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Meeting decries recent ‘disgusting’ car carnage

The growing problem with ‘boy racers’ was the hot topic on Thursday night at a community meeting in Gladstone, where dozens of people from across the region vented their frustrations over the escalating anti-social driving behaviour.

Among those who attended the meeting – which was prompted by the events of December 30 and 31, and facilitated by former Carterton mayor Greg Lang – were Wairarapa Police Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller, National MP for Wairarapa Mike Butterick, and current Carterton Mayor Ron Mark.

One resident described the night as “really quite terrifying” and had been worried about sparks setting fire to dry pasture, while another had concerns for livestock and horses after fireworks were set off on the night.

Another woman was “absolutely disgusted by these scoundrels” and implored for police to be given more power and funds to enable them to do their jobs.

The state of the roads after the event was a major talking point, with many describing the aftermath as “disgusting”.

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark was in full flight at the meeting, saying he had expressed concerns about boy racers in September last year and noting that burnouts and skids had been an issue since he was a teen.

“The difference here is the level of impunity and immunity that young people believe they have,” he said.

Mark called for a rapid response out of Wellington Police Headquarters and an escalation to District and National Command,
iterating that this was a nationwide problem and not exclusive to Carterton.

Members of the crowd soon started suggesting methods and means to fix the problem, including changing the road layouts and surface materials, and more police.

Some mentioned the possibility of vigilantism, which both Butterick and Miller strongly advised against.

Body cameras on police and increased surveillance via CCTV throughout towns were also suggested, although this was contentious.

Mark confirmed that Carterton currently has cameras set up but said neither Masterton nor South Wairarapa do due to potential privacy issues

“We don’t give a shit about the privacy issues in Carterton – we want the problem solved,” said Mark, who also took the opportunity to underline his enthusiasm for amalgamation of the region’s councils, stating that “We need the coordination and cooperation of the other two councils – if we were one council it would be bloody easy.”

If assistance isn’t forthcoming from National Police Headquarters to address the issue, he asserted that “police need to accept responsibility for whatever an individual might do to protect their family and their property”.

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