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Climate of fear causes airport to ban billboard

Hon Bill English
National Party MP

1 November 2006

Climate of fear causes airport to ban billboard

National MP Bill English says vicious attacks on critics by Helen Clark and her Labour-led Government have led to Wellington Airport turning down a National Party billboard as it was too politically sensitive.

The party is today erecting two billboards – one on SH20 in Auckland and one on Main North Road in Christchurch. However, Wellington Airport will not allow the billboards on their advertising sites.

“The billboards are being paid for from party funds and highlight the scandals and controversies that have surrounded Helen Clark during her time as Prime Minister,” says Mr English.

“The airport company has every right to decide who advertises on airport property, but last year Wellington Airport accepted billboards critical of the Government.

“However, Wellington Airport, like everyone else, saw Helen Clark's assault on the Auditor-General and Labour's plans to legislate to stop people who don't belong to political parties criticising the Government next election.

“These actions have created a climate of fear and more so for a company doing business with Government-owned Air New Zealand.

“Wellington Airport has annoyed the Government by strongly opposing Air New Zealand's proposed trans-Tasman codeshare with Qantas, and it is involved in on-going conflict with the airline over airport charges.

“Wellington Airport's actions must indicate they are worried about incurring the wrath of a tiring and vindictive Government, which might use its power to harm the company and its shareholders.

“This censorship by the owner of a billboard site because they are concerned about the consequences for their business is a worrying development.”


Christchurch billboard (PDF)
Auckland billboard (PDF)

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