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Theft Of Council Billboard Seen As 'Endorsement'

NEWS RELEASE
from Hutt City Council

26 November 2004

THEFT OF COUNCIL BILLBOARD SEEN AS 'ENDORSEMENT'

The theft of a 6x3m billboard produced for Hutt City's Go Ahead marketing campaign to advertise the Port Rd drags last weekend is regrettable, but is perhaps best viewed as an endorsement of the strength and impact of the creative, said Council Communications Manager Kirk MacGibbon.

"It was a fantastic billboard and highlighted one of the Hutt's iconic events in a simple and powerful way," said Kirk MacGibbon.

"Someone has clearly been so moved by it, they have 'Gone Ahead' and taken it. I did approach the organisers of the Port Road event to see whether perhaps an overzealous club member had decided to take matters into their own hands, but was assured that the billboard had already gone when they went to steal it on the Sunday night."

The cost of producing another billboard to publicise the next event is around $600. Hutt City Council had intended to use the billboard again to publicise the club's next event in March 2005.

"I have been informed by the organisers that attendance this year was the highest ever, which confirms the effectiveness of the billboard and other advertising and reinforces the status of the Port Rd Drags as one of our iconic events."

This year's event was marred by the first death in the nearly 40 year history of the Port Rd Drags. However, it has been established that the drivers death was caused by a medical condition, and not injuries suffered after his vehicle crashed.

"This driver died doing something he loved and was very experienced. Public safety is always a paramount concern."

In another development, Council will not be removing its 'Go Ahead' banners from Melling bridge after a complaint from a member of the public that the banners could encourage a mentally ill person to jump from the bridge into the Hutt River.

"While acknowledging the fact that someone would probably have to be mentally ill to jump from the bridge, given the water level of the river at that point is less than a metre deep, we don't feel that the Go Ahead message on the banners would in themselves encourage this activity," said Kirk MacGibbon.

Around 110 of the bright orange banners have been put up at the main entry points to the city including Melling, Petone and Stokes Valley. They have also been displayed in Wainuiomata, Wingate, Taita and the CBD.

ENDS

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