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Auckland City supports industry initiative


6 April 2004

Auckland City supports industry initiative to
prevent offensive signs

Auckland City will be working closely with the Outdoor Advertising Association of New Zealand (OAANZ) to ensure that offensive images are not used on billboards in the city.

OAANZ will appoint an adjudicator to look at billboard advertising proposed by organisations other than advertising agencies.

Auckland City Council’s City Development Committee praised the initiative and confirmed that an officer from Auckland City Environments (ACE) would be appointed to liaise with the adjudicator on potentially offensive billboard images.

Councillor Juliet Yates says, “We are very pleased that the industry has taken these steps in response to complaints from councillors and the public and requests from council. We are happy to be working together to address these concerns.

“The number of offensive billboards may be minimal, but just one sign can give rise to many complaints. Although our bylaws prohibit offensive and discriminatory signage, in the past we had to wait until the signs were installed and the public complained. However, this system has been designed to ensure sign images are assessed before they are placed on billboard structures.”

The City Development Committee met with OAANZ and the Communication Agencies of New Zealand at the end of last year to discuss the issue of offensive signs and the perceptions that the bylaws were not effectively enforced. From that meeting a procedure has been developed to deal with potential offensive signs. OAANZ have agreed that if there is any doubt regarding the acceptability of an images to be placed on a billboard, the billboard operator will submit the image to an adjudicator for approval.

The adjudicator will: be appointed by OAANZ be someone who is endorsed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) be used to material of a sexual nature either in terms of words or images including words of double meaning, sexual innuendo or sexual connotation send a copy of the image to an appointed council officer. The council officer will send their comments back to the adjudicator within the agreed timeframe consider the comments of the council officer when evaluating the proposal and respond to both the billboard company and the council when making his or her decision.

For instances where the council believes that the adjudicator has not made the correct decision, the council will seek to rectify the position through the ASA. Any complaints about billboard signs proposed by advertising agencies will go directly to the ASA.


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