Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Mayoral candidate Victoria Crone's billboard bylaw breach?

Vic Crone's billboard at 136 Hobson Street is in breach of Auckland Council's election sign bylaw because it has been ruled an election sign by the Electoral Officer. Photo / Greg Bowker
Vic Crone's billboard at 136 Hobson Street is in breach of Auckland Council's election sign bylaw because it has been ruled an election sign by the Electoral Officer. Photo / Greg Bowker

Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone is in hot water for erecting billboard months before election signs are allowed to go up.

The political newcomer "ramped up her campaign for the Auckland mayoralty" by unveiling two billboards in the CBD and Parnell on March 2.

The billboards, stating "Vic Crone for Auckland" and referring to her website "vic4mayor.co.nz", appear to breach the Auckland Transport Election Signs bylaw.

Under the bylaw, political candidates are not allowed to erect 'election signs' until August 6, nine weeks out from the local body elections on October 9.

Photo / Greg Bowker
Photo / Greg Bowker

After becoming aware of the issue, Auckland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske visited the CBD billboard in Hobson St and said "in my view it is an election sign".

Ms Crone also erected an election sign in Orewa, according to an Auckland Council spokeswoman.

"Ms Crone's options are to remove the signs or alter them so that they are not 'election' signs," the spokeswoman said.

Council democracy services manager Marquerite Delbet contacted Ms Crone by phone last Friday to explain the requirements of the bylaw and how the period for display applies to all election signs, including commercial billboards.

Ms Crone said she disagreed with Auckland Council's interpretation of the bylaw, was seeking legal and other advice and continuing discussions with council on the matter.

She said the billboards displayed "commercial advertising" and the sign in Orewa was for a public meeting with the local community.

"It's incredibly disappointing that council's wasting time and resource trying to restrict candidates from engaging with local communities," she said.

When Ms Crone announced she was standing for the mayoralty in December, she was sent a letter from the council advising her of the rules around electoral signage.

The letter provided a link to the election signs bylaw and stated "election signs may be displayed from the Saturday nine weeks prior to 'election day' until midnight the day before election day".

The maximum fine for not complying with displaying election signs outside the nine-week period is $500.

- NZ Herald

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