29 Aug 2016

No apology over billboard rule review

9:11 am on 29 August 2016

Auckland's transport agency won't be contacting a mayoral candidate who was forced to remove large hoardings under a by-law, which the agency now admits needs changing.

One of mayoral candidate Victoria Crone's billboards.

Auckland Transport won't be apologising to Vic Crone after it forced her to remove her billboards. Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

After months of negotiation with the Minister of Transport, the council agency has said it will remove a new section of the bylaw which extended election controls to large permanent billboard sites.

Mayoral candidate Vic Crone was twice forced to remove advertising because of that change.

Auckland Transport's chief executive David Warburton said the agency would not be communicating or apologising to Ms Crone.

"We'll go through the normal process of reviewing the bylaw and getting legal advice to ensure it's equitable for all parties, not what one individual party thinks might suit them."

RNZ raised in March the possibility that the bylaw change might breach freedom of expression provisions of the Bill of Rights Act.

Correspondence released to RNZ by the Minister of Transport's office showed that Auckland Transport now considers that is possible, though unlikely.

Dr Warburton does not consider the need to change the bylaw - the first and only one drawn up by the agency - either embarrassing or regrettable.

"It's simply somebody felt something could be done better and we've said we're happy to have a review of it - it's probably more of a concern for people such as yourselves by the sound of it," he told RNZ.

The bylaw review is expected in the New Year.