Wellington Airport has been threatened with legal action from the owners of the Hollywood sign after the decision to go ahead with a copycat Wellywood sign was announced this week.
Wellington Airport is funding the 30m long, 8m tall sign which mimics the iconic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, the home of United States movie-making.
The project has been controversial and a UMR Research poll of 300 Wellington residents found 64 percent of those who were aware of the debate opposed the sign's erection, compared to 22 percent who supported it.
Even Prime Minister John Key has voiced an opinion, telling reporters today he didn't really like the sign.
"What do I think of Wellywood? Bluntly, I think they got the 'Well' a bit right, I'd add 'i-n-g-t-o-n' at the end of it. I don't mind if they do it. It's up to them, but personally I'd put Wellington up."
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president Leron Gubler said the non-profit trust was disappointed to learn that Wellington Airport was going ahead with a sign after it believed plans had been scrapped last year.
Mr Gubler said in a statement that if Wellington Airport did not co-operate then it would be up to the lawyers to sort it out.
"As a matter of courtesy, we would have expected at a minimum a response from the Airport authority as they had promised. We believed the project was abandoned. We will now again refer this to our legal counsel for advice."
In March last year, the chamber received a letter from airport planner Mike Brown acknowledging receipt of a Chamber letter and saying he would respond shortly but no response was received, Mr Gubler said in a statement.
"We hope that if the Wellington Airport wants to mimic our sign in this fashion, it will proceed in co-operation with us and will recognize that the holder of the rights to the sign and the party responsible for its continued existence is a non-profit entity that works hard to raise funds so that the sign even exists to be mimicked.
"We hope that this time our overture to the airport to that end will be responded to in like spirit. Otherwise, the lawyers can sort it out, but that seems a shame, particularly in regard to a project that appears to be controversial in Wellington already."
Wellington Airport spokeswoman Kat Lintott told NZPA the company had kept up correspondence with the chamber.
"From a New Zealand perspective we are legally within our rights to put the sign up. We have offered to talk to them and compromise."
In a recent letter to the chamber released to NZPA, airport chief commercial manager Matt Clarke offered to explore a licence fee for using the sign.
"I can appreciate the perspective of the not-for-profit organisation you represent...My preference would be to proceed with the project with the support of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce," he said.
source: newshub archive