neutral magazine in New Zealand in 2004, is keen to
see other environmental initiatives in Wellington.
Carless days work in several European cities, such
as Amsterdam and Brussels, and Mr Yan wants to bring the idea to
Wellington for one summer’s day, to let citizens enjoy their city
and to cut down on carbon emissions for a set period. He says he
also likes the idea of London’s Freewheeling, allowing only bicycles
in the central city.
He objects to water metering in homes ‘on principle,’
he says. ‘After 25 years of technocratic blunders, it’s time to
He also wants to see open local government, putting
publicly available data on the internet, such as air quality, zoning,
and traffic flows, allowing the creative sector to come up with
Meanwhile, a sister-city relationship with San Francisco
is a ‘no-brainer,’ according to Mr Yan.
‘Both cities have obvious similarities. Importantly
for Wellington business, San Francisco has similar thinking when
it comes to high-tech, transparency and socially responsible ventures,’
‘I want to see a productive sister-city relationship
with San Francisco, where Wellington companies can have a gateway
to potential alliances. And San Francisco benefits through the independent,
innovative thinking of the creative capital.’
To that end, he has already approached San Francisco
mayor Gavin Newsom, and the mayoress, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a
friend of six years.
‘What Wellington does not need is same-again thinking,’
he says. ‘This is a mayoral election that is about our collective
future, rather than getting into outmoded party politics.
‘Parliament might be located here, but the last thing
Wellingtonians want is to be subject to the same party politics
that waste our time. I think Wellingtonians would reject being thought
of as tools of the political parties.
‘We have a vibrant city, so let’s continue that, and
add a real meaning and quality of life for us.’
Mr Yan says he has constantly engaged with New Zealanders via Facebook
and Twitter (twitter.com/jackyan).
‘People know what I stand for. I’m leaving my blogs (see jackyan.com)
as they are—including all the embarrassing stuff. Wellington deserves
a transparent mayor, not one with hidden agenda and ulterior motives,’
‘You might not agree with everything I say or what
I stand for, but at least you won’t be left with any mystery about
He says he intends to retain his Twitter and Facebook
accounts should he succeed in his mayoral bid. ‘It’s important that
a politician engages with people and never loses touch.’
He says he receives 3,000 emails a week and works 100
hours, without a PA, so he would find little difficulty with the
workload of the mayoralty.
He cites Sir Francis Kitts, a family friend of the
Yans, as his chief inspiration. ‘Sir Frank helped my family when
we got here. It’s time for me to give back to Wellington.’
Jack Yan says he is a Wellingtonian ‘through and through.’ He has
resisted moves to take his businesses out of the city, and has a
track record of ‘being a visionary.’
The record seems to stand up to his claims.
He began his company when he was 15, as a sole trader,
doing hand-lettering and proofreading for advertising and print
agencies. He was developing typeface designs at this time, which
he successfully licensed to international companies during his university
At the time, the only New Zealand typefoundry, Churchward
International Typefaces, had shut its doors. Mr Yan’s company, Jack
Yan & Associates, was the first to issue and produce typefaces
digitally in New Zealand, and overcame international industry perceptions
that fonts were not produced in the country.
In 1996, he was a co-founder of American advocacy organization
TypeRight (typeright.org), which
fought for copyright protection for typeface design in the US. TypeRight
won a Publish Impact award that year.
He was an early adopter of the web, creating websites
and digital magazines from 1993. Lucire (lucire.com)
was New Zealand’s first commercial fashion magazine online on 1997,
and the first fashion website in the world to diversify into print
in 2004. It remains one of the few titles from New Zealand published
both locally and overseas.
‘When I started in fonts, people thought it was impossible
for a Kiwi firm to do that. When I started developing web magazines,
people said there would be no point when they didn’t even have email
addresses. When I started talking about the environment, people
asked me what Carbon Neutral was,’ he says.
‘Wellington should be the most advanced capital in
the southern hemisphere. I am tired of seeing our innovations sabotaged
all the time.
‘It’s about time we had a mayor who could see things
years in advance—and fight to get them implemented, to be a model
city and to earn revenue for our innovation,’ he says. ‘We should
not be so reactive to international trends.’
After consulting in branding alongside his other ventures,
and researching the area for his master’s degree, Mr Yan became
a member of the respected Swedish-based branding think-tank, the
Medinge Group (medinge.org), in
2002. He was one of the writers of Beyond Branding (beyond-branding.com),
dealing with transparency and integrity in branding. He later became
a director of the Medinge Group after it incorporated its Foundation
Each year in Paris, the Medinge Group presents Brands
with a Conscience, an international awards’ scheme rewarding social
responsibility and humanism in branding. Mr Yan has served every
year on the Brands with a Conscience committee.
He has appeared on television regularly in the 2000s.
His other media work, outside of his own publications, includes
the Australian Desktop
magazine, where he is the longest-serving regular columnist.
Since 2006, he has worked as a volunteer mentor for
Business Mentors New
For some time it was fair to say that Mr Yan was better
known outside New Zealand than inside, and was quoted on his specialities
by CNN, The Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald
and other media outlets.
Born in Hong Kong in 1972, he emigrated with his family
to Wellington in 1976. He holds both British and New Zealand nationalities.
He was educated at St Mark’s Church School and was Dux in 1985.
After a stint at Rongotai College, he completed his secondary schooling
at Scots College, where he was Proxime Accessit in 1990.
He holds three degrees in business and law, including a Master of
Commerce and Administration degree, from Victoria University of
He speaks English, Cantonese, Taishanese and French,
and has very basic Swedish.
Images for this release may be downloaded at <http://jya.net/090923pr0.htm>.
About Jack Yan
Jack Yan founded Jack Yan & Associates (http://jya.net),
one of the world’s first virtual firms, in 1987. His company is
based or represented in over a dozen countries worldwide. Among
his company’s interests are business consulting, imaging, software
and media, including the fashion magazine brand Lucire.
He writes on topics, ranging from branding and business responsibility
to fashion and typography, in numerous publications worldwide and
is a regular international speaker. His personal site is at www.jackyan.com,
and features a highly regarded blog. He is a director of the Medinge
Group (http://medinge.org), a think-tank
in Sweden devoted to cutting-edge branding.
About Jack Yan & Associates
Started in 1987, Jack Yan & Associates is a communications
company with businesses in brand consulting, font software and media.
JY&A Consulting is connected to the Medinge Group think-tank
of Sweden, through its founder Jack Yan. JY&A Fonts is New Zealands
first digital typefoundry and the leading player in the country.
JY&A Media is an early pioneer in online publishing, with its
first digital magazine launched in 1992; its ventures include Lucire,
the international fashion magazine. Jack Yan & Associates is
headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, but has divisions, representatives,
licensees and other presences globally.
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