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Tui has defended its latest billboard, which some have called insulting and homophobic, saying it was a ''topical spin'' on a parent's new partner.
The billboard between Wellington and Petone on State Highway 2 reads, ''Dad's new husband seems nice. Yeah right''.
Tui's Facebook page has received comments about the advertisement since April 24, with some saying it is ''homophobic'', ''disgusting'' and ''offensive''.
In a statement Tui marketing manager William Papesch said the Tui ''Yeah Right'' Billboards have been around since 1994 and have become somewhat of a Kiwi icon.
''There have been a fair few 'Yeah Right' lines which have made it to the billboards over this time, all of which have been generated with the intention of delivering a smile to New Zealanders.
''Given the duration of this campaign and the quantity of 'Yeah Right' lines, occasionally there is the odd... line, which doesn't hit the mark in generating a smile for all.
''Our intention with the current Tui Yeah Right billboard 'Dad's new husband seems nice' was to highlight the common situation or uncertainty experienced when someone's parent remarries.
''Given the recent passing of the Same Sex Marriage Bill in Parliament, this 'Yeah Right' line is a topical spin at the age-old situation of a parent's new partner.''
Online commenters have been mixed in their feelings about it.
Sophie Lockwood said she had previously enjoyed the billboards.
''I have always had a good giggle at your billboards as I drive down the Hutt motorway each morning, but I am pretty disgusted by the one I saw yesterday. Homophobia in this day and age? Really??''
Kay Gubbins had a similar view.
''What's with the anti-gay signs Tui? They're creepy and uncool. I used to like your beer but I can find other brands that don't offend me and my gay friends.''
However Luke Frogley said the joke was a play on a person getting a new step-parent.
''This joke would traditionally say ''wife'', as in the person isn't happy with their Dad's new partner,'' he posted on Facebook.
''However, now that marriage is open to homosexual couples, so too will be situations where Dad gets a new husband. The joke teller isn't necessarily ... not happy with Dad's new husband because he (and Dad) are gay ... The joke is more a reflection on recent events, and if anything, promotes gay marriage because we no longer have to say ''Dad's new Civil Partner seems nice''.
The Marriage Equality Act will come into force on August 19.
The amendment to the law, which allows same-sex couples to marry, was approved by Parliament on April 17 and received Royal approval.
- © Fairfax NZ News