24 May 2011

US legal action threatened over Wellywood sign

7:28 pm on 24 May 2011

The trademark holder of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles is threatening legal action if a similar sign is erected in New Zealand's capital.

Wellington International Airport is planning to erect the 8-metre-high by 30-metre-wide Wellywood sign on the hills of Miramar peninsula, despite strong local criticism.

The head of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce sent a warning letter to the airport last year, saying it needed to liaise with the chamber.

Leron Gubler says the airport responded that it would be in contact, but nothing has been heard since and the Chamber of Commerce is discussing the situation with its lawyers.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says he would prefer that the sign simply read: "Wellington".

Councillor seeks judicial review

A Wellington City Councillor says a High Court review is needed over the controversial sign.

The former chair of the Wellington Airport Authority, councillor Helene Ritchie, is angry the council did not notify the public before approving resource consent and is considering taking the matter to the High Court.

Wellington International Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald says there was nothing wrong with the consent process and he believes a review would be a waste of time and money.

Majority against sign, poll shows

A UMR Research poll has found that almost two-thirds of people in the capital are against the Wellywood sign.

Some 64% of people polled said they were opposed to the sign, while 22% were in support, while 14% either did not have an opinion or were unsure.

The telephone poll was conducted on Monday night and surveyed 300 people over the age of 18 who live in the Wellington area. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7%.