New Zealand’s largest billboard operator is today (April 19) presenting the Auckland City Council’s Billboards Bylaw
hearing with an alternative bylaw that would enable Council to achieve the controls it wants on the city’s visual
The APN Outdoor alternative bylaw, if adopted, would considerably reduce, if not eliminate the risk of legal challenge
faced by the Council’s current proposed bylaw.
The alternative bylaw has been prepared by a highly experienced team of urban planners and designers and environmental
It is designed as a comprehensive alternative to proposed harsh new regulations that would effectively ban billboards
from large parts of Auckland City and require the removal of the majority of existing billboards.
“We’re presenting Council with a fully-fledged, workable alternative to their tough new regulations,” said APN Outdoor
General Manager, Tim Simpkins. “It’s an alternative that would achieve Council’s goals for improving the visual amenity
of the city without closing down or significantly damaging the outdoor industry.”
The alternative bylaw has been drafted by a team including vastly experienced urban designer, Barry Rae, a director of
Transurban, planning consultant, Craig McGarr a director of Bentley and Co, Brent Harries, a director of the Traffic
Design Group, and Simon Berry, a barrister with 25 years’ experience in environmental law.
“We were very disappointed that despite the considerable effort and expense involved in preparing this alternative, none
of the suggestions were even mentioned in the Council officer’s report on the content of the more than 1,000 submissions
that opposed the bylaw. That officer’s report appeared to give little consideration to the vast weight of opposition to
these latest Council proposals for billboards and signs.
“The proposed bylaw draft from Council is so unreasonable as to be unlawful and will face legal challenge if it is
adopted in its current form. However, APN has looked at what Council says it wants and applied this high-powered team to
drafting an alternative bylaw.”
Among the controls suggested in the alternative bylaw are no new billboards above 30 metres in height and no
wall-mounted billboards at street level.
“Our alternative bylaw is both workable and lawful. Council could adopt this draft as is or use it as the basis for
development, by a joint working party between Council and the industry. The industry has been requesting a joint
approach for some time, without any sign of a response from Council.”
Mr Simpkins said the other key elements of the APN submission dealt with concerns about lack of demand for changes, lack
of consultation and a lack of in-depth research on the true economic impacts of the proposals.
“Council’s own initial economic impact of the proposed measures talked about job losses of around 170 and costs of about
$5 million. Council’s report has since been revised upwards to almost double the impact to around 300 job losses. APN’s
own economic analysis indicates those figures are still well below the true economic cost.
“If a private company made that many lay-offs for economic reasons there would be a huge outcry and that business would
be vilified. Council seems prepared to accept that level of economic impact just to get rid of billboards.”
Mr Simpkins said it was only now that Council was engaging in discussions with the industry. The results of public
surveys and the weight of submissions showed Council had clearly got the current proposals wrong.
“We are presenting a viable, legal alternative that achieves Council’s goals. I hope they’ll listen to us now.”
NB: The APN submission will be made around 3pm today.