An image overhaul could be on the cards for the Earthquake Commission.
It is on the hunt for a new advertising agency to manage its communications between now and 2014, when it hopes to have settled all Canterbury quake claims.
It is prepared to spend $3 million over that period on "public information and customer communications", and possibly more, should there be an "unanticipated event activity".
The commission has come under fire from quake-hit residents frustrated by delays in getting their claims settled, and has until now used a Christchurch-based company for its advertising. But that company's contract has expired and the commission has put the job out to nationwide tender.
"Reinvesting advertising funds back into Canterbury is of interest, but not at the expense of securing the best overall value for money," the documents say.
"As much of the communication work is focused on Canterbury, an understanding of the local scene would be beneficial, but maintaining an objective view of the earthquakes and the commission's broader functions is equally important."
Commission critic and Wider Communities Action Network spokesman the Reverend Mike Coleman said the priorities were wrong. "EQC needs to get it sorted. We need less spin and more focus on people. People are being told they will be waiting years before their homes will be repaired or rebuilt ... and they don't want to hear about hiring advertising agencies to spin yarns.
"We can understand why they want to do more PR, but all we want is for them to be honest, give us our information and to be transparent."