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Jack Yan in BMW 335d, photographed by Douglas Rimington

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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) since July.
   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, he says.
   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 say, “No.”’
   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 solutions.
   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,’ he says.
   ‘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 (www.facebook.com/jack.yan) 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,’ he says.
   ‘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 it.’
   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 years.
   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 in 2007.
   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 Zealand.
   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 Wellington.
   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 Zealand’s 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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