Family First NZ launched a campaign two weeks ago whingeing at Wicked Campersfor supposedly offensive advertisements and messages on their vehicles.
Family First NZ welcomed comments by National MP Dr Shane Reti in Parliament when he said:
New Zealanders from all over the country are writing to Associate Minister for Tourism, the Hon Paula Bennett, and to me complaining about the filthy signage on Australian campervan firm Wicked Campers. The Minister and I
have spoken and to Wicked Campers I say this: Your offensive signage is unacceptable. Your disgusting degrading of women and children is unacceptable. Your signage is an affront to public decency and no parent including me should have to explain it to
their children. High-quality tourism is what this Government and what New Zealanders are investing in. So Wicked Campers-respect New Zealand's advertising standards or go home, because New Zealanders deserve better than your garbage.
Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ spouted:
Many families have been offended by the offensive signs on Wicked Campers that travel around NZ but have felt powerless to stop them. This campaign will focus on complaints being made to the local Council that the
signage breaches the signage bylaws in that area.
The Advertising Standards Authority has made 13 rulings against Wicked Campers, and has expressed disappointment at its refusal to respect the principles of self-regulation. Police
expressed concerns about a Wicked rental van that depicts Snow White smoking a crack pipe and tells people to enjoy the class A drug.
We would argue that any public advertising should be G-rated and suitable for children to view.
It is vital that families continue to speak up rather than accept offensive material and the sexualisation of girls and women in the media and on billboards and vehicles.
New Zealand police have asked New Zealand censors to consider the unpolitically correct advertising slogans painted on rental vans from the company Wicked Campervans.
Chief Censor Andrew Jack said:
I can confirm
that we have received a submission in respect of some of the Wicked campervans from the police, and we'll be working through the classification process and testing those publications against the criteria in the Films, Videos, and Publications Act to
determine whether or not they need to be age restricted or might be objectionable.
This is the first time a publication, in respect of Wicked Campers, has been submitted to us.
We have to make sure that if
something is going to be restricted or banned, you have to try to take into account the fact that people do have a right to freedom of expression, and it is a big deal to ban or restrict something.
Jack said the censorship process
would take about a month.
Associate Minister of Tourism Paula Bennett told Morning Report she would not rule out legislating against the company, but would rather the Chief Censor dealt with the problem. She whinged:
I'm pretty determined to find an avenue to close these slogans down.
New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has rejected calls to ban humerous slogans on the Wicked Campervans fleet, saying:
I don't think it's something that the state government should be getting involved in.
The statement was in response to local councillor Duncan Dey who wanted to wipe the usually sexist slogans off the vans or ban them from council caravan parks. Dey proposed the erection of signs saying Van drivers, your wicked slogan
is not welcome in Byron Shire could be erected at Byron Shire entry points, and the vans could be banned from council caravan parks.
Meanwhile the annual Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass , held near Byron Bay, has also
taken a stand against the campervans. The festival website says:
If you're booking a campervan, please steer clear of sexist slogans! You know who you are. It's 2016, get with the program!!,
Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm said councils and wowsers in northern NSW should leave Wicked alone. He said:
Personally, I find authoritarians disguised as hippies or feminists far more offensive than any
slogan on the back of a van, but I don't seek to ban them.
Australian film censors are the OFLC have banned 3 campervans decorated with slogans and images alluding to drug use. The 3 banned vans are:
The right side of Wicked Camper GCT799 has an image of the head and upper body of a smiling dwarf. He has a hand to his very orange nose. Text in large red letters beneath the windows reads Do What You Feel .
The left side has a large image of the head and shoulders of the fairy-tale character, Snow White, dressed in her traditional blue and red costume. She holds a thin white tube to one nostril and there are two lines of
a white substance on a flat surface beneath the end of the tube. Her eyes are shut. Text in large white letters beneath the windows reads Snow White .
Text in white capitals beneath the van's back window reads,
There's no way I was just born to pay bills and die.. The description of the image of the character Snow White in the submission from Ford Sumner lawyers is inconsistent with the image itself. Plainly Snow White appears to be about to inhale white
powder rather than powder her nose.
The right side of Wicked Camper JKC408 has a large image of the head and part of the upper body of a well-known stoner character, Shaggy, from the children's television programme Scooby-Doo. The character holds what
appears to be a cannabis cigarette and his facial expression suggests that he is drug-affected. The name Shaggy , in large green lower-case letters, appears under the van's windows.
The left side shows the head of the dog Scooby-Doo, mouth open and eyes gleaming with characteristic doggy excitement. The name Scooby-Doo , in purple capitals outlined in yellow, appears under the van's
Text in white capitals beneath the back window of the van reads, Someone pass Shaggy the baggy so he can roll Scooby a doobie
The right side of Wicked Camper JLT886 has a large image of the head, hand and part of the upper body of the Dr Seuss character, the Cat in the Hat. The character holds a bong to its nose, and its face shows pleasure. A speech
bubble beneath the van's windows contains four lines of text in black capital letters, reading, I did a bong / I did, I did! / A bong! A bong! / A bong I did!
The image on the left side focuses on the face of the same character, who looks extremely ill. Text in large red capitals, outlined in white, reads, Bad trip.
van's back window text in white capitals reads, It's easier to get forgiveness than permission!
The censors explained their ban:
The public availability of Wicked Camper JLT886,
Wicked Camper GCT799 and Wicked Camper JKC408 in their current form is likely to be injurious to the public good and they are therefore classified as Objectionable.
In a framework set by the New Zealand Bill of Rights
Act 1990, classification decisions must be reasonable and demonstrably justifiable. Freedom of expression entails a certain tolerance for the depiction of drug use in various media. Films or DVDs, for instance, allow a high level of control over the
manner and circumstances of viewing, including access. This same agency and control is not available when the medium is a campervan designed specifically for public display as a business promotion.
The imagery and text
on the campervans are expressions of a view but not political opinion or particularly meaningful satire: they are not making a greater point about social or cultural matters other than celebrating drug use.
injury to the public good, in particular the promotion of criminal behaviour to children and young teenagers arising from the display of these vans is likely. The nature of the medium in this case means that this injury to the public good is not able to
be adequately addressed by a restriction to those over a specified age.
The likelihood of injury to the public good arising from the availability of the campervans, specifically the harm caused to children and young
teenagers who view the images and text dealing with criminal drug use, has been identified. The protection of children and young teenagers from harmful material is paramount in this instance. This is not an unusual or excessive limitation of commercial
free speech. The promotion of other potentially harmful activities to children, such as the consumption of alcohol or tobacco is also prohibited.
After examining the campervan and applying the legal classification criteria, the Classification Office classified this campervan as Objectionable (banned).
Imagery on the
campervan includes a peace symbol; the face of American beat poet, Allen Ginsberg and the text, Don't hide the madness ; the word Howl , the title of a famous Ginsberg poem; and a representation of Charles Manson and the text, Make new
friends. Join a cult .
First impressions of the campervan are likely to be of bright colours and large, eye-catching text and images.
However, large text on the back of the campervan reads Bukkake
ruined my carpet! which inescapably confronts following vehicles.
The text on the back of the campervan is an expression of misogyny that degrades and dehumanises women. It is unlikely that many viewers will immediately
recognise the term. However, satisfying curiosity as to its meaning requires no more than a quick internet search. Bukkake is an established term describing a highly degrading, dehumanising and demeaning sexual practice that is depicted in pornography.
A classification of R18, which is consistent with other publications and would prevent access by children and young people, has been considered. However, the medium makes it impossible to protect children and young people without
preventing the campervan from being publicly available to anyone. The application of any of the available conditions in respect of public display is manifestly impracticable.
In classifying the campervan as objectionable, the
Classification Office has also taken into account that those who rent the vans may be unwittingly criminalised if the owner considered that restricting their rental to persons 18 years and over meets the conditions of an R18 classification. While the
Office does not necessarily agree that the owner could contract out of their liability in this way, the classification of the campervan as objectionable removes all doubt as to its unsuitability for its intended purpose.
The Palaszczuka? government has found an expensive way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads. Make up a new law.
Yvette D'Ath, Queensland's Attorney-General, will introduce legislation which will see commercial registration
holders who fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau face having the registration of those vehicles cancelled. D'Ath said:
I understand clearly the level of community concern about the
vulgar, crass and offensive slogans that have been displayed on some commercial vehicles in Queensland and other parts of Australia.
They have been subject to frequent complaints to the Advertising Standards Board. When the ASB
has deemed those slogans to be offensive, the typical response from the holders of those commercial vehicle registrations has been deafening silence.
Now if they refuse to remove the offensive slogans, their vehicles will be off
Working in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the ASB, D'Ath said the solution allowed the advertising watchdog to maintain its power, but gave any adverse finding teeth.
The government hopes to have the
legislation in front of the parliament by the end of the year.
Wicked Campers are known as a brash, unapologetic company that built its reputation on homourous slogans plastered across its vehicles.
But almost a year on from a nationwide furore that saw New Zealand's Chief Censor ban a handful of its vans from
the road, the feeling is that the company has been somewhat tamed. Golden Bay's Pohara Campground assistant manager Leigh Johnson said:
They are not like they used to be 12 months ago. It think they have toned it down.
The film censor's ban meant that the specific vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.
Murchison's Riverside Holiday Park,
leaseholder Robin Sandford, said it seemed:
All the bad ones had disappeared. I don't know if they have taken them off the road or what but we don't see a lot of them coming in here. I saw two in the last two weeks and
there was nothing offensive on them. They were funny but they weren't offensive.
The Australian state of Queensland has banned humerous slogans on campervans and other vehicles following a high-profile campaign. It follows complaints about slogans and imagery on hire vehicles primarily aimed at young backpackers.
passed the laws on Tuesday night, meaning vehicles can be deregistered if owners do not remove slogans deemed to be offensive.
The bill enjoyed all party support with the opposition's political correctness spokeswoman, Ros Bates, saying she was
appalled by the slogans.
[The slogans] include 'it's easier to apologise than ask for permission', and 'I can already imagine the gaffer tape on your mouth'... and for any member of our society these slogans are
sickening and perverse.
These vans promote rape, encourage sexism and incite violence and control.
The new powers can be enforced if slogans are not removed within 14 days of a complaint being upheld by the
nation's Advertising Standards Bureau.
Wicked Campervans with humorous slogans that offend easily offended politicians would be banned from being registered in all states and territories of Australia, under a plan signed off at a national meeting of transport ministers.
Each state agreed
to deregister vans which refused to have humorous slogans taken down following a complaint, and then ensure the van could not simply be re-registered in another jurisdiction.
Queensland Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey has claimed Wicked is
exploiting a loophole by registering the vans in other states to get around the ban.