Vodafone New Zealand has announced its to rebrand in 2023 as One NZ. However, the new name is already in use by a fringe-far right group.
This rebrand follows infrastructure firm Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management's acquisition of Vodafone NZ in 2019 for NZ$3.4 billion ($1.9bn).
"A business run by New Zealanders, for New Zealand, that will have even more money to reinvest in our networks, on shore service, and technology solutions for our customers in NZ," said Vodafone NZ CEO Jason Paris in a LinkedIn post.
"We think One New Zealand better reflects our deep connections and legacy in New Zealand, as well as our future ambitions.
Paris says that One NZ will still have a strategic partnership with Vodafone, noting that technology and services such as roaming and IoT will also remain unaffected.
In the post, he referred to partnerships with several companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Nokia, Defend, and Palo Alto.
However, the upcoming rebranding has drawn some controversy in the country, with the name already in use by a far-right organization called the One New Zealand Foundation (ONZF). ONZF claims it against perceived 'racial favouritism' and the idea that the Maori population have more privileges than non-Moari people. It also claims New Zealand was settled by 'pre-Maori' people from Europe.
Vodafone's Paris has defended the move on Twitter and has sought to emphasize that support for diversity and inclusion will continue.
"One NZ stands for the best of NZ (diversity, inclusion, trust, innovation etc) Ultimately we won’t be judged on the name but the actions we take," he said.
In August Vodafone New Zealand detailed its plans to fully roll-out 4G and 5G service across the country by August 31, 2024, at which point the operator will begin to switch off its 3G network.