Queenstown thinking of fining Wicked $300 per public disturbance

Queenstown is looking to fine Wicked Campers over offensive slogans on the company’s vans.

The local council wants to be able to use an existing district plan rule – normally used to regulate signs on buildings – to issue $300 fines when the campervans are seen displaying lewd or sexually explicit signs.

The company’s controversial slogans sparked numerous complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, and Tasman District Council is also investigating banning Wicked Campers vans from its campgrounds.

Queenstown-Lakes District Council chief executive, Mike Theelen, told Nine to Noon the camper van slogans had changed in recent years from being clever and funny to offending more and more people and it would be good if the council could encourage Wicked Campers to change its behaviour.

“We’ve … asked for a list of their signage so that we can give them advice (as to what) would be determined to be sexually explicit, lewd or otherwise offensive.”

But Wicked Campers had indicated they did not agree with the council’s plan and had not provided any information.

In the mean time, tourists at the wrong end of this have had to create their own solutions.  This van was seen around Northland some days ago. 


photo: whaleoil.co.nz

“There are lots of campervan companies out there, a lot of colourful campervans out there. We’re not trying to crush that part of the market but we don’t necessarily want, as a community, to have that unpleasantness in our face every time a Wicked Camper rental drives by,” Mr Theelan said.

If the rule could be enforced, the council would issue an infringement notice against the company, not the occupier or driver of the vehicle. If that went unpaid it would then follow a process similar to an unpaid speeding ticket, where it would be referred to the district court.

It would be the first time a New Zealand council had decided to crackdown on the Australian company using a district plan rule.

It will be interesting to see if the court will back the council, as the legislation for building signs are attempted to be applied to moving and stationary vehicles.

Similarly, how many times can you fine the same vehicle? Every time it is observed?  Every the public lays a complaint? Every time you blink?

These are definitely unchartered waters.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

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