Highlanders sign breached rule - council

After three years of advertising Highlanders games and giving away free tickets to the team’s matches, a Dunedin businessman says he was asked to take down his sign without explanation.

Automotive Solutions Maori Hill owner Greg Stevenson-Wright took the sign in question down last month.

He said he accepted it might not meet Dunedin City Council rules, but he remained unhappy he could not get a clear explanation from the council about what he had done wrong.

Mr Stevenson-Wright said he received a call from the advertising representative he dealt with at Go Media NZ who told him he needed to take the sign down.

However, she could not say what he had done wrong, so he asked the council.

It was a "conveyancing matter", Mr Stevenson-Wright said, but the council did not give him a satisfactory explanation either about how he was breaking the rules.

"I think it may have been the size but what’s the problem with saying, ‘Hey, look, this sign is too big, can we get it smaller?’?.

"Can we get it reduced? Can we get it over here instead? Can it be on top of the building rather than right out there close to the front of the sidewalk?

"But there was none of that, just, take it down or fines."

A council spokesman stressed the council did not ask the business to take the sign down.

Greg Stevenson-Wright says he does not know why he was asked to remove a Highlanders sign from...
Greg Stevenson-Wright says he does not know why he was asked to remove a Highlanders sign from outside his Highgate automotive business after three years. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
"The Highlanders were asked to take down the sign at Automotive Solutions as resource consent to advertise there was not applied for," the spokesman said.

"The Highlanders sought to have the signs removed independently."

The spokesman said a $300 infringement fine could have been considered had they not done so.

He did not say whether a complaint had been received, but the signs were in breach of a rule for temporary signs under the second generation plan, he said.

Go Media NZ managing director Mike Gray said the company was a longstanding sponsor of the Highlanders, and provided marketing for their games in Dunedin and Invercargill through a variety of means including corflute signs, such as Mr Stevenson-Wright’s.

The company had been using the corflute signs for the past eight years and they were designed to meet the rules of the council plan, he said.

People with signs received tickets to each game to use for staff, or to donate to whomever they wished, he said.

"Throughout the season we are always approached by people wanting to support the team and so sometimes, additional signs do go up.

"Recently the Dunedin City Council asked for two signs to be removed and so we promptly complied."

The community-led marketing with the Highlanders had been highly successful, and the company had never had any issues in the past, he said.

--  Staff Reporter

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