24 Feb 2010

Atheist lobby group disappointed bus company rejects ads

5:53 am on 24 February 2010

A group promoting atheism that raised thousands of dollars to put advertisements on buses says NZ Bus is now refusing to allow them on their vehicles.

The Atheist Bus Campaign may now take the issue to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

The group has raised more than $22,000 since late last year in the hope of putting its message on buses in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The group says NZ Bus tentatively agreed to the ads but then rejected them. The ads were to read: 'There's probably no God so stop worrying and enjoy life'.

NZ Bus says it rejected the advertising on its vehicles after deeming it too controversial and divisive.

The company says it received a number of e-mails from customers expressing distaste for the campaign and similar concerns were also raised by staff members.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church, Lyndsay Freer, says the decision is the right one. She says the company seems to be taking into account that people of faith make up the majority of New Zealanders, who would have been offended by the ad.

The Human Rights Commission says the campaigners brought their complaint to the commission seeking mediation, but NZ Bus declined to take part, which is within the company's rights.