Election sign removal ordered

Too large: Signs of the election times removal ordered.

Rotorua Lakes Council has ordered the removal of a large election hoarding at a high-density traffic area.

The sign was hoisted by the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayer group, which is campaigning for six seats and a mayoral candidacy.

It is strategically placed, but well back from the road, at the intersection of Koutu corner and Old Taupo Road.

The group’s Reynold Macpherson, who is the group’s mayoral candidate and is also eyeing a council seat, says the RLC considers the billboard “not compliant”.

Asked whether he or his group were made aware of the limit on hoarding dimensions, Reynold replied: “We were given to understand that the restrictions on hoardings did not apply to the said billboard.”

His campaign team will discuss the matter on Sunday.

He says he will then get back to the Deputy Electoral Officer early next week.

“If the ruling does not change then we may have to take it down.”

Other RDRR hoardings are compliant as far as Reynold knows.

It also appears gremlins have crept in under the name of current councillor Raj Kumar, who is also standing on the RDRR ticket.

One of the two contact cellphone numbers belongs to Peter Jones, formerly with RDRR (and endorsed by the group) who withdrew to stand as an independent.

Peter says he is not unhappy, treating it as a genuine error.

“The phone numbers on the group hoarding were verified at a number of design meetings and yet the error somehow crept through,” says Reynold.

Henry Weston, the RLC’s operations group manager, Henry Weston, says the election sign guidelines provide certainty for all candidates that, “there is a consistent set of rules for the display of election signs and also ensures public safety.

“As the sign in question is in breach of these guidelines due to its size, it has been requested that it be removed along with any other signs that are the same size.

“The Election Sign Guidelines state signs must not exceed 3m2.”

Election signs can be referred to as hoardings, posters, signs or other similar type promotions that are used to display information relating to the election of a candidate/s.

The RLC has based the requirements on the general requirements for election signs used for previous elections, and the council’s signs on Roads Bylaw 2015.

Candidates may put up electoral signs in the RLC area provided that they meet certain requirements including:

· Signs can only be displayed during the period beginning 9 weeks before polling day and ending at midnight the day before polling day.

· All signs must be located on private property with the consent of the property owner. Signs are not permitted in a public place, on a public building or any road reserve including any Rotorua Lakes Council tree, fence, parks furniture or sign.

· Form and letter height must be consistent with the specifications set out in clauses 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Electoral (Advertisement of a Specific Kind) Regulations 2005.

· Free standing signs must have a ground clearance of 1.4m under the sign.

· Signs must not exceed 3m in height (from ground level).

· Signs must not exceed 3m2 in area (2.4m x 1.2m sheet).

· All signs must be securely braced /suitably supported from the ground up to carry wind loads for 60 days.

· Signs should not obscure any other sign (election or otherwise).

· Signs cannot obstruct a driver’s vision, cause confusion or distraction to drivers or create a situation hazardous to the safe movement or direction of traffic.

 


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