Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Auckland mayoral candidate uses Dan Carter in defence of billboards

Vic Crone's billboard at 136 Hobson St is in breach of Auckland Council's election sign bylaw. Photo / Greg Bowker
Vic Crone's billboard at 136 Hobson St is in breach of Auckland Council's election sign bylaw. Photo / Greg Bowker

Billboards advertising Dan Carter in boxer shorts are being cited by Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone as a defence for putting up her own billboards.

Ms Crone and another mayoral candidate, Penny Bright, believe the Bill of Rights overrides a bylaw which prohibits "election signs" until August 6, nine weeks out from the local body elections on October 9.

"I don't consider our billboards any more distracting than a billboard of Dan Carter in his boxers," Ms Crone said.

The businesswoman unveiled two billboards in the CBD and Parnell in March. They stated "Vic Crone for Auckland" and referred to her website "vic4mayor.co.nz"-- an apparent breach of the Auckland Transport Election Signs bylaw.

At the time, Auckland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said in his view the billboards were an election sign.

Ms Crone took the signs down when the rental period expired, She has since taken legal advice on the issue.

The advice, she said, was the bylaw was unlawful and unjustifiably breached the Bill or Rights Act.

"It looks to me that the bylaw is being selectively applied to political campaigns as some kind of political censorship.

"That's exactly the type of nonsense that Aucklanders are sick and tired of.

"I fully plan to continue billboards as part of my wider campaign advertising," she said.

Ms Crone informed Auckland Council of her legal advice relating to the bylaw.

This was passed to Mr Ofsoske who emailed Ms Crone to say it overlapped with concerns raised by Ms Bright.

"Ms Bright advised me [on Thursday] that she has written to the Minister inviting him to revoke the bylaw on the basis that it is in breach of certain Bill of Rights requirements.

Mr Ofsoske said the minister had the power under the Land Transport Act to revoke the bylaw.

"Please note that, absent the bylaw being revoked by the minister, set aside by a court, or amended by a special consultative procedure, it remains in force and will continue to regulate election signage throughout the election period," Mr Ofsoske said.

In a statement, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said he had sought legal advice on the bylaw as well as his powers as minister to disallow transport-related bylaws.

"I've written to Auckland Transport asking them to clarify the original purpose of the bylaw and to advise how they believe the bylaw is consistent with the Land Transport Act 1998 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

"I expect to receive a response from Auckland Transport by mid-May."

- NZ Herald

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