Carterton Mayor Ron Mark is defending the decision to exclude media from a Wednesday meeting with Police Minister Mark Mitchell regarding the region’s apparently accelerating ‘boy racer’ problem, saying it wasn’t open to the general public but just those residents in his district who have been directly impacted.
He added that some of those who attended “were clearly worried about their own personal safety and the safety of their children” and it wouldn’t have been helpful for some of their concerns to be reported publicly.
Mark also took aim at the claims of the 211 Mafia ‘car crew’ founders, published in the Times-Age, that the group is family-orientated and isn’t threatening people.
“That is not what we heard on Wednesday,” Mark said. “We heard fear.”
Mark is also unconvinced by the idea that the ‘anti-social driving activities’ are due to a lack of formal facilities where they can practice their pastime, noting there’s the option to use the Masterton Motorplex.
“Any notion that ratepayers should be funding these poor little lost souls and setting up wonderful little facilities for them is a waste of time because they won’t use them.
“They enjoy the thrill of the chase, and that’s exactly what the minister is going to give them.”
The actions of some of the 600 people who participated in burnouts on Wairarapa’s roads on December 30 – including allegedly attacking police, injuring spectators, unlawfully entering properties, and causing residents “distress and concern” – have “changed the game drastically”, Mark said.
“And there will be consequences.”
At the same time, Mark is offering to meet with members of the boy racer “gangs”.
“Come out from hiding,” he said.
“If you want to do it secretly, fine, but meet with me and explain to me why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
Mark went on to say he’s looking forward to the police minister’s promised crackdown.
“Some of us are going to be popping a champagne cork and watching your cars get crushed and probably watching you fronting up in the court,” he said, hinting that soon a young person’s age may no longer be able to “protect” them should they be apprehended.
Mark also noted that the general attitude of boy racers in the region – as well as around the rest of New Zealand – has been a concern for some time, but “what these people did at Longbush and Millars roads [on December 30], they just finally brought the focus fully home, so I thank them for that.”
The Carterton mayor finished with a final message for the car “gangs”.
“Don’t mess with my patch because I’m not gonna take it,” he said.
“There’s a new sheriff in town, and we’re not going to put up with this nonsense.”